Om – meaning and history of the sacred symbol

Blog / Hinduism / Mantras

Table of Contents

Do you like this article? Share it with your friends!

BlogHinduismus / Mantren /

The Om Symbol and its Meaning ॐ 

The Sanskrit Sound of the Universe

The Om symbol, often spelled Ohm or Aum, describes the universal whole. Aum has many meanings and is considered a manifestation of spiritual power.

format_list_numbered Inhaltsverzeichnis

Dir gefällt der Artikel? Teile ihn mit deinen Freunden!


Om ॐ – The sound of the Universe and why it is sacred

Om Symbol with MandalaThe mantra Aum stands for the essence of all being. The three letters A, U and M stand for three different levels of consciousness. A stands for the waking state and the waking consciousness in the material world. U expresses the dream consciousness and the dream state. The M, which often vibrates during meditations and should be stressed somewhat nasally, stands for the state of deep sleep and enlightenment.

As one of the most used syllables of mantras, Om is not only very well known and important for Indian culture, but also worldwide. For practitioners, the chanting of mantras is extremely important. The energy emanating from the syllable sequences has a positive effect on the speaker of the mantra, but also on the listeners. Especially in a chant, they are correspondingly powerful.
Om can be used alone as a mantra or as part of a sequence. One of the most energetic and widespread mantras is “Om mani padme hum“. This mantra is the universal mantra of love and compassion and is said to have a purifying ability. Om or Aum circumscribes the visible as well as the invisible.

Where does the Om sign come from?

Om originates from the language Sanskrit, which consists of several varieties of ancient Indian. Sanskrit is a language that is over 3,500 years old and is still one of the 22 national languages recognised in India. The character in the Devanagari writing looks like this: and is also a sign of Indian culture and Indian tradition for the western world. It thus carries something mystical and mysterious, but also primal and pure.

Om is the most all-encompassing symbol in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and has long been used primarily as a mantric syllable. In many scriptures, the sacred syllable even has its own sign instead of being written with the sequence of letters O and M, or even A, U and M. The symbol of Om has been used for thousands of years. Already thousands of years ago, the powerful sign was used as wall decoration.

Om is the beginning and the end of everything

The sound of Om of 136.10 Hz in the pitch CIS stands for the transcendent primordial sound from whose vibrations, according to Hindu belief, the entire universe and also our world originated. The sublime symbol and its sound accompany us from states of deepest, inner peace through dream states to the completely conscious waking state. It unites everything that was, everything that is and everything that will be in its vibrating sound. This pitch is also used in traditional temple music. In addition, many bells ring in exactly this sound.

The use of the Om sign

Originally from Asia and India, the powerful symbol has now also made its way into the western world. As a powerful and religious as well as cultural symbol, it has gained fame and popularity far beyond its initial origins. In religions and also culturally, the ancient divine symbol has always been honoured and considered sacred. In everyday life, we find it among spiritual people, for example, as a tattoo or as jewellery. Om is also frequently used as a decorative object and gives us strength in everyday life. Om is a symbol for the divine principle, which is called Brahman or the world soul. Decorations in the home are meant to protect this principle and stand for luck and success. It promotes spirituality and inner peace, as well as positive energy in the room. The energetic room climate is transformed into a positive one through its use. It is used for purification, enlightenment, protection and to achieve inner peace.

Om in Yoga and Meditation

Meditation is primarily about experiencing and feeling, consciously and subconsciously. The full scope of Om, or Aum, is less explicable and more palpable. It penetrates the body, the soul and the subconscious. When the Om sounds in the right pitch and Hertz frequency, it fills the body, the mind and also the room with spirituality and completely unfolds its purifying effect. Of course, it can also be incorporated into silent meditation; thought, imagined and manifested, the powerful Om has just as great an effect. In particular, at the end of yoga or mantra meditation, it can be used wonderfully.

Indian culture teaches us the importance of Om in meditation: it serves for immersion and union with the Absolute. When meditating with Om, the mental and physical creative power is increased and the mind is protected from delusion. No one has to be perfect at it from the start and it is worth practising and growing.

The powerful effect of Om

The spoken and also the thought effect of Om are not to be underestimated. The sacred syllable has a purifying effect, a great protective effect and strengthens our aura.
The soothing sound is even said to have direct physical properties: it has a positive effect on the heart and hormone production. It is said to focus energy, stand for luck, success as well as mental strength and power. Thus Om strengthens mental and physical health, inner peace and is even said to lead to enlightenment.
The advantages of using the sacred symbol physically in a room speak for themselves. In addition to the purely decorative effect, the positive energy flow in the room is strengthened and focused. The pleasant and harmonious effect of the sound floods the whole body and also the room, relaxation and peace are the result. Blockages are released and it helps wonderfully to reduce stress.

Colouring of the Om and its meaning

The sacred sign Om is an ancient and powerful relic and has endured to this day. Just as important as the symbol itself is the colouring and its meaning. The Om sign is often depicted in the colours black and gold. In spirituality and Buddhism, the golden colour is considered the colour of wealth, enlightenment and light. Furthermore, gold symbolises permanence, superiority, wisdom and stands for the sun. In Hinduism, the colour stands for life-giving energy and immortality. Gold is also seen as the manifestation of the gods.

Black is considered timeless and also attractive. In Buddhism, the colour black is considered lucky and gives warmth and energy. In India, mothers still surround their children’s eyes in black to protect them from the evil eye, according to ancient tradition. In the western world, the colour tends to appear as a colour of mourning, whereas in other cultures and religions it is regarded as something wonderful, lucky and warming at the same time. Black is often listed as a contrast to white, it is mysterious and elegant.

Om, Aum or Ohm – What is the correct spelling?

As you may have noticed, the sacred syllable is written in several ways. But what is the correct spelling? This question cannot be answered quite so easily. Let’s look at the various options in more detail:

  • Ohm:
    The spelling with “h” is one of the most frequently used spellings, although it fits least from the viewpoint of etymology. Since the sacred syllable is often hummed in a drawn-out manner in mantras, it is assumed that it is written with “h”, as this indicates an emphasis on the vowel. However, this is a common mistake if one considers the spelling in Sanskrit or Devanagari. There is also a great danger of confusion, since the ohm with “h” describes the physical unit of electrical resistance (symbol: Ω).
  • Om, Aum:
    The spelling as Om or Aum is therefore more correct in this case. The difference between Om and Aum lies only in the different traditions and translations of the mantra. The most common representation of the syllable Om, , is a combination of 3 elements (a), (u) and the chandrabindu (ँ, ṃ), which is the reason for the spelling “Aum”. Other languages like Arabic or Tamil use only 2 letters (o and m) as representation. And also the romanized spelling has only the two letters O and M. There is no significant difference in the meaning of the spellings here. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *