Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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Bhagavadgita Pages in English, Chapters 1 to 18





Yogi rides the Sound Waves of OM. Destination: Silence  12/03/2014 (October 17,2014)

When we pray to God, we use the sound-syllable OM ओं, ओम्  in written and ॐ in symbolic form. OM is the first sound, first thought, Brahman and God. OM consists of three letters:  A  U  M, the beginning, the middle and the end. AUM includes / contains  the past, the present and the future and also is beyond time itself.  When Prajapathi  was meditating on the three worlds,  three Vedas originated; earth, atmosphere and sky came into existence; and the syllable AUM came about.  "Just like the leaves are held together by its stalk, so is the speech held together by AUM."  - Chandyogya Upanishad.  AUM is the basis of any thought, spoken or written word and more.  AUM also represents the Hindu Holy Trinity,  A: Brahma, U: Vishnu, and M: Siva.   Vaishnvas say that A is Bhagavan, U is Sri and M is Chetanam (embodied soul). AUM knows neither fear nor death.  Men, gods and asuras take refuge in AUM.  Sing it sotto voce and have no fear of anything. In Sanskrit  A and U combine to form O sound and M gives that resonance.  OM is the syllable, the utterance of which helps a soul to penetrate Brahman proportionate to the degree of belief in It, detachment, abrogation of desires and contact with sense objects, and  awareness.  Its power is diluted by exegesis - critical evaluations. Tirumular says in Tantra Four, Verse 885, that A became the world, A and U became Sakti and Siva and AUM became the Light (Jnana = Wisdom). M became the Maya, which makes the building blocks of the universe. AUM is used by all sects including Buddhists and Jains, and lately by the west. In Vaishnava tradition AUM stands for Vishnu, Sri and devotee. In Saiva tradition, Linga is marked by Om.  AUM_OM2.gif






Page 615 The Principal Upanisads By Dr. Radhakrishnan October 24, 2013

Aum is the praṇava, which, by the time of the Upaniṣads, is charged with the significance of the entire universe. Deussen is certainly incorrect when he observes: 'essentially it was the unknowableness of the first principle of the universe, the Brahman, and the impossibility of expressing it by word or illustration, which compelled the choice of something so entirely meaningless as the symbol Aum as a symbol of Brahman.' The word first occurs m the Taittirīya Saṁhitā of the Black Yajur Veda,, where it is called the praṇava and indicates, according to Keith, the prolongation of the last syllable of the offering verse uttered by the hotṛ, In the Brāhmaṇas, It occurs more frequently as a response by the Adhvaryu to each Ṛg Vedic verse uttered by the hotṛ meaning, 'yes,' so be it, answering to the Christian 'Amen.'

In the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa V. 32, aum is treated as a mystic syllable representing the essence of the Vedas and the universe.

Taittiriya Upanisad. Dr. Radhakrishnan page 535 the Principal upanisads

8.I. Aum is Brahma. Aum is this all. Aum, this, verily, is compliance. On uttering, 'recite,' they recite. With aum, they sing the sāman chants. With aum, Śom, they recite the prayers With aum the Adhvaryu priest utters the response. With aum does the Brahma (priest) utter the introductory eulogy. With aum, one assents to the offering to fire. With aum, a Brahmaa begins to recite, may I obtain Brahman; thus wishing Brahman verily, does he obtain.

Aum like the idol is insentient. It is the Supreme taking notes and dispensing fruits.

 'The praṇava which is a mere sound, is, no doubt, insentient in Itself and cannot therefore be conscious of the worship offered to it: still, as in the case of the worship offered to an image, it is the Supreme (Īśvara) who, in all cases, takes note of the act and dispenses the fruits thereof.' Ᾱnandagiri.

Aum is the symbol of both Brahman and Īśvara.  December 10, 2013.



December 6, 2013. Maitri Upanisad. Translation by Dr. Radhakrishnan.

VI.5. And then It has been said elsewhere, 'This aum is the sound form of this (the self). Feminine, masculine and neuter (this) is the sex form. Fire, wind and sun, this is his light form. Brahmā, Rudra and Viṣṇu, this is his lordship form. The Gārhapatya, the Dakṣiṇāgni and the Ᾱhavanīya sacrificial fires-this is his mouth-form.  Ṛg, Yajus and Sāman (Vedas) this is his knowledge-form. Earth, atmosphere and sky, this is his world-form. Past, present and future, this is his time-form. Breath, fire and Sun, this is his heat-form. Food, water and moon, this is his growth form. Understanding, mind and self­ sense, this is his thought-form. The prāṇa breath, the apāna breath and the vyāna breath, this is his breath form. Therefore, by the utterance of the syllable aum all these (forms) are praised, worshipped and ascribed. For thus it is said, 'This syllable aum, verily, is the higher and the lower Brahman.'

December 8, 2013

VI.22. And thus it has been said elsewhere: 'There are, verily, two Brahmans to be meditated upon, sound and non-sound. By sound alone is the non-sound revealed. Now here the sound is aum. Moving upward by it one comes to ascend in the non­- sound. So (one says) this is the way, this is immortality, this is complete union and also tranquility. And now as the spider moves upward by the thread, obtains free space, thus assuredly, indeed the meditator moving upward by the syllable aum obtains independence.' Other expounders of the sound (as Brahman) think otherwise. By closing the ears with the thumbs they hear the sound of the space within the heart. There is the sevenfold comparison of it, like rivers, a bell, a brass vessel, a wheel, the croaking of frogs, rain, as when one speaks in a still place. Having passed beyond this variously characterized (sound), they disappear (become merged) in the supreme, the non-sound, the unmanifest Brahman. There they are unchar­ acterized and indistinguishable like the various juices that have reached the condition of honey. For thus has it been said, 'There are two Brahmans to be known, the sound Brahman and what is higher. Those who know the sound Brahman get to the higher Brahman.'

VI.24. And thus It has been said elsewhere 'The body is the bow. The arrow is aum. The mind is its point, darkness is the mark. Having pierced through the darkness, one goes to what is not enveloped In darkness. Then having pierced through what is thus enveloped one sees Brahman who sparkles like a wheel of fire, of the color of the Sun, full of vigour, beyond darkness, that which shines in yonder sun, also in the moon, in the fire, in the lightning. And having seen Him assuredly, one goes to immortality. For thus has it been said: 'Meditation is directed to the highest being within and to the (outer) objects. Hence the unqualified understanding becomes qualified. But when the mind is dissolved and there is the bliss of which the witness is the self, that is Brahman, the Immortal, the radiant, that is the way. That indeed is the (true) world.'




It is a common practice to pierce the ears of both girls and boys in their childhood. The ear has the form and shape of Om (ஓம்). Tamil Professor A.M. Saravana Mudaliar compared the pieced ear to Om, the dot representing the Ma-karam part of the AUM.


There are four curves in the AUM Graphical iconic symbol:

The fifteen entities as listed below form the aggregate, the nature of which the soul perceives.

Akaram1 (A) directs Ahamkaram1A; Ukaram2 (U) directs Buddhi2A; Makaram 3 (M) directs Mind3A; Bindu4 directs Cit4A; Nada 5  directs Intellect5A Ayan1B, Hari2B, Aran3B, Isan4B, and Sadasivam5B

Ayan1C = Brahma.   Hari2B = Vishnu.  Aran3B = Siva.   Isan4B = Mahesvara, another form of Siva who obscures Siva Jananam.  Sadasivam5B  = A form of Siva who confers Anugraha or Grace so the soul is liberated from birth and rebirth.

Akaram1 directs Ahankaram1A under aegis of Ayan1B or Brahma. The rest follows.

AUM has five components as depicted in the table and the diagram.

Pranava-Tattva-Deity Components of AUM The directed Entities The Presiding entities
Pranava-Tattva-Deity Akaram1 Ahamkaram1A Ayan1B  (Brahma)  = 1C in image
Pranava-Tattva-Deity Ukaram2 Buddhi2A Hari2B (Vishnu) = 2C in image
Pranava-Tattva-Deity Makaram 3 Mind3A Aran3B (Siva) =3C in image
Pranava-Tattva-Deity Bindu4 Cit4A Isan4B (Siva-Obscurant) = 4C
Pranava-Tattva-Deity Nada 5 Intellect5A Sadasivam5B (Siva-Grace) =5C



These curves and trunk remind us of the pot-bellied elephant-faced Lord Ganesa, who thus carries the moniker Om-KAra-SvarUpa, the One with the form of Om.

Lord Ganesa is AUM. He is the A, the base sound of the universe; He is the U, the sound of the galaxies; and He is the M, the sound of the planets and the little stars. --Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Himalayan Academy.


The first curve of Bhija-Akshara (Seed letter) is A, the second U, the third M, and the fourth Chandrabindu (crescent with a dot) the after-sound.  The third curve compared to the elephant's trunk emits the sound M. A is Bhur loka (gross world), U Bhuvar Loka (the subtle world) and M Suvar loka, the causal world.

AUM is Pranava (Prana +  Va = Life breath + Sakti or energy) because it sustains breath or life (Prana = breath) and flows with the expelled breath.

A is waking state, U the dream sleep, and M deep sleep. The silent interval between two AUMs is Turiya state, the fourth state.

Turiya is Spiritual Transcendental consciousness. Visva, Taijasa, and Prajna merge and fuse sequentially. Turiya is without any attributes. It is santam, sivam, and advaitam (peace, goodness, and nondual), for didactic purposes.  It or He is the Self. Objective consciousness is absent and its seed is absent. Ramana Maharishi calls this “Wakeful Sleep.” Turiya is present and functional in the perfected ones, even when they are awake. In Turiya, there is an irreversible union with Brahman: There is Oneness with Brahman. There is a permanent Metaphysical Unity. There are four progressive Turiya states, one deeper and subtler than the earlier one. The silence that follows the Sound AUM corresponds to this state. (See Below, compared to level one.) The presiding deity is the Supreme Vāsudeva Himself; He is Vāsu and Deva, meaning an indwelling God.

If an aspirant meditates on Brahman in all his four parts (AUM-Silence) he becomes non-dual with Brahman. 

Ramalinga Swamigal of Madras (1823-1874 C.E.) explains Turiya as follows: 'I became it; It became me.'

Here is the view of Joseph Campbell on Turiya. (Page 71-72, Myths of Light.)

The goal of the various forms of yoga is to go into that realm of undifferentiated consciousness while remaining awake. We don't have a counterpart to this concept in our Western vocabularies. It doesn't even have a name in India; it is called simply the fourth state, and that is the fourth letter of the syllable (AUM), the level of silence. Because all the words that we speak refer either to waking images and logic, dream images and logic, or ignorance. We do not have words for this, and so it is the ultimate silence, but it is that which we are....

The Indian word for this form of forms is Isvara, "lord." Any god can be taken as this lord. The image that you have held in your mind as that image of God is what will there be experienced, be it Yahweh, Siva, Vishnu, or the Goddess, be it Christ or the Trinity or the highest image of the Buddha. Any will be all right. And what beholds it is that jiva that has gone  through many incarnations and is the soul of your own existence. Here, the subject beholds its proper object. At this level the erotic principle or the second cakra finds its goal: the true beloved, the beloved that our soul  intends, is God. And anything short of that is simply an inkling of what the experience of God would be. End Campbell quote.

(4A) Jiva Turiya: Jiva (individual self) realizes its pristine spiritual nature and its organic relationship with God or Self. Duality still exists: self and Self

(4B) Para Turiya: Jiva realizes Brahman; union, absorption, or merger takes place; they are still “NOT” united in essence. Duality is still apparent between object and Subject, Jiva and Brahman. It is worthwhile to remember that Brahman, the all-knowing Subject, can never become an object.  

(4C) Brahman Turiya: Jiva unites with Brahman, and is fully absorbed and integrated into One Being.

(4D) Beyond Turiya: Jiva and Brahman become ONE as butter is poured into butter, and water is mixed with water. It is an undifferentiated and homogenized state of Subject-object fusion. 

(Saiva Siddhanta: Siddhantists say that this Turiya state is experiencing of Suddha Vidya of Suddha Tattvas through Samadhi yoga. Turiyatita [the fifth state] is experiencing higher states of Consciousness as follows.)

Here is another variation of the above.

Avastha or state of consciousness for Sahasrara is Turiya-Turiya, 7th higher level of consciousness.             Turiya-jagrat = awakening to higher consciousness --the fourth state;

Turiya-svapna = the fifth state of mystical visions;

Turiya-Susupti is the 6th higher state of Consciousness of Sa-Vikalpa Samadhi-Duality between yogi and Brahman present;

Turiya-Turiya = Nir-Vikalpa Samadhi-7th state, No duality, merger between yogi and Brahman.


Saiva Siddhanta points to another state beyond Turiya called Turiyatita, [End of Turiya--which is consolidation of Turiya], which has two phases: Un-mesham Consciousness, the opening of the eyes (Isvara Tattva is attained) and Nimesha Consciousness, the closing of the eyelids (Sadasiva Tattva is attained). Un-mesham is opening of the eyes; Nimesha is closing of the eyes. Sadasiva Tattva (Nimesha) experience and Consciousness are deeper and purer than the Isvara Tattva (Un-mesham) Consciousness, and the yogi enjoys equality with Siva, when Siva reveals his Grace to the Yogi. For more information on Suddha Tattvas, refer to TATTVAS-36.htm.   Sadasiva Tattva is hierarchically and ontologically higher and purer Consciousness than Isvara Tattva.

(Isvara Tattva conceals, veils or obscures Spiritual Knowledge from the aspirant, while Sadasiva Tattva reveals Knowledge and confers Grace. Why is it so? The soul with the body is afflicted with impurities. The human soul cannot merge with Siva unless it is free of impurities. In that impure state, Isvara does not reveal the knowledge. Once the impurities (malas) are removed Sadasiva reveals the knowledge. Let me give you an example. A professor of mathematics has a pre-school son. He lets his son struggle with simple additions, while he actively conceals (veiling) higher mathematics from his son. It is obvious why he does so. Once the son is mature, he teaches (reveals) him higher math. That is veiling and revealing.) Here the concealer and revealer are the professor of maths and the Lord; they are one and the same respectively. When the Lord conceals, we call Him Isvara ; when He reveals we call Him Sadasiva.

Unmesam and Nimesa are two aspects of one Sakti (power). Srsti or creation and unfolding of Tattvas (building blocks of the universe) are opening of eyes, while Pralaya or dissolution is Nimesa or closing of eyes. It is like the opening and closing of the bud. When the bud is closed, there is no fragrance; when it is open, there is fragrance.


AUM: A is Virat, Agni and Visva; U is Hiranyagarbha, Vayu and Taijasa; M is Isvara, Aditya, and Prajna.



In Kashmir Saivism, A is Cit Sakti, the power of Consciousness of Siva; U is Jnana Sakti, the power of Knowledge and momentum or the centrifugal force of Siva, by which the universe is created; this expending power or energy, Siva uses, does not diminish Him in any way; this Knowledge, this expenditure, this expansion are preludes to Unmesa which means uncovering,  opening of eyes, or the stage that is about to begin unfolding of the universe; Siva is in a state of apprehension (ūnatā = deficiency); Siva feels the foreboding that His Cit Sakti and Ananda Sakti (Power of Consciousness and Bliss) may diminish in this process of forward movement (centrifugal force of creation); Siva freezes and comes to a standstill. In this imminent expansion, Siva wants to remain in Cit Sakti and Ananda Sakti; He separates and rejects the universe from His own pristine nature. Yet the Universe is not formed; there is no manifestation. This is Amrita, meaning that he stays in His own Bliss (Ananda). He is frozen still; He does not budge; there is no thought of creative fervor; Siva does not accept the existence of the Universe in His nature (Anāsrita Siva = Siva in isolation or seclusion).  Siva says, "My Iccha Sakti (Will, Desire) is the cause of apprehension, agitation."  While His Will is in shambles, His Cit Sakti and Ananda Sakti exhibit a smugness by saying, "Why should there be any agitation; there should not be any problem in this going-out or coming-in (Unmesa and Nimesa)." Cit Sakti and Ananda Sakti get in touch with His Iccha Sakti (Will Power) and Jnana Sakti (Knowledge Power) and give them a fillip and bring out His Kriya Sakti (Action Power), which He is unwilling to initiate. His Action power is in a resting state; it has not blossomed out (Asphuta = not open). The next stage is for the Kriya Sakti to blossom out or manifest (Sphuta); Lo and behold there is brightness or vividness (Sphutatara); there is something happening; the Action Energy is flexing its muscles and getting ready to explode; Sphutatama happens--explosions, bursting, Lights and Action--and the universe is created. Siva's fears are unfounded: there is no diminution of Cit and Ananda Saktis; Siva kept His nature, though things are happening around Him. This is the culmination of Kriya Sakti which is M.  Now we have AUM resulting in the creation of the universe. 

Siva has five energies according to Kashmir Saivism: Cit Sakti, Ananda Sakti, Iccha Sakri, Jnana Sakti, and Kriya Sakti (Consciousness, Bliss, Will, Knowledge and Action). Svatantriya is His state denoting Absolute Freedom (of Will) and Total Independence. These powers or Saktis are reflection of Svatantriya. All 36 Tattvas are a reflection of His five powers and thus a reflection of reflection. Cit Sakti is an aggregate of all five Saktis (that includes Cit Sakti). All these Saktis are integral with the Sanskrit letters.

5 Saktis of Siva: Cit Sakti, Ananda Sakti, Iccha Sakri, Jnana Sakti, and Kriya Sakti. (Consciousness, Bliss, Will, Knowledge and Action). They reside in the 16 vowels:  a,aa, i,ii, u,uu, ri,rii, li,lii, e, ai, o, au, m, h.


The Way of Siva:
'a' is the First Step of Siva in creation and 'h' is the last resting state of Siva. All letters between a and h abide and exist in The First letter and the Last letter, a-ha. The universe of all letters exist within these two letters. a,aa, i,ii, u,uu, ri,rii, li,lii, e, ai, o, au, m, h
Take a-ha and add the m terminator: This is the Mantra of Siva, Aham (I). Siva says, 'Aham', meaning 'I'.
Aham in one syllable is the world of all letters and this comprehension of all letters in AHAM is called Pratyahara, which produced 118 worlds, 36 Tattvas, and 5 KalAs and is a point. m is anusvara.

The Way of Sakti according to Kashmir Saivism.
Sakti is Power on Her own merits. She produces this world on Her own. It is divine parthenogenesis. She takes Herself away from Siva. Sakti makes Sakti and this combination creates the world of matter. This is compared to bees which produce more bees without fertilization.


Honey bees from fertilized eggs of the queen have diploid cells--full complement of 16+16 = 32 chromosomes.
The ones from unfertilized eggs have haploid chromosomes--16 chromosomes from the diploid queen-mother.

These haploids are the hemizygous drones with big eyes. The fertilized eggs become the female worker bees with 32 chromosomes and diploid cells. The 16-chromosome haploid egg from the queen giving rise to hemizygous drones is called parthinogenesis.

The egg-laying worker female bee produces hemizygous haploid (16 chromosome) male Drones, who hang out with other drones drifting from one hive to another hive for a nuptial flight with queen from other nest and die in the process because the penis and associated abdominal tissues are ripped from the drone's body at sexual intercourse.
As you see the female worker bees without the benefit of fertilization produces drones. In like manner Sakti produces the world of matter and beings without the help of Siva.


Kashmir Saivism advocates a variant of this Unmesa and Nimesa aspects of Siva. He creates this universe for His own joy. Closing of His eyes (Nimesa), it advocates, is losing His Supreme Pure Consciousness at His own Will and hiding it in His creation. Unmesa is the opposite: regaining the lost Consciousness. How does Siva lose such an enormous Pure Consciousness in His manifested world? Simply by His Tirodhana Sakti, the power of Veiling. 

Saiva Siddhantist may have a problem with this theory: Siva has no connection with the world of matter; He does His business through Sakti.  Siva closes His eyes meaning that He withdraws his Supreme Consciousness (hides His Supreme Consciousness from the material universe) and His intrinsic nature and dissipates Himself through Sakti in His creation.  Siva opens His eyes, gathers His Supreme Pure Consciousness, and finds His own nature. This is Nimesa and Unmesa states of Siva, present in Him at the same time.  You may call it the Deliberate Divine Descent, Stoop and Recoup, all in a Wink. Let me explain this phenomenon in the following manner. In India, king was known to make rounds among his subjects incognito to feel the pulse of the people. In the performance of such an act, he withdraws and hides his kingship for the duration of his cruise around the city as a sleuth; when he is back in the palace by the rear door or over the wall away from the sight of the guards, he gathers and assumes his kingship back again and finds his own nature. In truth, he never looses his kingship and finds back again what he never lost. This is the Great Mystery and the Supreme Act of Siva.

More on Unmesa and Nimesa : Open Sesame and Close

Unmesa is the creative aspect of Siva when all Tattvas make a centrifugal march and the universe and beings blossom out. Nimesa aspect is centripetal march when the universe and beings subside in Siva-Sakti. This blinking or opening and closing of the eyes likened to those of the buds is a cyclical event. Let me give you an example. Let us take the toy shop. The merchant (Siva) opens the shop, brings out all his toys and stuff to the front of the shop; he winds up some toys, in some he turns the power-pack on and let them do their thing all day long. When it is time to close the shop, he turns off all toys, puts them back in the shop and goes home for the night. That is Unmesa and Nimesa.


Yogi ascends the Tattvas from the Muladhara plane to Sahasrara plane where the Yogi enters Turiyatitta for onward journey to the source of SuperConsciousness or Pure Consciousness; it is a retrograde involutional process (as opposed to evolutional descent of Consciousness from Superconsciousness to mere human consciousness to sub-consciousness and instinct in animals), which is Jiva's homecoming to the source where creative cascade starts. As the Yogi ascends the Suddha Tattvas from Vidya Tattva through Isvara, Sadasiva, Sakti to Siva Tattva, the Consciousness becomes purer and purer, when it is the Purest at Siva Tattva.

Ramprasad, devotee of Kali, though he attained Turiyatitta by becoming one with Brahman, says that he would rather be enjoying sugar (Brahman) than becoming Sugar himself. He liked to be separate from Kali so that he could worship Her, because Oneness with Her does not permit worship.


The following tells us the distinction between the Absolute and God; Brahman and Isvara; Turiya and Prajna.

  Level one to four is evolutionary, a centrifugal movement from the fountainhead.

Level One: The Absolute, Brahman, Turiya, and the Silence after AUM have a horizontal relationship with one another. All are Imperishable Brahman. It is all thought, all Bliss, no dream, no activity, no name, no form, all light and all absolute repose.


Level Two: God, Isvara, Prajna, and AUM belong to the category of the Unmanifest becoming the manifest universe of beings and matter. He is the Sutratman (Thread-Soul) running through all the souls of the universe.  These are derivatives of the imperishable immeasurable Brahman. Brahman BECOMES ISVARA OR PERSONAL GOD with pure wisdom or Prajna. Brahman does not diminish or cease to be, by becoming Isvara. Brahman-Isvara is the Principle behind the Mula-Prakrti or the unmanifested, the inner guide (controller) of all souls. This is compared to deep sleep.


Level Three: Isvara is the immediate cause of Hiranyagarbha, which is the embryo of the world. When this embryo (an internalized state compared to the dream state, ideas, and possibilities) projects into space and time, we get Virāt or manifestations. Ramanuja, a Tamil Brahmana says that Isvara is the inner controller of Cit and Acit (Beings and universe, sentient and insentient).


Level Four: When the embryo stage matures and is exteriorized, the manifest world is like the waking state. This corresponds to Vaisvanara. Vaisvanara = Visva + Nara = Whole, universal, entire, all + Men = relating to all men.


Turiyatitia, Turiya, Susupti, Svapna, Jagrat have concordance with Avyakta, Brahman, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat.

The Triads:

Three states of consciousness Jagrat Svapna Susupti
3 individual Jiva Visva Taijasa Prajna
3 collective Jiva Vaisvnara Hiranyagarbha Sutratman
three functions of the Lord creation maintenance destruction

    OM is Bija Manta or Seed mantra and thus, the progenitor of all other mantras. All sounds (Phonemes) of all languages, alphabets, morphemes, words, and sentence take their origin from OM. OM vibrates in all sounds, syllables and words. The transcendental sound of OM is audible only to Yogis. Utterance of OM proceeds from the navel, vibrates and ends in the nostrils, where the final intonation (Anusvaara / after-sound (M), the nasal sound, which is marked by a dot above the line, and which always belongs to a preceding vowel) takes place, which is represented by Chandrabindu ( a dot over a line or crescent). Bindu and Nada find their repose in Chandrabindu. Bija mantra, on the surface does not carry any outward meaning but it is mystic and the body of a devata or god.

( Another explanation: Aum (Om) is the mystic syllable intonated audibly, sotto voce, or mentally; It is the fusion of three sounds beginning with aw (as in paw) originating in Muladhara Chakra, vibrating as oo (as in coo) in the Anahata and Visuddha Chakras and resonating as mm (as in mm, that is good) in Ajna and Sahasrara Chakras. It is Primal Mula Mantra and thus a non-secular Mantra. Ām (ஆம்--variation of Aum) in Tamil means "Yes, expressing assent.")

Wind, Water, Fire, Earth, and Sky as the five elements, Na Ma Si Va Ya as the five-letter Mantra, and Yam, Vam, Ram, Lam, Ham as the Bija (seed) Mantras have three- way concordance.

Na Ma Si Va Ya
Earth Water Fire Air / Wind / Vayu Sky / Akasa
Lam Vam Ram Yam Ham

In the plane of Muladhara (Kundalini, fist plane), Siva stands as Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya--Na for earth and Brahma, Ma for water and Vishnu, Si for fire and Rudra, Va for Vayu and Rudra, Ya for Akasa and Sadasiva. NaMaSiVaYa has contextual meanings.

In a Mantra, Om is the prologue; the second part, the name of the Deity; and the third, Namah. There are some variations in the placement of Namah.


Mantra                                               = Om Name of Deity Salute
Om Sri Maha Gaapataye Namah        = Om  Sri Maha Ganapati Namah
Om Sivaya Namah                             = Om Siva Namah
Om Namah Sivaya                             = Om Siva Namah
Om Namo Narayanaya                      = Om Narayana Namo
Om Sri Durgayai Namah                    = Om Sri Durga Namah
Om Sri Maha Lakshmyai Namah        = Om Sri Mahalakshmi Namah
Om Aim Sarasvatyai Namah               = Om Sarasvati Namah
Om Sri Maha Kalikayai namah           = Om Kali Namah
Om Sri Hanumate Namah                   = Om Hanuman (Anjaneya) Namah

Namah = Salutation, adoration, homage, worship, bowing.

 In Prasna Upanishad, there is a two-way conversation between Guru and disciples. Questions are asked and answered.  The sound AUM is equated to the Higher and Lower Brahman, aka  nameless or unqualified Brahman, and personal Brahman, Isvara.  Meditation on each  and all component(s) of AUM brings benefits to the meditator. Component A guarantees a quick rebirth soon after death among men of high caliber, and greatness associated with austerity, abstinence and faith. Meditation on the two components, A and U, guarantees a sojourn on the moon in all its greatness with a return to earth.  Meditation on all three components, AUM, guarantees oneness with the light of the sun, shedding of all sins, compared to the shedding of the skin by the snake, and an entry in to the world of Brahma greeted by saama chants. (The world of Brahman, equated to Hiranyagarbha, is a collection of individual souls, who at one time or another are sent back to the earth in embodied forms, after their terms in satya loka expire.)  From the world of Brahma, he goes one step above, gets vision of Isvara, qualified Personal Brahman and thereby attains eternal liberation from the world of samsara.  Meditation on the three components are better than meditating on individual components because AUM as one triad guarantees liberation and immortality in the world of Isvara, and  A,U,M individually guarantees only rebirth in this phenomenal world. 

In Maitri Upanishad Chapter six, the  Brahman is depicted as three-footed, and three-lettered according to the three letters of the syllable AUM. The three-footed Brahman is rooted above and the branches are the ether, wind, fire, water, earth etc.  This upside-down tree is Asvattha or fig tree.  The import is that Brahman is rooted in heaven and the material world draws sustenance from Brahman.  One has to cut asunder all attachments to the material world in order to attain Brahman.  AUM depicts Brahman in terms of gender, light, the holy triad, mouth, knowledge, physical elements, time elements, physical sustenance and growth, thought, and breath. 

Gender Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter
Light Fire, Wind, and Sun
Holy Triad Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva
Mouth Three sacrificial fires
Knowledge Three vedas, Rg, Yajus and Saaman
Physical Elements Earth, ether and sky 
Time Elements Past, Present and Future
Physical Sustenance and Growth Food, Water and Moon
Thought Buddhi ( Intellect), mind, and  Self-sense / Ego
Breath Praana, Apaana and Vyaana - Breath, Downward breath, Pervading Breath

The origin of good and evil

There was a rivalry between the Devas and Asuras - the gods and the demons - born of Prajapati.  The devas  took refuge in and possession of OM and used it as breath via the nose. The demons vitiated the breath with evil and so the breath has become sweet and foul for the nose. The Devas meditated on OM as the speech, the eyes, the ears, the mind, and  the breath by mouth, but they were all vitiated by the asuras with the result that we speak truth and falsehood, see beauty and ugliness,  hear what should be heard and what should not be heard, entertain good and bad thoughts,  and experience dissipation of life breath just like a clod of earth shatters on impact on a stone wall. ( Khandogya Upanishad1.2.1-8)    This not only tells us the importance of  chanting OM, but brings into focus the sattva (divine) and tamas (asuric) gunas  / modes of behavior of  an individual.  

Upanishads mention that OM is the bow, the jivatman is the arrow  and the Brahman is the target.  A bow must be strong and tensile in that the faith is strong,  one has  depth and breadth in  Vedic wisdom  and life  lived  by sattva  sharpens the arrow with devotion.  The mind is the tip of the arrow. Silence and stillness are the goals, that are Param-Brahman

Yogi goes from sound to silence. He rides on the sound waves of OM and his goal is silence. Sabda-Brahman and Param-Brahman

There are two kinds of knowledge: 1: Sabda-Brahman 2: Param-Brahman.  Param-Brahman is superior and Sabda-Brahman is only a means to Param-Brahman.  Knowledge of Upanishads and Vedas, sacrifices, rituals etc are  essential for growth and development of the soul or atman to a finite stage.  After that stage, they have to be given up in the same spirit of detachment from desires at early stages of development.  Here you stand alone by your own self.  No props and no support.  Self stands alone.  You are dead to the world, figuratively.  You are divested of everything that you owned, be it material or knowledge.  Names and forms do not matter anymore.  You ride the OM sound waves of Sabda-Brahman until you reach the Param-Brahman, when the sound-syllable OM falls into silence.  Sabda-Brahman or Brahman of Sounds consists of all book knowledge including rituals, sacrifices and  Vedas.  (Soundless Brahman is superior to Sound Brahman.)  But the latter is the preliminary step before attainment of Soundless Brahman.   When Soundless Brahman is attained,  the names, forms, books, rituals, sacrifices, prayers, hymns etc fall / should be abandoned .  It is like saying that the raft should be abandoned once you reach the shore.  It is like saying that the chaff should be abandoned or thrown away, and that one should try to get to the rice. It is said that the learned man, after acquiring jnana and vijnana (knowlege and intuitive wisdom) through the study of sacred scriptures, throws away the scriptural books just like a farmer (grain collector) throws away the straw after collecting the grain.   Ramana Maharishi says it as follows: You remove the thorn from the sole of the foot by another thorn and when done, throw away both thorns.   At this stage of development, rituals, Vedas, sacrifices have to be abandoned at the dawn of higher realization of Param-Brahman or Soundless Brahman. There is stillness. There is silence. That is the goal, that is absorption, that is Bliss.  It is like the spider climbing on its own thread to reach the higher space;  so also the yogi  goes up on the  sound thread of OM and reaches his destination, silence - Param Brahman.   He rides on the sound waves of OM and his goal is silence.  He goes from sound to silence.  He attained Vijnana -divine, intuitive, realized  wisdom.  He sheds names and forms. Speech is nothing for him.  Books are for the birds. There are no hymns and no prayers.  Where he is, there is no fear, there is no sorrow, there is tranquility, there is silence,  there is bliss.

This Vijnana, by its virtue, is a nondual state, where there is a fusion of self with the Param Brahman.  This is also known as Turiya, the fourth state.  There are four levels of consciousness. The four states are:  

1: Waking state - perception mode (Gross Body)  

2: Dream sleep - mode of images and imagination (Subtle Body) 

 3: Dreamless Sleep / Deep Sleep - Mode of Self or conceptualization - (Causal Body)  

4:  Turiya. Beyond-Deep-Sleep State- Transcendent, spiritual, pure consciousness.  (Non-Dual State).   

Another way of saying 1: Wakefulness  2:   REM Sleep,  Rapid Eye Movement Sleep  4:  NREM  Sleep -Non Rapid Eye Movement Sleep  4: TURIYA.  

In all these states, ego and consciousness seem to be the main factors by their presence or absence.. Ego or ahankaara is the dominant mode in the wakeful state.  Consciousness in all three states is homogenous. In deep sleep, there is no perception; that negative perception indicates that there must have been prior experience of events, which were missed during sleep; that knowing of negative perception in deep sleep indicates active consciousness.

1: Waking State:   A of the A U M.  The 1st Sound, A. In the wakeful state, the Indriyas, prana, manas, buddhi, ahankaaara (Ego) - Citta are all operative.  This state is what we know as life and biological functions.  Accordingly, the consciousness is projected outwards. The Self (1st part) enjoys the gross matter. 

2: The Dream Sleep:  U of A  U  M.  the 2nd Sound, U.  The consciousness is turned inside.  The ego is still operative as per Ramana..  The Self  (2nd part) is dreaming and enjoys subtle objects.  

3:  Deep Sleep: M of A  U  M.  The 3rd sound, M. No ego play here.   The sleeper desires nothing that he usually desires during the waking state. No dreams occur.  The Self  (the 3rd part)  is undifferentiated consciousness, and  enjoys bliss, being bliss itself.  The lower self is absorbed in the Highest Self .   Buddhi is in a potential state, and in a state of suspended animation. 

4: Turiya:  Silence following  A  U  M.  The 4th part of the Self.  It is undifferentiated.  It is without attributes.  No ego play here.  There is quietness (Santam),  Peace and Bliss (Sivam),  without-a-second (advaitam). This is the realization. This is absorption.  This is  beyond Kaivalya - Splendid isolation -  and more.  This is Samadhi. This is oneness. This is SatChitAnanda. It is beyond time, space and form. It is beyond consciousness. It is the source.  The four parts of the Self are compared to the cow's feet.  And as said earlier Self is OM.  

The four components of Self is the same four components of A U M and Silence.  Silence that comes after AUM is the fourth component / Turiya.  Now we arrived at soundless Brahman.  To reiterate: A is the waking state.  U is the Dream State.  M is Deep Sleep.  Turiya is the fourth state. All four components form a unit or  syllable or a sound byte of  Atman-Brahman - Sound Brahman / Soundless Brahman.  AUM-Silence  =  AUM-Turiya = Dual to Non-dual state.  AUM state is a dual state for the self, and Turiya, the fourth dimension inducts the self into a non-dual state.  You become one with Brahman.

To paraphrase Ramana Maha Rishi:  When ego is extinguished, the sage is freed from waking, dreaming and deep sleep.  All that remains is Turiya, a noble state, first, last  and all- transcendent.  Ramana says that the first three states are grounded in the self, but the Turiya is Being-Awareness and non-dual.  When in Turiya, you know that the first three states are false.  Know thou that  Turiya is Waking Sleep.  Know thou that Turiya is Grand Sleep, that knows no waking.  Know thou that Turiya is Eternal Wakefulness (to the Spirit) untouched by slippery sleep.  In the dream sleep and waking , it is the ego and not the atman  that sees a world of fancy, but that ego sees nothing in deep sleep.

Brahma Sutra (3.2.10)  In a swoon it is half attainment ( ardha: half; sampattih: attainment) meaning that it is half deep sleep and half death.  

It gives an idea of  the state of swoon, as in a person who is whacked on the head with a club.  He is neither in deep sleep nor dead.  He is not in deep sleep, because he cannot be awakened like a sleeping person.  He is not awake, he is not dreaming,  he is not in deep sleep 100%,  and he is not dead 100 %.  This state is between deep sleep and death and that is half attainment so far bliss or death is concerned . He has one foot in death and one foot in half bliss. His karma dictates as to which way he is going to take.  This is declared not as a fifth state, since the factors pertaining to swoon are not clearly compartmentalized.  For Ramanujah, it is  a half-way meeting with death.  For Nimbarka, it is death by half measure.

Sleep, and dreams according to Upanishads.  The thoughts expressed here are from the Upanishads.

States of consciousness:  In this world of names, forms and images, it is all perception, whether it is true or false. This consciousness, is wakefulness - Gross Body.  Ego is  in the dominant mode. It is I against you and the world.  Perceptions are distorted and images are falsified. Reality and Truth are submerged and ignorance and ego are in full display. The  three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas  oscillate. One time you are sattvic, next moment rajasic and the next tamasic.  Your mind, thoughts, speech and deeds are caught in the rise and fall of these three gunas.  The pristine Self is the chronicler, and a spectator. The lower self enjoys matter just like the bird eating sweet and sour fruits, while the Higher Self is simply watching and waiting.

Then comes the dream sleep. Subtle Body. The Self  (2nd part) is dreaming and enjoys (experiences) subtle objects. Still the ego is operative, never taking rest or repose. The mind dreams impossible dreams.  It is said that the dream sleep is microcosm of heaven and hell. The ego is the director of all these moving images. The hopes and the fears, the pleasures and the pains come to surface in the form of images.  The world of images are real to him.  He cries; he laughs; he writhes; he rolls; he enjoys and he suffers. They are unreal, but they are real to him. He talks like a  learned Brahmana, and  he acts like a powerful king.  He is high and he is low.  He thinks he controls. He dreams of blindness, lameness, defects but the atman is not dreaming.  But he knows not. He suffers, according to Upanishads. Self is not killed when body is killed. His fears during wakefulness translate into images during his dream sleep.  That is ignorance.  

Then comes Deep Sleep: Causal Body. The Self  (the 3rd part)  is undifferentiated consciousness, and  enjoys bliss, being bliss itself.   It comes close to a state of splendid aloofness and isolation of kaivalya.  Finally the ego has taken leave. The self asserts itself.  It shines. The sleeper is absorbed in the self which is communing.  He is serene; he is calm. This is atman, this is  Brahman. This is immortal, this is fearless Brahman.  The speech is on hold; the names and forms are on hold; the sound is on hold;  and the mind and its thoughts are on hold.  What a repose?  What a tryst with Self. Then suddenly there is fire.  The sparks fly. He is awake. The juices start flowing.  From atman, all the vital breaths flow to their destinations. His consciousness returns;  he rises; and he now knows life as he knew before he went into deep sleep.  A simple example of this phenomenon is the computer in deep sleep mode. When you move the mouse, the computer wakes up from sleep. Likewise it is the self in you that wakes you up.

Turiya, Spiritual Transcendental consciousness  Turiya is without any attributes. It or He is the Self. Objective consciousness is absent and its seed also is absent. That is what is meant by Wakeful Sleep by Ramana MahaRishi. Turiya is present and functional in the perfected ones, even when they are awake. In Turiya, there is an irreversible union with Brahman. There is Oneness with Brahman. There is a permanent Metaphysical Unity.

More on Aum

Om radiates five rays: A, U, M, NAda, Bindu;  SAnta is beyond all these. JAgrat (waking state and the A of AUM) is Bija; Svapna (dream state and the U of AUM) is Bindu; Suspti (deep sleep and M of AUM) is NAda; Turiya (the silence following AUM) is Sakti and the Laya beyond all these is SAnta.

    Vaishnavism's view of AUM

AkArO Vishnu vAsakah: The A in OmkAra (AUM) is Vishnu.  OmkAra is unique in that it exists as one syllable in Om, three letters in AUM and three sentences.  When the Vedas are distilled, each Veda offers an essence of eight syllables; three of them offer a total of 24 syllables: the Gayatri Mantra.  When Gayatri Mantra is further condensed, AUM comes into being. 

AUM has two forms: AsamhithAkAram and SamhithAkAram Samhithai = put together, connected, joined. It means to say AUM as one-syllable sound, Om Asamhithai is to disjoin and present it as A,U,M.  Veda's seed is Pranavam (Om),  which on particularization yields Vyahrti.

Vyahrti.  Utterance, speech, declaration, statement. The mystical mantras or utterance of the names of the upper seven worlds (viz. Bhur, bhuvar [or bhuvah], svar, mahar, janar, tapar, satya , the first three of which, called ‘the great Vyahrtis,’ are pronounced after Om by every Brahmana in commencing his daily prayers and are personified as the daughters of Savitri and Prisni).

Gayatri Mantra:

Om bhur-bhuvah-svah = Om, world, atmosphere and heaven (Vyahrtis)

tat savitur varenyam THAT Light (sun) adore

bhargo devasya dhimahi = Splendor divine meditate

dhiyo yo nah prachodayAt = Intelligence who our inspires

Pranavam (Om) is the head of Srutis (Vedas).  Sruthi Sirasi VithIrththE.  He (Vishnu) abides on the head of the Vedas; thus, Pranavam is Vishnu. 

A of Aum is Vishnu; U is Mahalakshmi; M is the JIva, the individual soulA («) is the standard-bearer for Vishnu's creation, maintenance and destruction.  The syllable stands for protection offered to His slaves (the Prapannans who declared surrender and received Raksa--refuge from Bhagavan). It is a common theme that all human beings can relate to Vishnu effectively as slaves (¾¡Ð - slave or servitude) of Vishnu.  Servitude serves the devotee well among all other ways one can relate to Vishnu.  He abides in Om.  A connotes Vishnu's  eternal and irreversible ownership of the Jivatma (the individual soul).

U of Aum refers to Mahalakshmi as his consort, His eternal proximity to Her and exclusive one to one relationship between the two.

M is the individual soul, who is the property of Vishnu.

AUM essentially means that the individual soul exists for Vishnu only or Jivatma belongs to Sri-associated Vishnu.  Once Jiva is accepted as Prapannan (a devotee declared as having surrendered and been accepted by Vishnu as His slave), Vishnu offers him protection.  AUM is like a parade of individuals one behind the other. A is the leader, U is the consort and M is the Jiva.  This configuration is a common theme in Ramayana in that Rama (A) is Bhagavan leading U Sita and M Lakshmana, who is there to do Kainkaryam (devoted service) to Rama and Sita.  The trio is the Omkara or Pranavam walking, talking, and breathing.

Likewise Jiva is there to do Kainkaryam to Vishnu.  The same theme is sung in verses in Mahabharata.  Krishna sits in the forefront of Pranavam (the chariot is of Pranava form) offering protection to Arjuna in the Mahabharata war.  Offering of protection means eradication of all undesirable qualities like lustangergreeddelusion,  pride, and envy and inculcation of desirable qualities.  Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (16.2-3) gives a list of good qualities:  Ahimsa, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, abstaining from slander, compassion to all creatures, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness  (absence of agitation),  vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride: These are the qualities of the one born of divine nature.

The West gives a list of seven deadly sins: pride , covetousness, lust , anger , gluttony, envy, and sloth; the seven sins cause spiritual death.

Atma (soul) exists  for Vishnu Bhagavan. One should perform Atma Samarpanam (votive offering of one's soul) at the feet of  Bhagavan, who shines in AUM.  Kainkaryam is the loving devoted service a votary does at the feet of Bhagavan waiting on Him with folded hands and awaiting His orders.  Jivatma does not have bliss of his own. It is Bhagavat Kainkaryam that brings bliss and Moksa.  Serving the devotees of Bhagavan is one of the greatest Kainkaryams one can do.  Your object is His feet. Take the bow of AUM; engage the Atma as the arrow in the bow; take aim at Bhagavan's feet and shoot Atma of an arrow at his foot so that it embeds in it.  Keep thinking of His feet and nothing else. He will shower His blessings on you in due course of time.  This is the surrender of your soul at the feet of Atma and holding on to It fast.


sivagn14.jpg    sivagn07262011.jpg  ( = AUM.jpg) depict Anatomy and physiology of AUM in detail.