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Pranava Japa – OM – Importance of Chanting Pranava in Hindu Religion

The chanting of sound om repeatedly is known as Pranava Japa in Hindu religion. Patanjali has recommended that the aspirant should recite repeatedly ‘OM” the word which denotes God. The sound ‘OM’ is known as pranava or omkara. The person chanting the pranava should fix the mind on the meaning of the word. Learn more about the importance of chanting Pranava daily.

The chanting of the Pranava mantra helps in the realization of the nature of the Supreme Being.

It also helps to remove obstacles on the path of liberation or moksha.

Pranava Japa is chanted continuously for several years by people who are on the path of self realization.

All important mantras in Hinduism 

Teachings About Pranava by Hindu Saints

The Omkar vibrates like a storm in the sky. It has neither beginning nor end. It is the stage manager of the divine drama.

The body of man is a string of Om, it is filled with Om. All that is, inside us, outside us, everywhere, is born of Om. It is present in everything.

The Shakti that is the Omkar is not finite, It is infinite and indivisible. It exists in all creatures.

Pranava is Om. When Om unites with prana and moves in the body, this is Pranava. When nature and the subtle are separate, it is Pranava; when both are felt to be one, there is the Oneness - Om.

Om is seen everywhere. The Shakti that is Om fills and penetrates the universe, It is formless, It is the light in all directions.

Swami Vivekananda on the Spiritual Importance of Pranava

Is there any material sound of which all other sounds must be manifestations, one which is the most natural sound? Om (Aum) is such a sound, the basis of all sounds.

The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key, pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate; M represents the last sound in the series, being produced by the closed lips, and the U rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding board of the mouth.

Thus, Om represents the whole phenomena of sound-producing. . . . It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made. Apart from these speculations, we see that around this word Om are centered all the different religious ideas in India; all the various religious ideas of the Vedas have gathered themselves round this word Om. . .  [this] word has been retained at every stage of religious growth in India, and it has been manipulated to mean all the various ideas about God.

Monists, dualists, monodualists, separatists, and even atheists took up this Om.

Om has become the one symbol for the religious aspiration of the vast majority of human beings.

Take, for instance, the English word God. It covers only a limited function, and if you go beyond it, you have to add adjectives, to make it Personal, or Impersonal, or Absolute God. So with the words for God in every other language; their signification is very small.

This word Om, however, has around it all the various significances. As such it should be accepted by everyone. (Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, 1: 219)

Importance of Om in Hinduism – explained by Swami Ranganathananda

Harih Om - Salutations to the supreme Lord, Hari, the Self in the heart of all beings—that is the meaning of ‘Hari’.

Omityetadaksharamidam sarvam - All this universe is nothing but the syllable ‘Om’. Om is all this.

Bhutam bhavadbhavishyaditi sarvamomkara - All that is past, all that is present, all that is future is verily Om. All time is comprehended: present, past, and future. That which is beyond the triple conception of time also is Om. Om is time; Om is eternity. What belongs to the past, present, and future; what belongs to the transcendental—beyond time and space.

That is why when you write ‘Om’, you write ‘Om’ and put a dot on the top. The dot represents the transcendental, the bindu, the dot. The A, U and M represent past, present, and future respectively.

Om: Shankara’s commentary says in the beginning itself. ‘As all diversified objects that we see around us, indicated by names, are not different from their (corresponding) names, and further as the different names are not different from Aum, therefore all these are verily Aum’. The first sound is Om.

As a thing is known through its name so the highest Brahman is known through Aum alone. Therefore, the highest Brahman is verily Aum. Brahman in manifestation and Brahman transcendent. Om represents Brahman in manifestation and Brahman that is transcendent.

Source Mandukya Upanishad Swami Ranganathananda – Taken from the February 2016 edition of the Prabuddha Bharata.

(Swami Ranganathananda (December 15, 1908 – April 25, 2005) of Ramakrishna Mission – 13th president of Ramakrishna Mission.)

Swami Vivekananda on Japa and Chanting of Pranava

Japa is repeating the Holy Name; through this the devotee rises to the Infinite. This boat of sacrifice and ceremonies is very frail; we need more than that to know Brahman, which alone is freedom. Liberty is nothing more than destruction of ignorance, and that can only go when we know Brahman. It is not necessary to go through all these ceremonials to reach the meaning of the Vedanta. Repeating Om is enough. (Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda – Volume 7 – Inspired Talks – Monday, July 8, 1895)