Sitha and her little brother Krishna play in their father's study, while their father, Govindhji, is busy with his writing at his desk. Govindhji is a writer and is quite often amused by his daughter's inquisitiveness and queries. He is always only too happy to give her explanations for all her doubts.
KRISHNA: Father, why do you draw that on top of the page whenever you start writing something?
GOVINDHJI : Draw what?
SITHA: He’s asking about the “OM” symbol Father.
GOVINDHJI: Aaah, you mean the sacred “OM”! Let me tell you. Om is also known as Omkara or Pranava or Aum. In Hinduism, it is a sacred sound and also a sacred symbol. It refers to Brahman or God.
Since Om refers to God, Hindus like to start any activity with the chanting of Om or by writing it to seek God’s blessings. Many of our sacred mantras start with Om. Some people start the day with Om chanting while some write it on top of notes or accounts sheets, to invoke the blessings of the lord before starting anything. You see this symbol on temples and puja room walls. Some people wear charms or pendants with the om symbol. Very often, you will find students writing it on top of their test sheets too!
Krishna, a mischievous little boy, is scribbling on his Father’s papers.
GOVINDHJI: Don’t write on these papers Krishna. What is that you are trying to draw anyway?
KRISHNA: Why Father I’m trying to draw the Om symbol can’t you tell?
Govinhji (smiling): Well, Om is written differently in different languages and to be honest, I’m not sure I can make out what you are trying. Here, let me show you some of the different ways in which it is written.
(Father draws and shows the children some of the ways in which Om is written in different languages.)
SITHA: Why is Om considered to be sacred Father?
Well, Om is considered to be the mother of all sounds as it is said to be the first sound of the universe. It is produced by the vibrations of atoms in all things. Therefore Om is constantly heard in the root of all things created in the universe. So it is also called the cosmic sound. During deep meditation, when our mind becomes absolutely still, it is said that we can hear this sound.
SITHA: That’s so fascinating Father! Tell me how to meditate!
GOVINDHJI: (smiles at the endless questioning) There are different methods of meditation. Chanting of Om is a very good way of meditating!
SITHA: How do you do it?
GOVINDHJI: Well, at first, you need to be as calm as you can and sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Then you have to chant Om or say Om repeatedly and slowly at regular intervals. Rather than saying the word with your mouth, you should bring out the sound from deep down in your stomach. When we do so in the right way, we create a vibration in us. As we keep repeating this single syllable Om, our mind becomes calm and all thoughts stop coming into the mind. This single word produces a vibration that makes you feel peaceful and blissful. Thus the sacred Om is a mantra in itself.
SITHA: Father, from now on I am going to chant Om everyday!
BENEFITS OF OM CHANTING
Chanting of Om regularly has many beneficial effects on us.
THE WHITE LOTUS MESSAGE
Everyday, in the morning or evening, when you have time, practice Om chanting. Initially, you might not be able to concentrate even for a few minutes. However if you keep practising, slowly, your concentration will improve, you will be able to chant for longer durations and feel the benefits of Om chanting. The key is patience and perseverance.
OM OM OM