Om, aka: Oṃ; 10 Definition(s)


Om means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Om (ओम्).—See ओंकार (oṃkāra) above-ओम् (om) consists of 2 1/2 matras, cf. अर्धतृतीयमात्र एके ब्रुवते (ardhatṛtīyamātra eke bruvate) T. Pr 18.1; शैत्यायन (śaityāyana) says that ओम् (om) has any one of the three accemts, while कौण्डिन्य (kauṇḍinya) says it has प्रचय (pracaya) or एकश्रुति (ekaśruti) i. e. absence of any accent.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Oṃ (ओं) is the tradition (ovallī) founded by Guḍikanātha, who was one of the twelve princes born to Kuṃkumā, consort to Mīnanātha, who is the incarnation of Siddhanātha in the fourth yuga, belonging to the Pūrvāmnāya (‘eastern doctrine’) tradition of Kula Śaivism, according to the Ciñcinīmatasārasamuccaya. Siddhanātha incarnates as a Kaula master in each of the four yugas. Guḍikanātha was one of the six princes having the authority to teach.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Om (ओम्).—This sound is a combination of the three letters-A, U and M. The A—sound signifies Viṣṇu, the U-sound signifies Śiva and the M—sound signifies Brahmā.

"akāro viṣṇuruddiṣṭa ukārastu maheśvaraḥ / makārastu smṛto brahmā praṇavastu trayātmakaḥ // (vāyu purāṇa)."

The sound "Om" is called "Praṇava" or "Brahman." All mantras begin with the sound 'Om'. Because of its sacredness, Śūdras and other low-caste people are not allowed to utter it or to hear it. They may pronounce it only as "Aum." This sound includes all that has happened and all that is to happen. (Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Om , or Aum (ॐ): the most sacred syllable in Hinduism, first coming to light in the Vedic Tradition. The syllable is sometimes referred to as the "Udgitha" or "pranava mantra" (primordial mantra); not only because it is considered to be the primal sound, but also because most mantras begin with it.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Oṃ (ओं), the fundamental sound and the origin of all other sounds. The written form of the Oṃ sound in Tamil is similar to the face of Vināyaka. Oṃ stands for the absolute substance, the entire universe, and the essence of all Vedas. Oṃ is the Brahman from which all creation begins and into which all return. [...] Vināyaka is thus compared to the praṇava -mantra Oṃ. As Oṃ stands for the Brahman from which all creation begins, Vināyaka is also worshipped first in temples by the devotees.

The sound Oṃ comprises three syllables–a, u and m where a sound signifies conception (Brahmā) the u sound existence (Viṣṇu) and the m sound dissolution (Śiva). Oṃ also stands for wind, fire and the sun, as well as for the past, present and future. Keeping all these philosophical significances, the sculptor has visualized a form to represent the written word Oṃ. The curve of the letter represent the head and the face of the elephant; starting with the broken tusk on the left side over the broad elephant’s head, curving downward into the unbroken tusk following the trunk to the end in a circle at the tip of the trunk, in which a round modaka is placed, becomes the letter m in Tamil.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

The most simple, yet sacred mantra in Buddhism, also used in other Indian religions.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

ōm (ओम्).—ind S The mystic name of the Deity prefacing all the prayers of the Hindus. It is formed of a A name of viṣṇu, u of śiva, & ma of brahmā.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Om (ओम्).—ind.

1) The sacred syllable om, uttered as a holy exclamation at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas, or previous to the commencement of a prayer or sacred work.

2) As a particle it implies (a) solemn affirmation and respectful assent (so be it, amen !); (b) assent or acceptance (yes, all right); ओमित्युच्यताममात्यः (omityucyatāmamātyaḥ) Māl.6; ओमित्युक्तवतोऽथ शार्ङ्गिण इति (omityuktavato'tha śārṅgiṇa iti) Śi. 1.75; द्वितीयश्चेदोमिति ब्रूमः (dvitīyaścedomiti brūmaḥ) S. D.1; (c) command; (d) auspiciousness; (e) removal or warding off.

3) Brahman. [This word first appears in the Upaniṣads as a mystic monosyllable, and is regarded as the object of the most profound religious meditation. In the Maṇḍūkya Upaniṣad it is said that this syllable is all what has been, that which is and is to be; that all is om, only om. Literally analysed, om is taken to be made up of three letters or quarters; the letter a is Vaiśvānara, the spirit of waking souls in the waking world; u is Taijasa, the spirit of dreaming souls in the world of dreams; and m is Prajñā, the spirit of sleeping and undreaming souls; and the whole om is said to be unknowable, unspeakable, into which the whole world passes away, blessed above duality; (for further account see Gough's Upaniṣads pp.69-73). In later times om came to be used as a mystic name for the Hindu triad, representing the union of the three gods a (Viṣṇu), u (Śiva), and m (Brahmā). It is usually called Praṇava or Ekakṣaram; cf. अकारो विष्णुरुद्दिष्ट उकारस्तु महेश्वरः । मकारेणोच्यते ब्रह्मा प्रणवेन त्रयो मताः (akāro viṣṇuruddiṣṭa ukārastu maheśvaraḥ | makāreṇocyate brahmā praṇavena trayo matāḥ) ||

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Oṃkāra (ओंकार).—1) the sacred syllable ओम् (om); त्रिमात्रमोकारं त्रिमात्रमोंकारं वा विदधति (tr...
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