Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter IV - The different denominations of om

1. The Initial of the Veda.

The om is denominated the heading of the Veda ( ~~) as the Gayatri hymn is termed to be its parent ( ~~). It stands at the top ( ~~) of every book ( ~~), chapter ( ~~), and hymn ( ~~) of every Veda either alone by itself or two or three oms put together, as  ~~ on ignem aiede of the Rigveda,  ~~ On triseptem &c. of the Atharvan; again  ~~ on I salute thee O Rigveda &c.

It is hence used at the head ( ~~) of every book on any branch of knowledge ( ~~) which is a paronym of and derived from the same root ( ~~ Video) with Veda ( ~~). The Tantra calls it as the heading of the Gayatri which begins with the syllable;




2.  The sacred Syllable.  ~~

It is called the sacred syllable because it is used in sacred writings and in the sacred Vedic and Sanskrit languages only, and never in the popular vernacular tongues, which are known as unsacred and impure ( ~~). Moreover it is used in sacerdotal functions of the sacerdotal class ( ~~) or regenerate classes of men, and never by the impure Sudra on pain of damnation ( ~~), unless he is sacrified by investiture of the sacred or sacrificial thread, ( ~~). Thus says the Sastra;  ~~

The sacredness of the word Om, as the expression for the eternal position of things, is specially emphasised in the Katha Upanishad (Weber. p. 158).


3.  The Holy syllable  ~~

It is held as the most holy syllable being an appellation of the Most High, and must not be uttered in unholiness even by the holy orders of men: so says the Katha Up:—"This is the most holy syllable, this the supreme syllable, whosoever knoweth this syllable getteth whatever he desireth." (Cowell's Maitri Upanishad. Ch. VI. S. 4) note.


4.  The Mystic Syllable  ~~

This is styled the mystic syllable because the most recondite and abstruse doctrines of Brahmanical theism are hidden under its symbolical garb, and form the foundation of those wonderful structures of the mystic poetry and philosophy of nations, which have been beautifully illustrated by Sir W. Jones in his "Mystic Poetry of the Hindus, Persians, and Greeks." It was this mysticism which invited a Pythagoras of old to India. Manu says:—"He knows the Veda, who distinctly knows the mystic sense of this word." Chap XI. 266.

These senses are recommended to be deeply studied by the Upanishads themselves, saying;—"The om is a subject of deep study" (Web. p. 163), and forms of itself "as another triple Veda." (Manu XI. 265). It is enjoined to be carefully kept in secrecy by the Tantras and Smritis.




5.  The Mysterious syllable  ~~

Om again as a symbol of the eternal position of things  ~~,

presents to us a mysterious round of the mystic dance of myriads of spheres, emitting an inaudible sound reaching beyond its utmost limit to the unknown One who sitteth above the circumference of its visible horizon; or as the sacred writer expresses it: "He that sitteth on the circle of the earth." Isaiah. Chap. X. 1. The Tantra speaks of its encompassing the world;  ~~


6.  The sphere of sound  ~~

That om contains within it the whole sphere of sounds ( ~~) is beautifully illustrated in twenty slokas or stanzas in an Upanishad of that name the  ~~ (Weber, p. 165). It shows how the eternal sound om emitted by Brahm pervaded throughout the Universe, and the manner in which all other sounds are propelled by continual vibrations of air like curves upon the surface of water ( ~~) to the auditory of the other. The Vindu is a Mudra in Tantra  ~~ Compare the Pythagorean music of the spheres.


7.  The Focus of light  ~~

The Tejovindu Upanishad describes Om as the source and focus of light in fourteen slokas, and the empyrean above it as the abode of pure ineffable light ( ~~) of God that illumines the other spheres. (Web. p. 165). This light is viewed in the orb of the sun and in fire by their worshippers. Compare Milton's hymn to light; "Hail holy light" &c.


8.  The spot of immortality  ~~

Again Om is termed the reservoir of immortality or endless life in the Amritavindu Upanishad which describes it in thirty stanzas, to be the eternal fountain of the infinity of lives that fills all animated nature, and is drawn back to it. Its circumference extends to the regions of light and life, and beyond it is the region of death and darkness. "In this word there is light and life" (John 1)  ~~ see Weber's A. S. Lit. pp. 69, 154, 165.


9.  The centre of Meditation  ~~

Therefore Om is called the centre of meditation in the Dhyana vindu Upanishad of twenty one stanzas, which direct the concentration of our thoughts to that centre for the attainment of perpetual light and life which flow from it. (Weber p. 165). The Tantra takes a  ~~ or  ~~ and the Buddhist a chink in the wall to fix the sight in meditation.


10. The Position of Brahma  ~~

And lastly Om is styled the receptacle of the great God, whose essence fills, pervades, and encompasses the whole orbit of the Universe, as it is described in twenty two slokas of the Brahma Vindu-Upanishad. It is called Brahma Mudra in the Tantra. (Weber, p. p. 99, 158, 165).