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 VII - The nominal meanings of om

1.  Nominal Meanings of Om.  ~~

Besides the meanings already given of Om as a particle, there are many other nominal significations attached to it as a significant noun or rather symbol to express certain attributes belonging to the nature of the Deity, that bear little or no connection with the etymology of the word.


2.  Om the Creator  ~~

Om is used to denote the creative power of God in Sankara's scholium.

This sense is had from the primordial word logos the ov [Greek: ôn] = be or fiat  ~~ buad uttered by God in his creation of the world, as we have in the scripture. "And god said, "Let there be and there was" Latin Fiat-et-fit; and Arabic Kom fa Kana.


3.  Om is God  ~~

Patanjali takes it as denotative of God himself  ~~; and others as a denotation of the Supreme God  ~~  ~~ ~~


4.  Om is Brahm.  ~~

Om is the verbal symbol of Brahm signifying the Universal spirit

 ~~ so says the Katha Upanishad  ~~ This meaning is obtained from  ~~ = on signifying being or existence, and referring to the totality of existence expressed by the word Brahma (formed of  ~~ +  ~~) universal pervasion.


5.  Greatness of Brahm  ~~

Om is used also to denote the vast magnitude of Brahm ( ~~) in the Maitri Upanishad, which says "Om is the greatness of Brahman, says one who continually meditates thereon." (See Cowell's Translation of Id. IV. 4. p. 253). This idea is naturally suggested by the infinity of the Universe pervaded and encompassed by the spirit of God.  ~~  ~~

The Ch'handogya Upanishad speaks of the greatness and effects of Om (I. 9). To this the scholium raises the question, what are its greatness and effects? Then answers it by saying;—"by the greatness of Om is implied the existence of priests, the institutions of sacrifices &c. &c. Therefore is its greatness."


6. Om is the way to Brahma  ~~

"Om," says the Mandukya Upanishad, "is the means (symbol) leading to Brahm," as a hieroglyphic character to its significate. Here says the commentator Anandagiri (p.336.)  ~~  ~~ "It is known in all the Vedantas as the best means towards the accomplishment of one's adoration." (Ch'handogya Upanishad p. 5 note.)


7. Immutable & Imperishable  ~~

It is immutable, undecayable, imperishable, indestructible and immortal ( ~~). Thus in the Mandukya:  ~~ The circle of O is considered the most perfect of all geometrical figures, as it was held by the Pythagoreans to be the best symbol to represent the perfections of the Supreme Being. It is the sign of divine immutability from the fact of every other figure changing its shape by its constant rotation round the centre and becoming a spheroid which is no more susceptible of change. Such is the changeable nature of all things until they become one with the Divinity.


Om Knowable.  ~~

Om the symbol of God is said to be the knowable, because every part of its circumference is equidistant from the central observer. So is God said to be knowable ( ~~) in Yoga philosophy for his knowableness to every one by means of meditation. Hence the Yoga system is called gnosticism contrary to the unknowableness of agnosticism.



8. Eternity  ~~

Om is called eternal ( ~~), because its circular form is the representation of eternity, having neither its beginning nor end ( ~~): so it is the symbol of infinity, the circle being described by an infinite line. Thus Gaudapada:  ~~  ~~


9. The First and Last.

Again Om is said to be the first and last of all things, because, says Taranatha, every thing proceeds from its centre as its source, and returns to that centre as its reservoir.  ~~; or that every thing like the line of the circle meets at the same point from where it is drawn and stretched. Moreover Om as has been already said, is used both as the initial and final word of Mantras and prayers, so it is understood to be the beginning and end of all motions and utterances. In these senses it answers the Alpha and Omega of the Revelation, and the initium and finemHoal awl Hoal akher of the Koran.


10. The First, Last and Midst.  ~~

But Om is declared again to be the first, last and midst of things, from its being uttered in the beginning, middle and end of prayers and recitals of sacred hymns according to the ordinance which says that, Om is to be repeated thrice at every recital in the beginning, middle and end:— ~~ This rule is said to bear reference to the triple state of the progression of mortal beings,—their evolution, sustentation and dissolution.  ~~ The triple utterance of Om has given rise to the triplicate invocation of Hari,  ~~, and with what Milton has expressed in his glorious hymn in the Paradise Lost.

"Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end."

The reverend Gaudapada enjoins the same ordinance in his versified commentary or Karika to the Mandukya Upanishad, where he says (verse 27):— ~~