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Meditate on Om


Swami Rama Tirtha on OM

"Sit still, chant ‘Om' and then think Who is within you. All the Vedanta, nay all the philosophy of the Hindus is simply an exposition of this syllable ‘Om.' ‘Om' has a charm about it, an efficiency, a virtue in it which directly brings all feelings and all thoughts into a state of harmony, brings peace and rest to the soul and puts the mind in a state where it is one with God. Science may not be able to explain this, but this is a fact which can be verified by experiment. Woe unto science if it goes against the truth connected with the efficiency of the sacred syllable ‘Om.' The real Self which is knowledge absolute and power absolute is the only stern Reality, before which the apparent reality of the world melts away! ‘Om' is the name of this Reality.

Realize it [Om] and sing it in the language of feeling, sing it with your acts, sing it through every power of your body. Let it course through your veins, let it pulsate in your bosom, let every part of your body and every drop of your blood tingle with the truth that you are…the true Self! A man who sings ‘Om' in all these ways, chants it with his lips, feels it with his heart and sings it through action, makes his life a continuous song. But if you cannot chant it with feeling nor chant it with your acts, do not give up, go on chanting it with your lips. Even that is not without use. But chanting it through feelings and actions would naturally follow if you commence humming it with the mouth.

Commenting on the depiction of Krishna playing a flute, Swami Rama Tirtha wrote: “One should bring out from the flute of the mind the sacred syllable ‘Om,' which removes all evils.

Before falling asleep, and after waking, firmly resolve to follow the Vedantic discipline. Keep chanting ‘Om.'

The literal meaning of Vedanta is the end of knowledge, the end of speech, a point where all speech, all thought stops and for the Hindus the whole of Vedanta is represented by Om.

Chant Om, Om. If you do that for a few moments, your whole being from head to foot becomes Light. Why pray for Light when Light is your own Self? You become Light immediately.” “It is this ‘I Am' that is represented by Om. The pure ‘I am,' ‘I am He,' is represented by Om.” “How to make the mind rise higher into the celestial regions–to make the soul soar away up to the throne of God! When the benign light of the rising or setting sun is falling upon the translucent lids of half-closed eyes, we begin humming the syllable Om, we sing it in the language of feeling.

There is but one reality,' this name Om, which is the Holy of Holies, this name Om possessing the highest powers of Divinity or God, should be chanted.

If [you are] distracted by worldly desires, you are not singing Om.

This Atman, this true ocean of Reality, this controlling and governing Self is to be realized, to be felt, to be seen and known in order to be one with the Infinite. This true Self or Atman is called the ‘ I am .' This true Self, the perfect ‘ I ' is beyond cause, time and space. This perfect true Self is represented by Om. Om means ‘ I am ;' and while chanting Om you have not to address yourself to somebody else. While chanting Om, think not of someone outside yourself whom you are calling. While chanting Om, you must feel your self to be one with this true ‘ I am .' By this strong feeling, the mind is merged in the Reality. By this strong belief, by this living knowledge of the mind, the mind becomes, as it were, a bubble which bursts into the mighty ocean of Reality. This is the way to Realization; this strong feeling, this living knowledge on the part of the mind laying hold of you, and dehypnotizing your false self, is the way to gain Truth, to free yourself.

Now Rama shall tell you the method which the sages of India adopted to acquire God-vision. [In] the Hindu Scriptures, it is stated that all the Vedas are like a tree which sprang from the seed known as Om. This is called the seed from which the tree of the Vedas sprang.… Those people who want to get a higher inspiration, those people who want to acquire that God-vision, who want to rise above the egoistic, personal, little, limited, local consciousness of self, they get the inspiration and light through the chant of Om! Om! Om!

Now it is not the mere chant by the throat, it is something else also. While the lips and the throat chant physically, the mind chants it intellectually, and the heart chants it in a language of higher emotions. Thus the threefold chant of this sacred syllable Om brings you to that unison and oneness with the All, the Light. This was the method they adopted.

The life in your breath is Om. The sound which is the soul of your breath is Om. This is then the most natural name for the Heaven within, the God, Supreme Spirit, that enlightens all spirits and all souls; the Soul of all souls, the Life of all lives is Om.

So Rama says that intonation is connected with the chant of Om and experience has proved that it has a marvellous effect in bringing your soul at one with the soul of the ALL. It has a marvellous effect. If Science cannot prove it today, let it grow, and a little later it will be able to explain it. In the meantime the fact will remain a fact. So on the basis of this experience of the sages, Rama means personal experiences, Rama lays before you this, the treasure of the Vedic philosophy. Thus it is that the Hindus reached the higher vision of clairvoyance, of the inner, spiritual light.

In India there is a beautiful story in the Puranas. It speaks of Krishna jumping into the river Yamuna while his father, mother, friends and relatives stood by struck dumb with amazement. In their very presence he jumped into the torrent. They thought that he was gone, that he would never rise again. The story says that he went to the bottom of the river and there was a thousand-headed dragon. Krishna began to blow his flute, he began to play the mantram OM, he began to kick down the heads of the dragon, he began to crush down the heads of the dragon one by one, but as he crushed the many heads of the dragon one by one, other heads sprang up and thus it was very hard for him. Krishna went on jumping and dancing upon the crested head of the dragon; he went on playing the mantram on his flute, he went on chanting his mantram and still jumping and crushing down the heads of the dragon. In half an hour the dragon was dead; what with the charming note of the flute and what with the crushing of the dragon by his heels, the dragon was dead. The waters of the river were turned into blood and the blood of the dragon mixed with the water of the river. All the wives of the dragon came up to pay homage to Krishna, they wanted to drink of the nectar of his sweet presence. Krishna came up from the river, the amazed relatives and friends were beside themselves, their joy knew no bounds, so happy were they to find their beloved Krishna, their beloved one in their midst again. This story has a double meaning. It is an object lesson, so to say, for those who want to gain an insight of Reality, into their own Divinity.

That lake or river represents the mind or rather the lake of the mind, and whoever wants to become Krishna (the word Krishna means or stands for Deity, God), whoever wants to regain the paradise lost, he has to enter deep into the lake of his own mind, to dive deep into himself, he has to plunge deep into his own nature. Reaching the bottom he has to fight the venomous dragon, the poisonous snake of passion, desire, the venomous dragon of the worldly mind. He has to crush it down, he has to destroy its crests, he has to kick down its many heads, he has to charm and destroy it. He must make clear the lake of his mind, he must clear his mind this way. The process is the same as that followed by Krishna. He is to take up his flute and play the mantram OM through it. He has to sing that divine, that blessed song through it. In this state of mind, in this peace of heart, with such a pure soul begin to chant the mantram OM, begin to sing the sacred syllable OM. This is putting the breath of music into the flute. Make your whole life a flute. Make your whole body a flute. Empty it of selfishness and fill it with the divine breath. Chant OM and while doing it, begin that search within the lake of your mind. Search out the poisonous snake with its many tongues. These heads, tongues and fangs of the poisonous snake are the innumerable wants, the worldly tendencies and the selfish propensities. Crush them one by one, trample them under your feet, single them out, overcome them and destroy them while singing the syllable OM.

Build up a character, make firm resolutions, make strong determinations and take solemn vows so that when you come out of the lake or river of the mind, you may not find the waters poisoned; so that the waters will not poison those who drink from them. Come out of the lake having purified it altogether. Let people differ from you, let them subject you to all sorts of difficulties, let them revile you, but despite their favors and frowns, their threats and promises, from the lake of your mind there should flow nothing but divine, infinitely pure, fresh water. Nectar should flow out of you so that it may become as impossible for you to think evil as for the pure fresh spring to poison those who drink from it. Purify the heart, sing the syllable OM, pick out all points of weakness and eradicate them. Come out victorious having formed a beautiful character. When the dragon of passion is destroyed, you will find the objects of desire worshipping you just as the wives of the dragon under the river paid homage unto Krishna after he had killed the snake.

This sacred syllable OM is the end of knowledge in all the world. It is all the Vedas, all the Kingdom of Heaven. In order to come by the Treasures within or in order that the Kingdom of Heaven may be unlocked, OM is the key to be used. This is the seed of all knowledge. OM is the reality which runs through your breath. It is present in all breath of the world, it is the most natural name of the Power which is at the back of all differences, all divisions, all separateness, the most natural name for the Reality. All Vedanta, nay, all the philosophy of the Hindus is simply an exposition of this syllable OM. OM covers the whole universe. There is not a law, not a force in the whole world, not an object in all the world which is not comprised by the syllable OM. One by one you will see that all the planes of being, all the worlds, all phases of existence are covered by this syllable A-U-M–OM. OM has a charm about it, an efficacy, a virtue in it which directly brings the mind of one who chants it under control, which directly brings all feeling and all thought in a state of harmony; brings peace and rest to the soul and puts the mind in a state where it is one with God. Science may not be able to explain this, but this is a fact which can be verified by experiment.

Meditate on Om and be a giver of peace to mankind and not an expectant seeker."

- Swami Rama Tirtha

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