Vaidya N. Sundaram sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Tue Aug 18 18:57:12 CDT 1998


 Continuing our discussion on the references to AUM, and to some of its
many mystical significances, given below is parts of the Vidyesvara
samhitaa of the Siva PuraaNa.

 Ch 17:
 The symbol OM means an excellent boat to cross the ocean of worldly
 Or Pranava may mean: "there is no world for you".
 Or it may mean "That which leads to salvation".
 Or it may mean "that which leads to new knowledge".

 After annihilating all actions it gives the persons who repeat the
mantra or worship, a fresh knowledge of the pure soul.
 This Pranava is two fold (1) the subtle and (2) the gross.

 The subtle one is of a single syllable where the constituent five
syllables are not differentiated clearly. The gross one is of five
syllables where all constituent syllables are manifest.
 The subtle one is for the liberated soul (jIvanmukta). The need for the
contemplation of the meaning through the mantra is only upto the
destruction of the physical body.
 The mere repeater of the mantra attains yogic cummunion with Siva
 The subtle PraNava is again two fold: the short and the long.
 The long one is present in the heart of the Yogins alone - separately in
the form of "A", "U", "M", Bindu and nAda. It is endowed with all the
digits of the time sound.  Siva, Shakti and their union are indicated by
"M" syllable ramified into three and this is called the short subtle
PraNava. The short PraNava shall be repeated by those who desire their
all sins annihilated.
 The short subtle PraNava is for those who desire the continuation of
mundane existence and the long one is for those who are averse to the
 As for those who are devoted to activities and those who both refrain
from and indulge in activities, the gross praNava is recommended.
 The five syllabled mantra of Siva is the gross PraNava. The name Siva is
used in the dative case with namah prefixed (namah SivAya). It implies
the five principles.
 The Japa of the five syllabled mantra shall always be performed along
with the PraNava. A man can achieve everything by means of the Japa of
the five syllabled mantra.
 The devotee shall take instruction from his preceptor, sit comfortably
on the ground cleaned well, and start the japa. The practice shall start
on the Caturdasi day of the dark half.


(there is a lot said about the greatness of this mahaa mantram. I am
leaving it out, as I believe It's greatness is obvious to each one of us.)

some other salient points:
 This mantra is prescribed not just for men, but for women also. The
Shakti form is said to dwell in women and the Siva form is said to dwell
in the hearts of men.
 As Rama had mentioned in a previous post on this topic, emphasis is laid
on the proper initiation from a Guru. The panchaaksharI is of such great
importance that each one should take the effort to humbly approach a Guru
and properly learn this.
 There is a lot more said about the meaning and origins of AUM in the Siva
puraana. I will try and post a few of them in later posts.


                      Vaidya N. Sundaram
 The place, time, objects and their knower etc., projected in a dream
during sleep are all mithyA (an illusion/false). So too, here. in the
waking state, the world that is seen is a projection by one's own
ignorance. Likewise, this body, the senses, the breath, the ego etc.,
are all unreal. Therefore, That thou art, the peaceful, defectless,
supreme, non-dual Brahman.  -- Adi Shankara in VivekacUdAmani.

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