‘OM’ is the sacred sound of Yoga. It can be found in many Sanskrit chants and is ubiquitous in the yoga world. The symbol or glyph of “OM’ can be found on clothing, mats, books, etc. But what does it mean?
The qlyph of OM is pregnant with meaning and is linked to the idea of the Higher Self. It represents the idea of ultimate reality. The sound is actually A-U-M or AUM.
The first curve – A of A-U-M – represents the conscious waking state.
The squiggle in the middle – the U of A-U-M – represents the subconscious dream state.
The lower curve – M of A-U-M – represents the unconscious non-dream state.
The upper curve in the glyph facing upwards represents the interface between the finite world and infinity.
The dot at the top called the bindu (meaning dot in Sanskrit) represents the point at which creation begins and is known as the symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state.
All of these states of OM are stages on the way to self-realisation¹ which is what the practice of yoga is ultimately about.
There is so much more to this glyph. For further information see reference below.
¹Self-realisation means fulfilment of one’s own potential. Yoga is known to be the science or art of integrating body, senses, mind and spirit to the Self thus reaching self-realisation.
Nishchalananda Saraswati, Swami (2006), The Edge of Infinity, Collected Works, MANDALA YOGA ASHRAM, WALES pp204-207