Meaning of "AUM"
“Om” Name is the religious symbol of the Hindus. But it is omnipresent in almost all the major cultures of our world.
Another way of saying Om is Aum. Aum is the sound of the infinite. Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras and Vedas, the highest of all mantras or divine word. By sound and form, AUM symbolizes the infinite Brahman and the entire universe.
A stands for Creation.
U stands for Preservation.
And finally M stands for Destruction or dissolution.
This represents the Trinity of God in Hindu dharma (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).
The three portions of AUM relate to the states of waking, dream and deep sleep and the three guans (rajas, satva, tamas). The three letters also indicate three planes of existence, heaven, earth and the netherworld. AUM can represent all the words produced by the human vocal organ. A is produced by the throat, U & M by the lips. In the Vedas, AUM is the sound of the Sun, the sound of Light. It is the sound of assent. It has an upward movement and uplifts the soul, as the sound of the divine eagle or falcon.
The pronunciation of the word "OM" is supposed to symbolize the totality of all sounds as it includes all other sounds that humans can utter. This idea of totality also exists in the English word "Omnipresent" that includes OM as its prefix. We also have words like Omnipotent and Omniscient, all of which have the concept of totality in their meanings.
The ancient Greek alphabet had Omega as its last letter. Omega written in the lower case of the Greek alphabet, if turned to its side, looks quite similar to the Sanskrit way of writing Om. It is from the Greek alphabet "Omega" that we have the English phrase "the alpha and Omega", which means, "to include everything". It is said that the word Om has been used to make other words. The Christian term "Amen" is said to have some link with "Om" as also the Islamic term "Amin". Both of these terms are similar to Om.
Om is a well-known symbol to Indians all over the world. Almost every Indian household owns some sort of Om symbol. The way I was taught Om is a symbol of God
Scriptures or Shastras are religious books. They contain knowledge that tells us about our religion, guide us to differentiate right from wrong.
Our most important Scriptures (Shastras) are:
Vedas: The word Veda means Knowledge. These are the root of Hindu religion.
Hinduism has developed on the teachings contained in the Vedas.
They are four in number and are the oldest books in the world:
Rigveda by Agni Rishi
Samaveda by Aditya Rishi
Yajurveda by Vayu Rishi
Atharvaveda by Angira Rishi
The four Vedas comprise more than 20,000 hymns.
The Vedas area also called Shruti (heard knowledge). When the Rishis (holy men of pure minds and thoughts) sat in meditation, God revealed unto the Rishis the knowledge of the Vedas and the Vedas are said to be Divine Knowledge. The Rishis, in turn, explained the revealed knowledge to the people.
Bhagavad Gita: The Bhagavad Gita contains lessons preached by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on a battlefield. This happened about 5,000 years ago, but even today the message of the Gita is necessary. The Gita is a small book but it contains a great amount of knowledge. All Hindus regard the Gita as their main scripture. It is considered to be one of the best amongst the religious books of the world. It has been translated into many languages, and people all over read it with great interest.
Ramayana: The Ramayana contains the story of King Rama. The original Ramayana was written in Sanskrit. This book was written by Valmiki Rishi. The Ramayana contains not only the stories of Rama, Sita, and others, but it also contains religious teachings. The people who appear in the Ramayana teach us how we should mold our lives; how father and son should behave towards each other; how brothers should live together; how pure and faithful the lives of husbands and wives should be; what the duties of a king and his subjects are.