lobster wrote:Certain words used in Eastern culture as power words also exist in English. OM I would suggest is pretty well known. Variants such as HUM sing.
Agreed, an important part of aspect of chanting (in any language) are sounds that are universal in spiritual expression across time and culture. Since ancient times, chanting is a 'thought tool' which uses sound vibration to form one-pointed concentration in the mind. I've been doing some research on it. Feel free to add, comment, or correct!
Some important aspects of chanting:
- repetition of sounds (the principles of rhythm and pattern?)
- redirects and focuses the mind on the spiritual to liberate and purify the mind.
- symbolic of and represents spiritual concepts
- composed in an easier to remember verse form than prose
- The practice of Japa: chanting to evoke the presence and powers of a deity, by speaking the name of a divine power sought after. A goal may be to embody the divine attributes of a deity to purify oneself.
Lets examine Om / omkara / ॐ / AUM / Pranava / Udgitha
- A sacred sound of ancient origin, found in similar form across many cultures.
- Chandogya Upanishad (7th century BC) discusses OM in detail.
(english translation http://www.swamij.com/upanishad-chandogya.htm
- Ancient Egyptian god Amun /Amen in texts from about 3000BC. This god is a god of air and wind, and a protector of the weak, champion of the less fortunate, and upholds the rights of justice for the poor. Note the similarities to Avalokitesvara / Chenrezig, who looks upon all beings with compassion and liberates the suffering of all sentient beings.
- Similar to "amin" of Islam, and "amen" of the Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and Christians. Used to conclude prayers and hymns. Amen is also an expression of the affirmation of truth, or agreement.
- Similar to the Middle Welsh (12th cent.) word "Awen" meaning inspiration, related to the words for wind and breath.
- Sounds like a hum: a wordless tone made with the mouth (opened or closed).
- begins sacred texts as a sacred incantation. Intoned at the start and end of scripture, prayer or mantra.
- The vedas are chanted always after chanting this mantra and always concluded with this mantra
- constantly repeated in unison with the breath. Awareness of breathing is of central importance to the practice of meditation. It is called pranava because it pervades life through prana (breath).
- Hindu belief is it is a primal sound existent before creation, from which the whole universe was created. It represents the non-dualistic universe as a whole. And the sound that all existence makes when one listens to all in unison. It is a sound that symbolizes and embodies absolute reality (Brahman). Brahman is the energy essence of all reality, or the fabric of space-time from where all things manifest; tranquil, unaging, immortal, fearless, and supreme.
- Represents the energy of wave vibration movement in space (emptyness) through time. Wave vibration is sound, light, and heat. The act of humming AUM provides direct experience of this.
- In tantra yoga it corresponds to the crown chakra and white light.