OM (or AUM)
A Sanskrit word of special sanctity in the Hindu religion,
generally interchangable with AUM. It is pronounced at the
beginning and end of every lesson in the Vedas (ancient scriptures)
and is also the introductory word of the Puranas (religious
works embodying legends and mythology). The KathaUpanishad
states ‘‘Whoever knows this syllable obtains whatever
he wishes.’’
There are various accounts of its origin; one that it is the
term of assent used by the gods and possibly an old contracted
form of the Sanskrit word evam meaning ‘‘thus.’’ The ManuSangita
(Laws of Manu), a religious work of social laws, states
the word was formed by Brahma himself, who extracted the letters
a-u-m from the Vedas.
Om is also the name given by the Hindus to the spiritual sun,
as opposed to Surya, the natural sun.