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Int J Yoga. 2010 Jan;3(1):2-5. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.66771.

Meditation on OM: Relevance from ancient texts and contemporary science.

Author information

1
Department of Yoga Research, Indian Council of Medical Research Centre for Advanced Research in Yoga and Neurophysiology, SVYASA, Bangalore, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In Indian scriptures the sacred syllable Om is the primordial sound from which all other sounds and creation emerge which signifies the Supreme Power.

AIMS:

To explore the significance of the syllable OM from ancient texts and effects of OM meditation in contemporary science. DESCRIPTIONS FROM ANCIENT TEXTS: The descriptions of Om have been taken from four Upanisads (Mundaka, Mandukya, Svetasvatara, and Katha), the Bhagvad Gita, and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON OM: Autonomic and respiratory studies suggest that there is a combination of mental alertness with physiological rest during the practice of Om meditation. Evoked potentials studies suggest a decrease in sensory transmission time at the level of the auditory association cortices, along with recruitment of more neurons at mesencephalic-diencephalic levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

It is considered that a person who realizes Om, merges with the Absolute. Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in physiological alertness, and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.

KEYWORDS:

Om; autonomic variables; patanjali’s yoga sutras; upanisads

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