[Advaita-l] Pranava adhikara (Was Re: Guru for Devi Puja)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Oct 23 20:39:18 CDT 2012

On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Also note, as a matter of linguistic sociology, the Sri Lankan Tamil word
> for
> "yes" is nothing other than Om. Indian Tamil speakers say Am or Am-Am.
> As such, there is a very common-place, secular usage of this syllable, at
> least among one group of people, from the hourly wage earning labourer
> in the fields to the brAhmaNa priests in the various temples in Sri Lanka

It is said that the sound/word 'Amen' (Biblical) and 'amIn' (Islamic) are
only different ways of 'Om'.  In Malayalam too, for example, when
questioned 'Has your father returned home?" the reply, in the positive, is,
'O..he has come'.  This 'O' sound is there in Tamil too in this sense, and
perhaps in every other language.  Even the English 'Oh, yes' seems to be
this alone.

The Tittiriyopanishad (shIkShAvalli) 1.8.1 says:

१. ओमिति ब्रह्म । ओमितीदं सर्वम् । ओमित्येतदनुकृतिह स्म वा अप्यो
श्रावयेत्याश्रारावयन्ति । २. ओमिति सामानि गायन्ति । ३. ओं शोमिति शस्त्राणि
शंसन्ति । ४. ओमित्यध्वर्यु: प्रतिगरं प्रति-गृणाति । ५. ओमिति ब्रह्मा प्रसौति
 । ६. ओमित्यग्निहोत्रमनु-जानाति । ७. ओमिति ब्राह्मण:प्रवक्ष्यन्नाह ब्रह्मोपा
प्नवानी-ति । ब्रह्मैवोपाप्नोति । - (तै.आ. ७.८.१; जै.उ. १.८.१)

//Om is Brahman. Om is all this. Om is well known as a word of imitation
(i.e.concurrence). Moreover they make them recite (to the gods) with the
words 'Om, recite (to the gods). They commence singing sAma-s with Om.
Uttering the words 'Om shom' they recite the shastra-s.  The priest
adhvaryu utters the encouraging words with Om. The priest BrahmaA approves
with the word Om. One permits the performance of the agnihotra sacrifice
with the word Om. A brAhmaNa, when about to recite the Vedas utters Om
under the idea, 'I shall attain Brahman.'  He verily attains Brahman.//

One can read the shAnkara bhAShya for this mantra.  In the Upanishads Om is
shown as the 'means', pratIka, for attaining both the para and apara
brahman, as it is meditated upon with the different objectives.


> .What marks apart the recitation of the praNava in a japa or yajna is the
> ritual context and nothing else. The traditional restrictions all have to
> do
> with the ritual japa or prayoga of a mantra that has the praNava in it.
> This
> needs to be distinguished clearly from the fact that the syllable occurs in
> a text that is from the itihAsa-purANa genre, that conveys jnAna and which
> is open for study by all, as per the explicit words of Sankara bhagavatpAda
> himself. Regards,
> Vidyasankar
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