All the Upanishads begin with aum; aum means the primordial sound.
The Rigveda says – the most ancient scripture of the world – “First the absolute, the Brahman, then waak, the sound, the vibrating energy which becomes the universe.” The Bible also says the same thing, but has missed the point in translation. It says: In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word and the God were one. ‘The word’ is not the right translation, it cannot be. I don’t know what the original Hebrew or Aramaic word for ‘word’ is, but one thing I know, it cannot be ‘word’, it can only be ‘sound’; it can only be a musical sound. It will be something like aum, because ‘word’ means sound with meaning and the moment meaning comes in it brings a limitation, it brings a definition. Sound is unlimited; it is simply vibration.
Now scientists, physicists particularly, have discovered that existence consists only of vibrations. They call it ‘vibrations of electricity’. It does not matter what name you give, what jargon you use, but vibration means sound. That is the meaning of aum.
Aum is the primordial sound of which the whole universe consists; we are made of music. Hence if we move into anything totally, only the music is left and everything else disappears because music is the stuff we are made of; all else is arbitrary, artificial, invented. Only the music hidden in our souls is not invented; it is part of God. God is the musician and we are his music. He is the dancer and we are his dance. He is the poet and we are his poetry. He is the singer and we are his song. This is the meaning of aum.
But the pundits, the scholars have been constantly missing the point. They think aum is a mantra and just by repeating it you will attain to God. That is sheer nonsense! You can repeat it your whole life, it is not going to help you.
It is just like a thirsty person goes on repeating, “H20, H20, H20….” Of course what he is saying is right – H20 means water – he is not wrong. But H20 and its repetition is not going to quench his thirst. He misses the point. Aum is exactly the H20 of mysticism!
Aum is the unstruck sound;
there is no instrument.
When you become
suddenly it is there.
And there are fools in this country… and now those fools are travelling all over the world and teaching people Transcendental Meditation. It is neither transcendental nor meditation. Just by repeating the sound aum, nothing is going to be achieved. In fact, something totally different has to be done: you have to become so silent, so absolutely silent, that you can hear the sound within your innermost core. It has to be heard, not repeated. If you repeat it, it will be a head thing; it will only be your head playing a gramophone record. Let the head rest, let all noise from the head be gone, let the mind stop functioning, and then suddenly you will hear the sound. That is a totally different phenomenon; it has to be heard, not repeated.
But the scholars are the most unconscious people, full of unnecessary philosophies, very complicated systems of thought, and ready to argue, to prove, to comment, but absolutely unconscious. They have not discovered the aum within themselves.
It is called anahat nad; anahat nad means unstruck sound. There are two kinds of sounds. When you play on a sitar it is a struck sound; duality is involved, your hands and the strings, and you have to strike, then the sound is created. It is a little bit violent – you are being violent with the strings. You are not allowing them to rest, you are disturbing their sleep. And there is a conflict involved with your hands; there is a fight going on between the musician and his instrument.
Aum is the unstruck sound; there is no instrument. When you become absolutely silent, suddenly it is there.
Zen people have the right expression for it; they call it ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. If two hands are there, of course, the clapping is easy, but one hand clapping and the sound of one hand clapping seems to be absurd – but they are truly expressing the reality. When you go inside and you are absolutely silent you hear for the first time the inner music.
Osho, Philosophia Ultima, Ch 1, Excerpt