“AUM is only a formula, just like H2O. It simply represents the whole reality,” explains Osho (with audio)
Before we enter into this greatest formula invented ever by man, you have to understand a few things. First: AUM is not written in Sanskrit in the ordinary Sanskrit alphabet; it has a special symbol for itself. It is a code word. To make it clear; the ordinary Sanskrit alphabet is not used for it – a special symbol, hence it is untranslatable.
It consists of three sounds and the fourth, the soundless sound. It consists of four things: three are sounds and the fourth is only the harmony of those three sounds. Three sounds are visibly there, you can hear them. The fourth is heard not by the ears; it is heard only at the innermost shrine of your being.
So the symbol AUM consists of four things. Three are the basic sounds: aa-uu-ma – A, U, M. These are the basic sounds; all other sounds are branches of these three sounds. This is the real trinity, the trinity of sounds. But all these three have arisen out of the fourth; but the fourth is invisible, unhearable. The fourth is represented only by a dot; that dot is called anuswar.
If you go into an empty temple or a mosque or a church, or any empty house will do – a newly built house, utterly empty… go inside and start chanting the mantra AUM. “AUM, AUM, AUM.” You go on chanting, then stop suddenly. Now you are no more chanting, but the vibe is still there, a humming sound… disappearing, disappearing… every moment disappearing, becoming more and more subtle… the humming sound, the tail-end of M. When you say “AUMMMMM…” that tail-end of M will be heard when you have stopped chanting.
That is represented only by a dot; in Sanskrit that dot is called anuswar. Out of that dot arise three sounds A-U-M. These four represent the whole existence, these four are the four dimensions of existence.
You can think of it in another way also: put a dot on a piece of paper – this is the center – then draw three concentric circles around it. The last concentric circle, the biggest will be A, the first. The second concentric circle U, will be just in the middle between the first and the third. And then the third concentric circle, closer to the dot, the center, will be M. And the dot – the center of all these three concentric circles, these three circumferences – is the anuswar: the soundless sound; what Zen people call ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. The Mandukya Upanishad calls it ‘the fourth’ – turiya – without giving it any name, simply a number.
The three, the first three, represent your three states, and the fourth, your self-nature. Man is also exactly as AUM; man is a miniature universe. If we can decipher man we will be able to decipher the whole of existence.
Osho, Philosophia Ultima, Ch 13 (excerpt)
Sound file thanks to Shantidas