It was incredibly hot and I would duck into the shops one after the other for respite from the piercing heat. These little stores would always beckon me as they were intriguing, colourful and cool.
On this particular day, I met Raja who welcomed me with a smile as broad as the universe, and an act of kindness that I shall remember to my dying day. He noticed I was wearing the symbol of ‘Om’. I had worn my silver charm for as long as I could remember. I have no idea from where I purchased it and usually I don’t remove it.
I felt that for a brief instant Raja was looking within me rather than at me as he suggested he polish the pendant. I took it off and placed it in his hand and as I did so it simply cracked in half. I was flabbergasted and he just smiled. “I thought that was going to happen” he said. “You would have lost it at any moment!”
He didn’t try to sell me a new one (and he had scores of them). He simply said ‘come back one day and I shall have it ready for you’.
And so one day, I returned to share a cup of Kashmiri tea. As I savoured the brew, Raja placed the OM in the palm of my hand. The pieces had been soldered together and the OM was sparkling. No charge….just a smile….and more tea. Lots more tea!
I believe many friendships are borne out of kindness. This is one of them.
AUM is a sacred symbol; a mantra said to be the primordial sound from which all other sounds have emerged.
I have heard it expressed as ‘The heart of God’ which in yogic terms would probably be better defined as ‘The heart of the universe’, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and infinite,” meaning all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere, and eternal.
There are so many aspects to this beautiful sound. Sitting quietly, one breathes it out (aa, au, mm) tapering to an infinite finish (like that of a chime or bell). You may be able to sense a subtle, peaceful vibration flowing through your being.
There are many aspects to the symbol and some that I find most interesting are:
The letter A symbolises the waking state; the letter U the dream state and the letter M the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit. The entire symbol, together with the crescent and the dot, stands for the fourth state, which combines all these states and transcends them (Samadhi).
The letters correspond to the three tenses – past, present and future – while the entire symbol stands for the Universal Power which transcends the limitations of time and remains unchanged.
The three letters also represent the dimensions of length, breadth and depth in the human being, while the entire symbol stands for the one whose wisdom is firmly established in the divine.
The letters A, U and M also stand for the mantra ‘Tat Twam Asi’ (‘That Thou Art’), the realisation of man’s divinity within himself. The entire symbol stands for the liberation of the human spirit from the confines of his body, mind, intellect and ego.
Practise meditating on this gentle sound and feel the peace fill your heart!
‘The Concise Light on Yoga’ by B.K.S. Iyengar and ‘Calm the Mind’ by Shanti Gowans