What is Pranava?
Pranava means "Cosmic Sound"- Om - the sound that everything in the entire of existence makes if one hears it all at once in totality (what a mix! Tapers- are you ready?)
Mystics, when they have cleared their minds of all thought that preoccupies the mind, therefore preventing it from hearing this background hum of the universe, have traditionally indicated that it is beyond recounting, it is an indescribable experience.
They say that the verbalization "Om" comes the closest of all sounds to what this hum of the universe is. The verbalization OM consists (if said with great attention and conciousness) of all the component sounds the human larnyx/mouth is capable of making.
So because it covers the entire spectrum of human vocal sound, to verbalize it with attention is itself a meditation on wholeness, which could ultimately lead to sensitivity to experience the hum of the universe which mystics have experienced and said was most closely hinted at by "OM".
Thus it is a key, a code so to speak, that if held as the exclusive and only thought shaping one's conciousness- aims one toward that particular (and most sacred and essential) mystical experience - that of the wholeness of unfathomable infiniteness of universe.
This is the context in which we exist, this is the fabric from which we are woven (the clay from which God made us in some traditions). Knowing the full context of our existence is to know ourself- the reality of our being without distortion from the omission of some element of reality.
Without action there is not existence. Perception does not occur without action, and existence without Perception,... well you could sit in a zen monastery for a while contemplating the koan about whether a tree makes a sound in the forest if there is no one there to hear it.
Action is vibration - movement in time/ space/ thought - whatever dimensions or parameters of existence you perceive. Vibration is energy (hence the "prana" in "Pranava" we suspect), Vibration is light, vibration is heat, but for humans our sense perception can most easily see the vibratory nature of energy when it is in the form of sound because our hearing faculities can perceive sound to a frequency slow enough in vibration that we can begin to see (as the rate of vibration slows) it's transition into repeating oscillations of air (for all the dolphins reading this "air" does not apply- please substitute "water", thank you) in the range of vibratory rate of about 20 vibrations per second - where humans perceive the vibrating air transitioning from auditory experience to ( as the vibration is gradually slowed down) to tactile experience. Stand with loose clothing a few inches from a subwoofer (don't have it too loud at your ears or you may not be able to hear anything externally afterwards) and have an oscillator ( on an analogue sythesizer or ...?) progressively go lower in frequency. When it gets down below 40 HZ it will become less audible but at below 20 HZ you will start to feel you loose clothing (remember that part- good for doing yoga afterwards too!)- move back and forth with the vibrations of the air from the subwoofer This will work only if all the sound system is capable of reproducing sounds this low (be carefully - it takes a lot of amplifier power and speaker capacity even at moderate volumes- much equipment is designed to not reproduce lower than 20 HZ.
So what's the point about sound being vibration?-
Well, if all action is vibration, and vibration in a certain spectrum of vibratory rate is discernable to the human as sound - then everything that exists, everything you do, everything you think - is part of OM. It is the fabric of the play of existence. Understand it (by direct thoughtless perception) and you understand the essence of your being. There are many degrees and forms of understanding what one is, but until one arrives at the essential (without extraneous stuff, and missing nothing) one's understanding in inherently somewhat inaccuate (distorted) by being incomplete (or overcomplete if you will, because the essence is both vast, and "smaller than the smallest"). This is why mediation on "OM", while the subject of cliche, is considered so worthy of recomendation.
So everything is a part of OM, which is what is called Pranava, so your very birth was an action in existence that is part of OM, and your very death will be too, OM is the sound and Pranava is the word to describe this force (like in Use the force Jerry (quoted from Omy Wan Kanobi))- so in other words, you are part of Pranava.
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© 1987-2000 G. Olerich
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