Before the beginning, the Brahman (absolute reality) was one and non-dual. It thought, "I am only one -- may I become many." This caused a vibration which eventually became sound, and this sound was Om. Creation itself was set in motion by the vibration of Om. The closest approach to Brahman is that first sound, Om. Thus, this sacred symbol has become emblematic of Brahman just as images are emblematic of material objects.
The vibration produced by chanting Om in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that first arose at the time of creation. The sound of Om is also called Pranava, meaning that it sustains life and runs through Prana or breath. Om also represents the four states of the Supreme Being. The three sounds in Om (AUM) represent the waking, dream and deep sleep states and the silence which surrounds Om represents the "Turiya" state.
Because the first of the three states of consciousness is the waking state, it is represented by the sound "A" pronounced like "A" in accounting. Because the dream state of consciousness lies between the waking and the deep sleep states, it is represented by the letter "U" which lies between the "A" and "M". This "U" is pronounced like the "U" in would. The last state of consciousness is the deep sleep state and is represented by "M" pronounced as in "sum." This closes the pronunciation of Om just as deep sleep is the final stage of the mind at rest. Whenever Om is recited in succession there is an inevitable period of silence between two successive Oms. This silence represents the "fourth state" known as "Turiya" which is the state of perfect bliss when the individual self recognizes his identity with the supreme.
The chanting of Om drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distraction and infuses new vigour in the body.
When you feel depressed, chant Om fifty times and you will be filled with new vigour and strength. The chanting of Om is a powerful tonic. When you chant Om, you feel you are the pure, all pervading light and consciousness.
Those who chant Om will have a powerful, sweet voice. Whenever you take a stroll, you can chant Om. You can also sing Om in a beautiful way. The rythmic pronunciation of Om makes the mind serene and pointed, and infuses the spiritual qualifications which ensure self-realization.
Those who do meditation of Om daily will get tremendous power. They will have lustre in their eyes and faces.
Meditation on Om
Retire to a quite place, sit down, close your eyes and completely relax your muscles and nerves. Concentrate on the space between your eyebrows and quieten and silence the conscious mind. Begin to repeat "Om" mentally while associating the ideas of infinity, eternity, immortality, etc. You must repeat Om with the feeling that you are the infinite and all-pervading. Mere repetition of Om will not bring the desired result. Keep the meaning of Om always at heart. Feal Om. Feel that you are the pure, perfect, all-knowing, eternal, free, Brahman. Feel that you are absolute consciousness and the infinite, unchanging existance. Every part of your body should powerfully vibrate with these ideas. This feeling should be kept up all day long. Practice regularly and steadily with sincerity, faith, perseverance and enthusiasm in the morning, midday and evening.
There are many mantras used in worship. The first is always the Moola Manthirum. This mantra forms the foundation which supports all the others. It was not written by a person but was given to us directly from Amma Herself in Her oracle. This mantra has enormous power. Some of the benefits conferred by reciting the Moola Mantra are:
The Divine energy freely flows from the feet of Amma to the different systems of the body. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells and revitalize the entire system.
Eradication of one's Karma.
Gives you what you rightfully deserve.
Helps solve ailments and genuine problems.
Confers blessings leading to prosperity and a happy life.
Helps one to reach the highest spiritual pedestal (Mukti).
Prevents fatal accidents.
Each type of pooja or velvi has specific mantras which are recited at a certain time during the ritual. The long mantras have either 108 or 1008 lines and are concluded with a short mantra of three lines and three om's. The mantras recited during mandram pooja in America are shown below. Amma has given us permission to omit the 1008 line mantra which is normally recited because She says we are so busy and have little time. All mandrams in India, however, recite the 1008 as is normally required.
The number 108 has been considered sacred for thousands of years in India. The origin of this number probably lies in astronomy. The average distance from the sun and moon to the earth is 108 times each of their respective diameters. This is true to an accuracy of 0.5% for the Sun and 2% for the Moon. The thought that this was known so long ago is amazing. Like all tantric mantras each line is preceded by om and concluded with om. These characteristics give the mantras great potency
With the exception of the Moola Mantra, the task of writing all the mantras was given to specific people by Amma and they wrote them under Adhiparasakthi's divine guidance. Two of the 1008 mantras were written by two individuals who were once staunch atheists before they met Amma. The mantras written by people were given their power when they were presented to Amma after completion and She imbued them with power.
For velvis and yagnas there are many more mantras which must be recited and no exceptions are given in these requirements. Specific mantras are required at various steps during the preparation and conduction of the ceremony to ensure that everything is done correctly.