The Force Behind the Chanting of Om
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on August 29, 1985 to a group from Brussels)

When you chant Om, you feel expanded as if you are becoming large in dimension, as the waves in the ocean become large. Om is a vibration and not merely a sound made by the mouth. The whole world is made of subtle vibration.

We have to think very carefully here. We generally think that things produce vibrations. This is not so. It is the vibrations that have made things. This is a very difficult thought for us because we believe that we are solid bodies, and that there are solid bodies in the world from where vibration comes. This is not so. The vibration was first, and it became condensed into hard bodies like our body and other things.

We know that all things in the world are subtle electric force at their root. Every object is an electromagnetic field. The substantiality or the hardness of the object is a delusion. The hardness, concreteness, and substantiality of the thing is due to the repulsion and attraction of forces. I am telling you something which is also the conclusion of modern science. Our whole body is a mass of electric energy, and everything in the world is also a mass of energy, but atomic constituents in particular locations differ from one another. One atom differs from another atom to the isotopic difference in each one.

Similarly, we have the difference of different things, different objects. There are different objects because of the different intensities of electric force at different spots. If the inner constituents of atoms are the same everywhere, there will not be many atoms. There will be one atom only. Every atom consists of certain electrons and a central nucleus. The number of the electrons varies in different atoms. It may be one or two, or more. Not only does the number vary, but the velocity or speed also varies, so the number of the electrons and the speed of their movement distinguishes one atom from another. This particular individuality maintained by each atom is called the isotopic weight. Certain uniformly cooperating atoms join together and form a society. I mentioned that every atom is different from every other atom, and now I will explain how they can form a society even if they are different.

We are all sitting here. One person is different from another person. We have got atomic individuality, as it were. No person is like another person, but we all form a single group: an Italian group, French group, yoga group, and so on. We have got a society of people, though each person is different. Now, what is society? It is the coming together of certain common characteristics, though basically they are different. So certain types of atoms can form a group in a society. Our body is made up of such groups of electric energy, and similarly, everything in the world is made of energy. When one particular location of an electric centre comes in contact with another, there is electric repulsion. That repulsion is the reason why we feel that there is a solid object. Therefore, the solidity of an object is a sensation in the mind, not a real existence outside. This world is not made up of persons and things, which is why some great yoga scriptures say there is no world. The world does not exist as we see it, because the world is actually a mass of electric force.

So when we chant Om we are not making a sound from our body, but generating an energy which is the real substance of our personality. The chanting of Om is itself a yoga practice. It is the way by which we are entering into our own basic roots. It is as if the atom is trying to realise what it is inside. Sound and light are vibrations, and vibrations cause perception and hearing. A certain frequency of vibrations comes in contact with certain vibrations in the eye and produces the phenomena of light and colour. Similarly, certain lesser frequency vibrations come in contact with the ear and produce sound. Actually, there is no light, and there is no sound. There is only one force.

We have five kinds of receiving sets of energy. I will give an example of how the receiving sets can receive one thing in different ways. There is electric energy coming from the powerhouse. When we connect this power to an electric heater, there is a blaze of fire. In a stove, electricity becomes hot. In a fridge, electricity becomes cold. In a railway train, electricity becomes movement. But electricity is not heat, it is not cold, it is not movement. So is energy neither colour nor sound nor touch nor taste nor smell. It looks like these because of our receiving sets: eye, ear, nose, tongue, etc. So when we chant Om, we are diving deep into the very substance of the whole universe. It is as if we are melting the hard body and making it into a liquid of force.

When you chant Om, do not think that you are making a sound through your mouth. It is not like that. It is your original source rising to the surface of your personality. It is something like a large wave in the ocean making a sound to make the ocean come up. As all waves are ocean, similarly, all things are force, and our chanting Om is something like a wave thinking the ocean. The wave does not produce the ocean; the ocean produces the wave. Similarly, we do not create the vibration; the vibration creates us. This is the kind of meditation that goes together with the chanting of Om.

Om is not Sanskrit or English or Italian or any language. It is not a language, it is an impersonal universal vibration. All language is inside Om, as well as all literature and all science. Just as every piece of furniture is in the tree, and every ornament is in the gold bar, likewise, every language, every sound is in Om, so when we chant Om we are going to the universal origin of things. Therefore, we have to chant Om very feelingfully in this manner. [Swami chants Om.]

I can understand the Bible, but you cannot understand the Upanishads. That is the difference. I very clearly understand what the Bible says and I appreciate it, but you do not know what the Upanishad says. There is a big reason for this, which I cannot explain now – historical, geographical, climatic, astronomical, empirical, philosophical. Every blessed reason is behind it. The concept of the ultimate aim of life is the reason for the difference between the East and the West. What do you finally want? The East will say something, and the West will say another thing. They will not say the same thing. There is the twain which never meets, though some few like you perhaps are building the bridge between East and West. It is a great blessing, and may it be blessed by God.

Question: Swamiji, can we recite Om as often as we are doing, or is there a particular time, particular place or amount of time that is more auspicious?

Swamiji: You chant by sitting at a specific time which you allot every day. Otherwise, you can sit at other times.