ॐ सबदही ताला सबदही कुंची सबदही सबद भया उजियाला
कांटा सेती कांटा षुटे कुंची सेती ताला
सिद्ध मिले तो साधिक निपजे, जब घटी होय उजाला
(ॐ is a word. ॐ is a lock. ॐ is the key. This word is divine light. Like the thorn pierced in one's toe is removed using a thorn itself, or as a the lock is opened using a key, the lock of ॐ can be opened by the key of ॐ only. To know how to open such lock, the seeker has to be blessed with the realized master (Guru). Once the lock is opened, then there is no end to the divine light!)
As a researcher of Upanishads, the theory of Brahman (The Absolute) and various approaches to realize it, have always fascinated me. There is no better author philosopher than Gorakh Nath, who simplifies Upanishadic essence for commoners in 'easy to understand' language.
In the Gyan Chalisa of Gorakh Nath, the very first verse delves with the word form of ॐ and beyond as the representation of The Absolute.
ॐ, the Pranav Mantra, is everything. It is the ultimate being which is expressed through the word. ‘Pranav’ in Sanskrit means to express that loudly which is already there. Amplify something which already exists in the seed form.
In one's spiritual journey, the goal is to reach and experience the ultimate Truth, The Absolute. The goal is to reach the Supreme Being, experience the union with the Supreme Being by shading away the duality. This ultimate being which is the eternal sound of ॐ, for easier understanding is expressed with the word 'AUM'. Hence this ॐ is everything!
Gorakh Nath says, this word itself is the lock and it the key too. When the word is not interpreted well, or the meaning behind it not understood and experienced fully, then it is a mere 'set of letters'. This 'ignorance' to treat ॐ as a set of letters and not understanding it as the representation of the eternal sound 'locks' the treasure of knowledge. So the ignorance about ॐ is like lock.
When the seeker understands the meaning of ॐ, through sadhana, then 'the whole new world' of realization opens for him / her. Practicing of Pranav Mantra during various sadhana options like Japa, Pranayam, Dhyan, etc takes the sadhak on the path of realization. Such persistent, focused sadhana ultimately opens the lock of ignorance and the seeker experiences the Ultimate Truth!
This is the moment of experiencing divine light. In such state, there is no illusion, no misconceptions, no attachments, no suffering, no pain. All that one experiences after such stage of realization is the ultimate brightness of the truth.
Gorakh Nath uses the symbolism of thorn and lock &key. Like thorn is used to remove thorn, or key is used to open the lock, the knowledge of ॐ opens the lock of ignorance and takes one to the truth.
So ॐ, which is ever existing naad, is simply loudly expressed with the sound that unifies with the cosmic sound, the eternal sound. Aum is the reflection of absolute reality. Upanishads say Ometi Brahman! Which means Aum itself is the Brahman, The Supreme Being!
The syllable ॐ is mentioned in all the Upanishads, set forth as the object of profound meditation, the highest spiritual efficacy being attributed not only to the whole word but also to the three sounds a (a-kāra), u (u-kāra), m (ma-kāra), of which it consists. A-kara means form or shape like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kāra means formless or shapeless like water, air or fire. Ma-kāra means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark energy content of the Universe. When we combine all three syllables we get AUM which is a combination of A-kāra, U-kāra, and Ma-kāra.
Gorakh Nath says, to open such lock of ॐ, the sadhak has to be blessed with the right Guru, who really is the Siddha - the realized master. Such master, then, instead of involving the sadhak in the meaningless rituals, opens the treasure of knowledge by appropriately and honestly guiding at various stages of sadhana. The ultimate result of such realized Guru's blessings is the experience of bright light of Truth! ॐ
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