What Does Om Symbolize? Understanding The Spiritual Significance

The Om symbol is a sacred sign of spiritual significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s composed of three sounds – A, U, and M, that come together to become one syllable representing the sound of the universe. It’s a popular symbol that can be found in various forms around the world, from jewelry to yoga mats. But what does Om symbolize?

For Hindus, the Om symbol represents the three main gods of the Hindu pantheon – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It embodies the ultimate reality of the universe as well as the divine spark within each individual. Similarly, Buddhists believe that chanting Om can lead to meditation and ultimately enlightenment, helping individuals find inner peace.

In addition to its spiritual connotations, the Om symbol has also become a mainstream symbol of unity, harmony, and positivity. It’s often used to cast a peaceful and calming atmosphere, and it’s common to hear it chanted during yoga or meditation. Whether you’re religious or simply seeking inner peace, the Om symbol is a visual and auditory reminder to stay connected with the energies of the universe.

History of the Om symbol

The Om symbol, also known as Aum or Omkara, is one of the most significant spiritual symbols in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, with deep philosophical and religious meanings. The symbol represents the sound of the universe and consists of three syllables – A, U, and M – which are pronounced sequentially to create the sound “Aum.”

The history of the Om symbol is rooted in the ancient Vedic texts, which are some of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, dating back to 1500 BCE. The symbol has been mentioned in several Vedic hymns and was considered to be a sacred sound that represented the essence of the universe and the ultimate reality.

  • The sound “A” represents creation, birth, and the beginning of existence.
  • The sound “U” represents preservation, growth, and sustenance.
  • The sound “M” represents destruction, change, and the end of existence.

In Hinduism, the Om symbol is associated with various deities such as Shiva, Vishnu, and Ganesha and is often used in religious ceremonies, prayers, and meditation. The symbol is also used in yoga and is considered to be a powerful tool for achieving spiritual enlightenment and connecting with the divine.

Over time, the Om symbol has transcended religious boundaries and has become a universal symbol for peace and tranquility. It has been adopted by various non-Hindu spiritual practices and is often used as a decorative symbol in jewelry, clothing, and home decor.

Meaning of the Om symbol in Hinduism

The Om symbol is an essential religious icon that people associate with various cultures, especially India. Besides, it is a sacred syllable that appears in many spiritual texts, including the Rigveda and Upanishads.

The Significance of the Om symbol in Hinduism

  • Represents the divine and the universe: Om represents the sound of the universe and the divine soul. It is a means of merging the Supreme Being with your inner spirit.
  • Symbol of creation: According to the Hindu faith, Om depicts the creation of the universe and the cycle of birth and death. It is a powerful mantra that enhances spiritual growth and enlightenment.
  • Symbol of the Hindu trinity: Om represents the three Hindu deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They embody creation, preservation, and destruction, respectively.

The Sound and Symbolism of Om

The sound of Om is the vibration of the universe. It consists of three syllables, each representing a different state of consciousness.

The first syllable, A, stands for the waking state of consciousness. The second syllable, U, represents the dream state, while the third syllable, M, signifies the state of deep sleep. Together, these syllables illustrate the three states of human consciousness.

The Om Symbol and Meditation

The Om symbol is an integral part of meditation as it promotes mental clarity and spiritual growth. Chanting the Om mantra helps to still the mind, create balance, and enhance concentration during meditation.

Color Symbolism
White Purity and transcendence
Red Energy and life force
Gold Enlightenment and Divine illumination

Furthermore, the Om symbol consists of several curves, crosses, and dots that represent different spiritual concepts. The bottom curve depicts the waking state, while the top curve represents the state of enlightenment. The dot signifies the Absolute, which is formless and has no beginning or end.

In conclusion, the Om symbol is a sacred icon in Hinduism that depicts the universe’s creation, the cycle of birth and death, and the three states of consciousness. It is a powerful and essential element of meditation that enhances spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Significance of the Om symbol in Buddhism

The Om symbol, also known as Aum or Ohm, is a sacred sound and spiritual icon in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. In Buddhism, it holds significant meaning and is often chanted during meditation or spiritual practices. Its meaning goes beyond the literal sound to represent the entire universe, its existence, and its vastness.

The Three Sounds of Om

  • The first sound, or “A,” represents creation. It is the beginning of everything, the birth of the universe, and the start of consciousness.
  • The second sound, or “U,” represents preservation. It is the continuous existence of the universe and all its creations.
  • The third sound, or “M,” represents destruction. It is the end of everything and the beginning of a new cycle.

The Importance of the Threefold Nature in Buddhism

The three sounds of Om represent the threefold nature of reality in Buddhism. This threefold nature is also known as the Three Jewels or the Triple Gem. The first jewel is the Buddha, who represents enlightenment and compassion. The second jewel is the Dharma, which represents the teachings of the Buddha that guide individuals to achieve enlightenment. The third jewel is the Sangha, which represents the community of enlightened beings who have achieved Nirvana and can help others achieve enlightenment.

The threefold nature is an essential aspect of Buddhism, as it guides individuals to find their path towards enlightenment. The Om symbol represents this threefold nature in a concise and powerful manner, reminding individuals that everything in the universe is interconnected and that they can achieve enlightenment.

The Om symbol in Buddhist Scriptures

The Om symbol is found in various Buddhist scriptures, including the Heart Sutra and the Mahayana Sutras. In these scriptures, it is often associated with the sound of silence or stillness, representing the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice: achieving a state of inner peace, stillness, and enlightenment.

Buddhist Scripture Om Symbol Reference
Heart Sutra “Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha,” which translates to “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an Awakening, all-hail!”
Mahayana Sutras The sound of silence or stillness, which represents the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice: achieving inner peace, stillness, and enlightenment.

In conclusion, the Om symbol holds significant meaning in Buddhism. It represents the threefold nature of reality, the interconnectedness of all things, and the ultimate goal of achieving inner peace, stillness, and enlightenment. By chanting or meditating on the Om symbol, Buddhists can connect with the universe and take a step closer towards achieving enlightenment.

Om symbol in Jainism

Jainism, one of the oldest religions in India, also incorporates the Om symbol in their beliefs. The use of Om in Jainism is closely associated with the concept of Jain cosmology. According to Jainism, the universe is eternal and has no beginning or end, and all living beings, including humans, are trapped in the cycle of birth and death.

  • In Jainism, the Om symbol is used to depict the three jewels of Jainism – right knowledge, right conduct, and right faith.
  • The dot at the top of the Om symbol represents the unchanging, everlasting nature of the universe, while the semicircle and the three curves represent the birth, life, and death cycle of all living beings.
  • Jains use the Om symbol during their prayers and meditation sessions, believing that it helps them to connect with their inner self and find inner peace.

The use of Om in Jainism extends beyond just spiritual significance. Jains also use the symbol to represent the five major vows or principles, which are called “panch mahavrata” in Jainism. These principles include non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-attachment. The five principles are represented by the five different parts of the Om symbol.

Additionally, Om is also used to represent the Jain concept of “anekantavada,” which means the acceptance of diverse perspectives. Jains believe that there are multiple ways to view the world, and the use of Om symbolizes the acceptance of these diverse viewpoints and beliefs.

Part of the Om Symbol Representation
Dot The unchanging, everlasting nature of the universe
Semicircle Maya or the cycle of birth, life, and death
Three curves The three jewels of Jainism – right knowledge, right conduct, and right faith
Swastika The four forms of birth – oviparous (born from an egg), viviparous (born from a womb), spontaneous generation, and transformational (insect to butterfly)
Ladders The five major vows or principles of Jainism – non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-attachment

In conclusion, the Om symbol plays a significant role in Jainism, representing important concepts and beliefs such as the three jewels of Jainism, the five major vows, and the concept of anekantavada. Jains use the symbol during their meditation and prayer practices to connect with their inner self and find peace.

Om Symbol in Sikhism

In Sikhism, the Om symbol plays a vital role in their spiritual practices, often used to connect with the divine and achieve a higher state of consciousness. The Sikh religion offers an interesting perspective on the Om symbol, considering their unique beliefs about God. Here are some of the significant meanings of the Om symbol in Sikhism:

  • Number 5: The number five is a crucial element in Sikhism, and the Om symbol plays a significant role in its symbolism. The five symbols are known as “Panj Kakars,” representing the five beloved ones or the five virtues of Sikhism – truth, righteousness, compassion, contentment, and humility. The first letter of each sacred word forms the word “Waheguru.” These symbols include:
    • Kesh (uncut hair)
    • Kara (steel bracelet worn on the wrist)
    • Kanga (wooden comb worn in the hair)
    • Kaccha (special underwear worn)
    • Kirpan (short sword)

The number 5 is also associated with the human body, which has five elements or senses: air (breath), earth (flesh), water (blood), fire (digestion), and sky (soul).

Moreover, the Sikh Ardas (prayer) begins with “Ik Onkar Satnam,” which represents the first words of the Mul Mantar, emphasizing the role of Om in the Sikh religious practice.


The Om symbol in Sikhism signifies the essential role of finding the divine within oneself to connect with the universal consciousness. The number 5 is associated with the five symbols representing the five virtues of Sikhism, as well as the five elements of the human body. Understanding the significance of the Om symbol creates a deeper understanding of the Sikh religion and enhances our spiritual journey.

Yoga and the Om Symbol

The Om symbol is a sacred sound and spiritual icon in Indian religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. It represents the essence of the universe and is believed to have a powerful vibration that can connect the practitioner to the divine.

  • Om is a mantra that is chanted at the beginning and end of yoga classes, as well as during meditation and prayer.
  • It has three syllables, each representing a different aspect of creation: A (or “ah”), U (or “oo”), and M (or “mm”).
  • Some people also add a fourth syllable, “Om shanti shanti shanti,” which invokes peace and harmony.

The number six is significant in yoga and is often associated with the Om symbol. Here’s why:

There are six letters in the Sanskrit word “Om,” which is often spelled “AUM” in English. Each letter represents a different aspect of the universe:

Letter Meaning
A Waking state
U Dream state
M Deep sleep state
Bindu The fourth state, which transcends all other states and leads to enlightenment
Nada The sound vibration that arises from chanting Om
Kala The rhythm and duration of the sound vibration

The number six also represents the six chakras, or energy centers, in the body. Each chakra corresponds to a different element, such as earth, water, fire, and air. Chanting Om can help to activate and balance these chakras, leading to increased vitality and spiritual growth.

Chanting Om in Meditation

Chanting Om in meditation is a powerful way to bring focus and intention to your practice. Om is a sacred sound that represents the essence of creation and the vibrational energy of the universe. When you chant Om, you are connecting to this energy source and harnessing its power. Here are some things to keep in mind when chanting Om in meditation:

The Number 7

  • The number 7 is said to have spiritual significance and is often associated with the chakras, or energy centers, of the body.
  • There are believed to be 7 chakras in the body, starting at the base of the spine and ending at the crown of the head.
  • Each chakra is associated with a different aspect of our being, such as physical health, emotional well-being, or spiritual awareness.

Benefits of Chanting Om

Chanting Om has many benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. Here are just a few:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Improves overall well-being
  • Connects you to the sacred energy of the universe

How to Chant Om

To chant Om in meditation, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit.
  2. Take a few deep breaths to relax and center yourself.
  3. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath.
  4. As you exhale, begin to chant the sound “Om” (pronounced “aum”).
  5. Allow the sound to reverberate through your body, bringing you into a deeper state of relaxation and connection.
  6. Continue chanting for as long as you like, allowing the sound to fill you with its healing energy.
Chakra Location Associated Qualities
Root Base of Spine Grounding, Security, Survival
Sacral Lower Abdomen Creativity, Sexuality, Sensuality
Solar Plexus Upper Abdomen Personal Power, Confidence, Self-worth
Heart Chest Love, Compassion, Forgiveness
Throat Throat Communication, Self-expression, Authenticity
Third Eye Forehead Intuition, Imagination, Insight
Crown Top of Head Connection to Divine, Higher Consciousness, Enlightenment

Chanting Om in meditation can be a transformative practice, allowing you to connect to your deeper self and the energy of the universe. Incorporate this powerful tool into your meditation practice and experience the benefits for yourself.

Om Symbol in Popular Culture

The Om symbol, also known as Aum, has been adopted in popular culture in various facets ranging from fashion to tattoo design, thus gaining widespread recognition and appeal. Here, we explore the meaning of the number 8 in relation to the Om symbol.

  • Infinity: The number 8 represents infinity, which is often associated with the infinite nature of the universe and the divine. The loops in the Om symbol represent this infinite nature, as each loop and curve intertwines to create a never-ending cycle.
  • Balance and Harmony: In many cultures, including Hinduism, the number 8 is considered to represent balance and harmony. The Om symbol, which is often associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, also represents this concept of balance and harmony.
  • Transformation: The number 8 is also linked with transformation and new beginnings. In numerology, the number 8 is associated with power, ambition, and success.

When we apply these symbolic meanings of the number 8 to the Om symbol, we see how it encapsulates these beliefs and values. The Om symbol serves as a reminder of our connection to the infinite universe and the transformative power we possess.

Overall, the Om symbol and its relation to the number 8 have become increasingly popular in modern culture due to its rich symbolism and significance. People continue to use this symbol as a means of connecting with their spirituality, finding balance and harmony, and reminding themselves of their intrinsic power and potential.

Whether seen on clothing, jewelry, or tattoo designs, the Om symbol remains a powerful and recognizable symbol in pop culture, transcending religion and cultural boundaries.

Om symbol in modern spirituality: The significance of number 9

In Hinduism, the number 9 is considered sacred and divine, which is also reflected in the Om symbol. The Om symbol is composed of three curves, one semicircle, and a dot. Each curve represents the physical, mental, and spiritual states, while the dot represents the ultimate reality.

  • The three curves: The first curve symbolizes the waking state or the conscious state, where an individual is fully aware of their surroundings. The second curve represents the dreaming state or the subconscious state, where an individual may have access to hidden knowledge and insights. The third curve signifies the state of deep sleep or the unconscious state, where an individual is in a state of complete rest and rejuvenation.
  • The semicircle: The semicircle at the top represents the illusion of Maya, which is the material world and its transient nature. It reminds us that everything is temporary, and true peace and happiness lie beyond material possessions.
  • The dot: The dot at the bottom signifies the ultimate reality or Brahman, which is the source of all creation and manifestation. It represents the state of pure consciousness, transcendence, and oneness with the universe.

The number 9 is also significant in the Om symbol because it symbolizes the nine planets of the solar system, the nine nadis (energy channels) in the human body, and the nine levels of consciousness in the universe. It represents completeness, wholeness, and perfection, and is considered to be the highest single-digit number in numerology.

The number 9 is also associated with spirituality and enlightenment. It is believed that chanting the Om mantra 108 times (which is a multiple of 9) can lead to spiritual awakening and transformation. This is because the repetition of the Om mantra helps to align the mind, body, and soul and connects us to the universal consciousness.

Number Representation
1 The self
2 The other
3 The triad
4 The four directions
5 The five elements
6 The six senses
7 The seven chakras
8 The eight-fold path in Buddhism
9 The highest single-digit number

Overall, the number 9 is an integral part of the Om symbol and holds deep spiritual significance. It represents completeness, perfection, and the ultimate reality. By understanding the symbolism behind the Om symbol and the number 9, we can deepen our spiritual practice and connect with the universal consciousness.

Interpretations and Variations of the Om Symbol

The Om symbol has a rich history, with numerous interpretations and variations across different cultures and religions. One of the most significant aspects of the symbol is the number 10, which is central to its meaning and significance in many traditions.

  • The number 10 represents the tenfold nature of the universe, incorporating the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, along with the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
  • It also symbolizes the ten stages of the spiritual journey towards enlightenment in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, known as the Dasavidha-rupa.
  • Additionally, the 10 points of the symbol itself represent the ten essential principles of the universe, including knowledge, wisdom, and truth.

Overall, the number 10 represents completeness and the interconnectedness of all things, reflecting the holistic nature of the universe and our place within it.

In addition to its association with the number 10, the Om symbol also varies in its appearance and meaning across different cultures and traditions. For example:

  • In Hinduism, the symbol is often written as “Aum,” with the three curved lines representing the three states of consciousness: waking (A), dreaming (U), and deep sleep (M).
  • In Buddhism, the symbol is used to represent the union of the body, speech, and mind in meditation and spiritual practice.
  • In Jainism, the symbol represents the five spiritual vows taken by followers, including non-violence, truthfulness, and non-attachment.

While the Om symbol may vary in appearance and interpretation, its overall message of unity, completeness, and spiritual awareness remains a powerful symbol across a range of cultures and traditions.


In conclusion, the Om symbol is a powerful and multifaceted symbol with a rich history and meaning. The number 10 plays a central role in many of its interpretations, representing the interconnectedness and completeness of the universe. While its appearance and symbolism may vary across different cultures and traditions, the overall message of spiritual awareness and unity remains a common thread throughout.

Key Points: The number 10 represents completeness and interconnectedness in many traditions.
The Om symbol varies in its appearance and interpretation across different cultures and religions.
Despite these variations, the symbol reflects a universal message of spiritual awareness and unity.

FAQs about What Does Om Symbolize

1. What is the meaning of the om symbol?

Om is a sacred sound that represents the universe and everything within it. The symbol depicts the three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming, and deep sleep.

2. What is the significance of chanting om?

Chanting om helps to calm the mind and induce a feeling of deep relaxation. It allows us to connect with our inner self and the universe.

3. Is om a religious symbol?

Om is a spiritual symbol that has been used in various religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. However, it is not exclusively tied to any religion.

4. What is the correct way to pronounce om?

Om is pronounced as “aum” or “ohm,” with a prolonged “m” sound at the end.

5. How can one use the om symbol in their daily life?

The om symbol can be used as a reminder to stay mindful throughout the day. It can be incorporated into meditation practices or worn as a piece of jewelry.

6. What are the benefits of using the om symbol in meditation?

Using the om symbol in meditation can help to improve focus, relieve stress, and deepen one’s spiritual experience.

7. Can anyone use the om symbol or is it reserved for certain groups?

The om symbol can be used by anyone who resonates with its meaning and significance. It is not exclusive to certain groups or individuals.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about what om symbolizes! Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just starting to explore mindfulness practices, incorporating the om symbol into your daily life can be a helpful reminder to stay present and connected to the universe. Remember to visit again later for more insights on spirituality and self-improvement.