Scientists Use Math To Analyse The ‘Om’ Chant

OmMarc Abrahams for the Guardian:

Indian scientists wield sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound ‘Om’

Two Indian scientists are wielding sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound “Om”. The Om team has published six monographs in academic journals. These plumb certain acoustic subtleties of Om, which these researchers say is “the divine sound”.

Om has many variations. In a study published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, the researchers explain: “It may be very fast, several cycles per second. Or it may be slower, several seconds for each cycling of [the] Om mantra. Or it might become extremely slow, with the mmmmmm sound continuing in the mind for much longer periods but still pulsing at that slow rate. It is somewhat like one of these vibrations:

‘OMmmOMmmOMmm…

‘OMmmmmOMmmmmOMmmmm…

‘OMmmmmmmmOMmmmmmmmOMmm’…

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  • Anonymous

    Wow. Remarkably half-assed, especially for scientists. They might have wanted to take the time to learn that strictly speaking, “OM”is a part of larger chants, primarily, “OM MA NI PAD ME HUM” (among several others) the mantra of Chenrezi (also known as Avalokiteshvara), the Buddha of Compassion.

    Buddhism divides incarnations into realms (think of them as both states of existence and/or alternate universes). They are referred to as the “Six Styles of Imprisonment”, and Buddhists believe we all, sooner or later, experience each of them. A hell realm, a hungry ghost realm, an animal realm, the human realm, the jealous god realm, and the god realm.

    Each of the sounds in the mantra has a corresponding color (the first five of which also correspond with each of the five Buddha families) and signifies one of these realms:

    OM = White = God Realm (Composed of three elements in Sanskrit: body, speech, & mind.)

    MA = Green = Demi/Jealous God Realm

    NI = Yellow = Human Realm

    PAD = Blue = Animal Realm

    ME = Red = Hungry Ghost Realm

    HUM = Black = Hell Realm

    So when you say Chenrezi’s mantra, you are literally visualizing compassion emanating from yourself in every direction, and into every realm of deluded existence, with the intent of comforting and guiding beings towards enlightenment and reducing their suffering. It is said that all the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha can be understood, if you can grasp the full import of just these six syllables, the power of their sounds, tone, accompanying colors, and underlying meaning.

    And there are other mantras which include “OM” like the bodhisattva vow:

    “Namo ratna trayaya
    Om kamkani kamkani
    Rotsani rotsani trotani trotani
    Trasani transani tratihana tratihana
    Sarwa karma param parani me
    Sarwa sato nensta soha”

    Basic meaning:

    “For as long as space endures
    And for as long as living beings remain
    Until then, may I too abide
    To dispel the misery of the world.”

    Or the Heart Sutra which goes:

    “Teyatha, om gate gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi soha.”

    Meaning:

    “Gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond enlightenment, so be it.”

    All the sounds in Sanskrit have primal significance, and effect the body and consciousness in different ways. That is precisely the power of it.

    So my overall response to the study is basically, “Duh….”

    And it’s not meant to bring peace to yourself, but to bring it to every sentient being everywhere. It’s about giving, not taking.

    As to whether or not it brings steadiness of mind by repeating it, well of course it does. The act of repetition pushes your mind into an alpha state, which again, is the whole point. To create “one-pointed mind” and quiet down the relentless chatter of our consciousness. It’s like stretching the brain muscle in the same way as you would any other muscle to allow it time to relax and expel toxins.

  • 5by5

    Wow. Remarkably half-assed, especially for scientists. They might have wanted to take the time to learn that strictly speaking, “OM”is a part of larger chants, primarily, “OM MA NI PAD ME HUM” (among several others) the mantra of Chenrezi (also known as Avalokiteshvara), the Buddha of Compassion.

    Buddhism divides incarnations into realms (think of them as both states of existence and/or alternate universes). They are referred to as the “Six Styles of Imprisonment”, and Buddhists believe we all, sooner or later, experience each of them. A hell realm, a hungry ghost realm, an animal realm, the human realm, the jealous god realm, and the god realm.

    Each of the sounds in the mantra has a corresponding color (the first five of which also correspond with each of the five Buddha families) and signifies one of these realms:

    OM = White = God Realm (Composed of three elements in Sanskrit: body, speech, & mind.)

    MA = Green = Demi God Realm

    NI = Yellow = Human Realm

    PAD = Blue = Animal Realm

    ME = Red = Hungry Ghost Realm

    HUM = Black = Hell Realm

    So when you say Chenrezi's mantra, you are literally visualizing compassion emanating from yourself in every direction, and into every realm of deluded existence, with the intent of comforting and guiding beings towards enlightenment and reducing their suffering. It is said that all the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha can be understood, if you can grasp the full import of just these six syllables, the power of their sounds, tone, accompanying colors, and underlying meaning.

    And there are other mantras which include “OM” like the bodhisattva vow:

    “Namo ratna trayaya
    Om kamkani kamkani
    Rotsani rotsani trotani trotani
    Trasani transani tratihana tratihana
    Sarwa karma param parani me
    Sarwa sato nensta soha”

    Basic meaning:

    “For as long as space endures
    And for as long as living beings remain
    Until then, may I too abide
    To dispel the misery of the world.”

    Or the Heart Sutra which goes:

    “Teyatha, om gate gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi soha.”

    Meaning:

    “Gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond enlightenment, so be it.”

    All the sounds in Sanskrit have primal significance, and effect the body and consciousness in different ways. That is precisely the power of it.

    So my overall response to the study is basically, “Duh….”

    And it's not meant to bring peace to yourself, but to bring it to every sentient being everywhere. It's about giving, not taking.

    As to whether or not it brings steadiness of mind by repeating it, well of course it does. The act of repetition pushes your mind into an alpha state, which again, is the whole point. To create “one-pointed mind” and quiet down the relentless chatter of our consciousness. It's stretching the brain muscle in the same way as you would any other muscle to allow it time to relax.