Why Do Different Masters Teach Different Ways of Chanting OM?


Why is it so that different Masters taught different ways of OM chanting? Some say it is AUM not OM. Swami Vivekanand ji also told it is AUM. Recently I have watched one video of Sadguru ji where Sadguru ji explained the way of AUM chanting. But when I saw one video of Guruji (Paramhansa Yoganandji) in that video master was chanting OM not AUM. Please guide me what should I do?

—Vicky Arora, India


Dear Vicky,

The Cosmic Vibration, the creative force of the universe, may be spelled as Aum or Om. Both are acceptable. I will use Aum in my note to you. When we chant Aum aloud we are attuning our minds and hearts to this vibration but we cannot ‘imitate’ this vibration with our voices as the sound is far beyond what any human voice can produce. Yogananda, whose teachings we follow at Ananda, pointed out that when chanting aloud it is more correct to chant a pure oh followed by mmm,‘Om’, rather than try to pronounce the three letters of Aum as in ahhh—oooo—mmm.

Are you drawn to a particular spiritual teacher? I encourage you to chant Aum in the fashion they teach. The details taught by the various true teachers may vary on the surface but the eternal truth they share is one. It is easy to get confused if you try to compare teachings. Go with guidance that expands your heart, deepens your practices and fans your longing for God.

There is a recording of Kriyananda chanting the mantra Aum and you can purchase this CD Aum Mantra of Eternity in India at this link. At this link you will also find an audio sample from this album so you can hear the pronunciation.

There is a beautiful definition of Aum that accompanies this CD which I am copying here for you:

Aum (pronounced OM) is the sound that emanates from the heart of creation, bringing consciousness into outer manifestation, maintaining it, and dissolving it back again, finally, into Infinite Spirit. This sound is the “Word” of the New Testament. It is the “Amen” of the Book of Revelation. In India, this cosmic sound was given the name AUM.

By attuning one’s consciousness to this sound, one enters the stream of vibration that proceeded out of Spirit, and that emerges back into the Spirit at creation’s end and at the end of the individual soul’s cycle of outward wandering. By merging in AUM, liberation is attained.

What more can we ask for?

Nayaswami Mukti