The Hindu OM Symbol - The Sacred Sound of AUM
The Om (or Aum) sign is the main symbol of Hinduism. Most religions indicate that creation began with sound-- In the beginning was the word... For the Hindus & Buddhists, Om is the primordial sound, the first breath of creation, the vibration that ensures existence. Om sign signifies God, Creation, & the One-ness of all creation.
The Om symbol is a sacred syllable representing Brahman, the impersonal Absolute - omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. Om, therefore, represents both the unmanifest (nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of God. That is why it is called Pranava, to mean that it pervades life and runs through our prana or breath.
Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras, the highest of all matras or divine word (shabda), brahman (ultimate reality) itself. Aum is said to be the essence of the Vedas.
By sound and form, AUM symbolizes the infinite Brahman (ultimate reality) and the entire universe.
~ Upanishad I ~
"A" stands for Creation
"U" stands for Preservation
"M" stands for Destruction or Dissolution
The three portions of AUM relate to the states of waking, dream, deep sleep, and the three gunas (rajas, satva, tamas).
The three letters also indicates three planes of existence, heaven (swarga), earth (martya), and netherworld (patala).
All the words produced by the human vocal organ can be represented by AUM. A is produced by the throat, U & M by the lips. In the Vedas, AUM is the sound of the Sun, the sound of Light. It is the sound of assent (affirmation) and ascent (it has an upwards movement and uplifts the soul, as the sound of the divine eagle or falcon.