Today’s guest blogger Jonathan Goldman is a writer, musician and teacher. He is an authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. Jonathan is the author of Healing Sound: The Power Of Harmonics (Inner Traditions), Shifting Frequencies (Light Technology) The Lost Chord (Spirit Music) and Tantra Of Sound (Hampton Road), co-authored with his wife Andi.
Jonathan has written numerous articles on the therapeutic and transformational uses of sound and music, which have appeared in many national publications. He has also contributed chapters and interviews to many books and his work has been cited in several books. The McGraw-Hill college text, Music In Our World, has a chapter on Jonathan’s recording of “Dolphin Dreams“. In DaVinci Decoded, Jonathan’s CD “Chakra Chants” (one of The Shift Doctors’ favorite CDs that we recommend to our students) is listed as the #1 Selection for “Top Ten Spiritual Playlist”.
Planetary Healing Sounds by Jonathan Goldman
The following article contains information about three short and powerful mantras—sacred sounds that may effectively be used individually or in groups for transformation: “OM”, “AH” and “HU”. These mantras are particularly useful sounds for projecting specific intentions. Please note that it does not seem to matter what pitch, frequency or keynote the mantra is chanted with regard to the effect of the mantra. The intention of the chanter, however, does seem to affect the power of the mantra and can amplify the energy even more. For this reason, you may find the article on “Intention” of interest.
Mantras are “words of power”. The word “mantra” is Sanskrit and may be translated as the “thoughts that liberate from samsara (the world of illusions)”. Mantras are listened to or recited by a practitioner for many different purposes; as a means of achieving different states of consciousness, to create resonance with specific attributes of divine energy, and to manifest different qualities, from resonating the chakras to embodying compassion.
Mantras are found in all the different sacred traditions including Judaism and Christianity—the “Hail Mary” or “Amen” in the Christian Tradition or the “Shema” or “Shalom” in the Hebrew tradition are the equivalent of mantras, as is any repetition of prayer, chant or sacred sound. The prayers, chants and sacred sounds of the Native American tradition or the Islamic tradition may also be considered mantras. In fact, there is virtually no spiritual tradition, including indigenous peoples, in which the recitation of sacred sound as mantra does not occur.
While there are many mantras that are quite long and complex, many people are often looking for short mantras that may be easily sounded when people meet together in a group. Within the context of mantra, the most famous of these mantras— the mantra that is considered the “first of all mantras” is the OM. For this reason, the “Om” is an excellent mantra to work with. In this writing, we will examine several such short mantras which may be used effectively.
Of all the sacred sounds on this planet, the one that is most often chanted is the “OM”. Undoubtedly, at any given moment, there is someone, somewhere chanting this sacred mantra. The “OM ” is considered one of the oldest vocal sounds in existence—many speculate that it has been chanted for untold thousands of years. It is considered to be the original, primordial sound—the mantra of creation.
OM is a mantra from the Hindu tradition. OM is a Sanskrit word, which is said to be the original primordial creative sound from which the universe and all of creation first manifested. While pronounced “OM”, certain Sanskrit scholars state that it is written as “AUM”. Many consider the two words to be interchangeable because of this. OM is said to be the sound that contains all sounds–it is the totality of all other sounds. Swami Sivananda Radha says, “The cosmic sound AUM, or its condensed form, OM, is the origin of all other sound. OM is everything. It is the name of God.”
OM is a multi-dimensional sound, and as such, may be understood a number of different ways. One understanding is that OM (or it’s written form “AUM”) represents attributes of the major trinity of Hindu gods; Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva. The sounding of the “A” represents the energy of Brahman, the creator and the creational process. The middle portion of the sound, the “U” represents the energy of Vishnu, the preserver and relates to the maintenance and preservation of what has been created. The final “M” represents the energy of Shiva, the transformer and relates to the vital transformational energy to shift and change that which has been created and preserved.
Another understanding of the OM (or “AUM”) is that the “A” represents the physical plane, the “U” the “mental and astral planes” and the “M, all that is beyond the reach of the intellect. “AUM” or OM is the initial syllable, which begins almost all mantras. Thus OM represents the Infinite, the One Mind, the all embracing consciousness—that which is the very essence of existence.
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the OM (“AUM”) represents different aspects of the trinity of the Body, Speech and Mind of the Buddha, or an enlightened being. The “A” represents the Body, the “U” represents Speech, and the “M” represents the Mind. Sounding the AUM in this manner puts one in resonance with these qualities of consciousness.
The OM is a Bija (or “seed”) mantra and may be utilized to resonate the third eye. However, it may also be chanted as a 3 syllable word “AUM” (and pronounced as “AH – OH – MMM”) to resonate the heart, the throat and the crown chakras. In fact, the OM can, through our intent, become a multi-purpose mantra with capabilities of resonating and aligning all the chakras—of cleansing imbalanced energies and purifying self. Sung with sincerity and devotion, vocalization of the OM can put the chanter in touch with the source of all creation, providing a bridge between the spiritual and physical dimensions and opening the way for inspirational contact with higher realms and beings.
Many people ask if there is indeed a correct pronunciation for the OM. Is it “OM” or “AUM” or something else? In reality, there does not seem to be a correct pronunciation. Depending upon the country, language and dialect, the OM can be pronounced “AUM, UM, UNG, ANG, ONG” and so on. Yet, the resonance and effects of this mantra seem to be very similar despite varied differences in pronunciation. Much depends upon the intention of the person creating the sound—where do they wish the “OM” to resonate—which chakra and for what purpose. .
OM as a sound symbolizes the supreme source. To many, the sound of OM is synonymous with the energy of peace. OM may be found as the root of many sacred words of different languages including our western “Amen” and the Hebrew “Shalom”, which has many meanings including “peace”. The OM initiates peace and tranquility when it is listened to, and particularly when it is chanted.
One of the most powerful mantras on this planet is the sound “AH”. This is an extremely powerful sound–particularly useful for generating compassion. I know you will agree that compassion is truly a key to transformation of consciousness on this planet.
The “AH” sound is a sacred seed syllable—a sacred mantras in many Eastern traditions including Tibetan Buddhism. It is also a vowel sound—a divinely inspired sound that is considered sacred in many different traditions including Hebrew Kabbalah.
The “AH” sound is found in most of the God and Goddess names on the planet (Tara, Buddha, Krishna, Yah, Yeheshua, Saraswati, Wakantanka, Quan Yin, etc.), as well as many of the sacred words (Amen, Alleluia, Aum). As a seed syllable, the “AH” is universal and may be utilized differently in different traditions, depending upon its purpose. In the Tibetan tradition, the “AH” is as a sacred mantra. In Western mystical traditions, it is a vowel sound.
Most mystical traditions worldwide that work is the vowels sounds in relationship to the chakras find that the “AH” sound the sound of the heart chakra. This chakra, which is located in the center of the chest is the energy center associated with love and compassion. Indeed, when many people think about the energy of love, they express it as an “AH” sound. Many spiritual masters believe that the activation of this chakra is most helpful for achieving higher consciousness and enlightenment. Most agree that the energy of love and the heart is the primary, essential energy of the universe.
Many people believe that the “AH” sound is the primary sound that is created when we are born—the sound being birthed on the inhalation of the first breath. The “AH” sound is also the last sound we make, riding on the energy of our final exhalation. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a co-meditation technique which uses the “AH” sound. Chanting “AH” together (or even simply by just breathing together) allows people to attune and resonate with each other. It seems that the heart beat, respiration and brain waves of two people will entrain with each other through breathing or sounding “AH” together. This use of the “AH” sound may be particularly effective for those involved in hospice work. In this situation, the “AH” sound may once again be used as a sound of the heart chakra.
I often recommend the “AH” as a sound for people who want to work with short mantras in groups. The reason for this is that as has been discussed, “AH” is an extremely transformative sound. Yet, most people know of it only as a vowel sound, and thus it defies association with any spiritual denomination or description as a mantra. While other sounds such as “OM” might be rejected by certain audiences because they are recognized as Eastern mantras or coming from another spiritual traditions, the sounding of an “AH” is acceptable by everyone regardless of their background, culture or religion.
Here is an easy exercise with regard to working with the “AH” sound to generate the energy of compassion. All you do is have people sound an “AH” while they are generating the energy of compassion. Start first with yourself, then with someone you love, then with someone you have neutral energy with and finally with someone you have difficulty with. It is this last that provides the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth, since it’s easy to send love to someone you love and real hard to do it to someone you don’t.
Just as many traditions believe that the “OM” is the original creative sound, there are traditions that believe that this energy may be attributed to another sound—the “HU”. In the Shabd Yoga traditions, including Master Path and Eckankar and in the mystical Islamic path of Sufi, the “HU” is considered to be the highest vibratory mantra that can be sounded. Chanting the “HU” is said to lead one to transcendence—to God realization and enlightenment.
“HU” is believed to be the universal name of God, which is present in every existing language. The “HU” sound has been described as many things from the buzzing of bees to the rushing of wind to the flute of God. It is said to be present in the words we speak, in the sounds of animals; that it is the wind in the trees, the rushing of waters, the roaring of water falls, the beat of the sea against a beach—that it is everywhere, in every plane.
Like the “AH” and the “OM”, the “HU” may be perceived of as a seed syllable. Depending upon its pronunciation, it may also be perceived of as a vowel sound—the “U”. The “HU” creates extraordinary energy for balance and clearing. Many believe it activates both the heart and the crown chakras. When sounded together in a large group, it is extremely powerful and transformative.
Different spiritual paths seem to have very different ways of pronouncing the “HU”, the sacred name of God. Certain spiritual paths from the Shabd Yoga traditions will chant it as one would the word “you”. Other spiritual variants of Shabd Yoga, will chant it as the word “who” which is said to be good for clearing the crown chakra. In the Sufi Tradition, there is even a way of chanting the “HU”, doing it with lips barely touching and being the primary vibrator, so that this “HU” sound almost sounds like a motorboat or a buzzing insect. The Sufis perceive this “HU” is good for resonance of the throat chakra. Different groups may insist that their pronunciation of “HU” is the only correct pronunciation. However, regardless of the way it is chanted, continued, elongated sounding of “HU”, particularly with specific intention and visualization, will lead the reciter into an elevated state of consciousness.
“OM”, “AH” and “HU” are just a few of the one syllable mantras from different traditions—there are many others. These three have been described because of their recognition and power.
Interestingly, these one-syllable mantras combine quite easily. In fact, if one chants the “OM” or “AUM” as a three-syllable sound as suggested elsewhere—“AH OH MM”—you have one combination which contains at least two of these sounds. When pronounced in the way, the “OM” or “AUM” should be sounded on one breath. Project the 3 syllables as three separate sounds so that the “AH” resonates the heart center, the “OH” resonates the throat center and the “MM” resonates the third eye and crown. This way of sounding the “OM” is extremely effective in a group for bringing the energy of the people together.
The Tibetan Buddhist Chant of “OM AH HUM” also contains these sounds. The “OM AH HUM”, the Mantra of Blessing frequently precedes the recitation of other mantras. In this setting, when utilized as part of this mantra, the “AH” embodies the principle of creative sound and pure speech and is used to resonate the throat chakra (with the “OM” resonating the crown chakra and the “HUM” resonating the heart chakra).
In conclusion, these three mantras of “OM”, “AH” and “HUM” are particularly effective for working with a group in order to create and then project sacred sound for use to assist in planetary healing sound—using sound to assist the creation of peace and harmony on the earth. As always, it should be stated that the intent of the chanter is of great importance. In the article on “INTENTION” is much information on understanding this and in particular, the formula Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation. By themselves, these mantras have their own extraordinary divine resonance. But through skillful means, one can project intention upon these sounds, amplifying and making even more extraordinary the great healing gifts they can bring.
Jonathan Goldman (with “The Shift Doctors” Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.)
As an internationally acknowledged Master Teacher, Jonathan Goldman facilitates Healing Sounds Seminars at universities, hospitals, holistic health centers and expos throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared on national television and radio, including Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” and has been featured in national periodicals including “USA Today” and “The New York Times”. His annual Healing Sounds Intensive attracts participants from throughout the world. For more information about Jonathan Goldman please see www.healingsounds.com