Meditating on 'Om'

The syllable Om, says the Chandogya Upanishad, is the Udgitha. The Udgitha is the Sama song which heralds the commencement of a rite and sings into being all that is desired.

The 'devas' and 'asuras' both the children of 'prajapati', were at war with each other. The 'devas' became Udgitha priests and desired to defeat the 'asuras' using the Udgitha.

They meditated on 'Om', as the vital force residing in the organ of smell. The 'asuras' pierced it with evil and the nose smelt both the fragrance and the stench. They meditated on 'Om' as the vital force residing in the organ of sight. The 'asuras' pierced it with evil and the eyes saw both what they ought to and what they ought not to. They meditated on 'OM' as the vital force residing in the organ of speech. The 'asuras' pierced it with evil so that the tongue uttered both the truth and untruth. They meditated on 'Om' as the vital force residing in the organ of hearing. The 'asuras' pierced it with evil and the ear heard both the desirable and the undesirable. They meditated on 'Om' as the vital force residing in the mind. The 'asuras' pierced it with evil and even a good mind became easy to manipulate. All that was pierced by evil became corruptible and the 'devas' could not defeat the 'asuras'. The Udgitha was in vain.

Then they meditated on 'Om' as the vital force residing in the mouth. Again the 'asuras' pierced it with evil. The space in the mouth could not be pierced. It was smashed as a lump of clay would be on hitting solid rock. The evil perished. The space in the mouth was detached from the sensations. It did not desire for itself the joy of the good nor was it tempted by the forbidden. The food that entered this space nourished not this space but all the other organs. The other organs would not be able to sustain themselves without this service.

He who thus meditates on 'Om', meditates on the vital force, detached from the senses, and understands the vital force as pure and without self-interest, he realises the true self. Any evil action or intention against such a person is smashed and destroyed. So it is said.

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