There are various ways in which Om can be invoked for blessing and benefitting yourself and others.
To awaken and establish Om within yourself as a living divine presence, it is good to do what the yogis of India call Mantra Purascharana. Purascharana is the repetition of a mantra one hundred thousand times for each letter in it. Om is Ekakshara, the Single-Lettered, because only consonants are counted as “letters” in Sanskrit. So you repeat Om one hundred thousand times to complete the purascharana.
You will need to keep count. This is done by using a string of beads known as a japa mala. A japa mala has one hundred and eight beads plus a kind of connecting bead at the end that lets you know when you have completed a full round. You do not do japa at/on that bead. So to complete the purascharana you will do one thousand rounds on the japa mala.
Here is how you go about it. As you mentally intone Om once, roll a bead so you move on to the next one. When you complete a round of the whole mala, make some kind of mark on a piece of paper or in a notebook. One thousand marks lets you know you are done.
If you have a mala that has a string with ten small counter beads hanging off the end bead, start with them at the top of the string and move one bead down each time you complete a round. When all ten beads have been moved down, them make a mark. When you have made one hundred marks, each mark representing ten completed malas, you will be done, having completed the thousand rounds of one hundred and eight repetitions each.
(If your japa mala is being kept in a japa bag and the counter beads are affixed to the bag, use them in the same way. If you have twenty counter beads instead of ten, the you will only need to make fifty marks instead of one hundred.)
All the japa (repetitions) being counted in the purascharana should be done seated with eyes closed in meditation. Do not worry if the mind wanders some. That is natural. It will still work.
Outside your seated meditation time keep right on intoning Om every waking moment, though not keeping count. (But you can keep turning the beads if it helps you remember to do the japa.) Just listen to the mentally intoned sounds as much as possible. It will get easier as you go along. Immerse your inner awareness in Om whatever you are doing. Outside the counting time you can do Om japa in time with the breath if you like. Sometimes you might want to intone Om aloud for a while.
How long should you sit at a time? Work that out by practice. Do not overdo and do not underdo. The mind can try to trick you into both. However, one and a half hours is a good minimum period, working up to three hours as a standard time period with an hour or less as free time between the three-hour periods. During free time you can read or even have a meal.
And do not care how long the purascharana takes. It is the effect that matters, not the time taken. As a rule if a person does the counted japa steadily, but not rushed, the purascharana can be completed somewhere between three and four days–if the counted japa is done for eight to nine hours a day. Since that figure will have to be worked up to, it might take about a week to easily complete the purascharana unless something unusual comes up to interrupt it.
An alternative to Purascharana is a Yoga Day. On a Yoga Day you stay at home and unplug: turn off the telephone, computer, smart phone, CD player, television and radio, read nothing but spiritual writings and meditate. Meditation is the heart of a Yoga Day. Ideally, you should meditate for at least two three-hour periods, but you may need to work up to that. For some reason three hours is a breakthrough, watershed or plateau number, for if you can meditate for three hours you can meditate even longer. You can do as much more as you wish, but it should be sensible and not forced. A Yoga Day is to be enjoyable and beneficial, not a struggle and a misery. Be sure you eat sensibly, too. Fasting is not what it is about.
A typical Yoga Day begins with a three-hour meditation session at a sensibly early hour. This is followed by a one-hour break during which you should eat breakfast and read. Then meditate three more hours. The rest of the day should be structured as you please, ending also at a sensible time. It is better to go to bed early rather than late. You might have some more meditation in one-hour sessions, or a two-hour session or another three-hour session. Just as you like. Do not push yourself and do not slack off. Do not leave the house and go for a walk. And do not answer the door.
Throughout the day keep up the repetitions of Om whether meditating or not. Just listen to the mentally intoned sounds of Om. Immerse your inner awareness in Om whatever you are doing. It will get easier as you go along. To help keep remembering Om you can even use a japa mala as much as you like. Do not worry if your mind wanders; that is natural. The Yoga Day, too, will bring you real benefit, as you will see.
It is good to sometimes have two or more Yoga Days in a row. Some people go out of town to a quiet place where they can be alone for a few days. Others find a quiet hotel that has vegetarian food and spend their days in a room depending on room service for their food. At such times it is actually good to go on one or two walks each day if you can do so without being distracted or bothered by anyone. Not having contact with people is essential, though of course you should not be rude to anyone. Just do your best to be alone. Insist on it, actually. But politely.
It increases the effectiveness of the following practices if you are aware of your Sahasrara throughout.
“Sandhya” means “junction” and usually refers to dawn and sunset, the junctions of day and night.
Shortly before dawn and sunset stand facing east or west with your hands joined palm-to-palm (pranam) and mentally intone Om in the tolling bell manner, looking intently at the sun and feeling a connection (or even identity) with it and the evolving energies that flow from the sun. Feel that you are absorbing them throughout your entire being.
Do this until the sun has fully risen or set.
Face the sun, hold hands with palms upright as though holding them out to receive alms, and intone Om silently in time with the breath. Feel that the power and light of the sun fills your hands and lower arms during inhalations, and disperses throughout your body during the exhalations.
Filling a place with Om vibrations
When you mentally intone Om in/at the Sahasrara, the light and power of Om keep on building up throughout your aura and expanding it as long as you keep on intoning Om with your attention at the Sahasrara. Everyone and everything encompassed by that light and power will be uplifted and benefitted. In this way you can fill an entire building or large outdoor area with the vibrations of Om. In this way you can bless a limitless number of people wherever you go. Please do not neglect this simple but wondrous practice.
Sending Om vibrations to an individual who is present
Simply look at a person (directly or indirectly) and silently intone Om, feeling it flowing to them and vibrating through them. If they will not be able to see you doing it, extend your hands palms outward toward them and intone Om mentally and feel the vibrations (and even the sound) of Om flowing through your hands and going to them. (To not be noticed you can also unobtrusively hold your hands toward them with your fingertips pointing toward them. For example, you can put your open hands on your knees or thighs and aim your fingertips at them.) Do this until you feel you have done enough.
Sending Om vibrations to an individual who is not present
Sit quietly and bring the person to mind. Then do simple mental japa of Om, feeling and intending that the vibrations should pervade them. Continue until you feel you should stop. You can also hold your hands out in front of you and intend the Om vibrations to go through your hands to them. If someone might observe you, then beam Om through your fingertips as described above. It does not matter if your hands are held or extended toward where they are physically, but if you know the direction they are in and prefer to face that way, do so.
Wherever you sense help is needed, turn in that direction, extend your hands and intone Om (as you exhale). At the same time you can mentally hold in mind an intention or affirmation.
How to bless something
You bless objects, places, people–anything, even the whole world–by filling them with Om vibrations.
One way is to extend your hands with palms turned toward them and intone Om while willing the vibrations to emanate from your hands and enter them and permeate them.
Another way is to extend your right hand, palm outward, toward the object while touching the center of your chest with the palm of your left hand as you intone Om.
A third way is to actually touch the object(s) with either your right hand (left palm on chest) or to touch them with both hands as you intone Om.
If for some reason you cannot touch them, then look at them intently and intone Om, feeling that Om is vibrating throughout them.
All food, drink and medicine–anything to be ingested–should be first magnetized with Om through the palm(s) of the hands. In public just look at them.
Water, Salt and Oil
Blessed water, salt and oil are very helpful tools for purification, blessing and protection. You bless them in the manners just described. You need not touch them directly, but can if you wish. It is a good idea to repeat the blessing every time you are going to use them, since some elements hold the vibrations longer than others. It is also a good thing to keep some water, salt and oil in a vehicle and even to carry small containers in your pocket or purse.
Use the water to purify and elevate the vibrations of an object or place. Use the salt to break negative psychic links and clear an object or place. Use the oil to do all that as well as to strengthen and heal.
The water should be pure, natural water–not with added chemicals. Do not use distilled water unless there is nothing else. The salt should be pure, natural salt–gray or pink organic salt is preferred. The oil should be pure, organic olive oil of the highest quality.
The ordinary “impure” kind of these three may also be used in time of need. In a pinch use whatever is at hand.
It is useful to fill the oil container with cotton first and then pour in the oil. It can be used like a priest does an oil stock. This is much less messy and easier to control.
Any size containers of any material you like can be used, though it is a good idea to have larger containers at home from which smaller ones can be refilled.
Bless one or more sticks of incense, then light it while mentally intoning Om. The incense will radiate the vibrations of Om as long as it burns.
Bless a candle as you would incense. Light the wick of the candle mentally intoning Om. The candle will radiate the blessing and purifying vibrations of Om as long as it burns.
You can do this for a special purpose or person, holding your intention in mind as you light the wick of the candle mentally intoning Om.
Do not forget: It increases the effectiveness of all these methods if you maintain Sahasrara awareness throughout.
Om Yoga links:
Preface to Om Yoga: The Physics of OM
- The Word That Is God
- OM in the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Sutras
- Om Yoga Meditation
- The Yogi’s Subtle Anatomy and Meditation
- Understanding the Aspects of Om Yoga Meditation
- Points For Successful Meditation
- Foundations of Yoga
- Afterword: It Is All Up To You
- Appendix One: The Glories and Powers of Om
- Appendix Two: Breath and Sound in Meditation
- Appendix Three: Practical Applications of Om
More on OM Yoga:
Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary
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