Background: In Indian scriptures the sacred syllable Om is the primordial sound from which all other sounds and creation emerge which signifies the Supreme Power.
Aims: To explore the significance of the syllable OM from ancient texts and effects of OM meditation in contemporary science. DESCRIPTIONS FROM ANCIENT TEXTS: The descriptions of Om have been taken from four Upanisads (Mundaka, Mandukya, Svetasvatara, and Katha), the Bhagvad Gita, and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON OM: Autonomic and respiratory studies suggest that there is a combination of mental alertness with physiological rest during the practice of Om meditation. Evoked potentials studies suggest a decrease in sensory transmission time at the level of the auditory association cortices, along with recruitment of more neurons at mesencephalic-diencephalic levels.
Conclusions: It is considered that a person who realizes Om, merges with the Absolute. Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in physiological alertness, and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.
Keywords: Om; autonomic variables; patanjali’s yoga sutras; upanisads.