Chapter 9: The Fire of Knowing
The wise make conscience the base arani, a wood used for creating fire, and om the top arani. The practice of creating friction by rubbing knowledge between om-arani and conscience-arani, kindles the fire of knowing. This fire burns away all bondage, making one free.
Perhaps you may have seen arani, kindling wood. Just by rubbing two pieces of this wood together in the right way, fire is created. In the ancient days, when this Upanishad was written, this was the only way of making a fire. Either they rubbed flint together, a kind of stone, or they rubbed arani together, a special kind of wood - and fire was created.
This is just a symbol. In this symbol, the sage has called conscience the base arani and om the top arani, and the fire that is created by rubbing these two together will burn the person’s whole past, all his actions, all his ignorance, to ashes. He will become free, liberated.
So om is one of the arani. I will speak to you about the inner chanting of om, but the first thing is the search for the real conscience, because no fire can be created in your pseudo so-called conscience; nothing can be created in it. It cannot become an arani. This is why I have talked to you so much about conscience. First, one should search for conscience, then for the inner sound of om.
You can chant om in three ways. One is loudly, with your voice: that is the outer chanting. Then you can close the mouth and not use even your tongue, chanting only in the mind: this is the chanting of a second, deeper level; it is in the middle. Then there is a third, an innermost chanting: when we use neither the mouth nor the throat nor the mind, and the soundless sound of om just goes on resonating. When this third kind of chanting becomes possible, then the ultimate atomic state of om has become available. When we have the conscience as the base arani, and this ultimate, atomic state of om as the top arani, then the fire created from the friction between these two is called the fire of knowing.
First, one has to practice om by chanting out loud, by chanting it with your voice. Then you close your mouth and chant om silently, within the mind. It all depends on your intensity, how much time each person will need. If the friction is intense, the third level will also happen sooner. Your depth, your thirst, will make it happen faster.
When the silent chanting has become so natural that it continues no matter what you are doing, it continues even when you have forgotten about it, then this third level happens. You are walking and the silent chanting continues, you are doing some work and it continues, you are eating your food and it continues. Slowly, slowly you will come to a state that even when you are talking, it will continue within you. It becomes spontaneous, and it continues even when you are sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing that you will experience is this silent sound which has been with you during the whole night.