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Chapter 1: The Singer

Why Omkar? - because when words are lost and the mind becomes void, when the individual is immersed in the ocean, even then the strain of Omkar remains audible within him. It is not a man-made tune but the melody of existence. Omkar is the very being of existence; therefore Om has no meaning. Om is not a word but a resonance that is unique, having no source, no creation by anyone. It is the resonance of the being of existence. It is like a waterfall: you sit beside a waterfall and you hear its song but the sound is created by the water hitting against the rocks. Sit by a river and listen to its sound; it is caused by the river striking against the banks.

We need to go deeper to understand things. Science tries to break down the whole of existence. What it first discovered was energy in the form of electricity, and then charged particles like the electron of which all of existence is made. Electricity is only a form of energy. If we ask a scientist what sound is made of, he will say that it is nothing but waves of electricity, waves of energy. So energy is at the root of everything. The sages say the same thing; they are in agreement with the scientists except for a slight difference of language. Sages have come to know that all existence is created out of sound, and sound is only an expression of energy. Existence, sound, energy - all are one.

The approach of science is to analyze and break things down, to reach the conclusion. The sage’s approach is absolutely different: through synthesis they have discovered the indivisibility of the self.

The wind rises creating a murmur in the branches of the tree, a collision of air against the leaves. When the musician plays a chord on an instrument, the sound is produced by a blow. All sound is produced by an impact, and an impact requires two - the strings of the instrument and the fingers of the musician. Two are necessary to form any sound.

But God’s name is beyond all separateness. His name is the resonance that remains when all dualities have faded and cease to exist. Within this indivisible whole you come across this resonance. When a person reaches the state of samadhi, Omkar resounds within him. He hears it resounding inside him and all around him; all creation seems to be vibrating with it.

He is struck with wonder when it first happens knowing that he is not creating the sound. He is doing nothing and yet this resonance is coming - from where? Then he realizes that this sound is not created by any impact, any friction; it is the anahat nad, the frictionless sound, the unstruck sound.

Nanak says: “Omkar alone is God’s name.” Nanak refers to name a great deal. Whenever Nanak speaks of his name - “His name is the path,” or “He who remembers his name attains” - he is referring to Omkar, because Omkar is the only name that is not given to him by man, but is his very own. None of the names given by man can carry you very far. If they do go some distance towards him, it is only because of some slight shadow of Omkar within them.

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