Chapter 26: The Alchemy of Enlightenment
It has to be remembered that in Sanskrit - which is the oldest language in the world, the mother language of all civilized languages in existence - they don’t write Om in letters. They have made a special symbol for it, just to create a distinction, to indicate that it is not something to do with language, it is beyond language, and it is not part of the Sanskrit alphabet. The way it is written is only with a symbol, and that symbol can be used by any language. Sanskrit has no monopoly over it because it is not part of the alphabet of Sanskrit; it has been heard.
Jainas, Buddhists, Hindus - they differ in their theology on every single point, but they all have heard the sound Om. There is no question of differing; it is not a hypothesis and it is not a theory propounded by somebody. Anybody who becomes utterly silent. It is the silence itself singing, it is the song of silence. Hence about Om Hindus, Jainas and Buddhists all agree. They begin their scriptures with Om, they end their scriptures with Om because that is the universal sound.
This has created a problem - and there are many problems of a similar type - because all the mystics in this country and in the Far East have heard the sound om. The people who read the scriptures start thinking, “If om is the sound of the nature of existence itself, then if we repeat om we will be able to hear it soon.” It is logical, but it is not realistic. If you repeat it, you will never hear the real thing; you will go on repeating, and you may start hearing your own repetition.
In Tibet, where the greatest work has been done on this “soundless sound,” as they call it, they have made a special instrument. It is a certain kind of metal pot made with special proportions of different metals, and a small rod, again made of different proportions of different metals. You put the rod against the rim of the pot, and you move it fast and it creates a certain humming. That is something closer to the existential sound than om. In every lamasery in Tibet you will hear that sound - somebody, some lama is continuously making it. When he leaves, then somebody else. Twenty-four hours a day that sound is created, but that is a man-made sound. It is similar, but it is not the same.
Hindus in India have fallen into the same fallacy. They have made Om their most significant mantra: just repeat it continuously inside so your whole being is filled with the sound of om, om, om. You are deceiving yourself; this is your sound.
So if you are not creating it, then there is no need for any anxiety. If the moment you become silent you hear it, then it is a tremendous blessing. It means you have gone very deep into the existential world of serenity.
But don’t try to deceive existence. You can go on chanting om your whole life; it is meaningless, it has nothing to do with existence. With existence you have to be a listener, absolutely passive, relaxed, in a let-go. Don’t impose yourself. You are the only barrier; your impositions are your only sins. Just remain utterly passive in a non-doing witnessing, listening to whatever is happening, allowing it to happen. It is perfectly good, and of great significance. On the path, if you start hearing om, you are accepted, you are welcomed. You need not seek anywhere; you have found the door.