There are many meditators who take visions, colors and inner sounds to be attainment. This is only natural, because the symbol of the ultimate is felt on the boundary of this plane. Then they feel that they have reached the destination. So I am not in favor of prescribing the practice of aum for persons in the fourth body, as this technique will have no effect on the first, second and third bodies. Its effect will be felt only in the fourth. This is why other words are used to cause the necessary impact on the first, second and third bodies.
It is necessary to take one more point into consideration regarding the basic notes of a-u-m. Just as an example, the Bible does not say that God made the world; he did not perform the act of creation. It says, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” God pronounced the word. The Bible also says, “In the beginning there was the word” – and many old scriptures testify to the same. At the very beginning there was the word and all else followed afterwards. Now even in India we say, “The word is the brahman,” although this causes a great deal of misunderstanding. Many people tend to believe that the word is enough for the attainment of the brahman. The brahman is attained only in the wordless state. “The word is the brahman” means only this, that from all the sounds we know the most subtle of sounds is that of aum.
If we go back, back and back toward the source of the universe until we come to the void from where the world must have started, there also we will hear the resonance of aum. As we reach nearer to the void by entering the fourth plane the sound of aum is heard. From here we begin to fall into that world which must have been in the beginning. From the fourth we go to the spiritual body; from there to the cosmic body, and finally to the nirvanic body. The last resonance, which is heard between the last two, is also that of aum.
On one side is our individuality of four bodies which we call the corporeal world, and on the other side is our non-individuality which we may call the brahman. The resonance that vibrates at the boundary of these two is aum. From this experience we come to understand that when the world of matter took form from the brahman, the resonance of aum must have been ringing continuously. Hence, there was the word. So the belief is that everything came into being through the word. If the word is broken into its basic components we find the three basic notes of a-u-m in it. This combination is aum.
So for this reason it is said that there was aum in the beginning and there will be aum in the end. The end means to revert to the beginning, and thus the circle is completed. Yet I always feel that aum should be used only as a symbol and not as a meditation technique. Other things can be employed as devices. A pure sound like aum should not be made impure by using it as a technique.
Many people fail to understand me. They come to me and say, “Why do you forbid the repetition of aum?” Perhaps they think that I am an enemy of aum, but the fact is that they themselves are. Such a pure word should not be used as a means of spiritual growth. In fact, our tongues are unworthy of pronouncing it; it is too pure to be uttered by the physical body. It is a word that begins where the tongue becomes meaningless, where the body becomes useless. Therein lies its resonance and this resonance vibrates on its own. It can be experienced; it cannot be created. Therefore, aum has to be experienced and not pronounced.