The word Om is not written alphabetically in any language of the East because it is not part of language. It is written as a symbol; hence the same symbol is used in Sanskrit, in Pali, in Prakrit, in Tibetan – everywhere the same symbol, because all the mystics of all the ages have reached to the same experience, that it is not part of our mundane world; hence it should not be written in letters. It should have its own symbol which is beyond language. It does not mean anything as far as mind is concerned, but it means tremendously much as far as your spiritual growth is concerned.
All music, particularly the classical music, has been trying to catch the sound of silence so that even people who have not entered into their beings can experience something similar. But the similar is not the same, it is a very faraway echo. Even the greatest musician has to use sounds, but howsoever beautifully he arranges them, he cannot be absolutely silent. He gives gaps of silence in between; the whole play is between sound and silence. Those who don’t understand hear the sounds, and those who understand hear the silence, the gaps between two sounds.
The real music is in the gaps.
It is not created by the musician – the musician is creating the sounds and leaving the gaps as a contrast, so that you can experience something of what happens to the mystic in his inner world.
Om is one of the great achievements of the seekers of truth. There have been cases which are absolutely unbelievable, but they are historical….
When Marpa, a Tibetan mystic, died, his closest disciples were sitting all around him…because the death of a mystic is as tremendously valuable as his life, perhaps more. If you can be close to the mystic when he is dying, you can experience many things, because his whole consciousness is leaving the body – and if you are alert and conscious, you can feel a new fragrance; you can see a new light, you can hear a new music.
When Marpa died he was living in a temple. And all his disciples became suddenly surprised – they looked all around – from where is the sound of Om coming? Then finally they realized that it was not coming from anywhere – it was coming from Marpa! They heard it by putting their ears to his feet, to his hands, and they could not believe it – inside his whole body there was a vibration creating the sound of Om. He had been hearing that sound for his whole life since he became enlightened. Because of his constant inner experience of the sound, the sound had entered even into his physical cells. Every fiber of his body had learned a certain synchronicity, the same wavelength.
But it has been experienced with other mystics also. The inner starts radiating, particularly at the moment of death when everything comes to a crescendo. But man is so blind and so utterly unintelligent: knowing that the mystics experience the music of silence within them and they name it om, people started repeating om as a mantra, thinking that by repeating it they will also be able to hear it.