Pranava Mantra (AUM)ॐ
The mantra that is held very sacred by all Hindus is the mantra Om also called praNava mantra. This mantra is part of every worship. This mantra is hailed in scriptures of various languages. vedas - the holy scripture - is chanted always after chanting this mantra and always concluded with this mantra. Each of the hailing in the archanai that is performed for the divine is preceded by this mantra Om.
praNava is the primal sound that existed before the creation and the sound that stays after the praLaya. This is the nAtharUpa - the Form of sound, of the Supreme Luminance. This mantra om refer to none other than God. The great yogis meditate in this mantra as the path to Eternal Bliss of the Formless Nameless God !
The praNava has five parts. They are akara, ukara, makara, bindhu, nAtham. (aum). Consequently this is also one of the glorious panchAkshara mantra.
The scriptures that explain the glory of this praNava mantra are quite many. However the significant one is from the skandha purANa. It is a well known purANic event that skandha described the real meaning of the praNava mantra to God shiva. In the above mentioned episode of skandha purANa the sage vAmadeva seeks the boon from Lord skandha to tell him too that description. Lord skandha who was pleased with the devotion of sage vAmadeva told him that great secret.
Om Prayer from Chandogya Upanishad
ओमित्येत-दक्षर-मुद्गीत-मुपासीत ओमिति ह्युद्गायति तस्योपव्याख्यानम् ॥ १.१ ॥
1. The praNava mantra (Om) is also called as udgIta (meaning one that is sung).
2. Om is the ultimate mantra, which is the nAda rUpa of Lord shiva,
shall be worshipped as the Lord Himself! Om and namaHshivAya are the
two most significant mantras for the worshippers.
3. Om is not just for chanting, it is for singing and hence it is called udgIta.
(That provides the peace! Relate to the song of Sambandhar where he calls the
devotees to sing in devotion the namaHshivAya mantra)
4. Vedas are chanted only after singing Om. Especially practitioners of sAmavEda are
5. Hereafter Its exposition!!
One more, Om Prayer from Chandogya Upanishad
एषां भूतानां पृथिवी रसः पृथिव्या आपो रसोऽपामोषधयो रस ओषधीनां पुरुषो रसः पुरुषस्य वाद्रसो वाच ऋग्रस ऋचः साम रसः साम्न उद्गीथो रसः ॥
The finest of these elements is earth; Finest of earth is the water; Finest of water are the herbs; Finest of herbs is human; Finest of human is the speech; Finest of speech is the hymn (Rk); Finest of Rk is song (Saman); Finest of Saman is Udgitha (Om)!