"Aum" has been an enchanting word, for several centuries in the Indian sub-continent. "Aum" is pronounced more as "Om".
It has gained a religious connotation throughout these years, as a way of communicating with God. But Aum, I suspect, was designed by our rishis with a different idea.
Mandukya upanishad explains Aum in its entirety. People think Aum is made of three sounds. But it is made of four quarters. Three sounds followed by a Silence.
Aum needs to be followed by a silence always. Without the silence, Aum is not complete. Including the silence, Aum is made of four quarters, as Mandukya Upanishad calls it.
When we say ‘A’, (the start of O)our lips part and the sound is produced from the vocal chord, coming out, without disturbed by our lips. It is a raw sound emanating from our vocal chords. It is a gross sound.
When we say ‘U’, (the end of O, just before we start ‘M’) our lips come closer and the sound produced from the vocal chord is modulated by our lips. It is a subtle sound.
When we say ‘M’, our lips close and the sound is a reverberation of the vocal chord only. It is a kind of sleepy sound or idle sound that can put us to sleep.
When we remain silent, our lips, tongue, vocal chord and such organs stop functioning. Our brain gets activated. It has to perceive the silence. Hearing silence may be a function of ears. But perceiving silence is a function of our brain. Hence at the end of Aum, brain should get activated to perceive the silence.
According to Mandukya Upanishad, AUM is imperishable. Imperishable as we see in this world are time, space and matter/energy.
For the subject of this discussion, I am going to map AUM to entire model of Universe, as we know today, in terms of matter and energy, which are imperishable.
My contention is that Mandukya Upanishad explains AUM as a representation or model of the Universe. How this model was perceived by the Rishis in those days is not known to me. May be they made a model based on their inner experiences or analogies. But, I find that AUM can be mapped to existing standard model of universe.
The ‘A’ sound is a raw or gross sound that indicates matter or mass. In most languages, ‘A’ or a similar sound is the starting alphabet. Mass or Matter is a gross element, visible to those who look outwardly or superficially. Mass is experienced by everyone, whose consciousness is outward.
The ‘U’ sound is a subtle sound, that indicates energy. Energy is a subtle element, visible to those who look for it deeply or inwardly. Energy is experienced only when we possess deep knowledge and consciousness.
The ‘M’ sound is a deep sleepy sound that indicates dark matter/energy.
Like the silence that exists beyond AUM, there exists the unknown beyond all these, which is not perceivable by our senses, but can be visualized by our brains.
Mandukya Upanishad says, AUM is the representation of Self, Atman or Brahman.
I say that AUM represents the standard model of universe by depicting matter, energy and dark matter/energy.
Actually Universe is what is called as Atman, Brahman or The Self.
Atman or Brahman by definition is something that is present in everything and everyone. If matter, energy and dark matter/energy make up the universe, then they make us also.
Thus AUM by indicating the very composition of this universe itself, indicates the Self, Atman or Brahman. As Carl Sagan once put it "We are part of the star dust".
Mandukya Upanishad says AUM has four quarters. As explained previously, 3 sounds and silence form the four quarters from a linguistic perspective.
The first quarter is Vaisvanara, which is a state of waking up, enjoying gross elements, where the consciousness is outward or superficial.
From a linguistic perspective, ‘A’ sound is gross and indicates wake up state.
From a scientific perspective, the gross element, which is perceived by our outward consciousness is the Mass or Matter. (Sthula as Mandukya upanishad puts it)
Mandukya Upanishad says AUM in Vaisvanara state has 7 limbs (saptanga).
Mass or Matter is associated with particles and forces from the viewpoint of particle physics. It is composed of 7 parts. Quarks (Protons/neutrons etc), Leptons (electrons, nuetrinos etc), weak force ( gluons), strong force (W and Z bosons), electromagnetic force (photons), a force that gives mass to other particles (Higgs boson) and gravitational force (called graviton) are the 7 basic parts of matter.
Mandukya Upanishad says AUM in Vaisvanara state (externally conscious, wake-up state) has 19 faces (ekonavimzati mukah) through which it is expressed outside.
Modern scientists define the following states of matter, which they have been able to observe in labs or hypothesize for the sake of completeness. The states of matter are Amorphous solids, Crystalline Solids, Liquids, Liquid Crystals, Gas, Supercritical Liquid, Colloid, Plasma, Electron-Degenerate Matter, Neutronium, Quantum Hall of 2 dimensional electron systems, Quantum Spin Hall state, Bose Einstein condensate, Fermionic condensate, Supersolids, Superfluids, Quark-gluon plasma, Weakly Symmetric matter and strongly Symmetric matter. These add upto 19 states in which matter can express itself or the faces of matter.
The second quarter is Taijasa, where consciousness is deep and inward. This is the state in which subtle elements are experienced.
From a linguistic perspective, ‘U’ sound is subtle and indicates dream state. In this state, consciousness is present, but can experience subtle elements. The subtle element, which is experienced by deeper understanding is ‘Energy’ from a scientific perspective.
Mandukya Upanishad says AUM in Taijasa state has 7 limbs (saptanga) and 19 faces, which is same as that of Vaisvanara state.
Energy and Mass are manifestations of the same thing in a different form. Hence the seven parts that make up the matter and the nineteen faces through which matter is expressed is also applicable for Energy as they are one and the same, but forms are different.
The quarters of Taijasa and Vaisvanara indicate energy and matter from a scientific perspective, which is consciously visible to us.
The third quarter is Prajna, which indicates deep sleep. This quarter is a bundle of undifferentiated mass filled with eternal bliss.
From a linguistic perspective, ‘M’ indicates a state in which is totally idle or sleepy.
From a scientific perspective, one which does not express itself, one which is not visible to our consciousness or tools is the dark matter/dark energy. It is a vital part of our model of universe, but one which cannot be detected. Hence it is called ‘dark’. It plays a key role in the standard model of our universe.
From a scientific perspective, Prajna is the quarter that pertains to dark matter or dark energy.
Mandukya Upanishad says that face of this quarter is consciousness (ceto mukah). It means that in this quarter there is no parts or expressions of its own, unlike the previous two quarters. It can be felt only by the impact it makes on others. It can be felt only by consciousness.
The dark matter or dark energy does not have any parts or states. It cannot be seen or detected. It can only be experienced by the impact it makes on matter.
According to Mandukya Upanishad, the fourth quarter is soundless: unutterable, a quieting down of all relative manifestations, blissful, peaceful, non-dual.
From a linguistic perspective, it is indicated by the silence that follows the ‘M’.
Mandukya Upanishad also says that "This is the Lord of All; the Omniscient; the Indwelling Controller; the Source of All. This is the beginning and end of all beings"
"It is neither inward-turned nor outward-turned consciousness, nor the two together; not an indifferentiated mass of consciousness; neither knowing, nor unknowing; invisible, ineffable, intangible, devoid of characteristics, inconceivable, indefinable, its sole essence being the consciousness of its own Self; the coming to rest of all relative existence; utterly quiet; peaceful; blissful; without a second: this is the Atman, the Self; this is to be realised"
From a scientific perspective, this is the unknown beyond all that is known to us directly or indirectly. As science progresses, human beings will evolve tools that better detect, better sense and better understand the natural processes that occur around us.
But still, like the silence beyond all sounds, there will be an unknown that will ever need to be explored, which is neither this nor that, which is indefinable.
Mandukya Upanishad says that AUM is the Brahman or Atman or The Self.
From a scientific perspective, AUM may very well indicate matter, energy, dark matter/energy and the unknown that is beyond complete with the particles and states of matter and energy.
Matter, Energy, Dark matter/energy, Particles and States of matter together make up the Universe or the Standard Model of Universe as we know it today.
We being part of the Universe are also made of the same that Universe is made of.
AUM by indicating the Universe with its components and states, depict the Atman or Brahman or the Self.