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Fig 2.7 – AUM and Transcendental State

Text: Page 38

The upper part of the symbol symbolizes the four states of consciousness: the waking mind that turns to the outer world and the five senses; the sleeping mind is shut down; the dreaming mind where it turns inwards toward the experience of a different world, and the fourth unknown mind faces neither inward nor outward but is in a blissful transcendental state. Maya is the obstacle that interferes in reaching enlightenment.

The phonetic compounds of Aum represent the three states of consciousness: Brahma (A), the creator; Vishnu (U), the preserver; and Shiva (M), the destroyer; (A) Aum also symbolizes the three realms of the world, earth, heaven, and the underworld.

The AUM symbol — also spelled “Om” — consists of three curves, one semicircle and a dot. They are symbols of each person’s self and potential:

The AUM symbol holds profound psychological associations, reflecting aspects of consciousness, self-awareness, and the journey toward spiritual enlightenment. Here are psychological interpretations of the AUM symbol:

  1. Representation of Self and Potential: The AUM symbol, with its three curves, semicircle, and dot, represents different facets of an individual’s self and potential. From a psychological standpoint, this can be seen as a visual metaphor for the complexity and multifaceted nature of the human psyche.
  2. The Large Curve (Waking State and Ego): The large curve in the AUM symbol symbolizes the waking state and is associated with the ego. Psychologically, this curve may represent the conscious mind and the outward persona that individuals present to the world. It reflects the identity consciously associated with the self, including societal roles and expectations.
  3. The Upper Curve (Unconscious State): Moving clockwise, the upper curve represents the unconscious state. In psychological terms, this corresponds to the hidden aspects of the self that lie beneath the surface of conscious awareness. It encompasses thoughts, emotions, and memories that may not be immediately accessible but influence behavior and perceptions.
  4. The Middle Curve (Dream State): The middle curve, extending from the center to the right side, symbolizes the dream state. Psychologically, dreams serve as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious elements of the self. The dream state allows the unconscious to become conscious, offering insights and a more complete view of the self. It mirrors the psychological process of integrating unconscious material into conscious awareness.
  5. The Semicircle (Illusion and Separation): The semicircle or crescent in the AUM symbol represents illusion, particularly the illusion of a separate self. From a psychological perspective, this can be interpreted as the ego’s tendency to create a sense of separation and individual identity. The crescent separates the dot (infinite self) from the other curves, symbolizing the illusion that the self exists as a distinct entity.
  6. The Dot (Infinite, Absolute Self): The dot at the bottom signifies the infinite, absolute self, hidden by the illusion represented by the crescent. Psychologically, this dot may represent the deeper, spiritual dimension within each individual – the source of wisdom, interconnectedness, and the ultimate experience of life. It aligns with concepts in Eastern faiths like Hinduism and Buddhism, where the dot symbolizes the divine.
  7. Dispelling Illusion and Spiritual Awakening: The ultimate psychological journey, as suggested by the AUM symbol, involves dispelling the illusion of separateness and becoming one with the infinite self. This corresponds to the process of spiritual awakening and self-realization. From a psychological perspective, it can be seen as the integration of the individual’s awareness with a broader, transcendent sense of self.

In summary, the AUM symbol provides a rich framework for exploring psychological concepts such as consciousness, self-awareness, the interplay between the conscious and unconscious, and the transformative journey toward realizing the infinite and absolute nature of the self.

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