Sleuthing Scripture – Part 3 OM

The sound of OM is heard, the light is seen, the divine touch is felt. It happens spontaneously in Surrender Meditation. The following verse from the Goraksha Shataka speaks of the conditions for this blissful experience of direct communion with God in the following verse:

Having taken the lotus posture, holding the body and neck steady, fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose, in a secluded place, one should repeat the imperishable OM.
Goraksha Shakata, 83

Translating the Translation

“Having taken the lotus posture”
The Sanskrit is padmasana: padma (lotus) + asana (posture). In this asana, one sits cross-legged, the feet on the upper thighs, soles up. As with most asanas mentioned in yogic scriptures, this asana has esoteric meaning.

Padma is the flower of the lotus plant. Consider that in this posture, the placement of the feet exerts pressure on the thighs, and what that might signify. Also consider that the lotus flower is used to depict the sasaradalapadma (thousand-petalled lotus), the chakra at the head. In this metaphor, the stem leads down through the body to the root in the earth, the muladhara, or root-holder, the first chakra. So do we think of thighs and feet, or do we think of the head? Or both? And what about everything in between? What is the message here?

Asana means seat. The root of the word asana is asa, the lower posterior of the body. So asana also refers to sitting on the seat, and even the posture one takes in doing so. The word asana also means “stopping, halting, abiding, or dwelling.” What ideas do you have about what “asana” might mean in relationship to “lotus” (padma) in this verse?

At this point, we are only one compound word into this verse and we’ve already got a lot to think about, so I’ll make the rest brief:

“Holding the body and neck steady”: Traditionally padmasana requires one to sit cross-legged, upright and unmoving, with the spine and neck straight. Can you think of other ways your body can remain steady with the spine straight?

Fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose”: The tip of the nose refers to where the nose begins between the eyebrows, the sixth chakra, “third eye.” By mentioning the gaze being fixed, this verse is telling us that this place between the eyebrows is where the attention, and therefore the life energy, prana, is concentrated and fixed, not moving.

“In a secluded place”: A secluded place is a place where one can be alone and assured that there will be no disruptions. This is a necessary condition for meditation to become deep enough for this to occur. For what to occur? The deepest meditation and . . .

“One should repeat the imperishable OM”: The word here is, japedom: (muttering or whispering + om). I believe we can take this literally or esoterically:
(1) literally, the quiet repetition of OM, or (2) esoterically, as a reference to the “subtle” sound of OM heard by the meditator, keeping in mind that sound is vibrational repetition. “Repeat” refers to these “regular vibrations” (tones) that make up the sound of OM — the multitude of all tones and the one perfect and true tone, the Word of God.

Boiling it Down

The Original (from above)

Having taken the lotus posture, holding the body and neck steady, fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose, in a secluded place, one should repeat the imperishable OM.

The Translation

By meditating in a solitary place, the spine and neck straight and relaxed, the energy (shakti, prana, kundalini) is free to reach the the head and become concentrated at the ajna chakra (sixth chakra), and the sound of OM is heard.

But this is just one translation based on my own orientation to meditation. Try it for yourself and see what you get. Have fun.

Durga Ma

3 thoughts on “Sleuthing Scripture – Part 3 OM

  1. Pingback: Sleuthing Scripture – Part 4 OM | Mystical Tidbits

  2. prakriti

    Dear Durga Ma:
    I have always been a little concerned about all I read on proper technique for sitting for meditation since traditional lotus pose is never going to happen for me in this life and many books place a lot of emphasis on the erect spine. The first three years of Surrender Meditation I would start sitting but had a lot of physical movements and often ended up in different places. This past spring all the movements stopped except for some pranayamas now and then. If I happened to be laying down, my body would jerk upright to do them and then flop back down when done. I then moved into a phase where I could not hold my body up at all and kept falling into what you have described as yoga nidra with the vivid dreams. Now sometimes I sit up and sometimes I lay down, it seems like it does not matter since whatever is going to happen will anyway. 🙂
    Love, Prakriti


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