“Symbols in Art”. That’s who we are. What we make. Art tiles reflecting Christian, Judaic, Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu images. Researching heavily before beginning our drawing – the first step of any new piece. Some of our art tile designs are easily recognizable. Others more obscure. “Pick it up and take a look” I say to the curious. “They have a label on the back describing the image”.
“What is this symbol?” a visitor asks. I explain that it’s said to be the first sound of the universe or some people refer to it as the yoga symbol. Aaahh – whoo – umm- Once I sound out the syllable, the person instantly recognizes it but still knows little of its origin or meaning. It is written in Sanskrit, the classical language of Hinduism. Sanskrit – The oldest language in the world.
The label on the back of our “Om” art tile reads simply::
Charged with religious energy, this most sacred of Sanskrit syllables is often articulated at beginning and end of recitations and prayers. Early noted evidence of AUM (Om) use occurs in the Hindu text Rgveda, and dates in practice to at least 1200 BCE.
An utterance evoking peace and meditation. Ahh-whoo-ummm- ending with a humming sound and then silence. The silence is important and counts as the fourth sound of the syllable. It is necessary to be aware of stillness. The focus is on the vibration and then the silence and stillness between the chants of ahh-who-ummm.
The Om, in Hindu belief, is in use daily. Hindus begin their day, work or any journey by uttering and chanting Om. In some cases a newborn child is washed, then the sacred syllable is written on their tongue in honey. It is not a word but rather an intonation and like music, with proper intonation, can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates to the center of one’s being. The past, present and future are all included in this one sound.
This is certainly a “nutshell” version of what Om is. The depth and breadth of this syllable is awe inspiring and will take a great deal of meditation to more deeply understand and to feel even a portion of the power that it contains.
A young child bought our Om art tile as a birthday gift for his mother who was turning 35. I can now hardly look at the Sanskrit writing of the Om without seeing the 35 that the child saw.