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Sabda Brahman

A Sanskrit term literally meaning “word-Brahman” and referring to the concept of creation by “sound,” i.e., what is analogous at a deeper level of reality to sound vibration at the physical level. In the Vedic literature the term is used to denote Ultimate Reality. It has its parallel in the Christian scripture where creation is said to be by “the Word” (Jn. 1.1), which is also “life” and “light” (Jn. 1.3), both of which can be understood in terms of creative activity or vibration. In Hindu theology this Word is said to be the syllable om, linguistically a combination of a + u + m, since in Sanskrit o = a + u.

From an esoteric point of view, a represents the basis of language, i.e., the vocal cords vibrating; u, the rounding of the mouth, stands for shaping this basic vibration into different linguistic sounds; and m represents the termination of those sounds in intelligible speech units or words. In Kashmiri Saivism, creation is said to be by vibration (spanda). In the Tantric tradition, this creative energy is said to manifest in the human body in the three channels (nadis) of kundaliniida, pingala and susumna.


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