What the symbol is.
This symbol is the universe, all that is and could be. It does not stand for the universe, it is the universe. It is extremely auspicious.
The graphic is a Sanskrit syllable, the part that looks like a 3 is the A, the tail hanging off that is the U and the dot above them is the M. There is a fourth part as well, a soundless part, at the end.
The A is creation, it happens at the back of the throat where the sound originates; the U is preservation, it happens in the middle of your mouth and the M is destruction, it happens at the lips where the sound stops. The A is also symbolic of the waking state of consciousness, the U the dreaming state, the M deep sleep and the soundless fourth part is symbolic of the state beyond these three.
To quote a famous (at least in Melbourne, Australia, where I grew up) TV personality,
Julius Sumner-Miller --
Why is it so? One good answer comes from the more creative interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, and that is that the Universe is a hologram, or at least that the laws which govern a hologram are good for the Universe too. This comes from the mathematics that is Quantum Mechanics, where a particle is not really separate from it's description (it isn't in fact a particle at all) and the whole physical Universe is built out of those particles and therefore the Universe is a hologram.
Each bit of a hologram contains all the information that the rest of
hologram does, all that happens if you break the hologram into several
physically separate chunks is that each chunk has more error in it, it gets more blurred. So any part of the whole contains the whole, so a symbol like Aum can literally be the Universe. Viewing the Universe as a hologram also has several other rather interesting ramifications, one of which related to this point is that you contain rest of the Universe, or at least your subconscious does anyway. All solutions lie in you, you don't have to search out there.
Another ramification answers a paradox that exists at the core of a number of Asian systems of metaphysics (and probably a bunch of Occidental ones as well) and that paradox is that nothing has ever happened, the Buddhists say all that you see is illusion and the Yogis say that it is only your ignorance. The
structure of a hologram is constant, homogenous. Yet that hologram contains
any number of different images, the difference being perceivable if you
change the angle at which you are looking at the hologram. So here is something that
never changes yet appears to change with your motion.
The hologram never changes, it just is, however
from each of the infinite points of view you have a dynamic ever changing experience.
Another good answer comes from recent findings in cosmology where the
mathematicians are discovering that space and time are looking like they are
derivative, and not fundamental. Now whatever it is that time and
space are derived from that something else is beyond time, it's still present
therefore. And it's beyond space, therefore omnipresent. Of course
the cosmologists are no where near figuring out that that something else is
actually being, pure existence itself (being's gotta be before anything else can be)
and that that being is
consciousness itself. But hey, give them time, they'll get to where the
seers of yore were many millennia ago. . . And indeed they're already
closer than they realize, only our inverted point of view stops us from seeing
it. We assume consciousness arises from matter, it doesn't, it's
intrinsic, we assume as a particle accelerates it approaches the speed of light
and tau zero when in fact it's the other way around, tau zero, timelessness,
absolute existence is the primary thing (gets tough talking about what came
before time, believe me) and time and space are projected from it. But
this is all standard relativity, something Einstein came up more than a century
And it doesn't stop there. That being is a single thing, the only
thing and it still is, it is therefore our being too. And because it's single
we assume we're separate and single, ego is born -- if it could be said to have
any actual existence of course, it assumes it exists and as such doesn't
Another way of looking at how Being Is is to consider what has to be
before anything else can be. That is Being, Pure Existence, really "Be" without "ing" because
"ing" implies separation and multiplicity of which there is none at the root of the Universe. Vedant has it as Sat, Chit, Anand
(or satchitananda as it's often written). Sat, pure existence, Chitta,
pure consciousness because without awareness there is no difference between Existence
and non-existence. Ananda, it must be blissful because it's full and
complete and therefore entirely Satisfying in a way all other things are only a
And we don't even need quantum mechanics to get
all trippy, plain old relativity is enough. Consider this, as mentioned
above at the speed of
light tau is zero. Tau is the time dilation factor and as a particle
approaches the speed of light it goes to zero and at the speed of light tau is
zero and time is not experienced. So a photon is born and destroyed in a
timeless instant even if it travels the length of the universe. Not so trippy, standard physics. Well, it's
time" isn't it? So if time is not experienced, neither is space. Now,
without space there is no separation, ergo all photons are the same nameless
timeless that. Didn't think we'd ever find Oneness in Physics,
not to mention another explanation for the nothing has ever happened aphorism. Another thing, to boost that particle to speed of
light would take all the mass/energy of Universe to do so, which is exactly what
happens when you become enlightened, you become that, or better, you
discover you always were that.
And how about the Fermi Paradox wondering where all the aliens are
given that by a number of reasonable calculations any interstellar civilization
should have long ago run across the Earth giving rise to the notion that there
must be some Great Filter that stops civilizations from becoming interstellar
ones. Well, I'm betting that filter is actually Enlightenment, to wit, for
any civilization to master the techniques to travel in an interstellar fashion
it requires sufficient understanding of Reality such that they have no choice
but to discover that which is and once you've done that you're NOT
going to madly bustle about building interstellar probes, you're already
that and that's everywhere so you're already there anyway. Of
course there have been a number of peripatetic sages throughout history (Buddha,
Shankara) so the likes of Arthur C. Clarke's Galactic Zookeepers in 2001 is not
completely out of the bounds of possibility but I'm betting they'd lack the
local referents to be doing the work of a teacher (which is what those sages
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