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Om Mani Padme Hum

A sacred mantra or chant used in Buddhism. Literally, it means something like “Oh, the jewel in the lotus, indeed,” taking “Om” as merely a prefatory syllable and “hum” as an exclamation, used in a variety of ways depending on its context. That, however, is merely its exoteric meaning to orientalists. As Helena P. Blavatsky points out in her Theosophical Glossary (pp. 239-240), “Om” (also called PRANAVA) is a mystic syllable used by both Hindus and Buddhists. “Hum” (sometimes given as “h™m” or merely “hu”) also is a mystic syllable used in Vedic rituals and magic spells. Furthermore, in tantric esotericism, “padma” refers to the six upper CHAKRAS in the human psychic body. Thus, the phrase has depths of meaning beyond its literal translation. And pronouncing it correctly also has an occult effect. HPB says, in Paper 1 of her collected esoteric writings, published as The Esoteric Writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Theosophical Publishing House, 1980; originally published in 1938 as vol. 5 of the 6 volume edition of The Secret Doctrine), its every syllable has “a secret potency” and can “produce seven distinct results” depending upon which of seven different methods are used in pronouncing it (Esoteric Writings, p. 350). This is related to the fact that number, i.e., harmonious vibration, “lies at the root of the manifested Universe” (idem). And by pronouncing the “om” as a two-syllable word — i.e., as “aum” — one gets a seven-syllable, rather than a six-syllable, phrase which is representative of the septenary nature of both the cosmos and man. For a more detailed discussion of this, see Esoteric Writings, esp. pp. 350-360 and 419.

See Om.


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