pranava — the cosmic sound AUM; from the roots pra, "pre", and nava, "new"; Lit. “that which existed before anything (that is new)”, or “that which existed before existence itself”. The sacred seed-sound and symbol of Brahman, considered to be the “Mantra of Mantras”. According to the Nada Bindu Upanishad, it consists of 3½ measures: one for each of the Bijas (Aa, Uu and Mm), with the additional half-measure as the ending “nasalized” echo sound of the “Mm”. It is the most exalted syllable in Vedas which is used in meditation on God and uttered first before a Vedic mantra is chanted.
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