Understanding the Symbol: Aum / Om

The Curves & Dot

The symbol of AUM consists of three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one semicircle (curve 4), and a dot. The large lower curve 1 symbolizes the waking state (jagrat), in this state the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this is the most common (‘majority’) state of the human consciousness. The upper curve 2 denotes the state of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any dream. The middle curve 3 (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies the dream state (swapna). In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes. These are the three states of an individual’s consciousness, and since Indian mystic thought believes the entire manifested reality to spring from this consciousness, these three curves therefore represent the entire physical phenomenon. The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as turiya. – Religion Facts

The Semi Circle

The semi circle at the top represents Maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. It signals to us that it is the illusion of Maya that is an obstacle to realization of the Highest. – Melanie Levine