AUM or Om (Sanskrit: ॐ) is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Indian Dharmic religions. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, Om is a spiritual symbol (Pratima) referring to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, the entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge). The syllable is one of the most important symbols in Hinduism and is often found at the beginning and the end of chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads, and other Hindu texts. It is a sacred spiritual incantation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during prayers, in ceremonies of rites of passages (sanskara) such as weddings, and sometimes during meditative and spiritual activities such as Yoga. Om is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The syllable is also referred to as Omkara (ओंकार, oṃkāra), Aumkara (औंकार, auṃkāra), and Pranava (प्रणव, praṇava). [from wikimedia]

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