Brain Waves & Meditation on OM[AUM]: An insight


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Since ancient time function of brain and meditation have been linked.

We can understand the relationship between brain activity and meditation by the use of modern  technology such as EEG. Basically we are all vibrational beings living in the vibrational universe.

Frequency of vibration determines our experience of reality. The fundamental elements of our physical vibrations are known as brainwave frequencies. Frequencies are measured in Hertz. In brain mapping the frequencies are measured in Hertz which are typically in the range between 0.5 to 60Hertz. According to studies, published in different websites, during meditation a discernible brainwave patterns seen  on EEG.

In neuroscience, there are five distinct brain wave frequencies, known as Alpha, Beta, Theta , Delta and Gamma.

To  understand the function of brainwave frequencies, which affect our daily life following vibrational patterns are described in brief.

Delta(0.5-3.0 Hz): The deep sleep Wave.

The Delta frequency is the slowest of the frequencies and it is experienced in deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep, transcendental ,  meditation where awareness is completely detached. Delta is the realm of unconscious mind. It is the Gateway to the Universal mind.

Alpha(7.5-14 Hz): The Deep Relaxation wave:

Alpha brain waves are present in deep relaxation with the eyes usually closed and while day dreaming or during light meditation. It is an optimal time to program the mind for success. It is the Gateway to the Subconscious mind. It heightens imagination, visualization, memory, learning and concentration. It lies at the base of consciousness of human mind.

Theta (4-7.5 Hz): The Light Meditation and Sleeping Wave.

Theta brain waves are present during deep meditation and light sleep including REM dream state. It is the realm of Subconscious mind. It is also known as twilight state as it is normally experienced between Alpha (drift off to sleep)and Delta(arise from deep sleep).A sense of deep spiritual connection and with the Universe can be experienced at Theta. Voice of Theta is silence.

Beta(14-40Hz): The waking Consciousness and Reasoning wave.

Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Daily activities are performed in this state. Too much Beta can translate into stress, anxiety and restlessness. The voice of Beta is the little nagging chatterbox of inner critic.

Gamma(40-80Hz): The Insight Wave.

This range is recently discovered. Little is known about this state of mind. Gamma waves with the highest frequency can have a frequency of anywhere between 25 and 100 Hz. Initial research shows that Gamma waves are associated with bursts of insight and high level information processing. Gamma brain waves are fastest brainwave frequency with smallest amplitude. Feelings of Blessings with peak concentration has been reported by experienced meditators.

Neuroscientists believe that gamma waves are able to link information from all parts of the brain-the gamma wave originates in the thalamus and moves back of the brain to the front and back again @ 40Hz.This is the brainwave state of that feeling that any thing can be done.

Now we may draw analogy of the above topic with Mandukya Upanishads, which is shortest among all Upanishads. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, four conditions of Spirit can be described as below.

1)Waking condition: Perception turned outward.

2)Mental condition : Perception turned inward, known as dreaming condition. Self enjoys subtle matter.

3)Deep sleep condition: No desire, no dream. This is intellectual condition. Because of union with Self and his unbroken knowledge, one feels joy. He knows joy. His mind is illuminated.


A~ Waking

U~ Dreaming

M~ Deep Sleep

Turiya: The Fourth condition of the Self which can be achieved through deep meditation that corresponds to “OM” as ONE , invisible Word. Self is Whole and beyond bargain.

The world disappears in HIM. SELF is one without a second.

This condition is known as #Turiya#

Please read Mandukya Upanishad in two parts to understand the topic which you will find inline with Brain waves pattern. Links are here:

1:MaNDukya Upanishad- The Nature of OM: – Part-1

2:MaNDukya Upanishad- The Nature of OM: – Part-2

Any decrease in mind clutter is an increase in our vibrational connection to higher Consciousness.

MaNDukya Upanishad- The Nature of OM: – Part-2


Mandukya Upanishad belongs to Atharva Veda. It is the shortest of all the Upanishads with only 12 verses and placed in the 6th position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads.

This Upanishad teaches the significance of the sacred syllable ॐ~AUM (OM) and it correlates with four states of Consciousness. It describes the Turiya state, the state of transcendental Consciousness in which all the divisions and Duality disappears. The SELF alone exists in its pure state.

Among the Upanishads, the “Mandukya” may be regarded as the most important. It is said : ” mandukyam ekam eva alam mumukshunam vimuktaye”. For the liberation from bondage, for a seeker, the maNDukya alone is sufficient.

Upon meditating on the Mystic Syllable OM [AUM], mind can be trained to achieve freedom gradually to attain ultimate Reality.

Please read my previous post on Mandukya Upanishad, Part-1, where I have discussed up to 7th mantra out of total twelve mantras. 7th mantra is most important among the Vedic scriptures. This mantra describes the nature of Absolute reality~ Brahman. Please read first part of the post. Link is here:-

In this post, I will discuss the last five Mantras [from 8th mantra to 12th mantra].


॥ अथ माण्डूक्योपनिषत् ॥

Mantra-8:- ॐ~AUM (OM) with four quarters:

“सोऽयमात्माऽध्यक्षरमोंकारोऽधिमात्रं पादा मात्रा मात्राश्च पादा अकार उकारो मकार इति “॥ ८॥

“so.ayamAtma.sdhyakSharamo~NkAro-adhimAtram pAdA mAtramAtrAshcha pAdA akAra ukAro makAra iti” – [8]

“The same Atman, (which has been described in 7th Mantra as having four quarters) is again, AUM, from the point of view of the syllables. The “AUM “with parts is viewed from the stand point of sound. The quarters the letters and the letters are the quarters. The letters here are A, U and M”.

According to Shankara, 7th mantra have concentrated on the abhidheya meaning ‘that which is being spoken of’, i.e. the thing named or denoted. OM [AUM], therefore, is effectively the abhidhAna-name or appellation. This means that Atman is equated to OM in the linguistic sense. The letters constituting OM are A, U and M.
Mantra-9:- The first mAtra of OM-akAraH: the letter “A” : vaishvAnara- the waking state.

“जागरितस्थानो वैश्वानरोऽकारः प्रथमा मात्राऽऽप्तेरादिमत्त्वाद् वाऽऽप्नोति ह वै सर्वान् कामानादिश्च भवति य एवं वेद “॥ ९॥

“jAgaritasthAno vaishvAnaro-akArah prathamAmAtra-a-apteraadimattvaadvA-a-apnoti ha vai sarvAnkAmAnAdishcha bhavati ya evaM veda”.-[9]

“He who is VaishvAnara, having for its sphere of activity the waking state is A, the first letter of AUM, on account of its all-pervasiveness or on account of being the first. One who knows this attains the fulfilment of all desires and becomes the first of all”.

prathamA mAtra: – The first mAtra of OM-akAraH: the letter “A” vaishvAnara- the waking state. AdimatvatvAt: being the first. Pervasiveness-“A” which pervades all sounds. “A” is the fundamental sound. We can not speak any word without opening the mouth and the sound thus produced is “A”. We can regard this sound as pervading every other sound. Similarly we we regard the waking state as having primacy. We only know of the existence of the dream state and deep sleep states when we are at waking state. Obviously we have to be awake in order to pursue this enquiry and to attain enlightenment.

In the scripture VaishvAnara is said to pervade the whole of the Universe. In Bhagavad-Gita, Ch10.33, Lord Krishna says: ” I am the letter “A”, describing himself as Ishwara. This mantra is advocating Upasana on OM, with specific attention on the first letter “A”.

One who understands this, gets all he wants; becomes leader among men.

Mantra-10:- The letter “U”, the second mAtra of OM is “taijasa”, the dream state

“स्वप्नस्थानस्तैजस उकारो द्वितीया मात्रोत्कर्षाद् उभयत्वाद्वोत्कर्षति ह वै ज्ञानसन्ततिं समानश्च भवति नास्याब्रह्मवित्कुले भवति य एवं वेद” ॥ १०॥ 

“svapnasthAnastijasa ukAro dvitIyAmAtrotkarShAdubhayatvAdvotkarShati ha vai j~nAnasantati-nsamAnashcha bhavati nAsyaabrahmavitkule bhavAti va evaM veda” -[10]

“The dreaming condition [taijasa], called mental condition, corresponds to the second letter “U”. It upholds; stands between waking and sleeping. He who understands, upholds the tradition of Spiritual knowledge. looks upon everything with an impartial eye. No one ignorant of Brahman is born into his family”.

The letter “U”, the second mAtra of OM is “taijasa”, the dream state, because both are regarded as superior and also are in the middle of their respective series. Whosoever knows this will become superior in knowledge and accepted by all. All members of his family will be wise. As a matter of fact, A being the first of all sounds is superior to all letters. But “U” coming after “A” may be said superior to “A” in all indirect way. as such the subtle taijasa is regarded as superior to vishva because subtle is superior to gross. Gross can be considered as the effect of the subtle cause. Gross equates to matter, subtle to energy. Mind is superior to physical body. State of mind makes us superior to the animals. Gross body returns to earth on death, but the subtle and causal body remains present for rebirth. 

Note:- At the macrocosmic level, at the end of the Universe[Pralaya], the entire gross creation [Virat] is subsumed into Hiranyagarbha. 

Mantra-11:- Deep sleep, the intellectual condition, called “Prajna” corresponds to the third letter “M”.

“सुषुप्तस्थानः प्राज्ञो मकारस्तृतीया मात्रा मितेरपीतेर्वा मिनोति ह वा इदꣳ सर्वमपीतिश्च भवति य एवं वेद” ॥ ११॥

“suShuptassthAnaH prAj~no makArastRRitIyA mAtra meterapItervA minoti havA idaM sarvamapItishcha bhavati ya evaM veda”-[11]

“Undreaming sleep, called the intellectual condition [prAj~no], corresponds to the third letter “M”. It weighs and unites. he who understands, weighs the world; rejects; unites himself with the cause”.-[11]

Sankara Explains:-

One who is prAj~no associated with deep sleep is “M” , the third letter{sound) of AUM. The key word “miti” in the mantra needs to be understood. “miti” means measure. As food grains are measured in utensils before use and that is filled again when it is reused on regular basis, which means grains reappear again. similarly, at individual level, the waking and dream states as though disappear in deep sleep, emerge again sometime later. Similarly, at the macrocosmic level, the gross[Virat] and subtle[Hiranyagarbha] worlds disappear at the end of creation into the causal state(Ishwara~antaryamin) and reappear at the next creation. This is analogous to the scientific theory of “Big-Bang & Big-Crunch”. In the same manner, while chanting OM (AUM), the sound “A” and “U” disappear when we close mouth and only sound “M” remains. And the sound “A” and “U” reappear again when the mouth is opened for chanting AUM. waking and dream states are merged in deep sleep. As we have seen in mantra-4 of this Upanishad, that they[ A= Vishva & U= Taijasa] become “mass of consciousness” (prajnanaghana)  in M (deep sleep state).

In deep sleep, all perceptions and cognitions converge into a single mode of the mind: It becomes mass of Consciousness[ ekibhutah]. There is no modifications of the mind[ due to absence of Vrittis].

The happiness of deep sleep is greater than all other forms of happiness. 

Therefore one who knows this, comprehends the real nature of the Universe. He realises himself as Atman and the cause of the Universe i.e. Ishwara.

Mantra-12:- “Amaatra”- The fourth letter: “Turiya”

“अमात्रश्चतुर्थोऽव्यवहार्यः प्रपञ्चोपशमः शिवोऽद्वैत एवमोंकार आत्मैव संविशत्यात्मनाऽऽत्मानं य एवं वेद “॥ १२॥

“amAtrashchaturtho-avyavahAryaH prapa~nchopashamaHshivo-Advaitaevamo~NkAra-atmaiva saMvishatyAtmanA-a-AtmaM ya evaM veda ya evaMveda”-[12]

“The fourth conditioned of the Self corresponds to OM as one, indivisible word. He is whole; beyond bargain. The world disappears in Him. He is the good; the one without a second. Thus OM is nothing but Self. He who understands, with the help of personal self, merges himself into the impersonal Self.”

The part less “OM” is the fourth quarter; It is beyond all conventional dealings; It is the limit of the negation of the phenomenal world. It is all- Auspicious, all-Blissful; It is One without a second; the Non-Dual Reality; This OM is verily the same as the Atman or Self within. The Self realises Itself through the Self; He who knows thus, merges himself  into the impersonal Self.


A) Individually( for Jiva), the waking consciousness is called Vishva. It is called Taijasa in dream and Prajna in deep sleep state. Correspondingly, from the view of Cosmic level, these are: Virat in waking, Hiranyagarbha in dreaming and Ishwara in deep sleep. 

B) The relationship between individual and the cosmic, between Vishva & Virat, Taijasa & Hiranyagarbha, Prajna & Ishwara is integral part of ONE [ Non-Dual Consciousness]. This realisation will put Jiva in Ishwratwa and make it  Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent.

C) The knower of Brahman, who has realised the highest Truth, will enter into the Self by burning away the Third state of latency[ the dormant Vasanas~ (causal) are burnt]. Henceforth, he is not born again, as there are no Karmas to cause a further birth.

D) AUM is realised when the illusion of DUALITY vanishes.

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  4. Commentary of Mandukya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. MANDUKYA Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. The Mandukya Upanishad: with Gaudapada’s Karika and Sankara’s commentary: By swami Nikhilananda
  7. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  8. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  9. A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
  10. Information available on internet.

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