Omkara is another term for Om (or Aum), literally meaning “OM maker.”
The ancient yogic texts, such as the Upanishads, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and the Bhagavad Gita, mention a method of meditation called Pranava yoga. In this type of yoga and meditation, one concentrates on the sacred sound of the Om mantra, which is believed to represent Brahman, or Absolute Reality. The practice of Pranava yoga leads to moksha, or liberation from suffering and limitation.
In Hinduism and yogic philosophy, para nada is the highest of the four levels of sound in the universe. The term comes from the Sanskrit, para, meaning “highest,” “ultimate” or “supreme”; and nada, meaning “sound” or “tone.”
Para nada is transcendental sound that is beyond hearing or the mind’s understanding and is infinite. Associated with the cosmic vibration of Om, para nada is heard only when the yogi is in a state of higher consciousness, just before experiencing samadhi, the final limb of yoga.
While the Upanishads say that para nada is manifested in Om, it is a silent Om. According to some Hindu texts, para nada has no vibration, movement or frequency but is a sound only enlightened yogis can hear. It is sound at its maximum pitch.
The other three levels of nada are:
Vaikhari ~ This is sound that is audible to the human ear.
Madhyama ~ This sound is heard in the mind.
Pashyanti ~ This is a sound that is perceived visually.
Believing that the whole universe is composed of sound vibrations, Nada yoga focuses on transformation from within through sound. The goal is to hear the ultimate sound, or para nada.
Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra of benevolence and is often recited to inspire compassion. The syllable “Om” represents the body, spirit, and speech of Buddha; “Mani” is for the path of teaching; “Padme” for the wisdom of the path, and “Hum” indicates the union of wisdom and the path to it. Though commonly associated with Tibetan Buddhism, meditators across various practices find this mantra inspiring. Compassion, after all, isn’t exclusive to any one belief system.