According to the Mandukya Upanishad, the world of the state of waking consciousness is to be identified with the letter A of the syllable AUM; that of dream consciousness (heaven and hell, that is to say) with the letter U; and deep sleep (the state of the mystical union of the knower and the known, God and his world, brooding the seeds and energies of creation: which is the state symbolized in the centre of the mandala) with M. The soul is to be propelled both by and from this syllable AUM into the silence beyond and all around it: the silence out of which it rises and back into which it goes when pronounced - slowly and rhythmically ... as AUM-AUM-AUM.
According to Joseph Campbell, 'if you want to here AUM, just cover your ears and you'll here it. Of course, what you are hearing is the blood in the capillaries, but it's AUM : Ah-waking consciousness; ou-dream consciousness; and then, mmm-the realm of deep, dreamless sleep. AUM is the sound of the radiance of God'.
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