Resonance and the Om

Monks meditation on waterfall


Essential to an understanding of Buddhist and Hindu cultures, meditative practices, and religious precepts, is a comprehension of resonance. Resonance addresses how even the slightest vibrations transfer energy and subsequently cause movement to spread like ripples until the energy dissipates and the vibrations settle. Resonance also applies to sound studies because of the relationship between sound and movement. Sound waves are caused by movement and even the Brownian motion, the movement of atoms, create sound waves.

Resonance holds a place of great importance when studying these cultures because of the Om and other basic tenets found within these religions. A deep belief in the interconnectedness of the universe lies at the foundations of these two cultures. Understanding the phenomena of resonance is direly important to attaining a state of inner and outer peace is the ultimate goal. By attuning themselves to resonance through use of the Om, meditation, and learning, these peoples are also learning to control the vibrations they cause and to better receive those of others. Resonance is more than just an acoustic property to these cultures; it’s also symbolic of the ebb and flow of life and the universe, of which humans are merely specks within. By exploring resonance within these cultures I will examine these eastern cultures and the sound, mind, and body connections therein from a western intellectual perspective.





The Om is extremely important to meditative and yogic activity in both Hindu and Buddhist culture. This simple sound is intrinsically linked to the very foundations of these two religions, and is representative of the thrumming movement of the universe. This particular video captures a group of Tibetan monks chanting the Om in accompaniment with quiet bells and drums. Though the Om is not always carried out for such an extended period of time, it is often used to denote the beginning and end of different activities like praying, meditating, reciting mantras, or as a preface to a religious text.



3 thoughts on “Resonance and the Om

  1. I am really interested in the topic you’re studying and can’t wait to see your final project! I like how you go beyond om just being a religious practice, but a very humanistic noise and idea. Some people say that om is the eternal vibration the earth expels, and om was the sound that created our entire world. I’m interested in the sources you’re using for your study; I’d like to read some of them! I also have a few books you’re more than welcome to borrow if you’d like to

  2. I found the comparison of the Om to the thrumming of the universe very interesting. From a cultural perspective, I’d be interested to hear how this comparison evolved. Also, you said that the Om is not usually carried out for as long as it was in the clip. How long is it usually carried out? And is the time indicative of concentration?

  3. Interesting topic for sure. I would agree that resonance is pretty inherent within both Buddhist and Hindu culture, embedded within a spiritual understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. In focusing on the auditory qualities of the Om, analyzing the connection between acoustic resonance and broader interconnectedness of various aspects of each culture would likely provide intriguing insight.

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