Ōṁ (or Aum) (listen ; Sanskrit: ॐ, ओम्, romanized: Ōṁ) is the sound of a sacred spiritual symbol in Indic religions

The meaning and connotations of Om vary between the diverse schools within and across the various traditions

It is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries, and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism

As a syllable, it is often chanted either independently or before a spiritual recitation and during meditation in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism

In Hinduism, wherein it signifies the essence of the Ultimate Reality (parabrahman) which is consciousness (paramatman), Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols

It refers to Atman (Self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge)

The syllable 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 puja and private prayers, in ceremonies of rites of passage (sanskara) such as weddings, and during meditative and spiritual activities such as Pranava yoga

The syllable Om is also referred to as Onkara/Omkara and Pranav/Pranava among many other names