Sri Aurobindo

Om And Turiya


The Gita ties together the review of the action of the Gunas and the spiritual quest through a discussion of the phrase “Om Tat Sat”. Prayer and action are initiated with OM as a potent reminder of the spiritual content. Om is described at some length in both the Mandukya and Chhandogya Upanishads. “OM is this imperishable Word, OM is the Universe, and this is the exposition of OM. The past, the present and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, is OM. Likewise all else that may exist beyond the bounds of Time, that too is OM.” (Mandukya Upanishad, 1, translated by Sri Aurobindo in The Upanishads, pg. 319)

Sri Aurobindo summarizes further qualities of OM: “OM is the symbol of the triple Brahman, the outward-looking, the inward or subtle and the superconscient causal Purusha. Each letter A, U, M indicates one of these three in ascending order and the syllable as a whole brings out the fourth state, Turiya, which rises to the Absolute. OM is the initiating syllable pronounced at the outset as a benedictory prelude and sanction to all act of sacrifice, all act of giving and all act of askesis; it is a reminder that our work should be made an expression of the triple Divine in our inner being and turned towards him in the idea and motive.”

Similarly, the syllable Tat has its own essential meaning: “Tat, That, indicates the Absolute.” and Sat too has its fundamental significance: “Sat indicates the supreme and universal existence in its principle.”

Sat symbolizes the good works, the actions that lead to spiritual realisation, which the Gita has described as sacrifice, askesis and giving. Sri Aurobindo amplifies this: “All good works are Sat, for they prepare the soul for the higher reality of our being; all firm abiding in sacrifice, giving and askesis and all works done with that central view, as sacrifice, as giving, as askesis, are Sat, for they build the basis for the highest truth of our spirit.”

The soul’s faith, sraddha, committed to these highest principles in action, is essential for the realisation to occur. By dedicating action with OM Tat Sat, one focuses the inner being and faith on the essential reality that creates the entire universe, and turns “…towards all that is highest, most divine, most real and eternal that will enable us to reach the supreme perfection.”

OM Tat Sat.