Vishal: Namaste Guruji, I trying to understand how and Why Pranav means Aum. Why Patanjali said “Tasya Vaachak Parnava” instead of Aum. How to reconcile Pranav and Aum meaning same? How both are synonym one-another? Please explain Pranava and how it becomes Aum.
Swami Ram Swarup: Namsteji. Not only Patanjali Rishi but several other Rishis have told that Prannav is Om.
For example- Manusmriti shloka-2/74 states-
aadau cha antey kurvaat”
i.e., in the beginning and in the end of ved mantra the Rishis used to utter “Om” instead of Prannav, as quoted in the shloka above. Here, Manu Bhagwan has quoted the meaning of Prannav as Om.
Similarly, Shwetashwataropnishad, chapter 1, shloka 13, states-
When the fire rests in its reason (i.e., from where it was originated) then its shape in the form of flames cannot be seen but it is not yet destroyed in the shape of fuel (wood etc.). Its existence always remains and when the woods will be burnt, the shape of fire in the form of flames is seen. The Rishi states in the above shloka that in the same manner the soul and the God (Prannavein) can be known by doing the jaap of Prannav i.e., Om, in the human body.
In this shloka also the Rishi has quoted the meaning of Prannav as OM. Now, I would like to mention here that Prannav is the synonym of Om like Paya, Paani, aab, jal are the synonyms of water.
Raavi: Sat sat pranam guruji mera prashn hai, kya inter caste marriages nhi honi chahiyee agr nhi to kyun? or ye caste kahan se aayee jb god ne sabko ek sa bnaya?
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you, my son. In this connection, I paste my article as under-
Vedas and ancient holy granths state that marriage must be perform based on good qualities from both sides. Marriage must be performed on mutual understanding and good qualities. It is not wrong if boy is settled well and both sides agree and boy and girl are having good qualities and are of a required age.
There are four ashrams in the life, Brahmacharya ashram up to age of 25 years, Grihastha ashram up to 50 years, Vanprasth ashram up to 75 years and Sanyas ashram up to 100 years. So one should try to discharge his duties of every ashram knowing duties thereof and then must take sanyas, but if anybody else is interested to take sanyas being ascetic by true speech etc., then he can take sanyas even at an early age.
I have already written about caste system (varn vyavastha). Yajurveda mantra 31/11 says that caste is based on present deeds (karmas) and not by birth. The sense of Mantra is that if a son of shudra studies Vedas, controls senses/organs and mind, does practice of Ashtang yoga, then he will be considered Brahmin and a Brahmin who has no such qualities he will be treated as shudra etc., etc. There is no caste system in Vedas based on birth and the other holy books like Manusmriti, six shastras, Upnishads, Valmiki Ramayana, Mahabharat (Bhagwad Geeta) etc., were written by ancient Rishis/Munis based on only the knowledge of Vedas, so no caste system exists therein based on birth.
In this connection Yajurveda mantra 31/11 also says that he who knows Vedas and God, he is Brahmin being most supreme in the world like a mouth in the body. So anyone (of any caste) can be a Brahmin by hard studies of Vedas, practising Ashtang yoga therein and thus realizing God. One who has physical power in his arms, he is Kashtriye-Rajput to protect the country. So anyone can be a Rajput, holding the said qualities. One who has powers in his thighs to travel and to do hard work to establish business, he is Vaishya (businessman). One who has not studied, based on his qualities that he could not gain the qualities of Brahmin, Kashtriye and Vaishya, he is shudra (may be of any caste).
There is a symbolic story in Mahabharat. That once Yudhishthir saw that his brother Bhima was caught by a huge python. Yudhishthir asked python that my brother is a great warrior having sufficient power that you could not catch him. So really you are not python, tell me, who you are. Python replied that he was a yaksha. O Yudhishthir, if you would answer my question, then your brother would be released. Yaksha asked Yudhishthir that if a son of Brahmin takes wine, meat, gambles and does bad deeds then whether he will be considered as Brahmin and when a shudra (lowest caste) reads Vedas, does practice of Ashtang yoga, controls his five senses, five organs and mind and does always pious deeds then whether the son of such shudra will remain shudra? Yudhishthir replied that the Brahmin will be treated as shudra and shudra will be treated as Brahmin.
King Janak called all the emperors/anybody to break the bow to prove to be the best powerful emperor amongst all to marry his daughter Sita. So King Janak did not make any objection of caste system. So was the case of marriage of Draupadi where in the garb of a Brahmin Arjuna pierced the eye of the fish with arrow and Yudhishthir married Draupadi. Draupadi was daughter of Khastriye, Rajput whereas in the dress, Arjun was Brahmin. So qualities are to be checked either of boy or girl.