Numbers are far more than a convenient measure of the physical world. In many traditions they are considered to be the primal organizing principle that gives structure to the universe. The lives of animals and plants, the seasons and the movements of the planets are all governed by numerical relationships; and the shapes of crystals and harmony in music are determined by numerical laws. Numbers are seen as universal templates of creation, and therefore as symbols of perfection and of the gods. In the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, a number was assigned to each letter, and great importance was attached to the numerical significance of a name or phrase: the idea that all things can be expressed in terms of numbers persists today in the divinatory pseudoscience of numerology.
Sound is an evocative and thus a creative experience. Many cultures credit the gods with the power to make sounds, either through natural agencies, such as wind, water and animals, or through musical instruments. In myth, sound can be bewitching (the voices of the sirens), or destructive (the shout with which Joshua and the Israelites felled the walls of Jericho). Many creation myths talk of sound disturbing the pre-existent stillness, thereby bringing the world into being.
The number three underlies all aspects of creation - mind, body and spirit; birth, life and death; past, present and future. The trinity occurs in many religions, symbolizing unity in diversity. The three magi (above) symbolize Christ's divinity, majesty and sacrifice.
The number of mankind (the four-limbed), four is associated with wholeness and completion- four elements, cardinal points, seasons, and ages of man. To the Chinese, it was the number of the earth.
The sum of the number of divinity (three) and the number of mankind (four), seven represents the macrocosm and the microcosm, and expresses the relationship between God and humanity. Accordingly, the world was created in seven days, there are seven deadly sins that separate mankind from God, and seven stages of initiation (seven heavens) through which we have to journey in order to return to God. The number was sacred to the Greek god Apollo and Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility.
The divine number three multiplied by itself gives nine, the incorruptible number of completion and erernity. Nine is associated with the circle, the square and the triangle. For the Chinese, it was the celestial number, the most auspicious of all, and there were nine great social laws and nine classes of officials. In Hinduism, nine squared produces the 81-square mandala, which symbolizes the universe and is used as an aid in prophecy and in astrological calculations.
The Letter 'M'
The letter "M" indicates the union between man and woman, who are shown sheltering under its arches.
The Vibration Of Aum/Om
The sound "OM" (pronounced ar-oo-mrn) is believed by Hindus to he the sound that brought creation into being.
In Hinduism and Buddhism the mantra is a sacred sound, which symbolically expresses a particular divine energy. Mantras can be spoken aloud or just sounded in the mind. Initiation into certain sects involves the guru whispering the mantra into the ear of the initiate.
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