“ Om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnam adaya
An ideological and free translation of the mantra begins with the word Om which is personified here as God. The word 'purnam' and its related derivates in the mantra mean complete, and signifies His completeness. As He is complete, everything emanating from Him is complete. From the Complete Wholeness only the completeness manifests. And even when a single complete is subtracted from the whole Complete what is left is still a Complete. The products produced thru Him may look small or big, but in core and quality all are complete units.
The mantra assures complete balance in all of His universal creations from the elements of nature to mankind. For humanity the mantra conveys a message that every human being is equal in his or her completeness as manifested by Him.
Atma, a single soul, is a complete manifestation of the Supreme-atma. The latter is the cause and the former is the effect. It is a cause and effect association. The effect cannot be less than the cause. The cause changes to effect, but continues to remain cause also. In essence the mantra reinforces that in every living being there dwells the Supreme atma as well. Equality and divinity are the themes of the mantra concerning mankind.
The mantra also stands out in making us realize how inter-related we are in this universe.
Rajneesh (Osho), a great thinker, philosopher and an explicit interpreter of Hinduism in modern times explains this universal tie-up. His explanation of the mantra:
“[Om Purnam] is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life. This small sutra contains the essence of the Upanishadic vision. Neither before nor afterwards has the vision been transcended; it still remains the Everest of human consciousness. And there seems to be no possibility of going beyond it.
"The Upanishadic vision is that the universe is a totality, indivisible; it is an organic whole. The parts are not separate, we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear – don’t be deceived by the appearance – they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass is connected to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the greatest sun.
Nothing is insignificant; nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole just as the seed contains the whole".
Excerpts from the book Hinduism beyond rituals, customs and traditions by Promod Puri promodpuri.com