Sunday, April 3, 2011


While watching General Conference, I noticed how often they said the word "Amen". In case you didn't know, Amen is the word that Jews, Muslims and Christians use after a prayer or sermon. It is a word of affirmation, dating back from the earliest texts of Judaism. It literally means "So be it", or "truly", with the connotation of "truth" itself. In addition, Jesus Christ himself is referred to as "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation" in Revelation.

Now, before I make a connection, I want all of you to know that the following is pure speculation. It could be completely wrong and not based in truth at all. But here it is nonetheless:

The Sanskrit word Aum or Om holds much the same connotation.  It literally means "yes", "it is" or "will be". It has the additional connotation of being a symbol for totality, wholeness and the divine. It is used as an object of concentration when meditating, allowing a person to focus their thoughts on its sounds so that their thoughts to subside. Its constituent sounds, A, U and M, are symbols for the three members of the Hindu trinity: A for Brahma, U for Vishnu and M for Mahadev (another name for Shiva). Incidentally, the A sound is formed in the back of the throat, U in the middle of the mouth, and M on the lips. In each case it symbolizes quite the idea of totality quite well, either in the context of divinity or of vocalization. As if to seal the deal, AUM is recited at the end of prayers.

I don't think I have to say any more to show you the immense similarity between the two words. They both symbolize the eternal, the whole and the truth. As if that weren't enough, they both indicate an acceptance and a peace with what is [Which gives me the idea that perhaps meditation is prayer without words. But I could be wrong, and it's beside the point]. But the connection isn't just limited to these two. Similar-sounding words indicating totality, wholeness, finality, etc. can be found all over the world: Amun (the Egyptian "god of gods"), words beginning with omni- (omniscience, omnivorous, omnipresence, etc.), omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet).

As to how these similar-sounding words popped up all over the world, I have no idea. Perhaps, although unlikely, they spread from a single center to all of these places. Perhaps it is built into the human consciousness as an archetype (as Jung would tell us). Or perhaps, a little more orthodoxly, it is revelation given from God to all people. 

Anyway, hope you have enjoyed this! Take it with a grain of salt.


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