OM is the most holy sound of the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit means, “put together” and is the language of the Vedas (Rig-Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda) and Vedic literature. Sanskrit is written in Devanagari which means script of the city (nagari) of the Gods (Deva). The Veda and Vedic literature unfolds the whole creation and is considered not to be man made but received by the Rishis (seers) of the Himalayan mountain range thousands of years ago. Through deep meditation they realised the Laws of Nature by which the whole universe manifested and is sustained until today. The Veda and Vedic literature can be seen as the blueprint of creation and Sanskrit as the language with the perfect sound that corresponds to each form of manifestation.
OM is the perfect sound that encompasses all sounds that bring about the manifest world. Thus, all other words that are derived from OM are already deviated from wholeness and cannot bring the same orderliness to the physiology as OM itself. OM is the vibration that perfectly corresponds with its meaning. To be healthy means to be whole or holy. Thus, it is best to chant OM to achieve the vibration of perfect wholeness in each cell. We could say that chanting OM is one of the best ways to bring the vibration of unity into the diversity of creation. Each cell of the body should reverberate wholeness and all parts together should reverberate in wholeness. This can be achieved through chanting OM.
Sanskrit and its relation to other languages
It is very interesting to know that Sanskrit shares a common origin with hundreds of other languages like Greek, Latin; German, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri, Panjabi, Nepali und Romani. Vedic Sanskrit, the pre-Classical form of the language is one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family. The oldest known text in Sanskrit, the Rigveda, is a collection of over a thousand hymns that were approximately composed during the 2nd Millennium BC. Actually it is said that Sanskrit was very likely the basis for many other languages. Thus, from the point of linguistic science we could say, that the words and sounds of Sanskrit are basic to the words and sounds of modern languages. For example, the English word "sugar" and the German word “Zucker” are derived from the Sanskrit word "Sharkara". Even some African languages like Kisuaheli seem to have connections to Sanskrit. For example in Kisuaheli the word for lion is “Simba” and the Sanskrit word for lion is Simha. In linguistic sciences it is recognized that more than 170 languages are derived from Sanskrit or at least very strongly influenced by it.
Sanskrit and its effects on brain physiology
Beside the fact that Sanskrit might be the origin of many other languages there is another interesting feature about it. It seems that reading Sanskrit has a different effect on brain physiology than any other language.
Dr. Travis* asked his test subjects to read passages from the Bhagavad-Gita in Sanskrit and in modern foreign languages (Spanish, French, or German). In each case they could pronounce the sounds but did not know the meaning. He measured brain wave patterns (ERG), heart and breath rate, and galvanic skin resistance during two reading sessions and during a 15-minute session of the Transcendental Meditation technique.
He found that while they read Sanskrit their physiology was similar to those measured during the Transcendental Meditation technique, but significantly different from reading a modern language.
When reading Sanskrit, especially when reading parts of the Vedic literature, brain function seemed to change. Similar like in meditation the ERG alpha power, brain wave coherence and skin resistance improved. When reading the same texts in modern languages all the physiological parameters seemed to stay the same. This leads to the conclusion that the ancient written texts of the Veda and Vedic literature, written in Sanskrit, enliven states of higher consciousness while reading modern languages do not settle the mind but rather keep it in a fragmented outward oriented state.
The effect of reading the Vedic literature seems to support the idea that the Vedic literature is a blueprint of creation unfolding in a very orderly way the structuring dynamics of consciousness and that the functioning of brain physiology aligns with these dynamics when reading the Vedic literature in Sanskrit.
If the sound OM reverberates all these properties of the Veda and Vedic literature we were given a technique that not only enlivens wholeness but also the dynamics by which wholeness becomes structured in creation and that is nothing else than healing, meaning that fragmented functioning is brought back to holistic functioning.
* Travis, F.T., Olsen, T., Egenes, T., & Gupta, H.K. (2001). Physiological patterns during practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique compared with patterns while reading Sanskrit and a modern language. International Journal of Neuroscience, 109, 71-80.
AUM and Amen
It is believed (though there is no academic support for this) that AUM became Amen in Christianity and Judaism. Amen is mentioned widely in the Bible and it is said to mean, "so be it“ or “verily”, “truly”. This may be a later interpretation of “Amen” since it was first recorded in 1230 A.D. Jesus calls himself (In Revelation 3:14 „the Amen, the faithful and true witness" and in Hebrew "Amen“ means truth, “to be firm” or “faithful”. Muslims use the word "’Āmīn" (Arabic: آمين) not only after reciting the first surah of the Koran (Qur'an), but also when concluding a prayer, with the same meaning as in Christianity. The Islamic use of the word is the same as the Jewish use of the word.
Under the rulership of pharaoh Echnaton the Egyptians worshipped Amen-Ra or Ammon (the hidden God) by using Amen to invoke Ammon. This leads us to another meaning of Amen that is “the concealed”. We could say that Amen or originally AUM is the sound of the true reality that is hidden by the world of manifest existence. This reality is pure being thus it could also be translated as “so be it” as it happened later as an expression of benediction or as a sign of gratitude.
As mentioned before there is no scientific evidence until today that Amen is a derivative from the Sanskrit sound AUM, although many people believe so. Thus, to make sure that the chanting brings maximum effect it is better to chant OM than any other similar word or sound.