Question: I have always wondered if the AMEN of our Christian religion was originally meant to have the same significance as the AUM of the Hindu religion.

Sri Chinmoy: They are totally different. AMEN is said at the end of a prayer and means "So let it be." We have, in Sanskrit, a similar phrase, uttered at the end of invocations to the deities and prayers to God: It is TATASTU and it means "May that be so." But the syllable AUM is a mantric sound. It is used in a completely different way from AMEN or TATASTU. AUM is the actual sound of the creation; it is the Originator, the Mother, the Breath of Creation. From the sound AUM, Creation came into being. AUM is also the expression in sound of God in His three aspects: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Before AUM, nothing in the manifested cosmos existed. The Supreme began the Creation with the supreme sound of AUM.

When we say AMEN or TATASTU we are praying to have something we want fulfilled. The AMEN is always preceded by something else, whereas AUM is not like that. AUM always precedes everything. When we begin any religious or spiritual activity, when we start any mantra, we start it with AUM. We can also end any mantra with AUM if we want to, but we have to start it with AUM. In the Western religions of course, we do not start anything with AMEN. It always comes at the end, after a prayer. Moreover, the significance of AUM is infinitely more soulful and more intimate in the realm of reality and God's vision than is AMEN. When we say AMEN, immediately our physical consciousness enters into the fulfilment of some desire or prayer. But in the case of AUM, this does not happen. AUM will inspire the very existence of the seeker and then, after the inspiration is over, it will energise the seeker to enter into aspiration. When aspiration starts functioning, then AUM takes the aspiration of the seeker into the highest and the deepest in that individual's soul.

I am very glad that you have asked this question. The function and significance of AUM and of AMEN is not at all the same.