Question: Why does man use archaic sounds in his prayer, such as Aum, Amen, Halleluiah, etc.?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us think of God the Silence and God the Sound. Needlesss to say, God’s Silence aspect is more difficult to comprehend than God’s Sound aspect. It is easier to enter into silence from sound. So when we use words such as Aum, Amen, or Halleluiah, through sound we are approaching silence.

We come from outside the church, where many people may be moving around and talking, to the altar inside, where it is all calm and quiet. God the Sound is like the outside of the church and God the Silence is like the altar. It is easier to stand and look at the outside of a church than to go inside and approach the altar. Again, we cannot imagine an altar without a church, and to have a church without an altar is useless. They complement each other and form a unit.

Although Aum is a Sanskrit word, it is not an archaic sound. Aum embodies the tremendous power of our Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva — God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer. So Aum is the sound-expression of the Hindu trinity.

About the words which are used in other religions, I do not know what they represent to those who use them, so I am not the right person to answer this question.