Perhaps a portal has opened recently, putting us into direct contact with times, places and ideas that had seemed lost in history. If you could walk through such a portal into direct contact with any of the great Mahatmas, the Avatars, the Buddha-Christs, would it not be an experience of unimaginable grace? The resurgence of the Aramaic language into the western world, and recent discoveries of lost original teachings from the life of Jesus, offer us such a blessing. We can sit now, in our bedrooms or at our kitchen tables and touch directly into his thoughts, untainted by manipulations of history or human intervention.
He apparently spoke many languages, yet chose to teach in Aramaic. It was the language of the people, a rich, multi-faceted form of speech favored by many great mystical teachers of the East. The Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer, alone holds me spellbound. In fact, I have been sitting with just the first word, Abwoon, for almost two years, and the longer I sit with it, the further it takes me into experiences of bliss and expansive understanding. Here is a YouTube link to a lovely version of the prayer, from the album, Sacred Ragas, by IndiaJiva, this is Abwoon D’Bashmaya, The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic.
The first line of the prayer, in Aramaic is Abwoon d’bwashmaya. To offer a taste of the incredible, hidden meanings in Aramaic, here is a brief explanation of just the first word ‘Abwoon’ given by Neil Douglas-Klotz in his book, Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meanings of Jesus’s Words:
“The prayer begins with an expression of the divine creation and the blessing that emanates from all parenting…
Abwoon has four parts to its sound meaning:
A: the Absolute, the Only Being, the pure Oneness and Unity, source of all power and stability …
bw: a birthing, a creation, a flow of blessing, as if from the “interior” of this Oneness to us.
oo: the breath or spirit that carries this flow, echoing the sound of breathing and including all forces we now call magnetism, wind, electricity, and more. (This sound is linked to the Aramaic phrase rukja d’goodsha which was later translated as ‘Holy Spirit’)
n: the vibration of this creative breath from Oneness as it touches and interpenetrates form. There must be a substance that this force touches, moves, and changes.
This sound echoes the earth, and the body here vibrates as we intone the whole name slowly: Ah-bw-oo-n.”
There are many places available now to sit in resonant presence with original teachings, or at least with relatively enlightened perspectives on the original meanings. Here are but a few that I am pondering at the moment:
– The works of Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopal Priest whose life work is taking her deep into an enlightened study of original Aramaic texts and the lost gospels. Her books, The Wisdom Jesus, and The Meaning of May Magdalene sit by my reading chair.
– Jean-Yves LeLoup’s , The Gospel of Mary Magdaline is an inspired look at an ancient text that first came to modern-day awareness in Cairo in 1896. Along with the Gospel of Thomas, discovered fifty years later in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, the Gospel of Mary is considered part of the Gnostic gospels, and is well worth hearing about if you are interesting in re-framing your concept of Jesus in his own time and place.
– Neil Douglas-Klotz specializes in Aramaic translations of ancient teachings. The book I quoted earlier, Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meanings of Jesus’s Words includes translations of the Lord’s Prayer and The Beatitudes. He has written many other books as well.