Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is perhaps the most common prayer that is used in worship in the Christian faith. We have heard it and said it so many times and the text is provided below for ready reference. These words are fourth level of translation from the Aramaic, which Jesus spoke and taught in, to Greek then into Latin and finally in English.

Our father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

As one searches deeper into ancient sacred texts, in their original language and with current level of scholarship in those languages, one realizes the in-depth wisdom and cosmic dimension the authors of these texts wish to convey.
The prayer taught by Jesus when his apostles asked him how to pray has been watered down to a very palatable version in Christianity today. I would rather say that the translation simplifies the content to cater to the general public whose path to God realization is purely through devotion.

But for people who seek the Jnana marg or the esoteric path, the modern scholars have been manna from heaven.
A well meaning translation from modern scholarship of Aramaic and considering a higher dimension of intent, is given below:
O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos
Focus your light within us - make it useful.
Create your reign of unity now-
through our fiery hearts and willing hands
Help us love beyond our ideals
and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.
Animate the earth within us: we then
feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.
Untangle the knots within
so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.
Out of you, the astonishing fire,
Returning light and sound to the cosmos. Amen.

We can see the beauty of this prayer
Jesus indicated the lack of deeper understanding when he said:

"Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them"......Gospel of Matthew 13:12-15

Love to you all


  1. Tib,

    As a professional translator of the Aramaic language for many years, I am pained to inform you that this form of the prayer is not rooted in modern scholarship as you state in your article above.

    It is a wonderful -meditation- upon the prayer, but it resembles the "actual Aramaic" as much as "Our father in heaven" resembles "O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes."

    I've written an extensive article about these "translations" here on my blog, along with a word-by-word breakdown of the actual Aramaic "behind it":

    Steve Caruso
    Author, The Aramaic Blog

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. As you mention in your Blog there are many gaps in our understanding of ancient Aramaic as spoken by Jesus. I am not a scholar but my references are from scholars such as Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz.
    Biblical scholars disagree about Jesus' meaning in the Lord's Prayer. Some view it as "existential," referring to man's present experience on earth, while others interpret it as "eschatological," referring to the coming Kingdom of God.
    I look at all prayers as a dynamic tool in spiritual exercise and needs to convey an evolving reality as we move from one age to another.
    In the Vedic philosophy this process is called Smiriti as contrasted to the irrefutable truth which is known as shruthi.
    The reason I did this short Blog post is to highlight a possible cosmic dimension in this prayer.
    Thanks for your input and I find your blog very scholarly.