Following Mothers Day 2020 (a most unusual Mothers Day), we focus our attention on one of the more interesting commonalities among cultures with respect to mothers: the sound of a child calling for its mother – and the relationship between our human mothers and our Mother Earth. If we look at the totality of time and space, we see more relationship than we might expect.
It has been noted in numerous scholarly and semi-scholarly works that the “m” sound, together with the sibilant “ah,” is a sound that is not only easiest to say, involving only the lips, but is actually a sound that babies associate with food (and is a sound generally associated with nursing). That’s the scientific basis – and, as we know, science is often informed by sociological reasons, as sociological reasons are also informed by science.
Consider the words for mother, from widely different cultures. The majority of the world’s languages use a variation of the “Mah” sound (examples include mother in English, madre in Spanish, màthair in Gaelic; and ma in Hindi). Some cultures have similar words, using an “n” instead of an “m” (examples are nana in Fijian and naana in Chechen). In any event, it is quite easy to find lists of the words for mother in various languages by using your favorite browser. A listing is not the focus of this posting, so it is left to the reader to search out the variations.
While it is probably true that the “ma” sound is easier for an infant to form – and it obviously refers to food, since that is the main desire of an infant – we can look behind that reason also. Why is the “ma” sound so easy and basic to humans? Is it, perhaps, because it is also the sound that babies first learn, in the womb? It is known that a fetus can hear vowels much easier than consonants and that babies remember and recognize, after birth, music heard in the womb. It has been said that babies are much closer to Source and, in those religions that believe in reincarnation, it is believed that a memory of the prior life is remembered during the first few years of a child’s life.
A thought: the universe is made of frequencies not particles – everything we see and touch are molecules in motion, moving at a particular speed. The sound or frequency of an “object” is, then, the reality of that object. Sound may have preceded and, possibly, caused the Big Bang – perhaps, the Great Song? (A “side thought” to this essay, but one which bears mentioning.)
Ancient people were closer to the Earth and the natural world than modern man and many ancient peoples believed that the Earth could sing and had a special song, the so-called “Great Song” of the Celts. “Om” or “omh” (that most basic of mantras) is the audible sound of the universe. Try saying the word “omh” – there is a similarity in the sound and the feeling of the formation of “omh” as when you say “mama” – it is said that “Om represents everything – the beginning, the middle and the end, the past, the present and the future. It encompasses all sounds – mankind, nature, machinery … it is the hum of the earth. “ — the omh is the whole universe coalesced into a single word – it is vocalization of the Great Song of the Earth, the music of the spheres.
The sound of “omh” is actually three syllables: a, u, and m. the “a” represents the beginning and is associated with creation. The “u” represents steadiness and energy and the “m” is the sound of “closing in” and the beginning of the end. The fourth “sound” is that of silence. In this way, Om represents the fact that everything constantly changes – from movement into stillness, from sound into silence, the endless cycle of life….