Sound Archetype: HU


One of the common threads in the wisdom traditions of the world is the special place of the Divine Word in the creation theories. In this context, the sound archetype HU is particularly fascinating. It permeates the spiritual traditions of the Near-Eastern cultures. One can also find many examples of HU in the Indo-European languages. HU is one of the three primary sound archetypes of the Near-Eastern cultures along with YA and RA. For a general introduction to sound archetypes please see the article “Sound Archetypes” [1].

HU in Tehuti

We recognize HU in the name Tehuti who is also known as Thoth in English translations of ancient Egyptian texts. In Greek mythology Tehuti is known as Hermes, in Roman mythology as Mercury.  There is extensive literature on Tehuti. Very few among those books and articles stress the root word HU in the name Tehuti. One exception is Gadalla [2] [3] who explains that HU represents the “authoritative utterance” and Tehuti represents the power of Divine Word. In ancient Egyptian cosmology, HU is complemented by Sia which represents the Cosmic Mind. In this sense Sia is very close to the Greek Logos. An interesting note in passing is that Sia contains the acoustic root IA (YA sound archetype [3]).

In the ancient Egyptian cosmology HU and Sia were always mentioned together with Heka the ability to transform using the right words [2]. Heka was the basis of Egyptian magic. Sia-Hu-Heka is perhaps one of the earliest trinities formed in human religious thought.

The three attributes HU, Sia and Heka may also be the origin of the title “Trismegistus” (three times great) given to Tehuti (Thoth, Hermes). In this connection, one is tempted to speculate that Te (Dje) is related to the Heka attribute and Ti to the Sia attribute.

Meaning of Tehuti

From the linguistic view point there is another possibility. The m-/t- pronominal pattern is observed in the proto languages of the Indo-European and Uralic families. The m-/t- pronominal pattern refers to me “I”, te “you”. In these languages te and its variants refer to the second-person “you”. In the Indo-European languages there is a pattern where suffixes are added to the verbal roots to express the first three persons. In Sanskrit, for example, bhara-mi  “I carry”, bhara-si “you carry”, bhara-ti “he carries”. If HU is a verbal root, then ti is referring to the third person. If Tehuti is a Proto-Indo-European name then Te-hu-ti means You-HU-He, “you are HU, you are He”.

HU in the Divine Names

We recognize HU in the names of God: AL-LA-HU (Allah) and YA-HU-VA-HU (Jehovah, Yahweh). Just this recognition alone shows that Islam, Christianity and Judaism have common origins. It is also strongly suggestive that the roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are in Egypt. Much more can be said on the common origins but here we stress the significance of HU in all religions originating from Near-East.

In Sanskrit VA is the acoustic root of Dharma. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti defines Dharma as “The innate propensity of human beings is to move along the path towards subtlety in the psychic and spiritual spheres, and finally to merge into Parama Purusa”. YA-HU-VA-HU is a fitting combination of sound archetypes to name the Supreme Being.

Ahura Mazda, the name of the Supreme Being in Zoroastrianism contains all three sound archetypes we are examining: YA, HU and RA. The order in which these sounds are combined to form the word Ahura is important. In Avestan, the earlier language spoken in Persia, Ahura meant Divinity. In modern times Persians (Iranians) also use the word Huda to refer to God. The HU in Huda is clearly referring to the Divine Word.

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Explanation

In his book “The Music of Life” [5] Hazrat Inayat Khan explains many cosmic mysteries. This is an important book. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I have made the same Linguistic observations regarding the usage of HU in languages as he does in the “The Music of Life”. I must have read this book without realizing the significance of what he was saying, then, later in life my subconscious must have reminded me of his original observations regarding HU.

In addition to Linguistic observations Hazrat Inayat Khan provides an authoritative explanation of HU [5] “The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu, the natural name, not manmade, the only name of the Nameless, which all nature constantly proclaims. The sound of hu is most sacred. The mystics called it ism-e Azam, the name of the Most High, for it is the origin and the end of every sound as well as the background of each word. The word hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words, and is hidden within them all, as the spirit is in the body. It does not belong to any language, but no language can help belonging to it. This alone is the true name of God, a name that no people and no religion can claim as their own. This word is not only uttered by human beings, but is repeated by animals and birds. All things and beings proclaim this name of the Lord, for every activity of life expresses distinctly or indistinctly this very sound. This is the word mentioned in the Bible as existing before light came into being.”

HU in Qur’an

In Qur’an, HU refers to the transcendent, ultimate reality. HU is repeated numerous times in Qur’an. Allah is the manifest divinity, the Supreme Being, the Creator. The names Allah, Alah, Elah existed for centuries before the birth of Islam.  The name Allah as the name of the Supreme Being was well known among Arabic tribes. Scholars think that the etymology of Allah is Al-Lah, a combination of Al (El) meaning “great” in semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic) and Lah meaning divine in Arabic. This is true but one needs to examine the etymology of the word Lah. The roots in Lah are LA and HU. It is much more revealing when Allah is spelled as AL-LA-HU. We should mention that LA is another acoustic root. LA is recognized in Sanskrit as the acoustic root of the solid factor (matter). The LA is signifying the “manifest” aspect of divinity. It is very likely that the word AL-LA-HU originated in ancient Egypt given the fact that HU was associated with the creation of universe and it was characterized as “authoritative utterance” the divine word by the ancient Egyptians.

The Qur’an is meant to be recited. Silent reading of the Qur’an is not as effective. The word “qur’an” literally means recitation in classical Arabic. The recitation of Qur’an has hypnotic effect on Muslims. The translations of Qur’an do not create the same effect. Most western people find it difficult to understand when they read Qur’an from translations. There have been some attempts to institute Islamic prayers in the local language where Islam was practiced. These attempts have failed. Is it just the dogma of the religion and the conservatism of the people in Islamic lands that insists on prayers in classical Arabic, or is there a genuine spiritual effect created when the Qur’an is recited? It is a curious phenomenon worthy of a serious look. It is more curious when you consider the fact that Arabic speakers today have difficulty understanding the classical Arabic of Qur’an. The situation is similar to Latin and Sanskrit. The classical Arabic is no longer spoken. The point is that the recitation of Qur’an probably has the same effect on Turkish, Arabic, Iranian, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese or African Muslims even though they speak different languages. My intuition tells me that the spiritual effect is due to the repetition of the HU sound in Qur’an.

HU in Human

We recognize the root HU in Human. The root word man comes from Sanskrit mana meaning mind [5]. Humans are thinking beings. Humans have minds. HU is reflected in the unit mind (mana) to form a human being. Hu-mana expresses the essential quality of human beings which is the capacity of comprehension and contemplation.

There are people names reminding us this connection. There are many examples in many languages. Few can be mentioned here: Ya-s-hu-a (Joshua) meaning “God is salvation”, Hu-dai meaning “from God”, Ba-hu meaning “with God”, Hu-lusi meaning “pure and righteous”.

In passing we should mention that Jesus’ Hebrew (real) name was Yashua (YA-s-HU-a). It is very interesting that his name contains both the YA and the HU sound archetypes.

HU in Huma Bird

Huma is the Phoenix. In Ancient Egypt the same bird was known as Benu.


AL-LA-HU-YA is the original form of Alleluya (the English transliteration is sometimes written as Hallelujah). This is how Christians (especially Southern Baptists in USA) express their blissful feelings when they ideate on the Christ. AL-LA-HU-YA is a beautiful expression of joy not only because you feel a spiritual connection to the Supreme Being but also because it shows the common origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. When you sing AL-LA-HU-YA, you are expressing the unity of the Creator; you are giving a testimony to the unity of religions. If only the fanatics of those religions could realize this unity.

Chanting HU

Chanting HU stimulates the heart chakra. When you sound HU and let the sound resonate in the chest cavity you can feel the effect. This is why HU is associated with Bhakti (devotional love). This is why Sufis pay special attention to HU and it is part of their Zikr (meditation/chanting).

Divine Word

“In the beginning was Brahman, with whom was the Word. And the Word is Brahman.” – Vedas.

“I am the Eternal…I am that which created the Word…I am the Word.” – Egyptian Book of the Coming Forth by Light.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – Gospel according to St John.

The Divine Word is HU. The scriptures of the East and West are referring to HU when they mention the Divine Word. Hazrat Inayat Khan also describes it as the “abstract sound” or the “sound of the abstract plane” and provides this inspiring information: “It was the ‘saut-e sarmad’, the sound of the abstract plane that Muhammad heard in the cave of Ghar-e Hira when he became lost in his divine ideal. The Qur’an refers to this sound in the words ‘be! And all became’. Moses heard this very sound on Mount Sinai, when in communion with God; and the same word was audible to Christ when absorbed in his heavenly Father in the wilderness. Shiva heard the same ‘anahata nada’ during his samadhi in a cave of the Himalayas. The flute of Krishna is symbolic of the same sound. This sound is the source of all revelation to the masters, to whom it is revealed from within. It is because of this that they know and teach one and the same truth.” [5].

Rumi’s poetry nicely complements the inspiring thoughts of Hazrat Inayat Khan: “When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that is to breathe the name HU, empty of self, filled with love. -Rumi”.


HU is the “vibrational expression” of Cosmic Consciousness.

[1] Suresh Emre, “Sound Archetypes
[2] Moustafa Gadalla, Egyptian Divinities, Tehuti Research Foundation (2001)
ISBN 1-931446-04-0
[3] Moustafa Gadalla, Egyptian Cosmology, Tehuti Research Foundation (2001)
ISBN 0-9652509-3-8
[4] Suresh Emre, “Sound Archetype: YA
[5] Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Music of Life, Omega Publications (1983)
ISBN 0-930872-38-X


About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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