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Amrit

The word ‘amrit’ is a compound of negating prefix ‘a’ (meaning no, not or beyond) and the word-stem ‘mrit’ (meaning dead), which translates into a thing that is deathless or beyond the effect of death, and consequently time. It is traditionally used for anything edible or drinkable which helps a person avoid death and become immortal. It is comparable to the nectar (drink) or the ambrosia (food) of the gods in the Greek mythology, which is believed to grant longevity and immortality. The word ‘amrit’ can be traced in the Indic tradition and texts with a similar meaning and connotation as the Greek mythology. In the Rigveda, where it appears for the first time, it is considered to be a synonym of the ‘soma,’ a drink of the gods which confers vitality and immortality. But in the Guru Granth Sahib, the word ‘amrit’ is used as a synonym for Nam, an identifier of IkOankar (the Divine). The Guru’s Word (Sabad/Gurbani) is also described as amrit, as it connects one with the Nam. Consequently, reading and reflecting on Gurbani is considered equivalent to sipping amrit. At times, it is also used as an adjective to describe the sweetness of an idea or a thing (amrit bhojan), or for anything that helps one identify and connect with IkOankar (amrit vela).