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The Prefix Hu

The Seven Names of God Prayer is a prayer given by Meher Baba first in 1926 to his Prem Ashram students and later his close disciples to memorize and recite, often as a chant or song. The seventh of the names is Hu.

Hari, Paramatma,
Allah, Ahuramazda,
God, Yezdan, Hu

The Prefix Hu

The prefix Hu appears in many English words.

Humus n. A dark-brown or black organic substance made up of decayed plant or animal matter. Humus provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.
Humor or Humour n. That which is intended to induce laughter or amusement.
Humour n. One of the four fluids of the body: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, whose relative proportions were thought in ancient and medieval medicine to determine general health and character.
Humility The term “humility” is derived from the Latin word “humilitas”, a noun related to the adjective “humilis”, translated not only as “humble”, but also alternatively as “low”, or “from the earth”, and “humus”, humid.
Hubris Overweening pride, superciliousness, or arrogance,
Hue Color, tint
Hurrah or Hurray n. A cheer of joy or victory. v. To applaud, cheer, or approve
Who Interrogative pronoun. As in the original question, “Who am I?” from God Speaks.

The Huma Bird or Bird of Paradise (from Wikipedia)

In some variations, the Huma bird is said to be phoenix-like, consuming itself in fire every few hundred years, only to rise anew from the ashes. The creature is often referred to as bird of paradise. The Huma bird is said to have both the male and female natures in one body, each nature having one wing and one leg.

The Huma bird is considered to be a compassionate bird. It is named as bird of fortune since its shadow (or touch) is said to be auspicious. The shadow (or the alighting) of the Huma bird on a person’s head or shoulder were said to bestow (or foretell) kingship. Accordingly, the feathers decorating the turbans of kings were said to be plumage of the Huma bird. Sufi teacher Inayat Khan gives the bestowed-kingship legend a spiritual dimension: “Its true meaning is that when a person’s thoughts so evolve that they break all limitation, then he becomes as a king. It is the limitation of language that it can only describe the Most High as something like a king.”

In Sufi tradition, catching the Huma is even beyond the wildest imagination, but catching a glimpse of it or even a shadow of it is sure to make one happy for the rest of his/her life. It is also believed that Huma cannot be caught alive, and the person killing a Huma will die in forty days.

The creature is a common motif in Persian-, Ottoman Turkish-, and Urdu- poetry traditions.

The legend appears in the allegorical Conference of the Birds, in which the Huma bird (in this tale portrayed as a pupil) refuses to undertake a journey because such an undertaking would compromise the privilege of bestowing kingship on those whom it flew over. In Iranian literature, this function of the Huma bird is identified with pre-Islamic monarchs, and stands vis-a-vis ravens, which is a metaphor for Arabs. The legend appears in non-Sufi art as well.

Huma is the most referred bird of all Legendary birds in Diwan poetry of Turkish literature. Also, it is used as a symbol of unreachable highness in Turkish folk literature. In the Memalik ul Mirat, Ottoman admiral Sisi Ali Reis describes having seen hurruz or huma birds on his return trip from India to Istanbul in 1557. The Huma bird, here, is said to avoid killing for food, preferring instead to feed on carrion. From his description of the birds eating carrion, these would seem to have been vultures or other scavenger birds.

Some references to the creature also appear in Sindhi literature, where – as in the Diwan tradition – the creature is portrayed as bringing great fortune. In the Zafarnama of the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, a letter addressed to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb refers to the Huma bird as a “mighty and auspicious bird”.

Homa Birds

Homa Bird, Iran

The griffin-like capitals in the ancient Persian city of Persepolis are locally known as Homa Birds. One must thus differentiate between a Huma Bird and a Homa Bird.

Iran Airlines logo

The Persian language acronym for “Iran National Airline” is HOMA and the airline’s emblem is the stylized rendering of a Persepolis capital.


Update (Aug. 29, 2009) Moved from comments.

Also what “Hu” is in Arabic-Farsi-Urdu-Turkish is etymologically related to “Su” in Sanskrit, and “Eu’ in English (e.g., euphony, euphemism, eucharist.

In the Avestan 3-part ethical formula of Zarathusthra the word “Hu” means beautiful or good:

Hu Mata (Good thoughts)
Hu Ukhta (Good Words)
Hu Varashta (Good actions)

~Talat Halman——————————-

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