Nestorian chants hidden in Taoist text

In the Taoist text called “The Bible of Master Lü (呂祖全書)”, which claims to have been written by Master Lü Yen (呂巖, a.k.a. Lü Dong-bin呂洞賓) himself, but was actually compiled during the Qing dynasty, the existence of 4 mantras written in what seems like an Indic language has perplexed scholars for years.

The usage of 唵 (om), and 娑訶 (soha) seems to suggest indic language, which already is bazaar in a Taoist text. However, when professor Hiro Kawaguchi (川口弘行) tried to decipher it nothing from the Indic language family fit the puzzle.

It wasn’t until the text in bold gave him an inkling. What if these mantras weren’t written in the Indic language?

嘛娑訶 was pronounced Masaha and 咦娑訶 was pronounced Isaha in Middle Chinese. Turns out the text was in Old Syriac. Where 嘛娑訶 (Masaha) transliterates the word Mashiha, which means Messiah, and 咦娑訶 (Isaha) transliterates the word Ishoh, which means Jesus.

The four Mantra like phrases that are each repeated 4 times can be reconstructed in to Old Syriac:

an shana lirabrbatha mashiha 唵剎哪唎囉哞哆炁嘛娑訶
Yes, the Messiah ascended up on high

an maruta tithar la-han ishoh 唵嗎唎哆都堵囉罕咦娑訶
Yes, the almighty watches over Jesus

an narims sorita da mashiho 唵㖿哩哞蘇唎哆陀密娑訶
Yes, Let us praise the Messiah

an kahana da sorita malk ishiho 唵卡罕良陀蘇唎哆嘛唧娑訶
Yes, the lord king is Jesus

Japanese researchers claims this is a Nestorian chant masquerading as Taoist text. Nestroianism was once a thriving religion during most of the Tang dynasty, evidenced by the Nestorian Stele, which had actual Old Syriac inscriptions.

In most Chinese Nestorian texts, Mashiha is transliterated as 彌施訶, which is different from what’s used in the Taoist text. Although interestingly, the person who commissioned the Nestorian Stele was named Lü Shiu-yen (呂秀巖), which bares a striking similarity to the name of Master Lü.

Due to the oppression of a couple Tang emperors towards the demise of the empire, many went into hiding and pretended they were Taoists instead. Nestroianism managed to hold on for a while, even well into the Mongol era, when Rabban Bar Sauma, a bishop from Beijing travelled all the way to Constantinople and Rome.


Interesting! There might be several points where different religions sort of fused. Manichaens whom established Ming Dynasty was like this. It is a fusion of almost every religious elements, and could leave certain previously alien texts in some scriptures.

will read later
thank for this piece of culture

Original source was in Chinese, and I translated the Chinese translation of the reconstruction into English.

The more I look at it, the more I feel something is probably missing, so I went back and tried to look up the words of the reconstruction. Since I couldn’t find anything on Old Syriac, I check the next closest thing, which is Aramaic.

an 唵 -

kahana 卡罕良 - From the root k-h-n, meaning The predictor of future, or priest, clergy

da 陀 - meaning “of”

sorita 蘇唎哆 - Not sure about this one, maybe from the s-r-t root, meaning to scratch, which is borrowed to mean to write.

malk ishiho 嘛唧娑訶 - malk is from the root m-l-k, meaning king. ishiho is Jesus. The Chinese phonetic translation seems to have merged the two words, to make king jesus as a single word.

So perhaps the last translation should be

Yes, As is written in the prophecy, Jesus is king.

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