Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Two years ago, a friend gave me a CD of (apparently) the Dalai Lama chanting. It is a most extraordinary recording, with a powerful and penetrating resonance. Until yesterday I could not find out anything about it.
The chant turns out to be an ancient Sanskrit mantra from the Rig Veda, the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Armed with this information, a quick google search revealed not only the text of the mantra, but the fact that the recording is not by the Dalai Lama at all, but by the dutchman Hein Braat.
Here is the text of the mantra:

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे
सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात

aum tryambhakam yajāmahe
sugandhim pushtivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanān
mrityor mukshīya māmritāt

which means:

We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Shiva)
Permeating like a fragrance, he nourishes and sustains the universe.
I am bound down by deadly and overpowering diseases;
Grant us the divine nectar, that we may be delivered from ignorance, untruth and death

The text is normally chanted 108 times, the number of beads on the Hindu rosary. Interestingly, this is the same as the number of movements in the Tai Chi long form, where it represents 9 movements for each of the 12 major meridians.


~ by scalambra on March 21, 2007.

5 Responses to “Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra”

  1. Imagine finding two entries that apply to me. I have been listening to this CD for weeks. I suspected that it wasn’t the Dalai Lama. I found out yesterday that it wasn’t. But, who cares? I still think it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.

  2. Jeanne, yes I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard as well.

    When Hein Braat found out about the “Dalai Lama” cd, his main concern was not the healing of some of the many people who have been helped by this mantra might be damaged when they later found that the voice behind it was not that of the Dalai Lama. I’m very glad to read that you’re not much perturbed by this discovery!

  3. I have this on CD too, and I love it. The first time I heard it was at a Sacred Forgiveness Ceremony facilitated by Ellie Drew. Coincidentally just before this, someone had given me a copy of the “Dalai Lama” chant and I hadn’t yet listened to it. I was blown away when I finally played it to realize that it was the same beautiful, haunting sound as at the ceremony.

  4. One can also listen to the mantra

  5. On the day of Markandeya’s 16th birthday, Markandeya took refuge in a Shiva temple, and started meditation sitting adjacent to a Shiva Lingam (a symbol of divine consciousness). When the messengers of Yama, the Lord of death, arrived to take him away, the breath of Markandeya was disturbed as they began pulling his soul out of his body. With the great devotion, Markandeya embraced the holy Shiva Lingam, and burst into a great Mantra known as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra :

    Om Hoong joong Sahe Om Bhoorbhava swah Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam. Urva rukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor muksheeya Ma amritat. [We worship the Three-eyed one (Lord Shiva) Who is naturally fragrant, immensely merciful and Who is the protector of the devotees. Worshipping Him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk i.e. By Your grace, let me be in the state of salvation (Moksha) and be saved from the clutches of fearful death.]

    The messengers found Markandeya so absorbed in his recitation of the Maha Mritunjaya Mantra that they could not complete their mission.

    Returning to their Lord, the messengers described their dilemma. So Yama took it upon himself to accomplish the task. On His arrival at the temple, He urged Markandeya to follow the natural laws of life and death, and to come willingly; but Markandeya tightened the grip of his around the Shiva Lingam and surrendered himself to its protection. Now, Yama threw His noose to the nose of Markandeya to gather him in; but the noose encircled the Lingam as well. Lord Shiva – dwelling in the image – split the Lingam open and emerged in a rage. Yama had encroached upon His authority by throwing His noose too far, as He had no jurisdiction to encircle Shiva Himself. Shiva killed Yama with a blow from His foot as the other Gods looked on in dismay. They implored Shiva to bring Yama back to life lest His death should upset the order of the universe. Shiva complied with their wish, blessing Markandeya to become the ever living master of the Himalayas.

    Lord Shiva exclaimed, The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra has protected Markandeya.

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