Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, also known as Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Mantra, is a verse of the Rigveda (one of the four canonical sacred texts). The sacred verse also recurs in the Yajurveda.
This mantra is sometimes known as Mrita-Sanjivini mantra because it is a part of the “life-restoring” mantra practice given to the primordial sage Shukra (the Sanskrit for “brightness, clearness”) after he had finished an exhausting time of severity. It is also called Rudra mantra, referring to the furious aspect of Lord Shiva (Mahadeva), and Tryambakam mantra, alluding to Lord Shiva’s three eyes. The 3rd eye (the faculty of insight and intuition) is said to be located in the space between the eyebrows and is “opened” when one experiences the spiritual awakening.
Followers of Lord Shiva consider that this powerful mantra evokes the Shiva within human beings and removes the fear of death, liberating one from Samsara – the cycle of death and rebirth, hence the name “Great Death-conquering Mantra”.
Along with Gayatri mantra, it holds the highest place among the many Sanskrit mantras used for meditation, contemplation, and healing. Whereas Gayatri Mantra is meant for spiritual guidance and purification, Rudra mantra is used for rejuvenation, healing, and nurturance. Mahamrityunjay mantra is also considered a strong remedy to propitiate Lord Shani (The Sun God).
Rudra mantra complete lyrics in Sanskrit:
”Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushthivardhanam;
Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaan Mrityormuksheeya Maamritaat.”
Great Death-conquering mantra translation in English:
”We worship the three-eyed one who is fragrant, and who sustains all living beings. May he liberate us from (Samsara) death. May he (Lord Shiva) lead us to immortality, just as the cucumber is released from its bondage.”
Word-by-word meaning of the Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam – Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra:
- Om – is the primeval ancient sound from which everything originated. This sacred syllable represents the entire manifested world and the unmanifest, and also that which lies beyond both the unmanifest and the manifest.
- Tryambakam – represents the three-eyed Lord Shiva who sees what we can see but who also sees what we can not see.
- Yajamahe – we honor, worship, adore.
- Sugandhim – sweet smelling, fragrant.
- Pushthi – a well-nourished condition, prosperous, thriving, the fullness of life. Reality nourishes (sustains) everything.
- Vardhanam – one who strengthens, nourishes, causes to increase (in wealth, health, well-being, wisdom, knowledge). On the spiritual path, our understanding increases day by day.
- Urvaarukamiva – like the cucumber. Here it symbolizes each of us and our relationship to existence.
- Bandhanaan – from captivity.
- Mrityormuksheeya – free, liberate from death, attain moksha (a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage).
- Maamritaat – may I never again be parted from the immortality.
Constant repetition of this ancient Sanskrit mantra with faith, sincere heart, dedication and perseverance over a period of time, leads not only to victory over the fear of death but ultimately to victory over death itself or moksha. People who chant this mantra become free from problems like fear of death, diseases, and sudden death.
This mantra is also said to be quite beneficial for mental, emotional, and physical health, ensuring at the same time a deep purification of one’s karma. Moreover, chanting this potent mantra also helps in restoring confidence and building perseverance and determination. In addition, it helps in awakening the latent healing powers within us and connecting us to our own spirituality. Daily practice of the mantra attracts these forces and creates an inner environment to improve their effectiveness.
“This great Mantra in praise of Lord Shiva works wonders, averts accidents, heals diseases and grants long life. It will also liberate you from Samsara.” – Swami Sivananda
The mantra can be recited individually and in small groups sitting in a circle. Nevertheless, it is most powerful when chanted in large groups. All those taking part in the reciting of the mantra should blend their voices together, so the overall effect is like the gentle and soothing hum of bees.
At the time of mantra chanting, you need to concentrate fully on the sound vibrations of the mantra and contemplate on the mantra’s meaning. Don’t allow external factors to distract you or your mind to wander. It is also imperative not to do the mantra practice (sadhana) with rote repetition, but rather with awareness and feeling. It is believed to be auspicious to use a rudraksha mala (with 108 beads) while chanting this revered mantra.
Individuals who are facing obstacles, illness, tragedy or crisis in their lives, and who cannot be physically present during the chanting, can give their names for inclusion in the chanting.
Chanting Sanskrit mantras is more effective when chanted in a yogic pose. For the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, adopt “Padmasana” or “Sukhasana” (also known as easy pose). The ideal time to recite this mantra is early morning hours (Brahma Muhurta), around 4.00AM but the practitioners can reap the benefits of the mantra by reciting it anytime of the day with a sincere intention.
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra was found by Rishi Markandeya (the one who conquered death). It was a secret mantra and Rishi Markandeya was the only one in the world who knew this secret mantra. The Moon was once in trouble, cursed by King Daksha (one of the sons of Lord Brahma). Rishi Markandeya gave this powerful mantra to Sati, Daksha’s daughter, for the Moon. This is how this healing mantra became known. According to another version, Rudra mantra was revealed to Rishi Kahola that was given by Lord Shiva to sage Shukra. The latter taught it to Rishi Dadicha who gave it to King Kshuva, through whom it reached the supreme of all the puranas – Shiva Purana. In the course, different sages learned the mantra too who droned it to accomplish everlasting life.