Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

This month the prayer of focus will be the Mahaa-MRtunjaya Mantra.

You were given saadhana last week - a daily listening to the chant of this mantra. Could you resist joining in after all?! It is a powerful energy and it demands attention. Let us today look at the simple translation and begin cracking it open for deeper appreciation.

महामृत्युंजय मन्त्रः -
Maha MRtyunjaya Mantra -

त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे
सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्
Om Try-Ambakam Yajaamahe
Sugandhim Pushtti-Vardhanam
Urvaarukam-Iva Bandhanaan
MRtyor-Mukshiiya MaamRtaat ||

Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva),
Who is Fragrant (Spiritual Essence) and Who Nourishes all beings.
May He severe our Bondage of Samsara (Worldly Life), like a Cucumber (severed from the bondage of its Creeper), ...
and thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.

One could certainly take these words at their surface level and still find much to gain from recital of the prayer. However, it is always rewarding to take a more detailed look and get in 'behind' the words, where possible. Sanskrit in particular is a language which holds multiple layers within its construct.

This might be the place to inform or remind that a mantra is not 'just a tune' or a rhythmic chanting. Whilst it is possible to find all variations of presentation of popular mantras (The Gayatri Mantra is one which has been stretched in many directions!), it has to be borne in mind that a large part of the power within these stanzas is not the words themselves, but the chcchandas - the metre at which the chant ought to be taken. There is an inexplicable formula within the chcchandas (and no, it is NOT sorcery!) which will apply regardless of the words placed upon it. If you carried out the saadhana and allowed the chanting to dwell within you, you will have experienced this to some degree. It is something which was understood by early European composers also; Gregorian and other plain chant has similar metrical mystery which touches the core of us, regardless of the words. We are talking 'vibration and energy' here. There is science to it - which is why one now finds all sorts of sound productions stating the 'hertz' values and their effects… but when it comes to raising one's spirit, it pays not to dwell on the physics and accept only the results as they affect us.

The more you listen to the chanting, the more you will find it echoes within you and even if you stumble with the words at first, you will find that you can emulate the sounds also - which brings even more vibration to your being.

This mantra is perceived as being a ward against death and severe illness - or to release the spirit which may be lingering over long. It is certainly most helpful at these times. But it can also be used for times of great change (death being nothing but the ultimate change for the soul); changing schools for youngsters, moving home or country, upheaval at work. Anytime where we have a sense of fear and uncertainty, the Maha-MRtunjaya can empower us. Fear is the great debilitator and this mantra aids the removal of fear.

Next week, we shall look at the specific phrases used here.

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Hari OM
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