By Dr. Rita Khanna
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is life-giving. This Mantra wards off deaths by snake-bites, lightning, and accidents of all descriptions, such as motor accidents, fire accidents, cycle accidents, water accidents, and air accidents. Besides, it has a great curative effect when chanted with sincerity, faith, and devotion by anybody or any place you wish to create a positive, protective, and high-energy environment. This Mantra is also chanted during auspicious occasions such as initiation ceremonies, birthdays, and Havans that will bestow your health, long life, peace, prosperity, and Moksha.
Meaning of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The Sanskrit word Maha means ‘great,’ Mrityu means ‘death,’ and Jaya means ‘victory.’ Mantra is a word of great power that can give protection against negative forces and even change one’s destiny. The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra consists of 34 Aksharas (literally ‘imperishable’) or eternal sounds and is as follows:
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe
The literal meaning of the Mantra is as follows: “We worship the three-eyed one (Lord Shiva) who is fragrant (in a state of supreme bliss), and who sustains all living beings. May He liberate us from the eternal cycle of birth and death. May He lead us to immortality, just as the cucumber is released from its bondage (the vine to which it is attached).”
Benefits of Chanting Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is Lord Siva’s Mantra. It bestows long life (Deergha Ayush), peace (Shanti), wealth (Aishwarya), prosperity (Pushti), satisfaction (Tushti), and immortality (Moksha). of course, it is a potent combination of sounds that, if repeated with faith, dedication, and perseverance over some time, leads not only to victory over the fear of death but eventually to victory over death itself or Moksha (liberation). Therefore, it is also known as the ‘Moksha Mantra.’
Description of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
It is stimulating and heating (unlike the Gayatri Mantra, which is soothing and cooling). Also, it bestows longevity and is designed to cure illness. It wards off evil or negative forces by creating a protective psychic shield around the practitioner. Additionally, it destroys sorrow and poverty and fulfills all one’s desires. Anyone who wishes to remove obstacles in life and overcome difficult situations or illnesses should repeat this Mantra regularly. If chanted a minimum of eleven times, the last thing at night, it will ensure better sleep and more positive dreams.
Background to Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is from the Krishna Yajur Veda. Mrityunjaya is another name for Lord Shiva, the great Yogi who is said to have existed and conquered death. Shiva is also the Prateek or symbol of consciousness and has three aspects: Shanta roopa or ‘peaceful form,’ Raudra Roopa or ‘fierce form,’ and Dhyaanastha Roopa or ‘form engrossed in Meditation.’ The devata of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is Rudra or Raudra, who represents Lord Shiva in his fierce and destructive aspect. This Mantra was revealed to the great Rishi Vashishtha (said to have been born from a pitcher) while he was in deep Meditation. It is to be found in Shree Rudra Prashnaha from the fifth chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad, which belongs to the Yajur Veda. It is also mentioned in the Rig, Yajur, and Sama Vedas. The Mantra itself is comprised of Mantras that are found in the three Vedas: The Rig Veda (7th Mandal, 59th chapter, 12th Mantra), the Yajur Veda (3rd chapter, 60th Mantra), and the Atharva Veda (14th Mandal, 1st chapter, 17th Mantra).
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is also to be found in the Ayurvedic scriptures. In the Prakriti Khanda of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it has been said that Lord Shri Krishna gave the knowledge of Mrityunjaya to the wife of Sage Angira. In the Sati Khand of the Shiva Purana, Shukracharya (guru of the demons) has called it Mrita Sanjeevani Vidya (the knowledge that leads to eternal life). Shukracharya expounded it to Sage Dadhichi.
How to Chant Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The Mantra can be chanted alone, individually. It can also be chanted in small groups sitting in a circle. However, it is most powerful when chanted in large groups sitting in even, orderly rows. It is most beneficial when performed on an empty or at least half-empty stomach. A Mala (rosary) of 108 beads can be held in the right hand, just level with the heart, in the center of the chest (the kshetram or trigger point for Anahata Chakra, the heart center). It is best to use your Japa Mala. However, any other Mala of your choice can also be used. The Mantra is chanted 108 times in a constant fixed rhythm.
One person should lead the chanting by repeating the Mantra once (or even twice to set the speed and Swara), then the others may join in for the remaining 107 (or six) japas. In this way, the group can chant in the chorus as one voice, and the effect and build-up of energy will thus be greater. The person guiding the chanting should make sure the speed is kept constant. Pronunciation: The pronunciation should be correct for the Mantra to be effective. Many people chant ‘Bandhanaat’ instead of ‘Bandhanaan.’ ‘Bandhanaan’ is the perfect pronunciation.
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is usually chanted in two parts, with a breath in between for ease of chanting and beauty of flow. This breath is taken at the end of the first line, after ‘Pushthivardhanam.’ Of course, nothing can prevent the practitioner from chanting it in one breath if he so wishes, but this will not be possible for everyone. The Mantra can also be divided into four and used during the practice of simple Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (psychic network purification).
How To Breathe
The process is as follows: Breathing in through the left nostril, repeat mentally, “Om Tryambakam Yajaamahe”; breathing out through the left nostril, repeat mentally, “Sugandhim Pushthivardhanam”; breathing in through the right nostril, repeat mentally, “Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaan”; breathing out through the left nostril repeat mentally “Mrityormuksheeya Maamritaat.”
Speed and Sound
When chanted dynamically, at a fast speed, the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra generates very powerful energy and is at its most effective potency. One remains alert, stimulated, and energized. It can also be chanted slowly in a relaxed way, but the energy tends to drop and drag if it is done too slowly. Also, people tend to become too introverted and sleep or lose interest. The body also begins complaining because it has to sit for too long. A medium speed is most comfortable for most people and provides a nice balance (the middle path being the Yogic way). However, whichever speed you adopt, remember that it should be constant from beginning to end, creating a synchronized and melodious sound to uplift the mind and spirit.
All those participating in the chanting should blend their voices, so the overall effect is like bees’ gentle and soothing hum. No voice should predominate, except, of course, the voice of the person who is guiding the chanting. Everyone should try to remain aware throughout the chanting of the speed and the Swara (notes) and harmonize their chanting with the voices of those around them. As the chanting progresses, there is a tendency for people to become introverted (or tired) and for the chanting to slow down. Just one person in a large group, who has a loud or discordant voice, can bring down the energy level of the whole group and disturb the harmony. The leader is there to see that this does not happen. So, a very important element in chanting is awareness! The secret is that one should be neither too introverted nor too extroverted but poised somewhere in between on the threshold that divides the two states.
Preparing to Chant
Imagine you are in the Himalayas, alone beside the crystal clear, dark blue Manasarovar Lake. (Pause)
Before you, in the distance, is the snow-capped peak of Mount Kailash, the presence of which is overpowering. (Pause) Surrender to it and feel you are in the gods’ home, Lord Shiva’s abode. (Pause)
There is no sound, no vibration: the open blue sky, the vast space of pure consciousness all around you. You have nothing to do there but sit quietly and still, like one of the Gods, peaceful within and without, and close your eyes. (Pause)
Become aware of the presence of Lord Shiva (supreme consciousness) all around you and penetrating you as you sit in your chosen Asana, ready to chant the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. (Pause)
Your head and spine are upright and straight, and your hands are resting on the knees in Chin or Jnana Mudra. You watch the breath coming and going in the nostrils as the mind becomes more calm, steady, and relaxed. (Pause)
In your right hand, you are holding a Mala with which to count the 108 Shiva Mantras, and your awareness is fixed at Bhrumadhya (the eyebrow center), where it will remain throughout the chanting. (Pause)
Before commencing, you will chant the Mantra Om, long and deeply, three times. Then you will start chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, visualizing Lord Shiva (or your Ishta Devata/symbol) throughout, at the eyebrow center.
End the Chanting
When you have finished chanting, sit for a few minutes in the profound stillness and silence of the Himalayas, which lies within yourself. (Pause)
Now, become aware of the protective psychic energy field you have created around yourself with the chanting of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. (Pause)
Know that you will carry that protection wherever you go until you chant again next week. Think of anyone you would like to include in this field, someone sick or in need of help. Project the energy out to them. (Pause)
Feel that Lord Shiva, or the power of pure consciousness, is sitting in your heart, radiating his blessings and energy to you and them. (Pause)
Mentally, bow to him and feel the power of his Mantra pervading your entire being. (Pause)
May the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra uplift your life and help you (and others) overcome all the difficulties that may lay before you.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by the world-famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
She firmly believes that Yoga is a scientific process that helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succor to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet, and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
Dr. Rita Khanna is currently running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).
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