Mrityunjaya Mantra Victory Over Death


Mrityunjaya Mantra- Victory over Death

(also called- Mahamoksha Mantra, Great Enlightenment)

Article contributed by Pandit Sanjay Rath

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe

Sugandhim Pushthi Vardhanam

UrvaRukamiva Bandhanat

Mrytyor Muksheeya Mamritat ||


Mrityunjaya (Bija) mantra

The Bija mantra is given by Kahola Rishi; The mantra is in Gayatri channdah; The mantra devata (deity) is Sri Mrityunjaya (form of Shiva). This mantra is to be used for meditation and at all times for protection from all evils.


There are many mantra for warding off evils like death and other suffering given in the sacred literature of the Hindu’s. These mantra are of various types but the Mrityunjaya mantra has been extolled in sacred literature as being the best. This mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva and is taught in the Rig Veda (7 mandala 59 Chapter) as well as the Yajur Veda (3-60) showing that it is a Sruti having been received by Maharishi Vasistha, the Kula Guru of Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra.

This Maha-mrityunjaya mantra is from the Rig-Veda (7th Book or Mandala, 59 Chapter) and needs initiation for attaining siddhi. Anybody can recite this mantra and attain good health, release from bondage and other problems. This is the greatest panacea for all evils and can be recited at any time like any other Maha-mantra. 

Rishi-adi Nyasa

The preparatory rites should be learnt from any book on Karma-kanda (pooja method). However we give the simplest method of reciting this mantra to overcome the greatest of evils. Nyasa is the method of protecting the self by placing the parts of the mantra on five body parts. These body parts are the crucial centers for the spiritual energy. 

  • Rishi (Guru/teacher of the mantra) – siras (head). In this case the Rishi is Maharishi Vasistha.

  • Channdah (meter, which is technically very specific for each mantra) – mukha (mouth). This vedic mantra is in Anusthub channdah. This is a meter having four pada (feet) of 8 phonemes each making the entire Anusthub metre as composed of 32 (8 x 4 = 32) syllables. It maybe noted that any change in the metre shall cause a distortion in the channdah and the mantra vibration shall be ruined.

  • Devata (the deity of the mantra) – hridaya (heart). In this case the devata is Lord Shiva addressed as “Sri Mrityunjaya Tryambakeswara devata“, the Jyotirlinga.

  • Bija (the seed syllable that created the mantra and contains the mantra within itself, like the seed that creates the tree) – Liinga (sexual organ). There are some opinion on this, but the most appropriate one is given by Kahola Rishi as “haum“.

  • Shakti (the physical power of the mantra like the mother) – pada (feet). It is the giver of gati or direction. In this case the shakti is Devi Amriteswari, addressed as ‘hriim‘.

Sukracharya’s Penance & teaching

Jyotish teaching

The Mahamrityunjaya mantra was taught by Lord Shiva to Sukracharya the preceptor of the demons after he succeeded in the impossible test of hanging upside down from a tree for twenty years (Vimsottari dasa period) with smoke blowing into him from a fire lit beneath. Even Brihaspati was shocked at the prospect of such a terrible penance and calmly settled to observe Sukracharya accept the challenge of Indra and succeed. 

Tapaswi Yoga definition: Since Sukracharya (Venus in astrology)  passed the penance he was glorified as the Tapaswi Raja (the king of the spiritual discipline and penance). The definition of Tapaswi Yoga comes from this penance as Saturn (punishment, hard toil), Ketu (smoke blown into the nose and other forms of self inflicted torture) and Venus (desire and its renunciation) must come together to define the personal ability of the Tapaswi.

After the penance Lord Shiva taught the Mahamrityunjaya mantra to Sukracharya, who under very compelling circumstances had to teach this to the son of Brihaspati and that is how the devas also got the mantra. This mantra was given (sruti) to Vasistha Maharishi for the welfare of this world. The mantra and explanation given by Sukracharya to Rishi Dadhicha when the latter’s body was cut and thrown by Raja Kshuva is recorded in the Shiva Purana.

Sukracharya said “O! Dadhicha, I pray to Lord Shiva and give you the upadesa (advise/wisdom/teaching) of the highest Maha Mrityunjaya mantra.” The mantra is in Anusthub Channdah and accordingly, is divided into four padas composed of eight syllables each. 

Sukracharya said “The first pada is and means – we worship or sing the praise of Lord Trayambaka. Tryambaka is the name of Lord Shiva as the father of the three worlds – bhu, bhuva and svarga lokas. He is the father and lord of the three mandala’s – Surya, Soma and Agni mandala. He is Maheswara, the lord of the three Guna’s – Satva, Rajas and Tamas. He is the Sadashiva, the teacher of the three tatvas – Atma tatva, Vidya tatva and Shiva tatva. He is the father (cause and source) of the three energies (agni) – Aavahaniya, Garhapatya and Dakshinagni. He is the father of all physical creation through the three murti bhuta – Prithvi (solid), Jala (liquid) and Tejas or agni (energy). He is the lord of the three heavens created by the dominance of the three Gunas – Rajas (Brahma), Satva (Vishnu) and Tamas (Shiva). Know Him to be the nirakara (formless) Sadashiva as He is above this physical mode and is their Maheswara. This is the first foot of the mantra (composed of eight syllables).”

“The second pada of the mantra,” continued Sukracharya, “is . Sugandhim refers to the fragrance of the flower that spreads in all directions, and in a similar way Shiva is present in the entire creation, both animate and inanimate. In all the bhutas (modes of existence), in the three Gunas (nature of creation as being Satva, Rajas or Tamas), in the ten indriyas (five gyana-indriyas or senses and five karma-indriyas or organs of action), in all the devas (33 devas are the source of all illumination and enlightenment) and the ganas (hosts of demi-gods),  Shiva exists and pervades as the illumine atma (soul) and is their essence. Pustivardhanam is now being explained. That inward dwelling spirit (atman), the Purusha Shiva is the real sustainer of Prakriti (and not vice-versa as all people perceive). Starting with the mahatatva (primordial state of matter/energy) to the individual parts of creation, the entire sustenance of the physically created beings (both animate and inanimate) is done by the imperishable Purusha. You, I, Brahma, Vishnu, the Munis and even Indra & devas are maintained/sustained (by the atma and that is Him). Since the Purusha (atma – Shiva) is the granter of sustenance to prakriti (body/nature), he is ‘Pusti-vardhana’.”

Having explained the first two pada of the mantra, Sukracharya continued to explain the remaining two pada. He said ” the next two pada (consisting of sixteen syllables) is meaning – Prabhu! just as the ripe cucumber is severed from the bondage of the creeper, in the same manner may we be delivered from death for the sake of immortality (moksha). Rudra deva is like amrita (nectar of immortality). Those who worship Him with good karma, penance and repentance, meditation, contemplation, prayer or praise, will surely renewed life and vigor. The strength of truth force (in this mantra) is such that Lord Shiva shall definitely free the worshipper from the bondage of death because Shiva alone is the giver of bondage and moksha. 

This is the Mritasanjivani mantra and has the power to give back life and rescue from death and great evils. You should adore Lord Shiva and recite this mantra. Water sanctified with this mantra should be drunk all the time. [Authors note: It is well known that the rudraksha bead is placed in a glass of water after being held in the palm during the recitation of the mantra. this water is drunk during the day.]

Oblations in the sacrificial fire with this mantra is very purifying. Now I shall teach the dhyana for the mantra.” Saying so, Sukracharya started reciting the shlokas for meditating on Lord Shiva.





Understanding the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

  • It is important to understand the meaning of the words as this makes the repetition meaningful and brings forth the results.

  • OM is not spelt out in the Rig-Veda, but has to be added to the beginning of all Mantras as given in an earlier Mantra of the Rig-Veda addressed to Ganapati. This Mantra is given in the prayer page of my Book “Maharishi Jaimini’s Upadesa Sutra”.
  • TRYAMBAKKAM refers to the Three eyes of Lord Shiva. ‘Trya’ means ‘Three’ and ‘Ambakam’ means eyes. These three eyes or sources of enlightenment are the Trimurti or three primary deities, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the three ‘AMBA’ (also meaning Mother or Shakti’ are Saraswati, Lakshmi and Gouri. Thus in this word, we are referring to God as Omniscient (Brahma), Omnipresent (Vishnu) and Omnipotent (Shiva). This is the wisdom of Brihaspati and is referred to as Sri Duttatreya having three heads of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

  • YAJAMAHE means, “We sing Thy praise”.

  • SUGANDHIM refers to His fragrance (of knowledge, presence and strength i.e. three aspects) as being the best and always spreading around. Fragrance refers to the joy that we get on knowing, seeing or feeling His virtuous deeds.
  • PUSTIVARDHANAM: Pooshan refers to Him as the sustainer of this world and in this manner, He is the Father (Pater) of all. Pooshan is also the inner impeller of all knowledge and is thus Savitur or the Sun and also symbolizes Brahma the Omniscient Creator. In this manner He is also the Father (Genitor) of all.
  • URVAAROKAMEVA: ‘URVA’ means “VISHAL” or big and powerful or deadly. ‘AAROOKAM’ means ‘Disease’. Thus URVAROOKA means deadly and overpowering diseases. (The CUCUMBER interpretation given in various places is also correct for the word URVAROOKAM). The diseases are also of three kinds caused by the influence (in the negative) of the three Guna’s and are ignorance (Avidya etc), falsehood (Asat etc as even though Vishnu is everywhere, we fail to perceive Him and are guided by our sight and other senses) and weaknesses (Shadripu etc. a constraint of this physical body and Shiva is all powerful).
  • BANDANAAN means bound down. Thus read with URVAROOKAMEVA, it means ‘I am bound down by deadly and overpowering diseases’.
  • MRITYORMOOKSHEYA means to deliver us from death (both premature death in this Physical world and from the neverending cycle of deaths due to re-birth) for the sake of Mokshya (Nirvana or final emancipation from re-birth).
  • MAAMRITAAT means ‘please give me some Amritam (life rejuvinating nectar). Read with the previous word, it means that we are praying for some ‘Amrit’ to get out of the death inflicting diseases as well as the cycle of re-birth.




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