Mrityunjaya Mantra, Refining Your Speech for Wisdom (117)


Lesson 117 opens with the famous Mrityunjaya Mantra and it's explanation. Then attributes of jnani are continued: Attitude in criticism, speaking wisely, easily pleased, no dwelling place, highest devotee. How to attain wisdom? Go through the 5 practices in CH12.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 19, 20


Honouring Maha Shivratri:

  • What is story behind Shivaratri? That's the day Shiva married Shakti (Goddess Durga [māyā]).
  • Mahā-mṛtyuñ-jaya-mantra:
    oṃ tryámbakaṃ yajāmahe sughandhíṃ puṣṭivardhánam |
    urvārukam iva bandhánān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt ||
  • Explanation:
    • tryambakaṃ yajāmahe:
      • You (Shiva) are the three eye one who has knowledge, and to YOU, we propitiate.
    • sughandhíṃ:
      • You (destroyer of universe who people are generally scared of), are the one who brings about fragrance in life.
      • Because destruction is necessary for new fresh, open, learned moment to come. Thus You're the one who brings opportunity.
    • Puṣṭivardhanam:
      • If I make use of the opportunities which Shiva brings, then it nourishes me.
    • What do I (this limited individual) want from You? urvārukam iva bandhanāt :
      • urvārukam :
        • Like a big heavy pumpkin, when it's ripe, you can pluck it off effortlessly. Like that, when my mind is ripe, I can effortlessly release myself from bandhanāt (bondage).
        • And how to become ripe?
          • By gaining mastery over the many little bondages holding you down. EG:
            • Emotional bondage:
              • Emotional disbalance give insight into unconscious mind which are obstructions for grasping the next step.
            • Relative/situational bondage:
              • Each challenge is a learning opportunity if pause, reflect, act.
            • Old age bondage:
              • Old age makes you wiser.
          • SUMMARY: Are you able to manage the little bondages so you're not consumed by them, nor victimizing others?
        • Why is such a big burden “EFFORTLESSLY” released?
          • 2 kinds of self-growth:
            • Forced:
              • Impatient, trying to be like a wise person. While putting issues under the carpet. Living in own bubble.
            • Real:
              • Acknowledging and reflecting on the smallest things that come up. Honesty.
              • Being ok that at times you'll yield to old ways. At other times, you'll bring in the teaching.
              • Being patient and kind towards your journey. Rushing is self-defeating as it paralyses mind with anxiety.
    • mṛtyoḥ mukṣīya mā amṛtāt:
      • The more REAL and HONEST you are about your growth, the more you're capable of holding the final reality, which releases you from “becoming” (birth-death)… thus attaining immortality.
        • Meaning buddhi has total conviction I'm not an individual going through life, but I am inherently free of life.
  • Misconception: This prayer is used mostly for people who are ill/dying. This is an incomplete understanding.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 19:

tulya-nindā-stutiḥ maunī santuṣṭaḥ yena kenacit ।
aniketaḥ sthira-matiḥ bhaktimān me priyaḥ naraḥ ॥
That devotee, who is the same towards censure and praise, who is a person of limited speech; who is contented with anything, who is homeless and who has firm knowledge of the Self is dear to Me.

  • tulya-nindā-stutiḥ: Retains his/her discrimination whether complimented or criticized.
    • If complimented:
      • Since your actions are done because you are sincerely enjoying your svadharma (and not for sake of proving position to parents/society/spouse), then external compliments have little impact.
        • Although compliments can also inspire or highlight an area which helps person bring it out more.
      • Therefore one’s own karma-phalam itself becomes the voice of compliment.
    • If criticized:
      • Investigates for blind-spots in one’s behaviour/knowledge. Because rarely people criticize unless they see something you don’t, especially if they are within your niche.
    • Summary: Wise person is a student of life, ongoingly making adjustments (mind), because it’s a form of relative self-growth (nididhyāsanam).
      • But also firmly knows, the content of all mithyā adjustments is the One unchanging satyam (Awareness, which is my real identity).
  • Maunī: Refined speech. Meaning…
    • TRUTH: Satyam vadam:
      • Let dharma guide your word selection. Speak from that place which you have reflected upon and doesn’t contradict the scriptures.
    • PLEASANT: Priyam vadam:
      • Deliver it at right time. Careful not to use too direct language, as it may hurt others.
    • PREPARED: Hitam vadam:
      • Before speaking, ask:
        • What good will my talk do in overall well-being?
        • Why am I going to have this conversation?
        • What is my intention?
          • EG: To throw light onto the subject matter and put things in perspective.
      • This prevents you giving random opinions that have little value.
      • These questions also setup a frame in which other can express him/herself. Because I may be wrong, thus I'm open to their angle.
      • EG of violation of “hitam vada”:
        • Unwilling to listen/engage/communicate. This is himsa because it creates tension/discomfort in the other since they feel you’re rejecting them.
        • He/she won't listen, so why bother explaining.
    • LUMINOUS: Ṛtam vadam:
      • Make sure what you say is relatively correct (researched).
      • Remain factual and remove subjectivity out of conversation.
  • santuṣṭaḥ yena kenacit: Wise puruṣa enjoys a mind that’s easily pleased by THIS MOMENT.
    • Compared to saṃsāri: Particular about how things should/shouldn’t be. Thus preoccupied manipulating environment to suit one’s should-ism.
      • EG: This kind of food, seat, sugar. Sweating the small stuff.
    • Thus jīvanmuktaḥ enjoys a content disposition with whatever is infront of them. Don’t need to do anything to make her cheerful.
    • Sādhana: Look for opportunities to convert resistance to ok-ness.
      • EG: I had resistance to swearing. But learned that it’s one’s conditioning. It doesn’t define the person. Thus can around those who swear.
  • Aniketaḥ: He has no dwelling place. Indicates these are all qualities of a sannyasī in B.Gītā times.
    • Converting to modern times: Feels home wherever he/she goes, with whomever is around.
  • Sthira-matiḥ: The knowledge “I am the final reality” is so firm/thorough/complete, that it can’t be improved upon, nor compromised through competing schools of thought.
    • Meaning, once false notion are removed through time, the already present fact “I am limitless” shines.
    • What happens after jñānam takes firm hold upon the buddhi (mokṣa)? Your prārabdha continues, thus nothing changes externally. Only attitude changes to…
  • Bhaktimān sa naraḥ: The wise person is the highest devotee, because everything is understood as God.
    • There are 4 types of bhaktās:
      • Arti: Devotes only in times of trouble.
      • Artharthi: Acknowledges Ishvara in every aspect of life.
      • Jijnasu: Wants to know the nature of this entity to whom I'm devoting to. “Ishvara, I devotee to you so I may understand your nature, and not from my own assumptions”.
      • Jnani: Result of prior devotion caused buddhi to comprehend the vastness of Ishvara.
        • Meaning relationship to world changes from:
          • Event-dependent satisfaction to gratitude (because understands “I’m here only because of Ishvara”).
          • Complainer to contributor in your sphere of influence.
          • SUMMARY: Jnani continues being a devotee, relating to Ishvara through contribution.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 20:

ye tu dharmya-amṛtam idam yathā uktam paryupāsate ।
śraddadhānāḥ mat-paramāḥ bhaktāḥ te atīva me priyāḥ ॥
Those devotees who keep Me as the primary goal and who faithfully pursue this Righteous and immortal teaching as mentioned above are very dear to Me.

  • Dharmya-amṛtam idam: How to attain aforementioned qualities – which are natural by-products of assimilated ātmā-jñānam?
    • By going through the 5 stages of bhakti, expounded by the Vedas and ācāryaḥ. This requires level of trust in their authority.
    • Meaning the teaching keeps with the Vedas (whom Īśvara is considered the author through instrument of clear minds).
      • Reason why Bhagavad Gita is considered a smṛti (recall / calling forth in the mind), is because it’s a recount of the Vedic wisdom in form a tale.
      • Thus smṛti means: literature that follows the Vedic teaching.
  • mat-paramāḥ bhaktāḥ te atīva me priyāḥ: The mumukṣu/jijñāsu (desirer of liberation), through effort and time, becomes My most beloved bhakta.
    • Because his/her mind is not putting Īśvara in the future. But understands Awareness of Ishvara is the same Awareness of the individual.


Keywords: jivanmuktah, maha-mrtyun-jaya, mithya, moksha, mumukshu, mumuksu, ritam vadam, rtam vadam, sannyasi, smriti, smrti, tryambakam yajamahe

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 16 March, 2021


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *