by Gwen Burdick

Maha Mritynjaya in repeating Devangari script

Om Triyambakam yajamahe

Sugandhim pushti vardhanam

Urvarukamiva bandhanan

Mrityor mukshiya mamritat

Translation:   I meditate on, and surrender myself to, the Divine Being who embodies the power of will, the power of knowledge and the power of action.  I pray to the Divine Being who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life and is the eternal nourisher of the plant of life.  Like a skillful gardener, may the Lord of Life disentangle me from the binding forces of my physical, psychological, and spiritual hurdles.  May the Lord of Immortality residing within free me from death, decay and sickness and unite me with immortality.

The Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is the nourishing, healing, and life restoring mantra deriving from the Rig Veda and is considered the heart of the Vedas.  In Sanskrit, “Maha” means great, “Mrityun” means death, and “Jaya” means victory.  Of course, every living thing eventually dies.  Through the practice of reciting this mantra we obtain victory over the fear of death.  We realize that the deathless Divine Being is who we really are.

The practice of the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra sends forth vibrations from body to mind to soul.  It awakens the internal healing forces and Nature’s healing forces together so that we may receive the full nourishment of any discipline undertaken for well-being.  Strengthening the powers of will, knowledge and action, it unblocks the flow of courage and determination.  The scriptures guarantee that, through sincere practice, we clear away obstacles and attain freedom from weaknesses (the fear of death being the greatest) by making the strong part of ourselves even stronger.

This is the mantra of choice or those who struggle with grief, hopelessness, burn-out or illness.  It is most suited for those who need to access their own healing force for spiritual unfoldment.  Japa, the silent repetition of a mantra, is most effective with the use of a mala.  The Rudrasksha mala, made from 108 seeds of an Indian tree, is most traditional.  The practice of the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra can be done for ourselves or for someone else, but the time to learn this mantra is before it is needed.  Then we must execute the practice.