Maha Mrityunjay Mantra (Mahā Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra)
oṃ tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam .
urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyormukṣīya mā’mṛtāt ..
We pray The Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshipping him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk.
The Mahā Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra, also known as the Tryambakaṃ Mantra, is a hymn to the praise of Lord Shiva, mentioned in yajurveda. In this mantra, Shiva is described as the ‘conqueror of death’.
Origin of Mahā Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra
There is a legend about the origin of the Mṛtyuñjaya mantra. According to the legend, sage Mṛkaṇḍu, a devotee of Shiva, performed severe penance for Lord Shiva to get a child. Pleased with the penance, Lord Shiva gave the boon to sage Mṛkaṇḍu to have a child as per his wish, but Shiva told sage Mṛkaṇḍu that this son would be short-lived. Hearing this, sage Mṛkaṇḍu was surrounded by sadness. After some time sage Mṛkaṇḍu had a son. The other sages told that the age of this child would be only 12 years. Seeing this, sage Mṛkaṇḍu became sad, when his wife asked the reason for the grief, he told her the whole thing. Then his wife said that if there is the grace of Shiva, then he will also postpone this legislation. The sage named his son Mārkaṇḍeya and also gave him the Shiva mantra. Mārkaṇḍeya used to be absorbed in Shiva’s devotion. When the time came near, sage Mṛkaṇḍu told the short life to his son Mārkaṇḍeya. At the same time, he also consoled him that if Lord Shiva wanted, he would postpone it. To remove the sorrow of the parents, Mārkaṇḍeya started worshiping Shiva to get the boon of longevity from Shiva. Mārkaṇḍeya composed the Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra to worship Shiva to get the boon of longevity and started chanting the Mantra unbrokenly while sitting in the Shiva temple. When the time was over, the Yamdoots (servants of Yamarāja) came to take Mārkaṇḍeya’s life, but seeing him absorbed in Shiva’s penance, they returned to (God of death and justice) and told the whole thing to Yamarāja. Then Yamarāja himself came to take the life of Mārkaṇḍeya. When Yamarāja put his rope loop on Mārkaṇḍeya, the child Mārkaṇḍeya wrapped himself around the Shivling holding it strongly and the loop accidentally fell on the Shivling. Shiva became very angry at Yamarāja’s aggression and Lord Shiva appeared to protect Mārkaṇḍeya from Yamarāja. On this, Yamarāja reminded Shiva of the rule of law of birth and death. Then Shiva changed the law by giving Mārkaṇḍeya a boon of longevity. Along with this, he also blessed that whoever chants this mantra regularly will never die prematurely.