Mahamrityunjaya mantra is a name that every devotee of Lord Shiva has heard of. Many actually chant this mantra on a daily basis more as a ritualistic routine. But there are several questions like:
How old is the Mahamrityunjaya mantra?
Who is the creator of this mantra?
What is the significance of this mantra?
What is the story behind this mantra?
What are the other names of this mantra?
In this article of Mahamrityunjaya Mantra facts we will explore the answers to these questions. So let us begin with the facts. We may be wrong at places. If you find anything wrong, feel free to inform us the same through the comments section of this post.
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 1-5
1. The first question that appears to mind is, how old is this mantra. The exact date for the creation of this mantra cannot be told. However, we do know that it is very ancient and was written down in Rigveda.
2. The mantra can be found in Mandala 7 of Hymn 59 present in Rigveda. Usually, Maharshi Vashishta is attributed with this mantra because he was the author of Mandala 7.
3. For those who are not aware of who Maharshi Vashishta was, here are some quick facts: He was one of the 7 Maharshis known as Saptarishis.
4. Maharshi Vashishta was the son of Mitra Varuna and Urvasi. It is said that Maharshi Vashishta was in possession of Kamdhenu – a divine cow known for granting any wish to its owner.
5. Though Mahamrityunjaya mantra is attributed to Maharshi Vashishta, the creator of the mantra was Rishi Markandeya. This is where the actual story of the mantra is hidden.
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 6-10
6. It is said that Rishi Mrikandu and his wife Marudmati did not have any children. So, they started praying to Lord Shiva. After a long penance they finally managed to make Lord Shiva happy.
7. Lord Shiva finally appeared before them and agreed on giving them a boon of a son. However, Lord Shiva gave them a condition. The son will either be very intelligent but have a short lifespan or, the son will have a long lifespan but will not be very intelligent.
8. Rishi Mrikandu and his wife decided to go for the first option and Lord Shiva blessed them with a son who was named as Markandeya. However, Lord Shiva said that the child will live only for 16 years.
9. Markandeya was never aware of the truth of his birth and the future that awaited him. He was however a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. Gradually as Markandeya started approaching the age of 16, his father and mother became worried.
10. When Markandeya started approaching the age of 16, his parents became extremely depressed. He then insisted on knowing the reason and finally his parents revealed the truth and the future which was not far.
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 11-15
11. After knowing the whole thing, Markandeya started penance sitting in front of Shiva Linga.
12. When he turned 16, he was still in deep meditation and prayer. That is when Lord Yama or Yamaraj sent a messenger to take Markandeya. However, Markandeya was so deeply lost in prayers that the messenger had to return back.
13. As a result of this, Lord Yama himself came to take Markandeya. Markandeya didn’t want to go and embraced the Shiva Linga and surrendered himself to the mercy of Lord Shiva.
14. Lord Yama, in order to complete his duty decided to apply force and threw his noose on Markandeya. Unfortunately, the noose fell around Shiva Linga.
15. This made Lord Shiva angry and he appeared in front of Markandeya and Lord Yama. Lord Shiva was so furious that he instantly killed Lord Yama.
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 16-20
16. That is when other gods came to Lord Shiva and stated that death of Lord Yama will completely disrupt the universe’s balance and hence, reviving Lord Yama was necessary.
17. Lord Shiva agreed to the plea of other gods but put forward a condition that the boy Markandeya will live forever. Everyone agreed to the condition and Lord Yama was revived by Lord Shiva.
18. Because Lord Shiva killed Lord Yama, Lord Shiva is also known as Kalantaka or Ender or Destroyer of Death. Lord Yama is considered as Death in Sanatana Dharma which is known to the world as Hinduism.
19. It is said that during his prayers to Lord Shiva, Markandeya created the Mahamrityunjaya mantra and that the mantra was known only and only to him.
20. Now the question is, “if the Mahamrityunjaya mantra was known only to Rishi Markandeya, how did others come to know about it?”
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 21-25
21. There is another story that narrates how the Mahamrityunjaya mantra became public. It is said that once Prajapati Daksha – who was the son of Lord Brahma and a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu but a lifelong foe of Lord Shiva (though Lord Shiva never considered Prajapati Daksha as his enemy) curse the Moon God Chandrama.
22. Chandrama was Prajapati Daksha’s son-in-law. Because of the immortal curse, Chadrama gradually started to die.
23. To save Chandrama, Prajapati Daksha’s another daughter Sati (who was actually Aadi Shakti born as Sati so that she could marry Lord Shiva) went to Rishi Markandeya and asked for the Mahamrityunjaya mantra to maintain the balance of universe.
24. Rishi Markandeya gave the Mahamrityunjaya mantra to Sati and stated that if several rishis chant the mantra along with Sati before Chandrama dies completely, the effect of the curse will be reversed and slowed down.
25. Sati did as instructed and Chandrama was saved but because the curse could not be completely removed, Lord Shiva appeared and accepted to place Chandrama on his head so that Chandrama never dies. However, because of the curse, Chandrama will gradually wear out and then regain his full form again.
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Facts: 26-30
26. Now the obvious question, ‘Will chanting of Mahamrityunjaya mantra make a person immortal?’ The answer to this question is of course a big NO. No one can achieve physical immortality. It simply means that a person will achieve spiritual immortality and will outmaneuver spiritual death.
27. The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is said to have several benefits which percolated into physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It is said that chanting the mantra prevents untimely death.
28. It is said that chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times a day protects a believer of Lord Shiva from misfortunes, famine, accidents, sudden death etc. It is also believed that the mantra is capable of generating some divine vibrations which creates a protective shield and wards of evil forces and negative energy. The best time to chant Mahamrityunjaya mantra is 4:00 AM in the morning, which is known as the Brahma Muhurta.
29. It is also believed that the continuous chanting of the mantra (either directly or in recorded format) beside a person in extreme pain caused by some diseases like cancer is capable of reducing the pain.
30. The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is:
om tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyor mukṣīya maamṛtāt
ॐ त्रियम्बकं यजामहे, सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनं
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मोक्षिय मामृतात्
The meaning of the mantra is:
tryambakaṃ : We worship Shiva – The Three-Eyed
yajāmahe : Lord Shiva;
sugandhiṃ : Who is fragrant
puṣṭi : And nourishes
vardhanam : And grows all beings.
urvārukamiva : As the ripened cucumber is liberated
bandhanān : (by the intervention of the “farmer”) From its bondage to the creeper when it fully ripens;
mṛtyor : From death,
mukṣīya : May He liberate us
maamṛtāt : for the sake of immortality.
What are the other names of Mahamrityunjaya mantra?
The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is also known by two other names: the Rudra mantra and the Trayambakam mantra.