To fragrance, increasing, flourishing

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

Listen to this beautiful sacred Mantra from the Vedic tradition - it is used in both Hindustani and Buddhist worship. The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra …. This great Mantra is sometimes sung, and can also be repetitively, rapidly chanted. Styles vary across traditions. It can lean toward music and toward meditation. It can be a sacred offering of sound. Here in this recording, it is closer to “singing” although the distinction is hard to locate in sacred chanting. It is the great mantra literally called “Victory over Death” - a healing mantra - also thought of as restorative and liberating as the “cucumber” (or gourd) is liberated from the vine in “uvarukamiva bandhanan.” The syllables are below, and the Sanskrit breakdown / translation as well. If you’ve done a yoga practice, you may have heard or sung this mantra. Or maybe you have heard it all your life, if you worship at Hindu temples. Enjoy its beauty.

tryambakam yajāmahe
sugandhim puṣṭi vardhanam
urvārukam-iva bandhanān

aum = is a sacred/mystical syllable in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism & Sikhism.

त्र्यम्बकं tryambakam = to three-eyed one (accusative case),

त्रि + अम्बकम् = tri + ambakam = three + eye

यजामहे yajāmahe = in yagya in worship, (locative case)

सुगन्धिम् sugandhim = to fragrance, (accusative case),

पुष्टि puṣṭi = nourishment, sustenance

वर्धनम् vardhanam = increasing, flourishing

पुष्टि-वर्धनम् = puṣṭi+vardhanam = nourishment-increasing ( compound word)

उर्वारुकमिव urvārukam-iva = cucumber as (in the accusative case);

Note: uru: big, large; ārukam (in the accusative case): peach; iva: as

बन्धनान् bandhanān = "from bondage {i.e. from the stem of cucumber} (of the gourd); (the ending is actually long a, then -t, which changes to n/anusvara because of sandhi)

Note: bandhanāt means from bondage Thus, read with urvārukam iva, it means 'as cucumber from bondage ( of vine) (to a vine)'

मृत्योर्मुक्षीय mṛtyormukṣīya = liberate from death

मृत्योः + मुक्षीय = mṛtyoḥ + mukṣīya= from death + free (Vedic usage)

माऽमृतात् अमृतात् = amṛtāt = by amrita, by immortality

“Ngo isi imeze nabi cyan” / “The world conducts itself very badly”

July 4 is Liberation Day in Rwanda, and while it coincides with the beginning of the end of the genocide that killed a million (or 70% of) Tutsi persons in a hundred day slaughter from April to July 1994, “liberation” did not bring an end to the violence. In April 1995, the Tutsi-majority “Rwanda Patriotic Army” conducted a massacre against Hutu in a displaced persons camp in Kibeho. 

The Australian artist George Gittoes was at the camp, accompanying Australian Defence Forces in their part in the United Nations mission in the country, and he painted the harrowing “The Preacher” based on what he witnessed—a man reading to others from the New Testament as the killing took place around them. 

Strangely, Kibeho had been since the early 1980s a place where marian apparitions were located, some depicting the Virgin Mary not only announcing that “the world conducts itself very badly,” but in disturbing dialogue with her devotees about rivers of blood, the country on fire, and people slaughtering one another.

Today Kibeho is a place of pilgrimage:

George Gittoes won the Blake Prize for Religious Art for “The Preacher,” of which there are several close variants, one of which hangs in the chapel of Ridley College, Melbourne, an image that confronts those training for ministry each time they gather for worship.

Read Rod Pattenden on George Gittoes’ art here: and here:

The Blake Prize:

The Kibeho massacre:

Images below: The Kibeho Shrine and Our Lady of Kibeho,