Sister’s House – 16 Bosepara Lane

This article deals with the pages of history to find out why Calcutta’s 16 Bosepara Lane has been declared a Heritage Building.

Sister Nivedita; born Margaret Elizabeth Noble; was a Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda.

“My home is, in my eyes, charming” writes the illustrious resident of 16, Bosepara lane, Calcutta at the dawn of the last century. “With its two courtyards, its limited second story, and its quaintly-terraced roofs, built at five different levels, it is a rambling specimen of the true old Hindu style of building. In the whole place there is not an inch of glass: the lower casements are protected by iron and the upper by wooden bars, and so, while the sunlight outside my little study is softened by mats made of dark green splints, my bedroom is always open to the stars”. A house, she describes “crowded with memories” still stands. The house by the lane that twists in and out of the pages of history. On the threshold of this century, it brings to life the remarkable woman who once graced its portals and immortalized it. Sister Nivedita, the spiritual daughter of Swami Vivekananda is a living presence here.

Sister Nivedita’s name was Margaret E.Noble who was born in Ireland on 28th  October 1868. she had met swami Vivekananda in London in 1895, she was inspired by the philosophy he preached and decided to dedicate her life to India. She arrived in Calcutta in February 1898.  She was initiated to Brahmacharya vows and given the name Nivedita – ‘the dedicated’ by Swamiji. She was trained for the next eight months so as to reorient her thoughts and outlook to feel one with the Indian women. The woman who inspired many and gave her all to India’s awakening. The house remembers

It was not easy to procure a house for an English woman in the native quarters of Calcutta. Somehow the house at 16 Bosepara lane, Bagbazar could be taken on rent on 1st November 1899. Nivedita moved around the lane, her mind busy with plan by setting up a school for girls in the area. Her neighbours were curious at first, intrigued by the appearance of a blue-eyed, golden-haired white woman in their midst. But then… there she was crying over a starved child dying in her arms. There she was lending solace to a bereaved woman with gestures of comfort. There she was walking around the clock in the slums with money and food as offerings for the deprived lot.

On 13th November 1898, it was in the same premises that  Nivedita started her school which was inaugurated by Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in presence of Swami Vivekananda and his brother disciples. This is the first and only women’s education started by Ramakrishna Order during Swamiji’s lifetime and in his presence. It was the first school imparting national education to women in the line of Indian tradition blending it with theing the best knowledge of Western culture . But it was not an easy beginning. Hurdles cropped up at every step. Nivedita went from house to house pleading, cajoling, explaining to the elders to send girls to her school. While teaching young girls she adopted methods using materials locally available, like tamarind seeds, models in clay prepared by the people themselves for teaching Mathematics and so on.

There was an epidemic of plague in March-April of 1899, the house remembers. Sister Nivedita started her relief work from 16 Bosepara lane. She wrote an appeal to the citizens of Calcutta which was translated into Bengali by Girish Chandra Ghosh. She organized a group of young men and started cleaning the streets of Bagbazar. She nursed the afflicted never caring about her health.

In those early days it was an unending struggle to run the school. The school actually had to close down a few months after its opening due to paucity of funds. Nivedita went abroad to collect money and came back to India in 1902 and restarted the school. On returning from the West, Sister Nivedita hired 17, Bosepara Lane in 1902 but as the work expanded the house at 16 bosepara lane was also rented again in 1904. The houses being also the residence of Sister, steady stream of luminaries for all works of life filled up her little room – be they politicians, poets, scholars, scientists, historians or statesmen. Her visitors not only included many highly placed British men and women like Ramsay Macdonald and the then vicerein Lady Minto but also several national leaders who looked up to her for inspiration.  Irish–born Margaret had become a flaming emblem of Indian nationalism. She always reminded her girls that they were daughters of Bharat Varsha and when the singing of Vande Mataram in public was banned by the government, she introduced it in her school.

There is a big list of names of distinguished visitors to that house. Some of them were Jagadish Chandra Bose, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Aravinda Ghosh, Bipin Chandra Pal, G.K.Gokhale, Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Subramaniya Bharati, Jadunath Sarkar, Radha Kumud Mukherjee, Ramananda Chatterjee, William T. Stud, S.K. Ratcliffe, etc. Her house was a haven for men of thoughts. The house remembers – how in one afternoon in a gathering party contemporary giants came face to face with each other: Swami Vivekananda, the all–conquering spiritual hero who was Nivedita’s spiritual mentor, and Rabindranath Tagore a king among poets.  The description of this gathering of great men is found in a letter of Sister Nivedita written on 13th January 1899. In this house Holy Mother Sarada Devi lived for 3 months from November 1902, so the house is also blessed by the Holy Mother’s stay.

Nivedita was greatly interested in the revival of Indian art. She wrote in a letter “the rebirth of the national art is my dearest dream. When India gets back her old art, she will be on the eve of becoming a strong nation”. She had relentlessly written on varied aspects of Indian culture, education, artsforms, empowerment of women, to name a few.   She inspired the artists namely Nandalal Bose, Asit Halder, Abanindra Nath tagore and many others. Asit Halder said , “ …  in our hands rest the task of rejuvenating the lost art of our country – and that is the major responsibility in the process of India’s re-awakening and independence. That is what she used to tell us.”

Ravindra Nath Tagore wrote, “…. She is to be honored not because she was like us but because she was greater than us”. Nivedita immensely helped Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in his scientific works because she had  firm faith and believed, in Acharya Jagadish, that his work will place India in a glorious position in the world. Once Jagadish Bose and others asked her to shift to a healthier part of the city when she was precariously ill, Nivedita replied, “How can I leave the lane that first gave me the shelter?” The house remembers. In the houses 16 and 17 Bosepara lane the Sister Nivedita School functioned still 1922 when the school was shifted to its own building at 5, Nivedita Lane, Kolkata – 3 which is the present address.

vishnu2 In the Bhagavat Gita, Kṛṣṇa reveals His universal form (Viśvarūpa) to Arjuna which was so formidable for the great hero to even behold. Therefore, before jumping to worship Viśvarūpa, we need to see the teachings in the Śrīmad Bhagavataṁ. Bear in mind that the Viṣṇu avatāra are sustainer of things based on their specific forms.

There are at least three parts to the Nārāyaṇa Kavacha. The three principal parts are the

  1. aṣṭākṣarī mantra ॐ नमो नारायणाय (om namo nārāyaṇāya). Aṣṭākṣarī means aṣṭa (eight) akṣara (syllable)
  2. dvādasākṣarī mantra ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय (om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya). Dvādasa means twelve and akṣara means syllables, hence dvādasākṣarī mantra refers to the famous twelve syllable mantra of Viṣṇu.
  3. ṣaḍākṣarī mantra ॐ विष्णवे नमः (om viṣṇave namaḥ). ṣaḍ means six and akṣara means syllable.
  4. Specific protection based on situation

Part-1: Aṣṭākṣarī Kavacha

Śrīmad Bhagavataṁ 6.8.4-6

श्रीविश्वरूप उवाच
धौताङ्घ्रिपाणिराचम्य सपवित्र उदङ्मुखः
कृतस्वाङ्गकरन्यासो मन्त्राभ्यां वाग्यतः शुचिः
नारायणपरं वर्म सन्नह्येद्भय आगते
पादयोर्जानुनोरूर्वोरुदरे हृद्यथोरसि
मुखे शिरस्यानुपूर्व्यादोंकारादीनि विन्यसेत्
ओं नमो नारायणायेति विपर्ययमथापि वा
śrīviśvarūpa uvāca
dhautāṅghripāṇirācamya sapavitra udaṅmukhaḥ
kṛtasvāṅgakaranyāso mantrābhyāṁ vāgyataḥ śuciḥ
nārāyaṇaparaṁ varma sannahyedbhaya āgate
pādayorjānunorūrvorudare hṛdyathorasi
mukhe śirasyānupūrvyādoṁkārādīni vinyaset
oṁ namo nārāyaṇāyeti viparyayamathāpi vā

Translation: Śrī Viśvarūpa teaches that when there is any sort of fear, then one must adorn the armour called Nārāyaṇa Kavacha. To do so, first cleanse the limbs and perform ācamana. Thereafter the mantra “oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya” is recited in the direct and reverse order while touching eight parts of the body from feet to head and back.

Let us do this in simple steps.
Step 1: First, wash hands and legs properly and wear some clean clothes.
Step 2: Recite the following ācamana prayer for cleansing yourself.

ॐ अपवित्रः पवित्रो वा सर्ववस्थाम् गतोऽपि वा।
यः स्मरेत् पुण्डरिकाक्षम् स बाह्यभ्यन्तरः सुचिः॥
om apavitraḥ pavitro vā sarvavasthām gato’pi vā|
yaḥ smaret puṇḍarikākṣam sa bāhyabhyantaraḥ suciḥ||

Take some water in your cupped right hand palm and sip it thrice while reciting

श्री विष्णु श्री विष्णु श्री विष्णु
śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu śrī viṣṇu

Step 3: Recite each of the syllables of the eight syllable Nārāyaṇa mantra while touching the eight body parts with your fingers. This is called sṛṣṭi nyāsa (creation process) – also known as utpatti nyāsa. What we are doing is energizing the eight vital junctions of the body to ensure proper flow of fluids and energy in the system. By this the body gets the power to heal itself and create new cells and repair parts.

Nyāsa is always done with nyāsa mantra which have to be extricated from the main mantra which is going to be recited. Śrī Viśvarūpa has advised that nyāsa has to be done on eight specific body parts with each of the syllables of the aṣṭākṣarī (eight syllable) Nārāyaṇa mantra. Each of these syllables is recited after ‘om’ and then the name of the body part is recited followed by nāmaḥ.

Akṣara Placed on Nyāsa Mantra
om pādayoḥ Feet ॐ ॐ पादये नमः om om pādaye namaḥ
na jānunoḥ Knees ॐ नं जानुने नमः om naṁ jānune namaḥ
मो mo ūrvo Thighs ॐ मों उर्वये नमः om moṁ urvaye namaḥ
ना udara Abdomen ॐ नां उदराय नमः om nāṁ udarāya namaḥ
रा hṛd Heart ॐ रां हृदयाय नमः om rāṁ hṛdayāya namaḥ
ya urasi Chest ॐ यं उरसे नमः om yaṁ urase namaḥ
णा ṇā mukha Mouth ॐ णां मुखये नमः om ṇāṁ mukhaye namaḥ
ya śiras Head ॐ यं शिरसे नमः om yaṁ śirase namaḥ

Step 4: Recite each of the syllables of the eight syllable Nārāyaṇa mantra in the reverse while touching the eight body parts in the reverse order, with your fingers. This is called saṁhāra nyāsa (dissolution process). What we are doing is energizing the eight vital junctions of the body to ensure proper removal of toxins and dead cells. By this the body gets the power to heal itself as the sins are removed.

Akṣara Placed on Nyāsa Mantra
ya śiras Head ॐ यं शिरसे नमः om yaṁ śirase namaḥ
णा ṇā mukha Mouth ॐ णं मुखये नमः om ṇaṁ mukhaye namaḥ
ya urasi Chest ॐ यं उरसे नमः om yaṁ urase namaḥ
रा hṛd Heart ॐ रां हृदयाय नमः om rāṁ hṛdayāya namaḥ
ना udara Abdomen ॐ नां उदराय नमः om nāṁ udarāya namaḥ
मो mo ūrvo Thighs ॐ मों उर्वये नमः om moṁ urvaye namaḥ
na jānunoḥ Knees ॐ नं जानुने नमः om naṁ jānune namaḥ
om pādayoḥ Feet ॐ ॐ पादये नमः om om pādaye namaḥ

Step 5: Recite the aṣṭākṣarī mantra ॐ नमो नारायणाय (om namo nārāyaṇāya) 108 times or multiples thereof to reinforce the kavacha and protect from all diseases and evils.

Remaining three parts are to be taught in the Mantra Foundation Course

Five Headed Bagalamukhi

दुश्टस्थम्बनमुग्रविन्घ शमनं दरिद्यविद्रवनं
विग्नैघं बगले हर प्रतिदिनं कल्यणि तुभ्यम् नमः।
कञ्चन पीठनिविष्टं मुनिवरसादरघूर्नितप्रभं
करुणपूरितनयं श्रीबगलपीतम्बरां वन्दे॥
duśṭasthambanamugravingha śamanaṁ daridyavidravanaṁ
vignaighaṁ bagale hara pratidinaṁ kalyaṇi tubhyam namaḥ|
kañcana pīṭhaniviṣṭaṁ munivarasādaraghūrnitaprabhaṁ
karuṇapūritanayaṁ śrībagalapītambarāṁ vande||

मध्ये सुदाब्धिमणिमण्डपरत्नवेद्यं
सिम्हासनोपरिगतां परिपीतवर्णं।
देविं स्मरामि धृतमुद्गरवैरिजिह्वं॥
madhye sudābdhimaṇimaṇḍaparatnavedyaṁ
simhāsanoparigatāṁ paripītavarṇaṁ|
deviṁ smarāmi dhṛtamudgaravairijihvaṁ||

॥त्रिश्तुप् च्छन्द मन्त्र॥
ॐ ह्रीं बगलामुखी सर्वदुष्टानां वाचं मुखं
स्थम्भय जिह्व कीलय कीलं बुद्धि नाशाय ह्रीं ॐ स्वाहा।
||triśtup cchanda mantra||
om hrīṁ bagalāmukhī sarvaduṣṭānāṁ vācaṁ mukhaṁ
sthambhaya jihva kīlaya kīlaṁ buddhi nāśāya hrīṁ om svāhā|

The five Mahāpuruṣa of Orissa are the initiators of the lineages. Our lineage of Vedic astrology comes from the holy feet of Sri Achyutananda.

अच्युताय नमस्तुभ्यं गुरवे परमात्मने।
सर्वतन्त्रस्वतन्त्राय चिद्घनानन्दमूर्तये॥
acyutāya namastubhyaṁ gurave paramātmane |
sarvatantrasvatantrāya cidghanānandamūrtaye ||

Pancha Mahapurusha of Orissa …

Pancha means five and sakha means friends – it is noteworthy that just like Sri Krishna referred to Arjuna as a friend, so also did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu refer to these five Maha Purusha (great men) disciples of his as Pancha Sakha or five friends. Under this page you will find links to their various works related to Jyotish and dharma.
Astrology has a lot to draw from parallels in history. One such parallel is that every time the Guru-Shisya parampara (literally master/teacher & student/disciple relationship in an unbroken chain or lineage/tradition) is to be revived or revitalized, the Guru (Bhagavan as the ultimate teacher) establishes Dharma along with FIVE disciples. This is observed in the panch-pyare (five dear ones) of Sri Guru Gobind Singhji or the Pancha Sakha of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These five Mahapurusha disciples were Yashwanta Das, Ananta Das, Achyuta Das, Balram Das & Jagannath Das. Sri Chaitanya has commented that these five are like His five atma-tatwa and are in no way lesser than some of the avatars of Vishnu.

ତୁମ୍ଭ ପଂଚ ସଖାଂକୁ ମୋ ଜନ୍ମେ ଜନ୍ମେ ଆସ‌
ତୁମ୍ଭ ପାଇ ଅବତାର ଲୀଲା ଅଭିଲାସ. [ଶୂନ୍ଯ ସଂହିତା]
tumbha panca sakhanku mo janme janme asha
tumbhapae avatara lila abhilasha|
[sunya samhita, oriya

Amshavatar Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had five Mahapurusha (great men) disciples in Orissa called his Panca sakha (five friends or witnesses of His activities and teachings). These five Mahapurusha (disciples) were Yashovanta Dasa, Acyuta Dasa, Ananta Dasa, Jagannath Dasa and Balaram Dasa. Sri Caitanya explains that the avatara lila (by Him) is due to the desire of the sakha.

ଆଗମ୍ଯଭାବ ଜାଣେ ଜଶୋବନ୍ତ
ଗାରକଟ୍ଟା ଯନ୍ତ୍ର ଜାଣେ ଅନନ୍ତ
ଆଗତ ନାଗତ ଅଚ୍ଯୁତ ଭଣେ
ବଲରାମ ଦାସ ତତ୍ତ୍ବ ବଖଣେ
ଭକତିର ଭାବ ଜାଣେ ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ
ପଂଚ ସଖା ଏ ଓଡିଆ ମାହାନ୍ତ
agamya bhava jane yashovanta
gara katta yantra jana ananta|
agata nagata acyuta bhane
Balaram dasa tatva bakhane|
bhaktira bhava jane Jagannath
panca sakha e odia mahanta
|[sunya samhita, oriya]

Sri Jagannath Das was the foremost having understood the teachings related to bhakti bhava. Sri Balaram Das understood the tatva. Sri Ananta Das was adept at mantra shastra and understood the complete knowledge associated with yantra. Sri Yashovanta Das had complete knowledge of the rituals, procedures etc, associated with purity. Sri Acyuta Das was blessed to know about the past, present and future events as a part of destiny (Jyotisha).

ତୁମେ ମୋର ପଂଚ ଆତ୍ମା ଅଟ୍ଟ ପଂଚଜଣ‌
ଅବତାର ଶ୍ରେଣୀ ତୁମ୍ଭପାଈ ପୁନହଃ
tumbhe mora panca atma atta pancajana|
avatara shreni jete tumbha paen puna||
[sunya samhita

Sri Caitanya has commented that these five are like His panca atma (five atma-tatva) and deserve the status like that of an avatara. Sri Achyuta was the youngest of the panca sakha. …

Devaguru Bṛhaspati

The Ṛk Veda gives nineteen ṛk (prayers) in two hymns for Bṛhaspati (devatā) also referred to as Brāhmaṇaspati and Gaṇapati. When using aṣṭottari daśā each of these ṛk are recited for one year of the daśā. These are from the second mandala hymn 24 and 25 although the version of the Ṛk veda by Śrī Dayananda Sarasvatī has given them together, which seems more appropriate. Anyway, these ṛk are extremely powerful in protecting us in nineteen ways.

गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम्।
ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणां ब्रह्मणस् पत आ नः षृण्वन्नूतिभिः सीद सादनम्॥१
gaṇānāṁ tvā gaṇapatiṁ havāmahe kaviṁ kavīnāmupamaśravastamam|
jyeṣṭharājaṁ brahmaṇāṁ brahmaṇas pata ā naḥ ṣṛṇvannūtibhiḥ sīda sādanam ||1

देवाश्चित्ते असुर्य प्रचेतसो बृहस्पते यज्इयं भागमानशुः।
उस्रा इव सूर्यो ज्योतिषा महो विश्वेषामिज्जनिता ब्रह्मणामसि॥२
devāścitte asurya pracetaso bṛhaspate yajiyaṁ bhāgamānaśuḥ |
usrā iva sūryo jyotiṣā maho viśveṣāmijjanitā brahmaṇāmasi ||2

आ विबाध्या परिरापस्तमांसि च ज्योतिष्मन्तं रथं ऋतस्य तिष्ठसि।
बृहस्पते भीमममित्रदम्भनं रक्षोहणंगोत्रभिदं स्वर्विदम्॥३
ā vibādhyā parirāpastamāṁsi ca jyotiṣmantaṁ rathaṁ ṛtasya tiṣṭhasi |
bṛhaspate bhīmamamitradambhanaṁ rakṣohaṇaṁgotrabhidaṁ svarvidam ||3

सुनीतिभिर्नयसि त्रायसे जनं यस्तुभ्यं दाशान् न तमंहो अश्नवत्।
ब्रह्मद्विषस्तपनो मन्युमीरसि बृहस्पते महि तत् ते महित्वनम्॥४
sunītibhirnayasi trāyase janaṁ yastubhyaṁ dāśān na tamaṁho aśnavat |
brahmadviṣastapano manyumīrasi bṛhaspate mahi tat te mahitvanam ||4

न तमंहो न दुरितं कुतश्चन नारातयस्तितिरुर्न द्वयाविनः।
विश्वा इदस्माद् ध्वरसो वि बाधसे यं सुगोपा रक्षसि ब्रह्मणस् पते॥५
na tamaṁho na duritaṁ kutaścana nārātayastitirurna dvayāvinaḥ |
viśvā idasmād dhvaraso vi bādhase yaṁ sugopā rakṣasi brahmaṇas pate ||5

त्वं नो गोपाः पथिकृद् विचक्षणस्तव व्रताय मतिभिर्जरामहे।
बृहस्पते यो नो अभि ह्वरो दधे स्वा तं मर्मर्तु दुचुना हरस्वती॥१
tvaṁ no gopāḥ pathikṛd vicakṣaṇastava vratāya matibhirjarāmahe |
bṛhaspate yo no abhi hvaro dadhe svā taṁ marmartu ducunā harasvatī ||1

उत वा यो नो मर्चयादनागसोऽरातीवा मर्तः सानुको वृकः।
बृहस्पते अप तं वर्तया पथः सुगं नो अस्यै देववीतये कृधि॥२
uta vā yo no marcayādanāgaso’rātīvā martaḥ sānuko vṛkaḥ |
bṛhaspate apa taṁ vartayā pathaḥ sugaṁ no asyai devavītaye kṛdhi ||2

त्रातारं त्वा तनूनां हवामहेऽवस्पर्तरधिवक्तारमस्मयुम्।
बृहस्पते देवनिदो नि बर्हय मा दुरेवा उत्तरं सुम्नमुन् नशन्॥३
trātāraṁ tvā tanūnāṁ havāmahe’vaspartaradhivaktāramasmayum |
bṛhaspate devanido ni barhaya mā durevā uttaraṁ sumnamun naśan ||3

त्वया वयं सुवृधा ब्रह्मणस् पते स्पार्हा वसु मनुष्या ददीमहि।
या नो दूरे तळितो या अरातयोऽभि सन्ति जम्भया ता अनप्नसः॥४
tvayā vayaṁ suvṛdhā brahmaṇas pate spārhā vasu manuṣyā dadīmahi |
yā no dūre taḻito yā arātayo’bhi santi jambhayā tā anapnasaḥ ||4

त्वया वयमुत्तमं धीमहे वयो बृहस्पते पप्रिणा सस्निना युजा।
मा नो दुःशंसो अभिदिप्सुरीशत प्र सुशंसा मतिभिस्तारिषीमहि॥५
tvayā vayamuttamaṁ dhīmahe vayo bṛhaspate papriṇā sasninā yujā |
mā no duḥśaṁso abhidipsurīśata pra suśaṁsā matibhistāriṣīmahi ||5

अनानुदो वृषभो जग्मिराहवं निष्टप्ता शत्रुं पृतनासुसासहिः।
असि सत्य ऋणया ब्रह्मणस् पत उग्रस्य चिद् दमिता वीळुहर्षिणः॥६
anānudo vṛṣabho jagmirāhavaṁ niṣṭaptā śatruṁ pṛtanāsusāsahiḥ |
asi satya ṛṇayā brahmaṇas pata ugrasya cid damitā vīḻuharṣiṇaḥ ||6

अदेवेन मनसा यो रिशण्यति शासामुग्रो मन्यमानो जिघांसति।
बृहस्पते म प्रणक् तस्य नो वधो नि कर्म मन्युं दुरेवस्य शर्धतः॥७
adevena manasā yo riśaṇyati śāsāmugro manyamāno jighāṁsati |
bṛhaspate ma praṇak tasya no vadho ni karma manyuṁ durevasya śardhataḥ ||7

भरेषु हव्यो नमसोपसद्यो गन्ता वाजेषु सनिता धनंधनम्।
विश्वा इदर्यो अभिदिप्स्वो मृधो बृहस्पतिर्वि ववर्हा रथां इव॥८
bhareṣu havyo namasopasadyo gantā vājeṣu sanitā dhanaṁdhanam |
viśvā idaryo abhidipsvo mṛdho bṛhaspatirvi vavarhā rathāṁ iva ||8

तेजिष्थया तपनि रक्षसस्तप ये त्वा निदे दधिरे दृष्टवीर्यम्।
आविस्तत् कृष्व यदसत् त उक्थ्यं बृहस्पते वि परिरापो अर्दय॥९
tejiṣthayā tapani rakṣasastapa ye tvā nide dadhire dṛṣṭavīryam |
āvistat kṛṣva yadasat ta ukthyaṁ bṛhaspate vi parirāpo ardaya ||9

बृहस्पते अति यदर्यो अर्हाद् द्युमद् विभाति क्रतुमज्जनेषु।
यद् दीदयच्चवस ऋतप्रजात तदस्मसु द्रविणं धेहिचित्रम्॥१०
bṛhaspate ati yadaryo arhād dyumad vibhāti kratumajjaneṣu |
yad dīdayaccavasa ṛtaprajāta tadasmasu draviṇaṁ dhehicitram ||10

मा न स्तेनेभ्यो ये अभि द्रुहस् पदे निरामिणो रिपवोऽन्नेषु जागृधुः।
आ देवानामोहते वि व्रयो हृदि बृहस्पते नपरः साम्नो विदुः॥११
mā na stenebhyo ye abhi druhas pade nirāmiṇo ripavo’nneṣu jāgṛdhuḥ |
ā devānāmohate vi vrayo hṛdi bṛhaspate naparaḥ sāmno viduḥ ||11

विश्वेभ्यो हि त्वा भुवनेभ्यस् परि त्वष्टाजनत् साम्नःसाम्नः कविः।
स ऋणचिद् ऋणया ब्रह्मणस् पतिर्द्रुहो हन्ता मह ऋतस्य धर्तरि॥१२
viśvebhyo hi tvā bhuvanebhyas pari tvaṣṭājanat sāmnaḥsāmnaḥ kaviḥ |
sa ṛṇacid ṛṇayā brahmaṇas patirdruho hantā maha ṛtasya dhartari ||12

तव श्रिये व्यजिहीत पर्वतो गवां गोत्रमुदसृजो यदङ्गिरः।
इन्द्रेण युजा तमसा परीवृतं बृहस्पते निरपामौब्जो अर्णवम्॥१३
tava śriye vyajihīta parvato gavāṁ gotramudasṛjo yadaṅgiraḥ |
indreṇa yujā tamasā parīvṛtaṁ bṛhaspate nirapāmaubjo arṇavam ||13

ब्रह्मणस्पते त्वमस्य यन्ता सूक्तस्य बोधि तनयं च जिन्व।
विश्वं तद् भद्रं यदवन्ति देवा बृहद् वदेम॥१४
brahmaṇaspate tvamasya yantā sūktasya bodhi tanayaṁ ca jinva |
viśvaṁ tad bhadraṁ yadavanti devā bṛhad vadema ||14

This article is in continuation of a series on Das Avatara. Please read (1) Avatāra and (2) Dasa avatāra Overview before this article to get a complete picture.

We have shown the wisdom of our tradition in explaining that there is no real controversy about the list of dasa-avatāra and that each of the lists are meant for a specific purpose like Parāśara list of Iṣṭa devatā, Jayadeva modification for the Bhakti path and Jagannāth list for Dharma devatā. The wisdom does not end there but expands to very subtle and sensitive levels of the individual consciousness which allows for subtle modifications of the lists to meet the individual need.

Hṛṣikeśa replaces Paraśurāma

Lakshmi Narayana

As an illustration, in the Parāśara list of Iṣṭa devatā or Jagannāth list of dharma devatā we have Bhārgava[i]Paraśurāma who annihilated 21 generations of Kṣatriya and it would be most foolish for any Jyotiṣa to ask a Kṣatriya or Kāyastha to worship Bhārgava Paraśurāma as he would shudder at the mention of the very name, what to talk of developing Bhakti! Instead the worship of Hṛṣikeśa the form in which Lakṣmī worships Viṣṇu is advised as Lakṣmī is naturally indicated by Venus. This is in lines with the teachings of Śrīmad Bhagavataṁ.
Sri Bhakti Vedānta Swami Prabhupada writes “Accompanied during the daytime by the sons of the Prajāpati [the predominating deities of the days] and accompanied at night by his daughters [the deities of the nights], Lakṣmī devī worships the Lord during the period known as the Saṁvatsara in His most merciful form as Kāmadeva (Hṛṣikeśa). Fully absorbed in devotional service, she chants the following mantras. SB 5.18.17
Hṛṣikeśa (Kāmadeva) SB 5.18.18
ॐ ह्रां ह्रीं ह्रूं ॐ नमो भगवते हृषीकेशाय सर्वगुणविशेषैर् विलक्षितात्मने आकूतीनां चित्तीनां चेतसां विशेषाणां चाधिपतये षोडशकलाय च्चन्दोमयायान्नमयायामृतमयाय सर्वमयाय सहसे ओजसे बलाय कान्ताय कामाय नमस् ते उभयत्र भूयात्।
om hrāṁ hrīṁ hrūṁ om namo bhagavate hṛṣīkeśāya sarvaguṇaviśeṣair vilakṣitātmane ākūtīnāṁ cittīnāṁ cetasāṁ viśeṣāṇāṁ cādhipataye ṣoḍaśakalāya ccandomayāyānnamayāyāmṛtamayāya sarvamayāya sahase ojase balāya kāntāya kāmāya namas te ubhayatra bhūyāt|

Hṛṣikeśa (Kāmadeva) Iṣṭa mantra

ॐ नमो भगवते हृषीकेशाय
om namo bhagavate hṛṣīkeśāya

Mahāpuruṣa Yoga

Puruṣottama Śrī Jagannāth
Mahāpuruṣa or greatness in human beings is due to the predominance of one of the five tattva. Lord Śiva alone is a perfect siddha with all the pañca tattva i.e. He alone can manifest with the pañca mahāpuruṣa characteristics. This is taught in the Mahabharata when Draupadi asks a boon to have a husband like Śiva with all the five qualities, Śiva blesses her to have five husbands who are the five Pāṇḍava mahāpuruṣa brothers as no jīvātmā can incarnate with all five tattva in dominance. For more information, please read my paper on Mahāpuruṣa yoga (SJC Annual Conference, Puri).
We know that the nine syllables of the Moon are the semivowels and they form the best sounds for protection of the mana (mind) which is ruled by the Moon. These are given in Table 5. Meditation of the syllables strengthens the particular element or pacifies the mind or purifies the soul. These elemental sounds are repeated thrice as a prefix and suffix to the Gāyatri mantra for maximum benefit.
Kalyāṇavarmā (Sārāvalī) teaches that the Mahāpuruṣa yoga become defunct in the absence of strong luminaries and it becomes necessary to strengthen them by purifying the soul and making the mind resolved with the element akṣara in addition to strengthening the dominant element of the mahāpuruṣa yoga itself.
Table 5: Chandra (Manas) akṣara

Sanskrit क्ष
Trans ya ra la va śa ṣa sa ha kṣa
Element vāyu air agni fire pṛthvi earth jala water manas mind ākāśa ether ātma soul
Graha Saturn Mars Mercury Venus Ketu Rāhu Moon Jupiter Sun
Devatā Śiva Āditya Gaṇeśa Devī Cāmuṇḍā Durgā Gourī Viṣṇu Sūrya

Śiva’s prayer (Mahāpuruṣa dhyāna & mantra SB 5.17.16-18)
भजे भजन्यारणपादपण्कजं
भगस्य कृत्स्नस्य परं परायणम्
भक्तेष्वलं भावितभूतभावनं
भवापहं त्वा भवभावम् ईश्वरम्
bhaje bhajanyāraṇapādapaṇkajaṁ
bhagasya kṛtsnasya paraṁ parāyaṇam
bhakteṣvalaṁ bhāvitabhūtabhāvanaṁ
bhavāpahaṁ tvā bhavabhāvam īśvaram

ॐ नमो भगवते महापुरुषाय सर्वगुणसण्ख्यानायानन्तायाव्यक्ताय नम
om namo bhagavate mahāpuruṣāya sarvaguṇasaṇkhyānāyānantāyāvyaktāya nama

Bhagavata (13-syllable) mantra
Note: syllables of the elements and the luminaries can be added to the mantra after the praṇava or suffixed for fruits of saṁsāra.
ॐ नमो भगवते महापुरुषाय
om namo bhagavate mahāpuruṣāya

Jñāna Yoga


There is no substitute for learning other than the holy feet of parama guru Śrī Veda Vyāsa. Jñāna yoga of all kinds must lead to the pure truth force of knowledge and this truth force is symbolized by Vāsudeva, the father of Kṛṣṇa avatāra who was forever truthful and the fruit of his perfect truthfulness resulted in the birth of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as his eighth child. Knowledge and children are seen from the same fifth house which is also the mantra bhāva. All knowledge, both Para and Apara vidyā, should lead to enlightenment as its principal goal. The vasu means light and refers to enlightenment and deva refers to divinity as giving enlightenment. Thus, Vāsudeva means pure enlightenment from learning the truth. In the dhyāna mentioned below, this is specifically indicated as the impeller of the intelligence ‘satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi’. Vāsudeva refers to Kṛṣṇa as the son of Vāsudeva and the giver of this true knowledge that leads to enlightenment.
This mantra should be recommended for all Jñāna yogis like scientists, academicians and philosophers. Jyotiṣa should not dare a step into the vast ocean of horā śāstra without the armour of this dvādasākṣarī mantra.
Vyāsa prayer (Vāsudeva dhyāna SB 1.1.1)
जन्माद्य् अस्य यतो अन्वयाद् इतरतश् चार्थेष्व् अभिज्ञः स्वराट्
तेने ब्रह्म हृदा य आदिकवये मुह्यन्ति यत् सूरयः
तेजोवारिमृदां यथा विनिमयो यत्र त्रिसर्गो अमृषा
धाम्ना स्वेन सदा निरस्तकुहकं सत्यं परं धीमहि
janmādy asya yato anvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādikavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejovārimṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra trisargo amṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirastakuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya

Saṅnyāsa Yoga

Yogeśvara Nārāyaṇa

Renunciation of worldly life and pursuit of the highest truth are vital aspects of this yoga wherein perfect brahmacārya (celibacy) is practiced along with other yama and niyama (rules and regulations). Devarṣi Nārada is the only perfect one who could maintain perfect celibacy throughout His existence and hence is among the 22 avatāra of Viṣṇu.
These days we see the other extreme and hitherto unheard of activities have come to light about happenings in churches and spiritual institutions where homosexuality, rape, marriage after the celibacy vow of saṅnyāsa and all sorts of terrible happenings are reported in the press. We are perplexed and wonder as to why did these people go to the church/spiritual institution in the first place? Why did they not lead the normal life of a house holder? If at some point of time they were motivated to renounce the material world for heavenly peace in this life itself, then why did they forsake it? What weakness in their minds causes this to happen and how is this corrected? The answer lies in following the path of Nārada, the one who maintains these vows perfectly and in worshipping Badri-Nārāyaṇa (Yogeśvara Kṛṣṇa) with the dhyāna and mantra that Nārada used as given in the Śrimad Bhagavataṁ.
Nārada’s prayer to Yogeśvara Badrinath
Nara-Nārāyaṇa dhyāna SB 5.19.11-12)
कर्तास्य सर्गादिषु यो न बध्यते
न हन्यते देहगतो अपि दैहिकैः
द्रष्टुर् न दृग् यस्य गुणैर् विदूष्यते
तस्मै नमो असक्तविविक्तसाक्षिणे
kartāsya sargādiṣu yo na badhyate
na hanyate dehagato api daihikaiḥ
draṣṭur na dṛg yasya guṇair vidūṣyate
tasmai namo asaktaviviktasākṣiṇe
ॐ नमो भगवते उपशमशीलायोपरतानात्म्याय नमो अकिचनवित्ताय ऋषिऋषभाय नरनारायणाय परमहंसपरमगुरवे आत्मारामाधिपतये नमो नम
om namo bhagavate upaśamaśīlāyoparatānātmyāya namo akicanavittāya ṛṣiṛṣabhāya naranārāyaṇāya paramahaṁsaparamagurave ātmārāmādhipataye namo nama

Dharmakarmādhipati Yoga

Kodaṇḍa Rāma

Whenever we end up in various actions (karma) which is not according to the dharma (sanction of scriptures), we end up adding to our sins. In addition we also need to direct the mind to performing karma for good purposes so that we add to our spiritual karma balances and move towards mokṣa. The mantra of dharmarāja Yama is considered most auspicious and appropriate for this in addition to the Dharma Gāyatri of the Ṛk veda.
Dharmaraja’s prayer (dharma deva mantra SB 5.18.2)
ॐ नमो भगवते धर्मायात्मविशोधनाय नम।
om namo bhagavate dharmāyātmaviśodhanāya nama


There can be no guide book or substitute to reading the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Viṣṇu Purāṇa to understand these subtle individual applications and forms of the avatāra. Whereas the Srimad Bhagavatam speaks in detail about Viṣṇu incarnations, the Viṣṇu Purāṇa teaches all about Kṛṣṇa avatāra. The Bhagavat Gītā is the high watermark of the philosophy. Jyotiṣa must read these texts and be sensitive to individual needs and consciousness to be able to give the right advise.

[i] Belonging to the lineage of Brighu (Venus).

Dasa avatāra or ten incarnations

Any list of ten incarnations can be made from the lists of various avatāra of Viṣṇu indicated above. However for identifying the ten principal avatāra of Viṣṇu symbolizing the highest potentate of the ten variables of Jyotiṣa (navagraha and lagna), we need to ensure that they belong to principal list of 22 incarnations or find mention in the Bhagavat Purāṇa. Other factors to consider include-

Guṇa avatāra are not to be selected as they are much above the navagraha and lagna which are in the three modes of sattva, rajas and tamas. For example, Jupiter is strongly sattva guṇa and this does not exclude the presence of the other guṇa. Thus even at its highest potency, Jupiter cannot represent the guṇa avatāra.

Prabhava (mighty, potentate) forms must have a dominance over vaibhava avatāra and here again, permanent potency gets a natural choice over temporal potency as the navagraha symbolize permanency and exist over a long period of time through the kalpa whereas temporal  potency forms exist for short durations during the kalpa (life of creation).

For example, Mohini and Haṁsa avatāra exist for a short duration in every kalpa and cannot represent the potency of the graha. Similarly, Dhanvantari, Rsabha, Vyāsa, Dattātreya and Kapila are very specific purpose manifestations and cannot be symbolized by any one graha.

Among the vaibhava-prakāṣa forms are Kūrma, Matsya, Nara-Nārāyaṇa, Varāha, Hayagriva, Pṛṣnigarbha, and Balarāma, The manvantara avatāra Yajña, Vibhu, Satyasena, Hari, Vaikuntha, Ajita, Vāmana, Sarvabhauma, Rsabha, Visvaksena, Dharmasetu, Sudhama, Yogeśvara and Bṛhadbhānu.

List of eleven avatāra: Accordingly our list of twenty-two avatāra is reduced to eleven: (1) Catuḥsana, (2) Varāha, (3) Nārada, (4) Nara-Nārāyaṇa, (5) Kardami Kapila, (6) Dattātreya, (7) Yajña, (8) Rsabha, (9) Prthu, (10) Matsya, (11) Kūrma, (12) Dhanvantari, (13) Mohini, (14) Nṛsiṁha, (15) Vāmana, (16) Paraśurāma, (17) Vyāsa, (18) Rāmacandra (19) Balarāma, (20) Kṛṣṇa, (21) Buddha and (22) Kalki. There are three principal lists which take these avatāra into account – (1) Parāśara Dasa avatāra (2) Jayadeva Dasa avatāra stotra [Bengal School] and (3) Jagannāth temple [Orissa School].

Parāśara Dasa avatāra

Mahāṛṣi Parāśara speaks of the dasa avatāra at the beginning of the work Bṛhat Parāśara Horā Śāstra and dedicated a whole chapter titled avatārakathana adhyāyaḥ [Chapter 2] to the study of the incarnations (avatāra) of Viṣṇu. Of the list of eleven avatāra, Parāśara omits Balarāma as, strictly speaking, Balarāma is an incarnation of Vāsuki, the divine serpent guardian of Viṣṇu.

Table 2: Parāśara dasa avatāra

Graha Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter
Avatāra Rāmacandra Kṛṣṇa Nṛsiṁha Buddha Vāmana
Graha Venus Saturn Rāhu Ketu Lagna
Avatāra Paraśurāma Kūrma Varāha Matsya Kalki

Jayadeva dasa avatāra stotra

Gita Govinda Dasavatara

Fig: Dasa avatāra (Depiction-Gīta Govinda) Śrī Kṛṣṇa at the centre surrounded by twelve gopi-jana (six male and six female indicating the alternating male and female signs of the zodiac).

Jayadeva was the court poet of King Lakshmanasena of Bengal and was not only adept at the Sanskrit language but also in poetry and prose, Gandharva Veda (music) and nṛtya śāstra (dance). His Gīta Govinda in 12 canto, is an all-time classic that has inspired themes for oḍisi dance. In the very first chapter (aṣṭa padi) he signs the glory of the dasa avatāra.

Of the eleven avatāra mentioned in Para 1.2, Jayadeva excludes Kṛṣṇa as he considers the remaining as avatāra of Kṛṣṇa. While this is fine from the bhakti viewpoint, it does not do justice to exclude Kṛṣṇa from any list of avatāra for the purpose of defining the highest potency of the graha as Kṛṣṇa alone is the highest potency of the Moon and His babyhood days show the greatest potency of the Moon.

Table 3:Jayadeva dasa avatāra (Bengal)

Graha Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter
Avatāra Rāmacandra Buddha Nṛsiṁha Balarāma Vāmana
Graha Venus Saturn Rāhu Ketu Lagna
Avatāra Paraśurāma Kūrma Varāha Matsya Kalki

Jyadeva shows the way for the Bhakti path where once the Iṣta devatā has been chosen then the avatāra rises to the top and goes beyond the list of eleven while the remaining ten avatāra are used for worship of the graha and karma. This process has also been supported by Mahindara in the classic Mantra mahodadhiḥ wherein Mahindhara speaks of the avatāra of Nṛsiṁha where Nṛsiṁha is the iṣta devatā. Similarly, Tulasidas saw all of them as avatāra of Rāmachandra as Rāma was his Iṣṭa devatā.

This process of evolution of the individual in the spiritual path of Bhakti should be understood to appreciate the lists of dasa avatāra of Parāśara and Jayadeva and the reasons for their difference. Parāśara list is the most primary or fundamental list in determining the Iṣṭa devatā while Jayadeva would show the next stage where the bakti leads the individual to place the iṣṭa devatā at a very high pedestal, above everybody and everything.

Jagannāth & Tirupati temples

At the entrance of the Jagannāth temple at Puri (the foremost of pilgrimages of the Hindu) as well as inside we find the dasa avatāra depicted. A copy of the painting on a wall of the temple is at Fig.2.  and we find that from the dasa avatāra list of Parāśara, Buddha has been replaced by Balarāma.

Figure 3: Dasa avatāra Jagannāth temple

Table 4: Jagannāth temple dasa avatāra

Graha Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter
Avatāra Rāmachandra Kṛṣṇa Nṛsiṁha Balarāma Vāmana
Graha Venus Saturn Rāhu Ketu Lagna
Avatāra Paraśurāma Kūrma Varāha Matsya Kalki

Mercury has various attributes including learning ability and perfect non-violence (ahimsa) which are seen in Gautama Buddha and his teaching of ahimsa was so strong that he caused a whole generation of people to become vegetarians including taming and transforming the violent king ‘chanḍa’  Ashoka to ‘dhamma’  Ashoka or stopping a mad elephant in its tracks and making it completely peaceful or converting a serial killer like Anguli-mala (who wore a garland of the fingers chopped off his victims) into a peaceful sage. Parāśara has aptly chosen Buddha as the Mercury avatāra of Viṣṇu for Iṣṭa devatā reckoning.

Figure 4: Dasa avatāra Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

However, Balarāma transformed the agricultural economy by designing the plough and using draught animals in fields. He is depicted with the Plough and the exaltation of Mercury is in Virgo, the granary of the world. The Brahmins of the Jagannāth temple are also justified in depicting Balarāma as the Mercury avatāra of Viṣṇu.

The reason for omitting Buddha is that Buddha caused the people to go away from the Vedas and cannot be depicted as a Dharma avatāra.  Even though in doing so, Buddha actually got the people closer to the essence of the Vedas by teaching them the value of non-violent sacrifice.

Thus the list of dasa avatāra in the Jagannāth temple is for the dharma devatā and not for the Iṣṭa devatā. This list of dasa avatāra is also supported by the Veṇkaṭeśvara Balaji temple at Tirupati (another important vaiṣṇava shrine, see fig.3).

To Do

Prepare a write-up about each of the Parāśara dasvatāra and list their attributes and a picture.

Make the nine Bengal (Jayadeva) school list of dasa avatāra for the bhakti path.

List the mantras of each of the dasa avatāra (both Parāśara & jagannāth Schools)- Purāṇic, Vedic, Dvādasākṣari and vija (seed).

List the dasa avatāra mantra for the bhakti path (Jayadeva school).

List the 72 forms of Nṛsiṁha and 9 forms of Nṛsiṁha. Although Mars is the chief planet, can you assign other planets to these forms? Please make lists of Nṛsiṁha forms and planetary combinations.

List all forms of (a) Rāma, (b) Kṛṣṇa, (c) Vāmana, (d) Varāha and planetary combinations that can indicate these forms. Can you list the mantras for these forms also?



The Sanskrit word avatāraḥ is derived from ava meaning ‘down’ or descent and tarati  meaning ‘crossing over or tiding over’ and refers to the deliberate descent of a deity, immortal being or the Supreme Being from heaven (normally Viṣṇu) for specific purpose(s). As a noun, avatar also means a new personification of a familiar, idea[i] like an embodiment[ii] or a temporary manifestation[iii].
God is one in Hinduism, to which there is no doubt and is represented by the sacred syllable om (ॐ).

Types of avatāra

There are six primary types of Viṣṇu avatāra or incarnations –
(1)   Puruṣa avatāra: avatāra of Viṣṇu descending for the sake of upholding dharma
(2)   Lilā avatāra: Viṣṇu avatāra (descending) for various ‘lila; (play, Rāma of pastimes) and include (1) Catuḥsana, (2) Nārada, (3) Varāha, (4) Matsya, (5) Yajña, (6) Nara- Nārāyaṇa, (7) Kardami Kapila, (8) Dattātreya, (9) Hayasirsa, (10) Haṁsa, (11) Dhruvapriya, or Prsnigarbha, (12) Rsabha, (13) Pṛthu, (14) Nṛsiṁha, (15) Kūrma, (16) Dhanvantari, (17) Mohini, (18) Vāmana, (19) Paraśurāma, (20) Raghavendra, (21) Vyāsa, (22) Balarāma, (23) Kṛṣṇa, (24) Buddha and (25) Kalki as given in the Bhagavata Purāṇa.
Of these, 22 incarnations are considered most crucial and protect the 22 steps (baisi pahacha) of the Jagannāth temple symbolizing the steps one has to take to achieve yoga with Jagannāth. These are (1) Catuḥsana, (2) Varāha, (3) Nārada, (4) Nara-Nārāyaṇa, (5) Kardami Kapila, (6) Dattātreya, (7) Yajña, (8) Rsabha, (9) Prthu, (10) Matsya, (11) Kūrma, (12) Dhanvantari, (13) Mohini, (14) Nṛsiṁha, (15)  Vāmana, (16) Bhargava Paraśurāma, (17) Vyāsa, (18) Rāmachandra, (19) Balarāma, (20) Kṛṣṇa, (21) Buddha and (22) Kalki.
(3)   Guṇa avatāra: based on the three modes of rajas, satva and tamas these are Brahma, Viṣṇu  and Śiva and reside within the material creation in these modes.
(4)   Yuga avatāra: viṣṇu avatāra heralding the closing of a yuga (time cycle) and ensuring the continuity of the next. In every mahayuga there are four yuga – Satya, Treta, Dvāpara and Kali bearing the primary colors white, red, black and yellow respectively[iv].
(5)   Manvantāra – avatāra: Also called Manu, they are the progenitors of manuśya (human beings) at the beginning of every kalpa (day of Brahma or the beginning of creation).
(6)   Saktyavesa – avatāra: jīvātmā (souls) empowered by Viṣṇu [for a short duration] during their continued existence. They are normally teachers and provide knowledge that helps to sustain mankind like Dhanvantari a jīva tattva śaktyavesa avatar Who taught ayurveda (medicine) and medicinal plants. Lord Buddha, Kapila, Ṛṣabhadeva and Nara-Nārāyaṇa are also saktyavesa avatāra as they were primarily great teachers. Recent theorists have added Jesus Christ and Hazrat Muhammad as well as Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupada to this list as they were also great spiritual teachers. However others have attempted to add all deities Brahma and Śiva to this list and are quite wrong in doing so as they are to be exclusively listed under guṇa avatāra.

[i] WordNet, Princeton University
[ii] An embodiment, as of a quality or concept; an archetype: ‘the very avatar of cunning’. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition;
[iii] A temporary manifestation or aspect of a continuing entity: ‘occultism in its present avatar’. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition;
[iv] Bhagavata Purāṇa 10.8.13; Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada;


panchamukhaMṛtyuṅjaya literally means ‘Victory over Death’ and Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya mantra is also called- Mahā-mokṣa mantra as it gives the ultimate enlightenment. Received by Maharṣi Vasiṣṭha and enshrined as a hymn of the Ṛk Veda, it has been sung for thousands of years by the pious who seek penultimate victory over this mṛtyu-loka (earthly plane where death is the only surety).
Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra
anuṣṭubh chandas – 32 syllables = 4 pada (4×8=32)

त्रयंबक्कं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मूक्षीय मामृतात्॥
trayaṁbakkaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam|
urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyormūkṣīya māmṛtāt ||

There are many mantra for warding off evils like death and other suffering given in the sacred literature of the Hindu’s. These mantra are of various types but the Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra has been extolled in sacred literature as being the best. This mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva and is taught in the Rig Veda (7 mandala 59 Chapter) as well as the Yajur Veda (3-60) showing that it is a śruti having been received by Mahārishi Vasiṣṭha, the Kula Guru of Bhagavān Sri Rāma Chandra. This Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya mantra is from the Rig-Veda (7th Book or Mandala, 59 Chapter) and needs initiation for attaining siddhi. Anybody can recite this mantra and attain good health, release from bondage and other problems. This is the greatest panacea for all evils and can be recited at any time like any other Mahā-mantra.


Śukrācārya’s Penance & teaching

rishiJyotish teaching
The Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya mantra was taught by Lord Shiva to Śukrācārya the preceptor of the demons after he succeeded in the impossible test of hanging upside down from a tree for twenty years (Vimśottari daśā period) with smoke blowing into him from a fire lit beneath. Even Bṛhaspati was shocked at the prospect of such a terrible penance and calmly settled to observe Śukrācārya accept the challenge of Indra and succeed.

Tapasvi Yoga definition

Since Śukrācārya (Venus in astrology)  passed the penance he was glorified as the Tapasvi Raja (the king of the spiritual discipline and penance). The definition of Tapasvi Yoga comes from this penance as Saturn (punishment, hard toil), Ketu (smoke blown into the nose and other forms of self-inflicted torture) and Venus (desire and its renunciation) must come together to define the personal ability of the Tapasvi.

After the penance, Lord Shiva taught the Mahāmṛtyuṅjaya mantra to Śukrācārya, who under very compelling circumstances had to teach this to the son of Brihaspati and that is how the devas also got the mantra. This mantra was given (śruti) to Vasiṣṭha Maharṣi for the welfare of this world. The mantra and explanation given by Śukrācārya to Ṛṣi Dadhicha when the latter’s body was cut and thrown by Raja Kṣuva, is recorded in the Shiva Purāṇa.

Mantra Pada

Śukrācārya said “O! Dadhicha, I pray to Lord Shiva and give you the upadeśa (advise, wisdom, teaching) of the highest Mahā Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra.” The mantra is in Anuṣṭubh Chandas and accordingly, is divided into four padas composed of eight syllables each.

Śukrācārya said “The first pada is त्रयंबक्कं यजामहे (trayaṁbakkaṁ yajāmahe) and means – we worship or sing the praise of Lord Tryaṁbakka. Tryaṁbakka is the name of Lord Shiva as the father of the three worlds – bhū, bhuva and svarga lokas. He is the father and lord of the three mandala’s – Surya, Soma and Agni mandala. He is Maheśvara, the lord of the three guṇa’s – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. He is Sadāśiva, the teacher of the three tattva – Ātmā tattva, Vidyā tattva and Shiva tattva. He is the father (cause and source) of the three energies (agni) – āvāhaniya, garhapatya and dakṣināgni. He is the father of all physical creation through the three mūrti bhūta – Pṛthvi (solid), Jala (liquid) and Tejas or agni (energy). He is the lord of the three heavens created by the dominance of the three Guṇa – Rajas (Brahma), Sattva (Vishnu) and Tamas (Shiva). Know Him to be the nirākāra (formless) Sadāśiva as He is above this physical mode and is their Maheśvara. This is the first foot of the mantra (composed of eight syllables).”

“The second pada of the mantra,” continued Śukrācārya, “is सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् (sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam). Sugandhim refers to the fragrance of the flower that spreads in all directions, and in a similar way Shiva is present in the entire creation, both animate and inanimate. In all the bhutas (modes of existence), in the three Guṇa (nature of creation as being Satva, Rajas or Tamas), in the ten indriya (five jñāna-indriya or senses and five karma-indriya or organs of action), in all the devas (33 devas are the source of all illumination and enlightenment) and the ganas (hosts of demi-gods),  Shiva exists and pervades as the illumine ātmā (soul) and is their essence. Pustivardhanam is now being explained. That inward dwelling spirit (atman), the Puruṣa Shiva is the real sustainer of Prākṛti (and not vice-versa as all people perceive). Starting with the Mahātattva (primordial state of matter/energy) to the individual parts of creation, the entire sustenance of the physically created beings (both animate and inanimate) is done by the imperishable Puruṣa. You, I, Brahma, Vishnu, the Munis and even Indra & devas are maintained/sustained (by the ātmā and that is Him). Since the Puruṣa (ātmā – Shiva) is the granter of sustenance to prākṛti (body/nature), he is ‘Pusti-vardhana’.”

Having explained the first two pada of the mantra, Śukrācārya continued to explain the remaining two pada. He said “the next two pada उर्वारुहमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मूक्षीय मामृतात्॥ urvāruhamiva bandhanān mṛtyormūkṣīya māmṛtāt || (consisting of sixteen syllables) is meaning – Prabhu! just as the ripe cucumber is severed from the bondage of the creeper, in the same manner may we be delivered from death for the sake of immortality (moksha). Rudra deva is like amṛta (nectar of immortality). Those who worship Him with good karma, penance and repentance, meditation, contemplation, prayer or praise, will surely renewed life and vigour. The strength of truth force (in this mantra) is such that Lord Shiva shall definitely free the worshipper from the bondage of death because Shiva alone is the giver of bondage and moksha.

This is the Mṛtasaṅjīvani mantra and has the power to give back life and rescue from death and great evils. You should adore Lord Shiva and recite this mantra. Water sanctified with this mantra should be drunk all the time. [Authors note: It is well known that the rudrākṣa bead is placed in a glass of water after being held in the palm during the recitation of the mantra. this water is drunk during the day.]

Oblations in the sacrificial fire with this mantra is very purifying. “Now I shall teach the dhyāna for the mantra.” Saying so, Śukrācārya started reciting the śloka for meditating on Lord Shiva.

Mṛtyuṅjaya Meditation

Śrī Tryaṁbakkeśvara Mṛtyuṅjaya


The dhyāna taught by Śukrācārya (Siva Purāṇa) is given below. There are other dhyāna given in other texts and these are being quoted at relevant places to the extent necessary. This is to be recited once before meditating on Śrī Mṛtyuṅjaya Śiva.

हस्ताम्भोजयुगस्थकुम्भयुगलादुद्घृत्य तोयं शिरः
सिञ्चन्तं करयोर्युगेन दधतं स्वाङ्के सकुम्भौ करौ।
अक्षस्त्रङ्मृगहस्तमम्बुजगतं मूर्धस्थचन्द्रस्त्रवत्
पीयूषार्द्रतनुं भजे सगिरिजं त्र्यक्षं मृत्युङ्जयम्॥
hastāmbhojayugasthakumbhayugalādudghṛtya toyaṁ śiraḥ
siñcantaṁ karayoryugena dadhataṁ svāṅke sakumbhau karau|
akṣastraṅmṛgahastamambujagataṁ mūrdhasthacandrastravat
pīyūṣārdratanuṁ bhaje sagirijaṁ tryakṣaṁ mṛtyuṅjayam||

Translation: We praise (meditate) on the eight-armed, three-eyed Lord Mṛtyuṅjaya. He sits cross legged on a lotus (padmāsana). He holds two Kumbha (water vessels) with two lower arms and uses two upper arms to sprinkle water on His own head. The two other lower-most arms hold the auspicious kalaśa on the center of the legs. The remaining two hands hold a rudrākṣa-mālā and mṛga mudra (yogic hand postures). The amrita (nectar) dripping from the crescent moon on His head has made His whole body wet. The daughter of the mountain king (Himāvat ~ Himalaya) is seated next to Him.

Explanation: The eight arms represent the eight directions of the zodiac called kālachakra. With each of these arms Lord Mṛtyuṅjaya protects the worshipper from the evil hands of fate and time. The three eyes show his omniscience, the all-knowing Śiva. Sun is His right eye that defines righteousness and truth (dharma). Moon is his left eye of attachment and emotion whose opening is the joy of the world and whose closing is their sorrow. Agni is third eye of omniscience which is the brāhmaṇa guru, the highest parameṣṭhi guru, the all-knowing eye of supreme wisdom and knowledge. Kalaśa is the pot containing water from five rivers, with five leaves (pañca pallava) representing Viṣṇu and Varuṇa. The water sprinkled on His head drops through the crescent Moon to become Soma which is the nectar of life and it wets his body. This is symbolic of the rudra-abhiṣeka ritual of anointing, consecrating by sprinkling water and other liquids on the Śiva-liñga.

In jyotiṣa, the Sun represents Lord Śiva in all signs and is the giver of life. The abhiṣeka ritual is a prayer for rain as the Sun draws the water from the oceans by its mighty rays and pours it down blessing the lands and rivers and bringing life on earth. This single constant action of Lord Mṛtyuṅjaya sustains life on this planet and rudrābhiṣeka is symbolic of rainfall that sprinkles water on the ground making it life sustaining. Rain occurs when the heavy rain clouds are forced to cooler heights by high mountains and other currents. This is the śaktī (power) of Pārvatī, the constant consort of Lord Śiva, who is referred to in this dhyāna as the daughter of Himāvat, the Himalayan king-god.


Ṛṣi-adi nyāsa mantra
कहोल ऋषये नमः। शिरसि
kahola ṛṣaye namaḥ| śirasi
गायत्री छन्दसे नमः। मुखे
gāyatrī chandase namaḥ| mukhe
श्री मृत्युन्जय देवतायै नमः। हृदि
śrī mṛtyunjaya devatāyai namaḥ| hṛdi
जुं बीजय नमः। गुह्ये
juṁ bījaya namaḥ| guhye
ह्रीं शक्तये नमः। पादयो
hrīṁ śaktaye namaḥ| pādayo

Dhyāna Bīja mantra

Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja, the seed of rejuvenation is actually the jīva bīja (seed of life which brings all living beings)  is जुं (juṁ). It is formed from the starting syllable of the word जीव (jīva) which is ज (ja). This bīja was taught originally by Lord Śiva to Bṛhaspati, due to which Bṛhaspati became the preceptor of the gods and due to which he was able to save Indra from definite destruction at the hands of Lord Śiva. Pleased with his dedication and well-meaning disposition, Lord Śiva blessed Bṛhaspati to be known as जीव (jīva) by which he shall signify the very existence of life and by whose presence, the god of death Yama will have to turn away. This power of Bṛhaspati has been explained in the Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upaniṣad. In the Kāla-Chakra Bṛhaspati becomes Śrī Jīva and sits in the southern direction, which is the path of Yama, thereby blocking death from happening. So long as Śrī Jīva sits in his southern direction, the being shall live. Thus, the mṛtyuṅjaya bīja जुं (juṁ) simply means Jīva Upadeśa.

The Bīja mantra was obtained by Kahola-ṛṣi; the mantra is in Gāyatrī chandas; the mantra devatā (deity) is Sri Mṛtyuṅjaya (form of Shiva). This mantra is to be used for meditation and at all times for protection from all evils. Bīja means seed and unless this seed is panted properly in the heart how can you expect the tree of bhakti to Lord Śiva to grow? It is imperative that meditation be done with this bīja mantra.

ॐ जुं सः॥
om juṁ saḥ

Meditate with this mantra repeating it very quietly in the mind. Bring the mind to focus on the feet and recite the monosyllable ॐ (om). Then the bīja जुं (juṁ) has to be placed in the heart chakra. Finally the sahasrara chara on top of the head is brought into metal focus with the seed syllable सः (saḥ).

Understanding the Mahā Mṛtyuṅjaya Mantra

It is important to understand the meaning of the words as this makes the repetition meaningful and brings forth the results.

OM is not spelt out in the Rig-Veda, but has to be added to the beginning of all Mantras as given in an earlier Mantra of the Rig-Veda addressed to Ganapati. This Mantra is given in the prayer page of my Book “Mahārishi Jaimini’s Upadesa Sutra”.

TRAYAṀBAKKAṀ refers to the Three eyes of Lord Shiva. ‘Trya’ means ‘Three’ and ‘Ambakam’ means eyes. These three eyes or sources of enlightenment are the Trimūrti or three primary deities, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the three ‘AMBA’ (also meaning Mother or Shakti’ are Sarasvatī, Lakshmi and Gouri. Thus in this word, we are referring to God as Omniscient (Brahma), Omnipresent (Vishnu) and Omnipotent (Shiva). This is the wisdom of Bṛhaspati and is referred to as Śrī Dattātreya having three heads of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

YAJĀMAHE means, “We sing Thy praise”.

SUGANDHIṀ refers to His fragrance (of knowledge, presence and strength i.e. three aspects) as being the best and always spreading around. Fragrance refers to the joy that we get on knowing, seeing or feeling His virtuous deeds.

PUṢṬIVARDHANAM: Pooshan refers to Him as the sustainer of this world and in this manner, He is the Father (Pater) of all. Pooshan is also the inner impeller of all knowledge and is thus Savitur or the Sun and also symbolizes Brahma the Omniscient Creator. In this manner He is also the Father (Genitor) of all.

URVĀRUHAMIVA: ‘URVA’ means “VISHAL” or big and powerful or deadly. ‘AAROOKAM’ means ‘Disease’. Thus URVAROOKA means deadly and overpowering diseases. (The CUCUMBER interpretation given in various places is also correct for the word URVAROOKAM). The diseases are also of three kinds caused by the influence (in the negative) of the three Guna’s and are ignorance (Avidya etc), falsehood (Asat etc as even though Vishnu is everywhere, we fail to perceive Him and are guided by our sight and other senses) and weaknesses (Shadripu etc. a constraint of this physical body and Shiva is all powerful).

BANDHANĀN means bound down. Thus read with URVAROOKAMEVA, it means ‘I am bound down by deadly and overpowering diseases’.

MṚTYORMŪKṢĪYA means to deliver us from death (both premature death in this Physical world and from the neverending cycle of deaths due to re-birth) for the sake of Mokshya (Nirvana or final emancipation from re-birth).

MĀMṚTĀT means ‘please give me (mā) some amṛta (life rejuvinating nectar). Read with the previous word, it means that we are praying for some ‘amṛta’ to get out of the death inflicting diseases as well as the cycle of re-birth.

Steps in Mantra Siddhi

Bṛhaspati Gāyatrī

I will advise its recitation for forty days both in the morning and evening, after lighting a lamp and sitting in any yogic posture (preferably padmāsana which is the picture of Lord Śiva in the picture) while facing east. Recite the Mahā-mantra 108 times (one rosary) or its multiples in each sitting. This is the greatest work of Maharishi Vasiṣṭha. Before commencing the mṛtyuṅjaya mantra recite the following small prayer to the everlasting spirit of the Maharṣi for his blessings and guidance.

शुचिमर्कैर्बृहस्पतिमध्वरेषु नमस्यत। अनाम्योज आचके॥
śucimarkairbṛhaspatimadhvareṣu namasyata| anāmyoja ācake|| Rig Veda III.62.

Translation: We pray to Bṛhaspati (the Lord of this Universe and the teacher of this Vedic Knowledge), whose wishes are inviolable, for good thoughts (that will lead to good speech and actions that cannot be violated as it will be the truth).

Rishi-adi Nyasa

The preparatory rites should be learnt from any book on Karma-kāṇḍa (pujā method). However we give the simplest method of reciting this mantra to overcome the greatest of evils. Nyasa is the method of protecting the self by placing the parts of the mantra on five body parts. These body parts are the crucial centres for the spiritual energy.

  1. Mantra Ṛṣi is the Guru, the teacher of the mantra and to who the mantra was revealed for the first time for the benefit of the world – siras (head). In this case the Ṛṣi is Maharṣi Vasiṣṭha.
  2. Chandas (meter, which is technically very specific for each mantra) – mukha (mouth). This vedic mantra is in anuṣṭubh chandas. This is a metre having four pada (feet) of 8 phonemes each making the entire Anuṣṭubh meter as composed of 32 (8 x 4 = 32) syllables. It maybe noted that any change in the metre shall cause a distortion in the chandas and the mantra vibration shall be ruined.
  3. Devatā (the deity of the mantra) – hṛdaya (heart). In this case the devatā is Lord Shiva addressed as “Śrī Tryaṁbakkeśvara Mṛtyuṅjaya devatā”, the jyotirliñga.
  4. Bīja (the seed syllable that created the mantra and contains the mantra within itself, like the seed that creates the tree) – Liñga (sexual organ). There are some opinion on this, but the most appropriate one is given by Vāmadeva Ṛṣi as हौं  (hauṁ).
  5. Shakti (the physical power of the mantra like the mother) – pada (feet). It is the giver of gati or direction. In this case the śaktī is Devī Aṁṛteśvarī, addressed as ह्रीं (hrīṁ).

This portion is only for those who have received instructions for mantra upāsana and know about nyāsa. They can easily determine the five (or six) mantras for ṛṣi-adi nyāsa, añga-nyāsa etc.


Sadāśiva mantra nyāsa

वामदेव ऋषये नमः। शिरसि
त्रिष्टुभ् छन्दसे नमः। मुखे
सदाशिव देवतायै नमः। हृदि
हौं बीजय नमः। गुह्ये
ह्रीं शक्तये नमः। पादयो
hauṁ bīja hrīṁ śaktī
vāmadeva ṛṣaye namaḥ| śirasi
triṣṭubh chandase namaḥ| mukhe
sadāśiva devatāyai namaḥ| hṛdi
hauṁ bījaya namaḥ| guhye
hrīṁ śaktaye namaḥ| pādayo

Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra Nyāsa

The common meters according to the syllable count of a stanza, as multiples of 4: thus, dvipadā virāj (20), gāyatrī (24), uṣṇih (28), anuṣṭubh (32), bṛhatī (36), pañkti (40), triṣṭubh (44), and jagatī (48). The mṛtyuñjaya mantra is in the ‘follower’ or bhakti stanza called anuṣṭubh (32). Accordingly, the nyāsa for the mantra is as follows –

Mṛtyuñjaya mantra nyāsa –

वषिष्ठ ऋषये नमः। शिरसि
अनुष्टुभ् छन्दसे नमः। मुखे
श्री त्रयम्बक्केश्वर मृत्युञ्जय देवतायै नमः। हृदि
जुं बीजय नमः। गुह्ये
ह्रीं शक्तये नमः। पादयो
vaṣiṣṭha ṛṣaye namaḥ| śirasi
anuṣṭubh chandase namaḥ| mukhe
śrī trayambakkeśvara mṛtyuñjaya devatāyai namaḥ| hṛdi
juṁ bījaya namaḥ| guhye
hrīṁ śaktaye namaḥ| pādayo

Others are required to recite the mantra for Maharṣi Vasiṣṭha 21 times.
वं वषिष्ठाय नमः
vaṁ vaṣiṣṭhāya namaḥ


Prāṇāyama is performed either with the Sadāśiva bīja mantra, Kahola mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra or a joint form of both called the Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya bīja.

  1. The Sadāśiva bīja was obtained by Vāmadeva Maharṣi and the Sadāśiva Bīja is हौं (hauṁ). The Sadāśiva Bīja mantra is ॐ हौं सः॥ (om hauṁ saḥ) and this is used for prāṇāyama. This is preferred for protection of knowledge and the spiritual path.
  2. For good health and protection from evils in the mundane world, the Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja obtained by Kahola Maharṣi is used. Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja is जुं (juṁ) and the mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra is ॐ जुं सः॥ (om juṁ saḥ).
  3. The initiated used a combined form of the Sadāśiva and Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja to form the Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra. The Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra is ॐ हौं जुं सः॥ (om hauṁ juṁ saḥ) and includes both Sadāśiva हौं (hauṁ) and Mṛtyuṅjaya जुं (juṁ).

It is also advisable to practise Vāmadeva Ṛṣi’s Sadāśiva Bīja mantra and Kahola Ṛṣi’s Mṛtyuṅjaya Bīja mantra separately. This is my personal recommendation and is in the lines of the standard texts on Tantra. Others can skip this and go to the Mahāmantra directly.

Vyāsa Mṛtyuṅjaya Mantra



The students of SJC and those belonging to the Vaiṣṇava paraṁparā should worship the Jagadguru Maharṣi Vedavyāsa instead with the Kahola Mṛtyuṅjaya Mantra prefixed and suffixed. This is explicitly explained in Mantra Mahodadhiḥ.

Vyāsa Mantra is defined as the starting name syllable i.e. nāma bījākṣara as taught by Dattātreya

व्यां वेदव्यासाय नमः॥
vyāṁ vedavyāsāya namaḥ

To this is added the Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja in the formula called saṁpuṭa i.e. prefix and reverse suffix. The Vyāsa Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra as given below has the mṛtyuṅjaya mantra before and after with the latter part being in the reverse.

ॐ जुं सः व्यां वेदव्यासाय नमः सः जुं ॐ॥
om juṁ saḥ vyāṁ vedavyāsāya namaḥ saḥ juṁ om

This mantra protects the school, the learning, books and the tradition. It protects dharma as manifesting in this planet. It protects all that is good for this planet as this is the form of the highest guru as an incarnation of Śiva. Vedavyāsa is known as the joint incarnation of Śiva and Viṣṇu and is called Hari-Hara veśa. This mantra removes the blemish of Saturn on Jupiter, on the Lagna or Lagneśa and always protects a native who bows for guidance.

Mṛtyuṅjaya Japa

This is to be followed by the Dhyāna Mantra (Meditation) of Śrī Tryaṁbakkeśvara (One of the twelve jyotirliñga) and then meditate on Śrī Tryaṁbakkeśvara and Sri Aṁṛteśvarī (Shakti) with the relevant mantra as outlined above. Then follows the Rudra Pujā. Meditate for at least 15 Minutes before starting the Japa (recitation of mantra). Those conversant with TM or other forms of meditation, dhyāna, dhāraṇa etc. can use the mantra described above.

Vāmadeva Ṛṣi’s Sadāśiva Bīja-mantra gives all happiness and removes all evils and sins. Tamas is destroyed resulting in quick progress into Sattva Guṇa. Kahola Rishi’s Mṛtyuṅjaya Bīja-mantra gives good health, vitality and the native as removed from sin. The intelligence is restored and all forms of black magic etc. are destroyed by the insurmountable omnipotent Lord Śiva.

Then repeat the following Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra 108 times or multiples of this number.

ॐ। त्रयंबक्कं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुहमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मूक्षीय मामृतात्॥
om, trayaṁbakkaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam,
urvāruhamiva bandhanān mṛtyormūkṣīya māmṛtāt.

Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya Mantra Japa

rudracheval_webThe Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya mantra is formed when the Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra comprising Sadāśiva and Mṛtyuṅjaya bīja is attached to the Mṛtyuṅjaya mantra along with the tri-loka vyāhṛti which is the very embodiment of Sāvitrī, the winner of Yama and the śaktī of the Savitur Gāyatrī.
Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya bīja mantra: ॐ हौं जुं सः॥ (om hauṁ juṁ saḥ)
Sāvitrī tri-loka vyāhṛti: ॐ भूर्भुव स्वः॥ (om bhūrbhuva svaḥ)

Mahā-mṛtyuṅjaya mantra
ॐ हौं जुं सः भूर्भुव स्वः॥
त्रयंबक्कं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुहमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मूक्षीय मामृतात्॥
सः जुं हौं भूर्भुवस्वरों॥
om hauṁ juṁ saḥ bhūrbhuva svaḥ
trayaṁbakkaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam,
urvāruhamiva bandhanān mṛtyormūkṣīya māmṛtāt.
saḥ juṁ hauṁ bhūrbhuvasvaroṁ||

Thereafter, perform Rudra-abhiśeka (Ritual offering of the Pañca-Amṛta or the five forms of nectar as Honey, Ghee, Curd, Milk and Water) on the Shiva liñga.


Nyāsa (protection) and dhyāna (meditation) are to be performed before the japa and ritual.

Mahā-mṛtyuñjaya Dhyāna
चन्द्रार्काग्नि-विलोचनं स्मितमुखं पद्मद्वयान्तः स्ठितं
मुद्रापाक्ष-मृगाक्ष-सूत्र-विलसत् पाणिं हिमांशु प्रभाम्।
कोटिरेन्दु गलत्सुधा प्लुत तनुं हारादिषोज्ज्वलम्
कन्त्या विश्वविमोहनं पशुं-पतिं मृत्युञ्जयं भावयेत्॥
candrārkāgni-vilocanaṁ smitamukhaṁ padmadvayāntaḥ sṭhitaṁ
mudrāpākṣa-mṛgākṣa-sūtra-vilasat pāṇiṁ himāṁśu prabhām|
koṭirendu galatsudhā pluta tanuṁ hārādiṣojjvalam
kantyā viśvavimohanaṁ paśuṁ-patiṁ mṛtyuñjayaṁ bhāvayet||

Mahā-mantra Nyāsa

For the initiated, the mahā-mṛtyuñjaya mantra nyāsa is given below. Please note that the chandas changes and the names of all the Maharṣi have been included.

वषिष्ठ कहोल वामदेव ऋषये नमः। शिरसि
त्रिष्टुभ् छन्दसे नमः। मुखे
श्री त्रयम्बक्केश्वर मृत्युन्जय देवतायै नमः। हृदि
हौं जुं बीजय नमः। गुह्ये
ह्रीं शक्तये नमः। पादयो
vaṣiṣṭha kahola vāmadeva ṛṣaye namaḥ| śirasi
triṣṭubh chandase namaḥ| mukhe
śrī trayambakkeśvara mṛtyunjaya devatāyai namaḥ| hṛdi
hauṁ juṁ bījaya namaḥ| guhye
hrīṁ śaktaye namaḥ| pādayo


Japa is the repetition of a mantra for a fixed number of times. Normally this is in multiples of 108. Based on the teachings of Harihara in Praśna Mārga, we advise that this mantra should be recited for 8000 times in a period of forty days. The  recitation of 108 mantra for forty days both in the morning and evening covers this requirement. For other purposes larger number of repetitions are advised.
After lighting a lamp and sitting in any yogic posture (preferably padmāsana which is the picture of Lord Siva in the picture) while facing east. Recite the mahā-mantra 108 times (one rosary) or its multiples in each sitting. This is the greatest work of maharishi Vasiṣṭha. Before commencing the Mahā Mṛtyuñjaya mantra recite the mantra to the everlasting spirit of the maharṣi Vasiṣṭha for his blessings and guidance.

By Adi Sankaracharya Bhagavatpada
भजे व्रजैकमण्डनं समस्तपापखण्डनं
स्वभक्तचित्तरंजनं सदैव नन्दनन्दनम्‌।
सुपिच्छगुच्छमस्तकं सुनादवेणुहस्तकं
अनंगरंगसागरं नमामि कृष्णनागरम्‌॥ १॥
bhaje vrajaikamaṇḍanaṁ samastapāpakhaṇḍanaṁ
svabhaktacittaraṁjanaṁ sadaiva nandanandanam |
supicchagucchamastakaṁ sunādaveṇuhastakaṁ
anaṁgaraṁgasāgaraṁ namāmi kṛṣṇanāgaram || 1||

मनोजगर्वमोचनं विशाललोललोचनं
विधूतगोपशोचनं नमामि पद्मलोचनम्‌।
करारविन्दभूधरं स्मितावलोकसुन्दरं
महेन्द्रमानदारणं नमामि कृष्णावारणम्‌॥ २॥
manojagarvamocanaṁ viśālalolalocanaṁ
vidhūtagopaśocanaṁ namāmi padmalocanam |
karāravindabhūdharaṁ smitāvalokasundaraṁ
mahendramānadāraṇaṁ namāmi kṛṣṇāvāraṇam || 2||

कदम्बसूनकुण्डलं सुचारुगण्डमण्डलं
व्रजांगनैकवल्लभं नमामि कृष्णदुर्लभम्‌।
यशोदया समोदया सगोपया सनन्दया
युतं सुखैकदायकं नमामि गोपनायकम्‌॥ ३।
kadambasūnakuṇḍalaṁ sucārugaṇḍamaṇḍalaṁ
vrajāṁganaikavallabhaṁ namāmi kṛṣṇadurlabham |
yaśodayā samodayā sagopayā sanandayā
yutaṁ sukhaikadāyakaṁ namāmi gopanāyakam || 3|

सदैव पादपंकजं मदीय मानसे निजं
दधानमुक्तमालकं नमामि नन्दबालकम्‌।
समस्तदोषशोषणं समस्तलोकपोषणं
समस्तगोपमानसं नमामि नन्दलालसम्‌॥ ४॥
sadaiva pādapaṁkajaṁ madīya mānase nijaṁ
dadhānamuktamālakaṁ namāmi nandabālakam |
samastadoṣaśoṣaṇaṁ samastalokapoṣaṇaṁ
samastagopamānasaṁ namāmi nandalālasam || 4||

भुवो भरावतारकं भवाब्धिकर्णधारकं
यशोमतीकिशोरकं नमामि चित्तचोरकम्‌।
दृगन्तकान्तभंगिनं सदा सदालिसंगिनं
दिने दिने नवं नवं नमामि नन्दसम्भवम्‌॥ ५॥
bhuvo bharāvatārakaṁ bhavābdhikarṇadhārakaṁ
yaśomatīkiśorakaṁ namāmi cittacorakam |
dṛgantakāntabhaṁginaṁ sadā sadālisaṁginaṁ
dine dine navaṁ navaṁ namāmi nandasambhavam || 5||

गुणाकरं सुखाकरं कृपाकरं कृपापरं
सुरद्विषन्निकन्दनं नमामि गोपनन्दनम्‌।
नवीनगोपनागरं नवीनकेलिलम्पटं
नमामि मेघसुन्दरं तडित्प्रभालसत्पटम्‌॥ ६॥
guṇākaraṁ sukhākaraṁ kṛpākaraṁ kṛpāparaṁ
suradviṣannikandanaṁ namāmi gopanandanam |
navīnagopanāgaraṁ navīnakelilampaṭaṁ
namāmi meghasundaraṁ taḍitprabhālasatpaṭam || 6||

समस्तगोपनन्दनं हृदम्बुजैकमोदनं
नमामि कुंजमध्यगं प्रसन्नभानुशोभनम्‌।
निकामकामदायकं दृगन्तचारुसायकं
रसालवेणुगायकं नमामि कुंजनायकम्‌॥ ७॥
samastagopanandanaṁ hṛdambujaikamodanaṁ
namāmi kuṁjamadhyagaṁ prasannabhānuśobhanam |
nikāmakāmadāyakaṁ dṛgantacārusāyakaṁ
rasālaveṇugāyakaṁ namāmi kuṁjanāyakam || 7||

नमामि कुंजकानने प्रव्रद्धवन्हिपायिनम्‌।
किशोरकान्तिरंजितं दृगंजनं सुशोभितं
गजेन्द्रमोक्षकारिणं नमामि श्रीविहारिणम्‌॥ ८॥
namāmi kuṁjakānane pravraddhavanhipāyinam |
kiśorakāntiraṁjitaṁ dṛagaṁjanaṁ suśobhitaṁ
gajendramokṣakāriṇaṁ namāmi śrīvihāriṇam || 8||

यदा तदा यथा तथा तथैव कृष्णसत्कथा
मया सदैव गीयतां तथा कृपा विधीयताम्‌।
प्रमाणिकाष्टकद्वयं जपत्यधीत्य यः पुमान
भवेत्स नन्दनन्दने भवे भवे सुभक्तिमान॥ ९॥
yadā tadā yathā tathā tathaiva kṛṣṇasatkathā
mayā sadaiva gīyatāṁ tathā kṛpā vidhīyatām |
pramāṇikāṣṭakadvayaṁ japatyadhītya yaḥ pumāna
bhavetsa nandanandane bhave bhave subhaktimāna || 9||

इति श्रीमच्छंकराचार्यकृतं श्रीकृष्णाष्टकं सम्पूर्णम्‌॥
iti śrīmacchaṁkarācāryakṛtaṁ śrīkṛṣṇāṣṭakaṁ sampūrṇam ||


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