Om trayambakam

Posted by Evangelis 

Om trayambakam
January 04, 2013 10:12AM
Dear Prabhuji, I know that you instruct your disciples to repeat the Om Trayambakam prayer before every trip. Could you explain what this phrase means?
Om trayambakam
January 05, 2013 12:14PM
It is a mantra, or Vedic prayer, for the healing of the sick called Mrityunjaya Mantra. The word Mrityunjaya refers to Shiva as 'the conqueror of death'. In this way, by praying to this aspect of Lord Shiva, we receive help in keeping safe from any vital danger. The Mrityunjaya mantra is used to pray for the health of someone or to ask for a quiet and peaceful death.   
The words of this powerful mantra are:
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat 
“We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva of three eyes who nourishes us. May he liberate us from the bondage of death like the urvaruka fruit. May he not let us turn away from immortality!”
Amba in Sanskrit is “eye,” and Tryambaka means “the Lord of three eyes,” another name for Shiva. It is said that when Lord Shiva opened his third eye, fire shot out from it, burning ignorance and passion, and all the suffering that they cause. Through his third eye, the eye of wisdom, Shiva can see what is imperceptible to ordinary beings.
Lord Shiva is described as sugandhi, or “fragrant”, and pushtivardhana, or “bestower of food.” Sugandhi refers to the fragrance of his virtues and pushtivardhana is related to the grace that he showers upon his devotees. 
In the first line of the prayer, we beg to be released from the bondage of death: Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam, says that we must worship this Lord Shiva, which destroys ignorance and gives grace. The second line is a prayer: Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat.
Death does not refer only to a physical one, but to ignorance, since life in ignorance devoid of watchfulness cannot be considered 'life'. 
The urvaruka is a sweet fruit that grows on a vine, which detaches effortlessly from the creeper when it matures. We also pray to be released from ignorance and pain as effortlessly as this fruit. The mature urvaruka is fragrant and sweet, while the immature one is bitter and tough. We pray to Shiva that will help us to mature and get rid of our hardness and bitterness. Liberation from the bondage of death is related to the realization and recognition of our eternal and immortal essence.
Although superficially it seems to be a prayer to heal our pain and physical suffering, in reality it is a plea to heal us from the bondage of ignorance. It is important that this mantra be pronounced properly to make it effective.
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