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The Mahamrityunjay Mantra is a famous verse found in the Rig Veda which glorifies a "three-eyed deity". According to Shaivites, the mantra refers to Lord Shiva whereas Vaishnavas believe it to be referring to Lord Narasimha. I have heard that some Puranas have references to this mantra. Can anybody provide me these alleged references? Do any of these Puranic references indicate the "three-eyed deity" it glorifies?

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6 Answers 6

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Linga Purana, Vol 2, Chapter 54 is completely dedicated to Tryambaka mantra alone. It describes the procedure of worshipping Shivalinga with Tryambaka mantra.

त्रियंबकेण मंत्रेण देवदेवं त्रियंबकम्।
पूजयेद्वाणलिङ्ग वा स्वयंभूतेऽपि वा पुनः॥१॥

Uttering the Tryambaka mantra, a devotee should worship Tryambaka in Bāņa-linga and Svayambhu-linga.

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Here is a verse from the Shiva Gita (Padma Purana) where different mantras are chanted in praise of Lord Shiva/Rudra and the Trayambakam mantra is mentioned:

सौन्दर्यसारसंदोहां ददर्श रघुनन्दनः। स्वस्ववाहनसंयुक्तान्नानायुधलसत्करान ।। बृहद्रथन्तरादीनि सामानि परिगायतः। स्वस्वकान्तासमायुक्तान्दिक्पालान्परितः स्थितान।। अग्रगं गरुडारूढं शंखचक्रगदाधरम। कालाम्बुदप्रतीकाशं विद्युत्कान्त्या श्रिया युतम।। जपन्तमेकमनसा रुद्राध्यायं जनार्दनम। पश्चाच्चतुर्मुखं देवं ब्रह्माणं हंसवाहनम।। चतुर्वक्त्रैश्चतुर्वेदरुद्रसूक्तैर्महेश्वरम। स्तुवन्तं भारतीयुक्तं दीर्घकूर्चं जटाधरम।। अथर्वशिरसा देवं स्तुवन्तं मुनिमण्डलम। गङ्गादितटिनीयुक्तमम्बुधिं नीलविग्रहम।। श्वेताश्वतरमन्त्रेण स्तुवन्तं गिरिजापतिम। अनन्तादिमहानागान्कैलासगिरिसन्निभान।। कैवल्योपनिषत्पाठान्मणिरत्नविभूषितान। सुवर्णवेत्रहस्ताढ्यं नन्दिनं पुरतः स्थितम।। दक्षिणे मूषकारूढं गणेशं पर्वतोपमम। मयूरवाहनारूढमुत्तरे षण्मुखं तथा।।महाकालं च चण्डेशं पार्श्वयोर्भीषणाकृतिम। कालाग्निरुद्रं दूरस्थं ज्वलद्दावाग्निसन्निभम।। त्रिपादं कुटिलाकारं नटद्भृङ्गिरिटिं पुरः। नानाविकारवदनान्कोटिशः प्रमथाधिपान।। नानावाहनसंयुक्तं परितो मातृमण्डलम। पञ्चाक्षरीजपासक्तान्सिद्धविद्याधरादिकान।। दिव्यरुद्रकगीतानि गायत्किन्नरवृन्दकम। तत्र त्रैयम्बकं मन्त्रं जपद्द्विजकदम्बकम।। गायन्तं वीणया गीतं नृत्यन्तं नारदं दिवि। नृत्यतो नाट्यनृत्येन रम्भादीनप्सरोगणान।। गायच्चित्ररथादीनां गन्धर्वाणां कदम्बकमकम्बलाश्वतरौ शंभुकर्णभूषणतां गतौ।। गायन्तौ पन्नगौ गीतं कपालं कम्बलं तथा। एवं देवसभां दृष्ट्वा कृतार्थो रघुनन्दनः।। हर्षगद्गदया वाचा स्तुवन्देवं महेश्वरम। दिव्यनामसहस्रेण प्रणनाम पुनः पुनः।।

Raghunanda there saw the essence of beauty. Riding on their own vehicles and carrying respective weapons were the Digpalas shining in their own lusture in their respective places and singing the Brihad And Ranthara Saman. In the front sitting on the Garuda and with the Sankha Chakra and Gada along with the lustrous Lakshmi was Janardana and singing SRI Rudram with the concenterated mind. In the back was seated Brahma in the swan, singing the Rudra Suktas of four Vedas from the four mouths along with Bharati. Devas and Munis were chanting the Arthavasiras and praising the Lord. God of ocean standing beside Ganga was also signing Svetasvatara hymns in praise of Lord of Girija. Great serpents like Aananta who looked as huge as Kailash mountain were seen singing hymns from kaivalya Upanishad. Nandi was seen in the front carrying a golden danda in his hands. In the south Ganesha was sitting in his Kartikeya) was seen sitting in his peacock. In the left and right side of Paramesvara were seen the Mahakala and Chandes. In a far distance was seen the Kalagni Rudra. Three legged Bhringi was dancing in the front along with the Ganas with various faces. In their respective vehicles were seated the divine mothers. Siddha Vidhyadharas were chanting the panchakshari Mantra. Kinnars were singing the Divya Rudra Gita. Divine Brahmanas were chanting the Tryambakam mantra. Narada was dancing in joy singing song from his Veena. Gandharvas like ChitraRathas were singing. All the Gods of heaven, heavenly snakes etc.. were seen all around singing the songs of Maheswara. Rama became ecstasic on seeing this beautiful scene. Then he started chanting Maheswara Sahasranama With many salutions.

Here is a verse from Linga Purana:

अदृश्यंति वशिष्ठं च प्रणम्यारुन्धतीं तत । कृत्वैकलिंगं क्षणिकं पांसुना मुनिसन्निधौ ।। संपूज्य शिवसूक्तेन त्र्यंबकेन शुभेन च। जप्त्वा त्वरितरुद्रं च शिवसंकल्पमेव च।।  नीलरुद्रं च शाक्तेयस्तथा रुद्रं च शोभनम्। वामीयं पवमानं च पंचब्रह्म तथैव च।। होतारं लिंगसूक्तं च अथर्वशिर एव च। अष्टांगमर्घ्यं रुद्राय दत्वाभ्यर्च्य यथाविधि।। (Linga Purana, Chapter 64)

Here Sage Vashishta sang mantras in praise of Lord Shiva/Rudra.

Then Parashara bowed in reverence to Adryasanti - his mother, Vasistha and Arundhati - his grandparents. In presence of the sage Vasistha, he made a temporary Iinga of clay. Then he reciting the hymns from the Shiva Sukta,Trayambakam Mantra,,Tvarita Rudra, Siva Sankalpa, Nila Rudram, Shakteya- Rudra, Vamiya, Pavaman Sukta, PanchaBrahman Sukta, Linga-Sukta and Atharvasiras mantras, adored the Shivalinga. After worshipping the linga appropriately, he offered Ashtangya Arghya to Rudra.

Until now I came up with 2 references. I will update the answer if I find more.

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  • Grammar 😐😐😐😐
    – user9969
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 16:06
  • Good research on this one. Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 17:48
  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury What happened to Grammar? Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 10:15
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From the Viniyogah of the Mahamrityunjaya Stotra which is found in the Rudra Yamala Tantra:

4.Om Asya Sri Maha Mrithyunjaya Kavachasya ,
Sri Bhairava Rishi, Gayathri Chanda,
Sri Mrityunjaya rudro devathaa , Om bheejam,
Jram Shakthi , Sa keelakam Houm ithi thathwam,
Chaturvarga phala sadhane pate viniyoga.


Om, for the armour of the great Mrithyunjaya , the sage is Bhairava , The meter is Gayathri , The God addressed is Mrityunjaya Rudra , the root is “Om”, the power is “jram”, The nail is Sa” and the principle is “Houm” and offering four types of fruits this is being chanted.

Also, apart from being one of the most famous Vedic Mantras, it is also a Tantrik Mantra. MahAmrityunja Mantra, MahAmrityunjaya Yantra and it's Prayoga are given in the Tantras.

From the Viniyogah of this Mantra we find (quoting from the TantrasAra's pp 502):

atha tryambaka mantrah | tryambakam yajAmahe ... mAmritAm ||
Vashishtohasya munih proktashchandahonushtupAhritah devatAsya samuddishtA tryambakah pArvatipatih ||

So, consort of Goddess PArvati or Lord Shiva is the Deity for the Mantra.

And, from the DhyAna Sloka for Tryambaka, we find:

hastAbhyAm kalasadvayAmritaghatam kailAsakAntam shivam svacchAmbhojagatam navendumukutam devam trinetram bhaje .. ||

The Mrityunjaya Prayoga in the Tantras is also based on the Mrityunjaya Yantram and which is one of the Yantras for Lord Shiva.

So, "Mrityunjaya" or "Mahamrityunjaya" always refer to the three-eyed Lord Shiva/Rudra.

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Mahamrityunjay Mantra is found in the Kashmir Shaivism's principle book called 'Sri Rudram'.... It is their daily Swadhyaya book.... have a look at the link.

Sri Rudram

You can find Sri Rudram on playstore.

It is said that a village where people read Sri Rudram, no disease can enter the village.

As a devotee of the late Baba Muktananda, we read Sri Rudram every sunday. It is a very powerful scripture.

I would ask you to do the same to have the grace of Lord Shiva!! :)

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  • Added link is broken. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 10:42
  • Let me fix it... Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 11:18
  • @Deepesh, Mantra is just a sentence like other sentences right, how come it will have effect, any logic here :). Like in this answer, how this Mahamrityunjay mantra will help people. Sorry I just thought to ask you to know what is the secret behind it, and how to get the advantages of these mantras in ones life. Thank you. Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 4:41
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    When you say someone 'You son of a bitch' the person gets angry, isn't so? It is mere a sentence but it affects the person you are talking to. So are mantras. Another aspect is mantras have immense effect on Pancha Koshas of our astral body. Mahamrityunjay Mantra and actually entire Shri Rudram has a very positive impact on these Pancha Koshas. Thus it is very hard for a disease to enter such a purified body whose Panch Koshas are so strong and pure. Why HathaYoga helps to stay healthy? It is the positive effect of HathaYoga on Panch Koshas of body. Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 4:57
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Okay I found a verse from the Shiva Purana where Shukracharya mentions it to Dadichi and says that the "three-eyed Lord" is Lord Shiva Himself:

In my opinion, this Mrityunjaya mantra is the excellent of all. Repeat the mantra regularly with your mind devoted to Shiva. (Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita, Chapter 38)

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  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury : Can you please give reference in vaishnavite scriptures saying that "this mantra is dedicated to Lord Narasimha"
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 19:05
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    @zaxebo1 That is the very reason I asked this question.
    – user9969
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 3:43
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury: oops :-)
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 4:07
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Yes, A number of the puranas mention the mahamrityunjaya mantra. To my knowledge, most of them accept it to be a mantra dedicated to Shiva only.

Skanda Purana mentions Nandi worshipped Shiva with mrityynjaya mantra.

पूर्वे युगे समाख्यातं नाम नन्दीश्वरेति च ॥यत्र तप्तं तपो घोरं नन्दिनाम्ना गणेन मे ॥ ३ ॥ प्रतिष्ठाप्य महालिंगं नित्यं पूजापरेण च ॥तत्र जप्तो महामन्त्रो मृत्युञ्जय इति श्रुतः ॥ ४ ॥ कोटीनां नियुतं देवि ततस्तुष्टो महेश्वरः ॥ददौ गणेशतां तस्य मुक्तिं सामीप्यगां तथा ॥ ५ ॥ मृत्युञ्जयेन मन्त्रेण तस्य तुष्टो यतो हरः ॥तेन मृत्युञ्जयेशेति ख्यातं लिंगं धरातले ॥ ६ ॥ यस्तं पूजयते भक्त्या पश्येद्वा भावितात्मवान् ॥

In the earlier Yuga, it was called Nandīśvara, because it is the place where a severe penance was performed by my Gaṇa named Nandin.

After installing the great Liṅga, he became engaged in its worship always and performed the Japa of the great Mantra well-known as Mṛtyuñjaya.

O goddess, he muttered the Mantra millions and crores of times. Thereby Lord Maheśvara became pleased. The Lord gave him chieftainship of Gaṇas and salvation called Sāmipya (nearness to the Lord).

Since Hara became pleased with him due to (the Japa of) Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra, the Liṅga therefore, became famous all over the earth as Mṛtyuñjayeśa.

~ स्कन्दपुराणम्/खण्डः ७ (प्रभासखण्डः)/प्रभासक्षेत्र माहात्म्यम्/अध्यायः ०९५

Agni purana Ch 97, states that mrityunjaya mantra must be recited during Shiva pratishtha.

After having offered to (lord) Śiva the garlands of flowers, incense sticks, lamps, edible offerings and fruits with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart befitting one’s capacity and sipping waters (thrice), water should be offered to the lord. for cleansing. After the recitation (of the mantras sacred to the lord) and assigning the merits of the same on his right hand (the preceptor) should address the lord in the company of the-custodians of (the image of lord) Śiva as follows: “O lord! You should stay in this temple by your own wish as long as the sun, moon and stars (would shine in the sky).” After having made obeisance thus, (the preceptor) should. go outside (the temple reciting) either (the mantra) of the heart or the praṇava (syllable oṃ). After having established (the image of) the bull, (the preceptor) should make the offering as before. One hundred oblations should be made with the mṛtyuñjaya (mantra) (that which conquers death) for the removal of defects like omission etc. In order to appease the lord oblations with sweet porridge should be done with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart. “O great lord! Whatever thing has been done by me through ignorance or inadvertance you make it good.”

The Agnipurana chapter discussing the various applications of Rigveda mantras also recommends Trayambaka mantra to be chanted for Shiva.

त्रिरात्रं नियतोपोष्य श्रापयेत् पायसञ्चरुं । तेनाहुतिशतं पूर्णं जुहुयात् त्र्यम्बकेत्यृचा ।। २५९.६३ ।। समुद्दिश्य महादेवं जीवेदब्दशतं सुखं । तच्चक्षुरित्यचा स्नात उपतिष्ठेद्दिवाकरं ।। २५९.६४ ।।

One should fast for three nights with self-control, boil sweat gruel and cast one hundred oblations with that with (the repetition of) the hymn tryambaka in honour of (Lord) Śiva. One will thus live happily for hundred years

~ अग्निपुराणम्/अध्यायः २५९

As a side note, the Nirukta itself states that 'Trayambaka' in the said mantra is Rudra only.

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