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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!! :)
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)