Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upanishad | Section 2-9



jātavedase sunavāma somamarātīyato nidahāti vedaḥ .
sa naḥ parṣadati durgāṇi viśvā nāveva sindhuṁ duritātyagniḥ.. 1..

1. May we offer oblations of soma to Jātavedas! May the all-knowing One destroy what is unfriendly to us! May He, the Divine Fire that leads all, protect us by taking us across all perils even as a captain takes the boat across the sea! May He also save us from all wrongs!


This section reproduces the well-known Durgā Sūkta originally found scattered in the Rigveda and also in other Vedic contexts.

This is prescribed for japa undertaken to ward off the difficulties that beset the path of life.

Jātavedas, interpreted physically as fire, stands for the all-knowing Divine Reality that is worshipped with the Vedic rituals. As Fire He is worshipped in the soma sacrifices with the oblation of soma juice.

It is said that the devotee’s petition to the Lord worshipped in the soma yajña for destroying his enemies includes not only the destruction of the hostile agencies outside him but also his internal enemies, namely, the passions and impulses which act as enemies when he progresses towards his goal.

Further, the sea of troubles which he expects to cross through the grace of Agṇi includes every wrong, suffering and difficulty incidental to a man’s mundane life.

This stanza is the same as Rigveda I 99-1.

tāmagnivarṇāṁ tapasā jvalantīṁ vairocanīṁ karmaphaleṣu juṣṭām .
durgāṁ devīɱ śaraṇamahaṁ prapadye sutarasi tarase namaḥ .. 2..

2. I take refuge in Her, the Goddess Durgā,

who is fiery in lustre and radiant with ardency, who is the Power belonging to the Supreme, who manifests Himself manifold,

who is the Power residing in actions and their fruits rendering them efficacious (or the Power that is supplicated to by the devotees for the fruition of their work).

O Thou Goddess skilled in saving, Thou takest us across difficulties excellently well. Our salutations to Thee!


In this stanza we get a clear reference of Durgā the Goddess. The word Durgā literally means inaccessible.

In the previous stanza the same word in neuter was taken in the sense of a difficult place or difficulty. In this one the word is in the feminine form as Durgā, the name of the Goddess. Durgā is, therefore, the Deity who removes difficulties from the path of Her votaries.

 According to the Vedic tradition a particular sacrificial fire consecrated for the worship of the Divine is called Durgā and by extension the word applies also to the power of creative and evolutionary energy which is associated with fire in many Vedic stanzas pertaining to Agṇi. It is, therefore, difficult to separate the conception of Durgā and fire conceived as the universal energy in this Sūkta. The predominant idea here, however, is that the Supreme, represented as Durgā Devī  is the saviour of man in his troubles of mundane life and bestower of the highest bliss. This idea is fully developed in purāṇic works dealing with the deeds and worship of Durgā, the Divine Mother of the Universe.

agne tvaṁ pārayā navyo asmān svastibhirati durgāṇi viśvā .
pūśca pṛthvī bahulā na urvī bhavā tokāya tanayāya śaṁyoḥ .. 3..

3. O Fire, thou art worthy of praise! With happy methods take us beyond all difficulties! May our home town and home land become extensive and may the plot of earth (for growing the crops) also be ample! Further, be thou pleased to join our children and their children with joy.


Agṇi here stands for the same Deity mentioned in the above stanza.

This stanza is the same as Taittirīya Saṁhitā I 1-14-12. See also Rigveda I. 189-2 and Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa II 8-2 for this stanza.

viśvāni no durgahā jātavedaḥ sindhuṁ na vāvā duritātiparṣi .
agne atrivanmanasā gṛṇāno'smākaṁ bodhyavitā tanūnām .. 4..

4. O Jātavedas, Thou who art the destroyer of all sins, take us beyond all troubles and protect us just as one is taken across the sea by a boat! O Fire, guard our bodies and be mindful (of its safety) like the sage Atri who always repeats mentally (‘May everyone be whole and happy’).


This stanza is found in Rigveda V 4-9 and also in Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa II 4 1.

The thud line of the stanza is thus explained:

“Be a protector to us and recognize our devotion to thee, for we are hymning to thee mentally as Atri the sage did during his performance of the Catūrātra sacrifice:

There was a great sage who had attained supreme illumination and freedom in life and so was known as Atri, that is to say, one who is free from triple miseries.

Goodwill and compassion for all created beings constitute the chief character trait of such a sage. Therefore people had always observed Atri in a state of mind in which he was constantly remembering in his prayers peace and safety for all creatures. He became a byword for universal compassion.

pṛtanājitaɱ sahamānamugnamagniɱ huvema paramātsadhastāt .
sa naḥ parṣadati durgāṇi viśvā kṣāmaddevo ati duritātyagniḥ.. 5..

5. We invoke from the highest place of assembly the Fire-God who is  the leader of all, who is the charger and vanquisher of the hosts of enemies, and who is fierce. May He, the Fire- God take us across all our difficulties and wrongs and all that is perishable, and protect us!

pratnoṣi kamīḍyo adhvareṣu sanācca hotā navyaśca satsi .
svāṁ cāgne tanuvaṁ piprayasvāsmabhyaṁ ca saubhagamāyajasva.. 6..

6. Thou, who art lauded in sacrifices, increase our happiness! Thou abidest in the form of sacrificers, ancient and recent, in the places of sacrifice. O Fire, be thou pleased to make (us) happy (who are) thine own selves! Further, grant us from all sides, good fortune!

gobhirjuṣṭamayujo niṣiktaṁ tavendra viṣṇoranusaṁcarema .
nākasya pṛṣṭhamabhi saṁvasāno vaiṣṇavīṁ loka iha mādayantām .. 7..

7. O Lord, Thou art unconnected (with sin and sorrow) and thou pervadest (all sacrifices)! (Desirous of good fortune) comprising in cattle and overflowing (with the current of immortal bliss), may we serve Thee without break! May the gods who dwell in the highest region of heaven delight me—(practising loving adoration) for Viṣṇu —here on the earth by granting my wish.


bhūrannamagnaye pṛthivyai svāhā bhuvo'nnaṁ
vāyave'ntarikṣāya svāhā suvarannamādityāya dive svāhā
bhūrbhuvassuvarannaṁ candramase digbhyaḥ svāhā namo devebhyaḥ
svadhā pitṛbhyo bhūrbhuvaḥ suvarannamom .. 1..

 1. (May the Deity) Earth (grant me) food! For that I make oblation to Fire and Earth. Hail! (May the Deity of) Atmosphere (grant me) food! For that I make oblation to Air and Atmosphere. Hail! (May the Deity of) Heaven (grant me) food! For that I make oblation to the Sun and Heaven. Hail! (May the Deities of) Earth, Atmosphere and Heaven (grant me) food! For that I make oblation to the Moon and the Quarters Hail!

Salutation to Gods! Svadhā (reverence) to Manes (May the Deities of) Earth, Atmosphere and Heaven (assent to my desire with the utterance of) Om (and grant me) food!


This section gives the necessary mantras employed for uttering while the institutor of the sacrifice, who wishes an increase of food, offers oblations into the consecrated fire for that purpose.

The syllables Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, and Suvaḥ are called mahā Vyāhṛtis representing terrestrial, atmospheric and heaven­ly regions.

The Chāṇḍogya Upaniṣad (4 17 1-3) says that through contemplation Prajāpati extracted from fire, air and sun the three Vedas Ṛig, Yajus and Sāma respectively, and from these Vedas in the same order he again extracted the three Vyāhṛtis, Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Suvaḥ.

So these three syllables are the quintessence of the three worlds and the three Vedas. They represent the Supreme. It is also stated there that the Prajāpati in the beginning created the three regions uttering those three syllables.

The word Svāhā is an indeclinable word which terminates a formula used for offering oblations and it implies joyful and complete surrender of what is offered to the Deity in the sacrifice.

The word Namaḥ again is a word of salutation which expresses complete self-surrender to the object of worship indicated by mental attitude, oral expres­sion and physical action. Salutation with Namaḥ is often considered an act of worship complete in itself.

The term Svadhā is reserved for the expression of a person’s reverence to his departed ancestors while he makes oblations to them.

Some authors interpret Prāṇava uttered at the end of this mantra as a recognition by the worshipper of his true nature— “I am that Brahman expressed by the syllable Om”.

The Gṛhya-sūtras give the particular contexts where these mantras are used in the course of the homa or burnt offering.


bhūragnaye pṛthivyai svāhā bhuvo vāyave'ntarikṣāya svāhā
suvarādityāya dive svāhā bhurbhuvassuvaścandramase digbhyaḥ
svāhā namo devebhyaḥ svadhā pitṛbhyo bhūrbhuvaḥsuvaragna om .. 1..

1. Hail I offer this oblation to Brahman who is expressed by the first Vyāhṛti, to Fire created by Him and to the Earth dependent on Him.

Hail! I offer this oblation to Brahman who is expressed by the second Vyāhṛti, to the Air created by Him and to the Atmosphere dependent on Him.

Hail I offer this oblation to Brahman who is expressed by the third Vyāhṛti, to the Sun created by Him and to Heaven dependent on Him.

Hail! I offer this oblation to Brahman who is expressed by the Vyāhṛtis, Bhū, Bhuvaḥ and Suvaḥ, to the Moon created by Him and to the Quarters.

Salutation to the gods dwelling in all the regions’ Reverence to the departed ancestors' I am that Brahman expressed by Om in unity and also expressed by the three Vyāhṛtis in His threefold aspect.

O Divine Fire, assent to my prayer.


The supreme object of adoration here is Brahman. But oblations are offered to Him through His cosmic expressions—Earth, Air, Sky, Fire, Wind, Sun, Moon, Quarters, Gods and Manes.

The worshipper finally unites the part with the whole and considers himself Brahman, the ground of all that exists, and thereby secures the highest mental purity.


bhūragnaye ca pṛthivyai ca mahute ca svāhā bhuvo Vāyave cāntarikṣāya ca mahate ca svāhā suvarādityāya ca dive ca mahate ca svāhā bhūrbhuvassuvaścandramase ca nakṣatrebhyaśca digbhyaśca mahate ca svāhā namo devebhyaḥ svadhā pitṛbhyo bhurbhuvaḥ suvarmaharom .. 1.

1. Hail! I offer this oblation to the adorable Supreme who is the All and to His parts, the Deities, Bhu, Fire and Earth.

Hail! I offer this oblation to the adorable Supreme who is All and to His parts, Bhuva, Air and Atmosphere.

Hail! I offer this oblation to the adorable Supreme who is All and to His parts, Suvaḥ, the Sun and Heaven.

Hail! I offer this oblation to the adorable Supreme who is All and to His parts, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvaḥ, the Moon, the Asterisms and the Quarters.

Salutation to Gods! Reverence to Manes! I am that Supreme Reality expressed by the syllable Om and the three Vyāhṛtis, Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvaḥ. May I attain the Supreme!


This section gives the mantras to be repeated by one who offers oblations into the consecrated fire desirous of getting eminence.

The word mahat in the text stands for He who is greatest and most worthy of worship, namely, the Supreme Divinity, who is the ground of all other gods, and to whom they are all related as parts to the whole and servants to the master.

One of the central principles of religion is that the worshipper comes by the qualities of that object of worship upon which he meditates within himself.

The Durgā- Saptaśati rightly puts in the mouths of the hymning Gods:

—those who seek support in Thee become the support of others. Those who worship the Most High themselves become eminent in the world.


pāhi no agna enase svāhā pāhi no viśvavedase svāhā
yajñaṁ pāhi vibhāvaso svāhā sarvaṁ pāhi śatakrato svāhā ..1..

1. O Fire, preserve us from sin. Hail! Preserve us so that we may attain full knowledge! Hail! O Resplendent One, preserve our sacrificial acts. Hail! O Śatakratu, preserve everything (that belongs to us)! Hail!


Having recited the formulas meant for the removal of general sins in the previous three sections, this section parti­cularly presents the mantras meant for offering oblations into the consecrated fire. These mantras remove the obstacles in the way of final illumination—the goal of the best religious seeker.

The meaning of the term enas is sin or impurity, and it stands for whatever comes in the way of divine illumination and liberation from the transmigratory existence.

The word viśvavedas is interpreted as complete knowledge and its aids for which the seeker of liberation earnestly prays.

By analysis the word vi +bhā+ vasu gives the meaning - he who possesses the wealth of outstanding splendour —the Supreme in whose light everything else shines.


pāhi no agna ekayā pāhyuta dvitīyayā pāhyūrja
tṛtīyayā pāhi gīrbhiścatasṛbhirvaso svāhā .. 1..

1. O Divine Fire, O settler of all creatures, being praised by the hymns of the first Veda, be gracious to protect us! Hail!

Further, being praised by the hymns of the second Veda, be gracious to protect us! Hail!

Being praised by the hymns of the third Veda, be gracious to protect our food and strengthening essence of it! Hail!

Being praised by the hymns of the four Vedas, be gracious to protect us! Hail!


This mantra contains four formulas for offering oblations into the consecrated fire for the attainment of illumination and so may be considered an additament to the previous mantra.


yaśchandasāmṛṣabho viśvarūpaśchandobhyaścandāɱ syāviveśa .
satāɱśikyaḥ provācopaniṣadindro jyeṣṭha indriyāya ṛṣibhyo
namo devebhyaḥ svadhā pitṛbhyo bhūrbhuvassuvaśchanda om .. 1..

1. The Supreme Being, Indra, who is the most excellent Prāṇava taught in the Vedas, who ensouls the entire universe, who leads the collec­tion of Vedic utterances in Gāyatrī and other metres standing in their beginning, who is capable of being attained by the worshippers and who is the first in the causal link, taught the contempla­tive sages the sacred wisdom of the Upaniṣad, Himself being the subject-matter of them, in order to strengthen them with the power of knowledge.

I salute the gods for removing the obstacles in my path to illumination! For the same I also reverence the Manes! The triple regions of Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvaḥ and the entire Veda are com­prised in Om.


This passage embodies the mantra prescribed for japa to be performed by a person who seeks divine wisdom.

That the syllable Om is the quintessence of the Vedas, that it is omniform and that it confers many spiritual values to the worshipper are declarations found in the beginning of the Taittirīya, the Katha, Praśna, Chāṇḍogya, and other Upaniṣads in various contexts.


namo brahmaṇe dhāraṇaṁ me astvanirākaraṇaṁ dhārayitā
bhūyāsaṁ karṇayoḥ śrutaṁ mā cyoḍhaṁ mamāmuṣya om .. 1..

1. My salutations to the Supreme. May I concentrate my thoughts upon Him (in order that I may be united with Him)! May I become one practising concentration of thought without distraction! I have heard enough with my ears (and perceived pleasurable objects through other senses). O my senses, do not fail me now (but settle your­selves in the Supreme Brahman with whom I wish to unite myself through the meditation of) Om!


This is a mantra prescribed for the japa that is to be undertaken by one who wishes to practise unfailing remembrance of God after completing the study of the Vedas.

Traditionally the formula is uttered at the close of Vedic recitals.