Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upanishad | Section 41-58



medhādevī juṣamāṇā na āgādviśvācī bhadrā sumanasyamānā |
tvayā juṣṭā juṣamāṇā duruktānbṛhadvadema vidathe suvīrāḥ || 1||

1. May the all-penetrating goddess of intellect who is beneficial, favourably disposed to, and delighting in, us visit us!

O goddess, may we who were delighting in profitless speech before thy visit, now as the result of thy delight in us, become enlightened and also capable of expressing the Supreme Truth along with our heroic sons and disciples!


This stanza and the next one in triṣṭub metre glorify the deity presiding over the power of intelligence or intellect.

The Rigveda-khila IV 8 1-9 are in praise of the deity Medhā and also Atharvaveda VI 108 1-5. In the latter context Medhā is praised as the rays of the sun spreading everywhere. Sages like Vasiṣṭha have praised this deity and stressed the necessity of propitiating her.

According to the Rigvidhana IV 96-97 the baby is fed with pap repeating the śraddhā. and Medhā mantras, so that he may have these qualities when he grows up to an adult.

The power of intelligence which can penetrate all objects of knowledge like the rays of the sun must come to the aid of the Ṛṣi for the acquisition, preservation and instruction of the Vedas, as well as the proper performance of the acts of worship taught therein.

In the Taittirīya Upaniṣad I 4 1-2 v there is the prayer for intelligence coupled with prosperity, for, the latter without the former is dangerous and the former without the latter is often ineffective.

Here in this context that particular quality of intelligence is solicited, which engenders the union of the finite self with the Infinite Self.

Only those persons who are blessed with the right intelligence, by which they can wean themselves from the pleasure of useless and harmful talk, achieve inner illumination. They alone devote their faculty of speech for receiving and communicating knowledge of the Supreme. Their children and their disciples also become heroic and noble.

tvayā juṣṭa ṛṣirbhavati devi tvayā brahmāgataśrīruta tvayā |
tvayā juṣṭaścitraṁ vindate vasu sā no juṣasva draviṇena medhe || 2||

2. O goddess of intellect, favoured by thee, one becomes a seer; one becomes a brāhmaṇa or a knower of Brahman! Favoured by thee one becomes also possessed of riches. Favoured by thee one obtains manifold wealth. Being such, O goddess of intellect, delight in us and confer on us wealth!


medhāṁ ma indro dadātu meadhāṁ devī sarasvatī |
medhāṁ me aśvināvubhāvādhattāṁ puṣkarasrajau || 1||

1. May Indra grant me intelligence! May goddess Sarasvatī grant me intelligence! May the two Aśvīns wearing garlands of lotus flowers engender in me intelligence!

apsarāsu ca yā medhā gandharveṣu ca yanmanaḥ |
daivī medhā sarasvatī sa māṁ medhā surabhirjuṣatāɱ svāhā || 2||

2. Hail! May that intelligence favour me— that which is possessed by Apsarās (celestial women), that which is the mental power in Gandharvas (celestial minstrels), that intelligence expressed as the divine Vedic lore and that intelligence which spreads like fragrance.


These two stanzas form another prayer for the grant of intelligence. They are found in the Rigvedakhila IV 8 2-3.


ā māṁ medhā surabhirviśvarūpā hiraṇyavarṇā jagatī jagamyā |
ūrjasvatī payasā pinvamānā sā māṁ medhā supratīkā juṣatām || 1||

1. May that goddess of intelligence come to me with a joyful face and favour me—That goddess of intelligence who is pervasive like fragrance, who is capable of examining all objects, who possesses golden letters in the shape of the syllables of the Vedas (or who is wholesome and charming), who is continuously present, who is fit to be resorted to by the seekers of the values of life again and again, who possesses flavour and strength and who nourishes me with milk and other wealth!


This again is another prayer for intelligence.


mayi medhāṁ mayi prajāṁ mayyagnistejo dadhātu |
mayi medhāṁ mayi prajāṁ mayīndra indriyaṁ dadhātu |
mayi medhāṁ mayi prajāṁ mayi sūryo bhrājo dadhātu || 1||

1. May Agni render in me intelligence, continuity of progeny and splendour born of Vedic study! May Indra render in me intelligence, continuity of progeny and virility! May Sūrya render in me intelligence, continuity of progeny and prowess that strikes fear in the hearts of enemies!


This again is another prayer quoted here from Taittirīya- Saṁhitā III 3 1 5 addressed to the three deities, Agni, Indra and Sūrya, entreating them for intelligence, progeny, virility and prowess. This mantra is also found as Taittirīya Āraṇyaka IV 42 13.


apaitu mṛtyuramṛtaṁ na āganvaivasvato no abhayaṁ kṛṇotu |
parṇaṁ vanaspaterivābhi naḥ śīyatāɱrayiḥ sacatāṁ naḥ śacīpatiḥ || 1||

1. May death depart from us! May Immortality come to us! May Vaivasvata Yama grant us safety! May the sins of us be destroyed like the seared leaves of a tree! May the strength-giving wealth come to us!


This stanza occurs at Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa III 7 14.

There Sāyana interprets the second part thus:

—Just as the seared leaf easily falls from the tree so let wealth come to us easily. Let Indra be pleased with us!

—This mantra contains a prayer for Immortality, purity, safety and wealth.


paraṁ mṛtyo anuparehi panthāṁ yaste sva itaro devayānāt |
cakṣuṣmate śṛṇvate te bravīmi mā naḥ prajāɱ rīriṣo mota vīrān || 1||

1. O Death, go back by thy own path which is other than that of the gods! I entreat thee who art capable of seeing me and listening to me! Do not destroy our progeny! Do not strike down our heroes!


This stanza is originally found at Rigveda X 18 1.


vātaṁ prāṇaṁ manasānvārabhāmahe prajāpatiṁ yo bhuvanasya gopāḥ |
sa no mṛtyostrāyatāṁ pātvaɱhaso jyogjīvā jarāma śīmahi|| 1||

1. We heartily supplicate to the Lord of creatures, who is the protector of the universe and who is active within us as life-breath and outside us as the blowing wind. May He guard us from death and protect us from sin! May we live brilliantly up to our old age!


This is a prayer to the Supreme Being expressing the desire for long and brilliant life, taken from Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa III 7 7.


amutrabhūyādadha yadyamasya bṛhaspate abhiśasteramuñcaḥ |
pratyauhatāmaśvinā mṛtyumasmaddevānāmagne bhiṣajā śacībhiḥ || 1||

1. O thou Supreme Being, release me from the fear of Yama and accusation of people and the necessity of being in the yonder world! O Agni, may the two divine physicians, the Aśvīns, chase away from us death by virtue of the powers of religious work!


hariɱ harantamanuyanti devā viśvasyeśānaṁ vṛṣabhaṁ matīnām |
brahmasarūpamanu medamāgādayanaṁ mā vivadhīrvikramasva || 1||

1. Like servants gods follow Hari who is the Lord of the universe, who leads all thoughts as the foremost leader and who absorbs into Himself the universe at the time of dissolution (or who destroys the sins of devotees). May this path to liberation taught in the Vedas having the same form as Brahman open itself to me! Deprive not me of that! Strive to secure it for me!


This passage is quoted in the longer version from the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka III 15 1. The Paramātmika Upaniṣad refers to it as a glorification of Viṣṇu.

The thought conveyed by the second half is explained by Sāyana in his Commentary of Taittirīya Āraṇyaka as follows:

“In this sacrificial act of mine may the mantras be favourable to me. Pleased by the hymn recited by me, O Death, do not obstruct my path!” 

Sāyana takes the word hari in the sense of Death.


śalkairagnimindhāna ubhau lokau sanemaham |
ubhayorlokayorṛdhvāti mṛtyuṁ tarāmyaham || 1||

1. Kindling the consecrated fire with chips of wood (in order to offer oblations during worship) may I attain both the worlds! Having attained the prosperity of this world and the next I shall cross over death.


This mantra occurs at Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa 12 15 and Āpastambaśrautasūtra 5 8 4.

It contains a prayer for Immortality after the enjoyment of this world and the next procured through the performance of Vedic rites in the fire. This prayer represents the vows taken by the Yajamāna.

Immediately preceding this mantra the institutor of the sacrifice resolves:

—From falsity I rise to truth, from human conduct I enter divine conduct, I restrict my speech to divine purpose.

Falsity here is dissenting from the fire worship and restriction of speech implies speaking Sanskrit only.


mā chido mṛtyo mā vadhīrmā me balaṁ vivṛho mā pramoṣīḥ |
prajāṁ mā me rīriṣa āyurugra nṛcakṣasaṁ tvā haviṣā vidhema || 1||

1. O fierce Death, do not cut off my life! Do not injure (my interest)! Do not cripple my strength! Do not subject me to deprivation! Do not hurt my progeny and life! I shall serve thee with oblations; for, thou art vigilant over the deeds of men.


This again is the quotation from Taittirīya Āraṇyaka III 15,2 containing supplications to Death entreating him to keep away from harm to oneself, one’s progeny and possessions.

The inescapable eyes of Death are ever fixed on mortals whose condition on the earth depends upon their own deeds as assessed by Death.


mā no mahāntamuta mā no arbhakaṁ mā na ukṣantamuta mā na ukṣitam |
mā no vadhīḥ pitaraṁ mota mātaraṁ priyā mā nastanuvo rudra rīriṣaḥ || 1||

1. O Rudra, injure not our elders, our children, our adults capable of procreation, the foetus we have laid in the mother’s womb and our father and mother! Do not hurt our dear selves!


This mantra and the next one are Rigveda I 14 7 and 8 respectively. They contain a vivid and touching prayer addressed by disconsolate men to Rudra who rules over destruction in its various aspects.

Nothing strikes greater terror into the hearts of men than the deprivation by Death of their own kith and kin and bringing to the end their own existence by the cold hands of Death.

This mantra occurs in the Atharvaveda also, where mahāntam is replaced by vahantam meaning one who is capable of conveying a burden, a carrier.

At Vājasaneyi Saṁhitā XVI 15 Uvata points out that the mention of father apart from elders in general is indicative of greater respect due to him.


mā nastoke tanaye mā na āyuṣi mā no goṣu mā no aśveṣu rīriṣaḥ |
vīrānmā no rudra bhāmito vadhīrhaviṣmanto namasā vidhema te|| 1||

1. O Rudra, do not hurt us in respect of our children, our grandchildren, other men belonging to us, our cattle and our horses! Do not hurt in anger our heroes! We shall serve thee with oblations and reverence!


The thoughts contained in this stanza are a continuation of those in the previous one.

The Vājasaneyī Saṁhitā XVI 16 has the same stanza, but reads in the place of namasā vidhema te the variant sadam id tvā havāmahe (i. e. Finding no other help we always call upon thee for propitiation).


prajāpate na tvadetānyanyo viśvā jātāni pari tā babhūva |
yatkāmaste juhumastanno astu vayaɱ syāma patayo rayīṇām ||1||

1. O Prajāpati, all that is born is not different from Thee! Thou art before them and after also (when they are reabsorbed into Thee)! The created beings cannot surpass Thee! With whatever desire we offer oblations to Thee may that be fulfilled! May we become lords of riches!


This is the last stanza of the famous Hiraṇyagarbha- Sūkta (Rigveda X. 122 10) and it appears also at Taittirīya Saṁhitā III 2 5 and Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa II 8 1. 6.

The transcendence and immanence of the Supreme are emphasised in the first hemistich. The second hemistich expresses the wish of the worshipper for the fulfilment of his desires and attainment of wealth through divine favour.

It is customary to employ this verse for recital during the ceremonial feeding of brāhmaṇas with specially prepared food, and similar other functions.


svastidā viśaspatirvṛtrahā vimṛdho vaśī .
vṛṣendraḥ pura etu naḥ svastidā abhayaṅkaraḥ .. 1..

1. May Indra come to our succour—Indra who is the giver of welfare on earth and bliss in the next world, who is the lord of people, who is the slayer of Vṛtra, who is the subduer of enemies and giver of rain, who is peaceable and giver of safety.


tryambakaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam |
urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt || 1||

1. We worship the three-eyed Lord who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshipping Him may we easily slip off from death just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk! May we be never separated from Immortality!


This is a cherished mantra prescribed for japa by all seekers after the Puruṣārthas (four ends of life), and chiefly by those who aspire after liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The Supreme is here meditated upon as the giver and increaser of well-being and progress in physical and spiritual excellences.

The adjective Sugandhim qualifying God implies that divine grace becomes perceptible, from a distance like fragrance, to persons who are given to piety and adoration of God.

The example of cucumber gives us the concrete impression how a spiritually and physically mature person naturally and easily gets freedom from the bondages of existence in the world, either at the dawn of knowledge or at the close of a well-spent life.

This mantra is originally found at Vājasaneyi Saṁhitā III 6. In commenting on this passage Mahīdhara states that celestial fragrance of the Lord is suggestive of all His Divine excellences. Death implies also mundane existence.

In the Saṁhitā context this mantra is prescribed for repetition by the Yajamāna who circumambulates the Āhavaṇiya Fire after piling it.

After him, his virgin relatives also do the same, but they repeat the mantra replacing puṣṭivardhanam by patidevanam —meaning giver of a proper husband.

The meaning of the stanza with this change will be:

Like the cucumber may we be separated from parents and brothers at marriage and never separated from the husband.


ye te sahasramayu pāśā mṛtyo martyāya hantave |
tān yajñasya māyayā sarvānavayajāmahe || 1||

1. O Death, those thousand and ten thousand snares which thou hast laid for slaying man, all of them we remove by the power of our deeds of worship!


The word death is used in different connected senses. Its most concrete shape is the termination of physical existence marked by stoppage of breath, consciousness and bodily functions. The force that brings about this is personified as Death.

The duration of life on this earth is determined by the merits and dements accruing from a man’s deeds. This is the view of the scriptures.

The god of Death adjudges each person according to his deserts and limits the duration of his life on the earth. Evil thoughts and deeds, errors of passion and temperament, sickness and suffering—all these are snares laid by Death to entrap unwary man.

Further, ignorance, carelessness, remissness, insatiable craving and harmful propensities are also listed among the army of Death.

Śiva, the auspicious God, is described as the greatest yogin, for, he has overcome the army of Death. Therefore He, the Auspicious Lord, is called Antakāntaka.

For the devotees of God, the way to escape from the meshes of Death, said above, lies in the power of worshipping Him—the performance of prescribed duties to God properly and in the right spirit. This is perhaps what is implied by the phrase yajñasya māyayā or by the power of worship.


mṛtyave svāhā mṛtyave svāhā || 1||

1. Hail! May this be an oblation made to Mṛtyu, the maker of death!


Repetition of the same formula twice implies that two separate oblations are made to the deity in the consecrated fire, with a view to destroy all the sins connected with the person who makes the offering.