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A Brief Analysis of a Mantra From the Prarthana.

By Yogi Baba Prem

 

Within a beautiful Sanskrit prayer known as the Prarthana exists a short mantra that is as follows:

 

Om Namo Bhagavate RudrAya Vishnave Mrtyurme PAhi.

 Om, I bow to holy one, to Rudra, to Vishnu, guard my death [health]. 

(Note: Capitals denote a long vowel. There are specific ways of chanting this mantra, therefore, it is best learned from a teacher.)

 

This mantra is short enough for most beginners of chanting to work with but it carries a powerful meaning and deeper teachings hidden within the Sanskrit words.   

What is most interesting facts about this mantra is that references many of the Vedic deities and illustrates cooperative energies between the deities', contrasted against the separative view held by many practitioners of various cults within Hinduism. 

Let’s examine the meaning of the words on a word-by-word basis. 

Om is the primordial sound of creation.  It provides an opening and clearing of channels, as well as begins the cycle of creation for the energies of the mantra to manifest. 

 Namo means I bow or literally “to bow”,

 Bhagavate is an interesting word, as the name is commonly associated with Vishnu.  It represents Vishnu as illustrious, and holy.  It also is a reference to the Vedic Bhaga, which is an ancient deity of the Sun.  Bhaga is one of twelve sun Gods, Vishnu is one of these sun deity’s.  Obviously with the number 12, Bhaga would represent a particular month within the solar year, and Vishnu himself would represent another.  Bhagavate is also a reference to the Sun.  What most people don’t realize is that Bhagavate is also a term used to describe Shiva or the Vedic name of Shiva-Rudra.  So the mantra is stating that both Shiva and Vishnu represent these qualities and they are requested together to aid the performer of the chant.

 Rudraya means to Rudra (Shiva).  Rudra is associated with numerous healing attributes as well as sound and the word itself.  As Rudra is commonly referred to as the 'howler'. 

Vishnave is Vishnu, but there is more that we can discover from this word.  The root is “vish” which means to be present, to enter, or is a reference to an entrance.  “Na” means knowledge.  Vishnave literally means to enter into knowledge. 

 Mrtyurme means my death.  This is not limited to only a physical death, but rather the numerous ‘deaths’ and 'rebirths' we each experience as we grow and develop spiritually and personally. 

PAhi means guard or protect. 

 With a deeper understanding of Sanskrit, it is quickly revealing that a mere translation does not convey the essence of the mantra, as human language has limitations in regards to the expansive nature of divine languages such as Sanskrit.  Another way of viewing this mantra would be with Bhagavate, Rudra, and Vishnu representing the Hindu trinity:

 

Bhagavate--Sun (soul or Brahma),

 Shiva-- Rudra

 Vishnu.   

These forces are equal to the process of generating, organizing and destroying.  This is not just a spiritual or metaphysical process.  But rather it is a dynamic process that is constantly at work on the mundane physical levels of our body, the mental and emotional levels, and a spiritual process. 

 

Within the mantra are hidden complex interactions between these powerful forces.  This mantra can aid the aspirant to tap the hidden meaning and energy of the mantra for improved health and wellness. 

 Learn more about mantra with our ebooks "Yogic Secrets of the Vedas" and "From Earth to Heaven; Secrets of Goddess, Yoga and Spirituality" Learn more.

Copyright 2010, 2015.  All Rights Reserved. 

 

Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 

 

  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.