--The Tryambaka Offerings, Pt 3 (Final) --

In past 2 threads, I covered the Tryambaka Ishti of Sakamedha, explaining exactly what “sister of Rudra” meant, and the Mṛtasanjīvanī mantra here. Links to previous threads: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1288228754242670592.html


Naturally, Qs may arise. Mṛtasanjīvanī mantra is dedicated to Shiva by some scholars. How can one claim it denotes the mind? Ans - If you read previous threads, it is clear that context of tryambakaṃ yajāmahe… is meditation on the mind+

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A mantra is identified as belonging to a devata if it does not change in other occurences. As eg, rudra gāyatri has “tanno rudraḥ pracodayāt” that remains unchanged while occuring elsewhere with minor changes in preceding words – so, it denotes rudra devata only+

In contrast, some identify this as shiva-mantra based on “Tryambakam”. If this approach is taken, how to explain the same mantra in Atharva Veda in modified form

"aryaman yajāmahe sugandhim pativedanam urvārurkamiva bandhanād pra tvā muncāmi nāmutah”+

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"Tryambakaṃ”, a key word apparently identifying Shiva, is replaced by “Aryaman”. If one saw the Atharva Veda mantra only, one might similarly conclude it refers to Aryaman (Surya) devata! Even there, it denotes only mind in the context+

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Meaning: “aryaman” denotes the mind that restrains darkness of ignorance by (contemplation of) auspicious attributes which are full of bliss (arīṇāṃ tamasāṃ niyanta – Nirukta 11.23).+

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“pra tvā muncāmi nāmutah” means, “I relinquish you here, ie, when you are associated with the attachments here, but not there, ie, when you are contemplating on that Brahman.” Mind is an enemy when fixed in sense objects, friend when fixed in Brahman+

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Note that it makes no sense to say “I relinquish you” with reference to a devata. The very fact that “Tryambakam” is interchangeable with “Aryaman” shows that it is not speaking of any devata.+

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Also, Satapatha Brahmana gives a clarification - mā̀múta íti sā yádita ityā́ha jñātíbʰyastádāha mā̀muta íti pátibʰyastádāha pátayo hyèvá striyaí pratiṣṭʰā tásmādāha mā̀múta íti+

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Gist: As this mantra is for gaining good husbands, women say, “from this”, she means to say “freedom from relatives”. By “not from that”, she means to say, “not from husbands”. For husbands are the support of woman. That is a superficial meaning. Inner meaning: +

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Women (jīvās) say, “from this” - “freedom from attachments (relatives) in Saṃsāra. For husbands (Gurus and Brahman) are support of woman (the jīva), she says, “not from that (husbands - Brahman and Gurus)” For husbands (Gurus and Brahman) are support of woman (jīva)+

yathā deve tathā gurau” (Shve. Up) – Guru is a husband, like Brahman. As wife assists husband, so does sishya to guru. As merits of husband accrue to wife, similarly guru’s sādhanā phala accrues to sishya. One may have many gurus for different branches of learning+

Additionally, the tryambakaṃ yajāmahe… mantra also occurs in the Rg Veda. Due to lack of space, I cannot interpret the Sūkta it occurs in here, but even there, it is associated clearly with curbing the senses (hence a meditation on the mind)+

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Vishṇu Purāṇa also confirms this by using the phrase “yathā saṃnidhimātreṇa gandhaḥ kṣobhāya jāyate manaso nopakartṛtvāt” -- talking about mind being associated with "fragrances" in another context – clear proof that “sugandhim” is applied to the mind+

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Finally, only Linga and Shiva Purāṇās attribute the mantra to Shiva and give meanings as such. That is explained as follows. Those Purāṇās have only partial authority. Even so, those Purāṇās have a stated focus+

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They focus on elevating Shiva to Brahman using arthavādās and atistutis. Their logic is - Shiva is the provider of knowledge as per “jnānam iccet ṣankarāth"
So, there is link between Shiva and mind. Upāsaka can pray to Shiva for knowledge, to attain clarity of mind.+

It doesn’t mean dhyāna on mind as discussed here = dhyāna on Shiva, but this link is utilized by the Shiva and Linga Purāṇās to ascribe the mantra to Shiva using the technique of “atistuti”+

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What is atistuti? A poet may praise a king, “You are the ruler of the world”. In reality, the King is only be the ruler of his own Kingdom, not the entire world. But there is excessive stuti to elevate his status beyond that.+

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Like so, atistuti is used to elevate Shiva, from jnāna-kāraka to Sākṣāt Brahman by these purāṇās. As jnāna-kāraka who bestows clarity of mind is elevated to Brahman in those texts, the mantra for manas is also elevated to be attributed to jnāna-kāraka devata directly+

Point being, the wise Vyāsa well-knowing the mantra denotes mind, felt it appropriate for those who worship as Supreme, the jnāna-kāraka devata (Rudra) who bestows chitta-shuddhi with atistuti, to use the mantra for manas with atistuti (ie, ascribing it to the devata).+

So, attribution of this mantra to Shiva in those Purāṇās with predetermined focus is not pramāṇa, contrary to shruti that is impartial & other smritis like Vishṇu Purāṇa & Brahma Sūtrās which are also impartial & arose purely for tattva-ijñāsā with no atistuti.+

You can yourself see how unemotionally and philosophically the Vishṇu Purāṇa linked fragrance (gandha) to the mind, contrasted
to the atistutis elsewhere. The purpose of this Purāṇa is to explain abstruse passages of shruti, and it served the purpose here as well.

Thus, this explanation of the Tryambaka offerings in the Yajur Veda is concluded. I thank anyone who read this for their patience in enduring a long-winded explanation. Apologies for the length, it was unavoidable.//

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