ritual

To fragrance, increasing, flourishing

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

Listen to this beautiful sacred Mantra from the Vedic tradition - it is used in both Hindustani and Buddhist worship. The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra …. This great Mantra is sometimes sung, and can also be repetitively, rapidly chanted. Styles vary across traditions. It can lean toward music and toward meditation. It can be a sacred offering of sound. Here in this recording, it is closer to “singing” although the distinction is hard to locate in sacred chanting. It is the great mantra literally called “Victory over Death” - a healing mantra - also thought of as restorative and liberating as the “cucumber” (or gourd) is liberated from the vine in “uvarukamiva bandhanan.” The syllables are below, and the Sanskrit breakdown / translation as well. If you’ve done a yoga practice, you may have heard or sung this mantra. Or maybe you have heard it all your life, if you worship at Hindu temples. Enjoy its beauty.

aum
tryambakam yajāmahe
sugandhim puṣṭi vardhanam
urvārukam-iva bandhanān
mṛtyormukṣīya
amṛtāt

aum = is a sacred/mystical syllable in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism & Sikhism.

त्र्यम्बकं tryambakam = to three-eyed one (accusative case),

त्रि + अम्बकम् = tri + ambakam = three + eye

यजामहे yajāmahe = in yagya in worship, (locative case)

सुगन्धिम् sugandhim = to fragrance, (accusative case),

पुष्टि puṣṭi = nourishment, sustenance

वर्धनम् vardhanam = increasing, flourishing

पुष्टि-वर्धनम् = puṣṭi+vardhanam = nourishment-increasing ( compound word)

उर्वारुकमिव urvārukam-iva = cucumber as (in the accusative case);

Note: uru: big, large; ārukam (in the accusative case): peach; iva: as

बन्धनान् bandhanān = "from bondage {i.e. from the stem of cucumber} (of the gourd); (the ending is actually long a, then -t, which changes to n/anusvara because of sandhi)

Note: bandhanāt means from bondage Thus, read with urvārukam iva, it means 'as cucumber from bondage ( of vine) (to a vine)'

मृत्योर्मुक्षीय mṛtyormukṣīya = liberate from death

मृत्योः + मुक्षीय = mṛtyoḥ + mukṣīya= from death + free (Vedic usage)

माऽमृतात् अमृतात् = amṛtāt = by amrita, by immortality

Whenever the Community Gathers...

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The new Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is full of good things. We have already featured its “Immigrant’s Creed” (in the ALL-Archive). Here is another fine extract, from its opening pages on “Common Words and Gestures”—the simple and excellent suggestion that the font of baptism should be open and filled with water whenever the community gathers, and the waters of baptism recalled each time.

Its Service of the Lord’s Day (Sunday service) has the presider pour water in the font to introduce confession of sin, and lift water out of the font to declare God’s forgiveness. Services of daily prayer begins each day with a thanksgiving for baptism, at the baptismal font (presumably for those praying in the church building) or a bowl of water (those at home). The daily prayers are different each day, and here is Thursday’s:

Eternal God, we give you thanks
that through the gift of our baptism
you call us to a new way of life
in the realm of your grace and peace.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
let your will be done in our lives
and in this world that you love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(p. 887)

The Book of Common Worship (2018).

Below: the font of baptism, Pilgrim Theological College. (Photos: Stephen Burns.)

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Happy Rosh Hashana - Jewish New Year

"May the new year be sweet
and garden green.
May it give nourishment, relief
and renewal where they are needed."

- Alice Lesnick

Evan Cowitt throws bread on Venice Beach in celebration of Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in 2017. Tashlich, which means "casting away," invites participants to throw bread or stones into a flowing body of water to symbolically cast away their sins. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Evan Cowitt throws bread on Venice Beach in celebration of Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in 2017. Tashlich, which means "casting away," invites participants to throw bread or stones into a flowing body of water to symbolically cast away their sins. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The image above is from the Los Angeles Times, where there there is an article on Rosh Hashana / published September 9, 2018. 

"Sundown on Sunday marks the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the two-day holiday celebrating the Jewish new year and the start of the 10 High Holy Days leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

During the two days of Rosh Hashana, observers commemorate God's creation of humanity. It is a time for introspection and prayer and to spend time with friends and family. Among the traditional food items served at this time is apple with honey — symbolizing a wish for a sweet new year."

Shanah Tovah

Image from EpiCurious website: Apple and Honey pairings for Rosh Hashana -  https://www.epicurious.com/holidays-events/rosh-hashanah-apples-honey-pairings-article

Image from EpiCurious website: Apple and Honey pairings for Rosh Hashana - https://www.epicurious.com/holidays-events/rosh-hashanah-apples-honey-pairings-article

- Excerpt above by ROSANNA XIA for the LA Times

- Photo above by Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

- Alice Lesnick, quote above, is a writer-educator from Bryn Mawr, PA