Om Trayambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrtyor Mukshiyamamritat.
-the Maha Mrtyunjaya, or Great Death conquering, mantra of the Rig Veda
Roughly translated,
We worship the three eyed lord who nourishes and nurtures all beings. May he liberate us from the bonds of death into immortality just as the cucumber is freed from the vine.
This is one of the most core mantras in Hinduism, chanted daily as part of standard prayers, and by those affected by death and I'll health. It has an incredibly soothing rhythm, and is honestly just fun to chant for long periods of time, especially if you're a former raver
The mantra speaks of the three eyed lord, who we associate with Shiva in his primordial form Rudra, the wild, howling one. The third eye is almost a cliché at this point, but it represents sight beyond the physical realm, into our interior space, piercing the illusion of life
Why Shiva? Because he is the destroyer. But not a chaos godzilla destruction. The things Shiva destroys are our illusions and falsehoods and ego. His third eye opens and incinerates our attachments to this reality.
And what is the fragrant third eyed one doing? Nourishing the universe. Feeding it, growing it, giving it life. But wait, we just said Shiva destroys? Hinduism is big on cycles. Fire burns the built up underbrush to allow the new growth to flourish. Ash fertilizes, after all.
So the three eyed one, the celestial gardener who is perfumed with the fragrance of life's flourishes, is nourishing and raising us. But this life is holding us down from achieving perfection, through our attachments and desires and inability to see past our own base emotions
But eventually even we grow and ripen and mature, and when that point comes, we hope that we are plucked off this tendril we are tied to, before we just shrivel and die on the vine
So this prayer is asking the lord to look after us, when the celestial gardener feels that we have reached our peak of perfection, and free us from the cycles of life and death and into immortality. In God's salad bowl or something. Look, the metaphor kinda falls off, OK.
But more importantly, this is a chant that brings peace to dying, as well as those being left behind. This is a chant whose rhythm is soothing and even, like a calm heartbeat. And when you are processing grief, you get a metronome to give you a chill beat to calm down.
It's like listening to really wild jazz, prog, or dubstep. An utterly insane whirl of sounds and emotions and vibrations chaotically bouncing like atoms in boiling water, and a solid and implacable beat to tie it all together.
When beginning a practice of chanting, this is a good one to learn and master. It is a comfort and a constant, and in this era, that is something we could all use. Hari Om!
Here's the hyper traditional way to chant this
And here's a slower version to help with pronunciation

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More from @elektrotal

14 Oct
i've been doing this Hindu 101 stuff specifically to flood my own timeline and wipe away this farcical supreme court bs. i think i finally hit my breaking point about the abject cruelty and and cynicism of the republican party and just how much they absolutely do not care
they'll strip away the rights of women, of non-cishet people, of nonwhite people, of immigrants and the children of immigrants, and do it without even a veneer of pretending that there is a good reason except power
they don't care that the world is burning, or that they are taking away our medicare and clean water and voting rights. all that matters is more bodies to throw into the furnace to feed their bank accounts. and when they run out of resources, go to war and get more.
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13 Oct
it's weird being called a preacher. i don't preach, as such. i don't do kathas or stand in front of crowds giving lectures. i just share long twitter threads.
but hey, maybe that's what preaching is in the modern world. who even knows anymore.
but the weirdness is driven home by the fact that i have conclusively failed to create a separate space for the sacred on here, and mix it in with all of my garbage posts about trash, which is a bit of a mental whiplash
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13 Oct
So let's continue with "How to Hindu 101", shall we? today, i want to talk about more practical considerations- setting aside space and time for your spiritual exercises.
Like everything else, prayer comes with opportunity costs. You want the benefits of inner peace and stability and an external force upon which you can project your insecurities and fears and have them available to be worked on and fixed? you gotta make the time.
those legs aren't going to lift themselves unless you carve out time to go to the gym and do the thing, and those mala beads are so much Anthropologie decorations unless you actually count them.
Read 41 tweets
13 Oct
yesterday folks were asking me about ways or videos to help chanting so i grabbed a few. They're repetitive and simple on purpose, because the idea is to empty your thoughts and allow the chant to resonate with you. plus, i find it too twee if the music is fancy
first, a generic Om Namah Shivaya
the gayatri mantra (Om bhur bhuvasvah tatsavitur varenyum bhargodevasya dhimahi dhiyoyona prachodaya)
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
So Navratri, the 9 day goddess festival, starts this weekend. It's a great time to reconnect with your faith heritage, if that was a thing you were interested in, and god knows this week is gonna be real testing for our mental health
i was doing some reading as part of study to figure out how best to jump in, and i came across the Devi Kshama Prarthana, or the forgiveness prayer, from one of the many Durga pujas out there
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"I don't know how to welcome you, nor how to send you away. I don't know how to worship you, nor even how to pray. Oh Mother of all, forgive me"
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7 Oct
If you'll indulge me for a moment, I want to air a frustration about being hindu in the west that is going to be laughable for most of you
When you live out in the diaspora disconnected from the context that gave rise to your culture every action you take is always defensive. You can't just *be* a hindu and have your gods and foods and festivals, but you have to justify it and defend it to the greater pressures
Especially in America, and to a lesser but still strong extent Canada and the UK, the very heavily Christian influence infuses everything we learn and represent
Read 27 tweets

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