Mantra Pushpam – the hidden meaning

Mantra पुष्पं comes under the Taittiriya Aranyaka part of the Krishna Yajurveda. This is recited in temples towards the end of Puja ritual and also chanted in pious Hindu homes either daily or on special Puja occasions. A direct translation is un-intelligible but thanks to the power of the internet, I found a deeper meaning captured beautifully in another site (http://gemsofupanishads.blogspot.in/). I am placing this in my blog putting the same idea that I gathered from another site for my own benefit primarily as well as someone else who may accidentally land up here.

ॐ योऽपां पुष्पं वेद

पुष्पवान् प्रजावान् पशुमान् भवति।

चन्द्रमा वाऽपां पुष्पम्।

पुष्पवान् प्रजावान् पशुमान् भवति य एवं वेद।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

Translation

  1. He who knows the flower of the waters,
  2. He becomes endowed with the flower, people, and animals.
  3. Moon is the flower of the Waters.
  4. He who knows this becomes endowed with the flower, progeny, and animals.
  5. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

Real Meaning

  1. He who gains information/ knowledge (flower) through experience (waters),
  2. He gets the true knowledge (flower) of the World, develops good vasanas (People) and understands that he as the Self (Brahman) alone is shining as the world bereft of differentiations (animals).
  3. Mind (Moon) gets made or attains a certain information/ knowledge based on experiences.
  4. He who knows that the world is nothing but a network of perceived patterns experienced by countless perceivers, through which information gets generated and stored by a process called the mind, he gets the true knowledge of the world, develop good Vaasanaas (Progeny) and understands that he as the Self (Brahman) alone is shining as the world bereft of differentiations.
  5. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

Aapa means ‘Water’. Usually it refers to the ‘flow of experiences’ in the scriptures. This continuum of experiences alone is the life lived by us from birth to death of the body. A human being is thus just a collection of experiences.

The root-sound ‘PUSH’ (पुष्) means nourishment -filling up. ‘Pushpam’ means the flower which is fully blossomed; a well-nourished outcome of a plant. ‘PUSHPAM’ in this Mantra means: information/knowledge.

‘Prajaa’ means anything that is generated. ‘Prajaa’ in this Mantra means: good Vaasanaas. Vaasanaa means an unfulfilled subtle seed of an experience which resides in the mind. A person who gains knowledge through experiences becomes endowed with good Vaasanaas which manifest as good experiences.

‘Pashu’ – सर्वमविशेषेण पश्यति – sees everything without any particularities. A person who knows the flower of the waters becomes endowed with the vision of seeing everything without particularities; he understands that he as the Self (Brahman) alone is shining as the world bereft of differentiations. He sees the world as made of ONE tattva or attribute only; he sees ONE NESS everywhere.

Chandramaa (चन्द्रमा) means that which shines. चन्द्रमा means the moon. चन्द्रमा in this Mantra means: ‘Mind’. Moon is of the nature of waxing and waning. Mind also is of the nature of waxing and waning. Mind oscillates from joy to sorrow as it wades through various experiences. Mind is the flower or knowledge one gains out of the waters namely experiences. The store- room for all the information of the world gathered through senses is the mind. It does not reside in the heart or brain; it is not a visible organ; but just a process of collecting information. This mind-process is different for different individuals.

AAYATANAM (आयतनं)(आयतनं – आयतते अत्र) ‘yat’– which means usually ‘effort’, is used in the Mantra with the meaning of ‘support’ (आधार)

Experiences are waters. What is the support of these experiences? On what stable ground does the river of experiences flow? ‘Brahman’ alone is the support of these waters. ‘Brahman’ is the ‘principle of conscious-understanding’ that forms the essence of every perceiver who experiences a Vaasanaa-unfoldment. Without this essence of consciousness, nothing can be experienced by anybody.

ॐ अग्निर्वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

योऽग्नेरायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वाऽग्नेरायतनम्।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

Translation

  1. Fire is the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of Fire becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of Fire.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

Real Meaning

  1. All experiences are possible because of the existence of a perceiver (Fire) who experiences (consumes or burns up) the experience (water).
  2. He superimposes all the information got from the outside world and creates an idea of distinct ‘I’ as himself.
  3. He who knows that an identity of a distinct “I” has come about merely on account of multitude of experiences (realizes the truth about the real “I”) becomes established in the state of realization.
  4. Fire goes on consuming more and more experiences and these experiences (waters) add up to create an identity of the false “I”.
  5. If you understand the nature of the super-imposed ‘I’ whose support is actually the Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

‘Agni’ means अग्निः अंगते ऊर्ध्वं गच्छति- that which moves up. ‘Agni’ in this Mantra means the ‘perceiver-Jeeva’ who as a ‘Vaasanaa- channel’ is forced to go through countless experiences.

Life is a continuous stream of experiences. Each individual has different experiences that belong to him alone.These experiences alone make him an individual who lives a life. He superimposes all the information got from the outside world and creates an idea of ‘I’ as himself. This ‘I’ is a collection of all ideas he has about himself as a physical entity bound by space and time.It is known as ‘Ahamkaara’ (ego) and is an imagined entity (like a ghost) created by his ignorant mind. And this ‘I’ which is based on the identity with the physical form is built by the stacking of countless bricks of information got through experiences. This ‘I’ is the ‘fire’! Why is it a fire? Because it burns! It blazes high! It suffers a lot! Experiences are the fuel which keeps the fire burning. Fire goes on consuming more and more experiences and suffers because of delusion

Life of a person in a physical form is based on the nature of the experiences one has. The experiences are possible because of the existence of a perceiver (Fire) who experiences (consumes) the experience (water). Unless a conscious perceiver is there, experiences cannot be had. Experiences are said to belong to the ego- the imagined ‘I’ – the Fire.

ॐ वायुर्वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

यो वायोरायतनम् वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै वायोरायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

Translation

  1. Air is the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of Air becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of Air.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

Real Meaning

  1. Air or Praana is the principle of contact and a medium that connects that changeless Brahman with the changing patterns of the world.
  2. The contact principle alone causes the experiences to unfold for the perceiver “I. It stands between the “perceiver” and the “perceived” and no transaction is possible without its presence.
  3. He who knows that it is experiences present in the world that enable the contact principle to play its role becomes established in the state of realization.
  4. Praana is present because the experiences are to be unfolded.
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

‘Vaayu’ or Air means that which blows. The fire burns fiercely because of the wind. What is this wind? It is Praana, the principle of contact. It is the medium which connects the changeless Brahman to the changing patterns of the world. Vaayu helps the consciousness to perceive the objects of the world. On one side is the pure Consciousness which is aware of itself only as the Brahman-state; on the other side, experiences await the contact of the ‘pure consciousness’, so that they can be experienced. Wind or Praana or the vibrating power of Brahman provides the contact between the world and the Aatma, the essence of consciousness in an individual. This contact principle alone causes the experiences to unfold.

ॐ असौ वै तपन्नपामायतनम् आयतनवान् भवति ।

योऽमुष्यतपत आयतनं वेद।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै अमुष्यतपत आयतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

TRANSLATION

  1. This one, burning like this in the abode of waters
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who burning like this knows the support becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of this one who burns.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

REAL MEANING

  1. He who burns is the Sun (the witness consciousness) or the Aatma who is merely witnessing all experiences experienced by the false “I” (referred to as Fire earlier).
  2. The one who witnesses forgets his real Self which is the supporting principle for all experiences and establishes that he is made up of this experiences.
  3. He who identifies with this witness state and watches all experiences without getting affected by them will get established in the Brahman-state.
  4. He is the manifest Brahman (Chit) who is aware of the perceived phenomena (the experience). Because the experiences are there, Brahman is termed here as the witness consciousness.
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

तप means to burn – produce heat. One who burns is the fire/ sun. Who burns here? This one – the fire! But he is not the fire! This one who is identified with the fire is actually the Brahman who is the witness of all experiences. He is the Sun! Who is the Sun? He is the witness consciousness! He just is aware of the experiences and makes possible the experiences. He is Brahman. He is Aatman. He is unaffected by the experiences. He is the support of waters. He is the supporting principle for all experiences.

ॐ चन्द्रमा वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

यः चन्द्रमस आयतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै चन्द्रमस आयतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

TRANSLATION

  1. Moon is the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of Moon becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of Moon.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

REAL MEANING

  1. Mind alone is the support of all experiences.
  2. Moonlight is actually the reflected light of the Sun and is conscious of the sensations because of the witness-consciousness, supporting it. Though mind’s awareness is really due to being lighted up by the witness-consciousness, it appears or feels as if it is separate from the Sun and seeks enjoyment from the perceived world.
  3. The bliss experienced in the mind actually belongs to the Brahman or Self which is the support of the mind. He who knows this will get established in the Brahman-state
  4. All experiences are centred on the moon, the mind-principle. Mind comes into existence to gain the experiences. So, Water is the support of Moon.
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences (water) is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

Chandramaa/Moon or Mind is the support of all waters (experiences.) Moon contains nectar. Mind alone experiences the bliss. Moon vacillates between light and darkness. Mind wavers between happiness to sorrows. Moon (Mind) is never stable like the Sun (Witness state of Brahman). Moonlight is actually the reflected light of the Sun. It has no shine of its own.

Mind is inert. It is conscious of the sensations because of the witness-consciousness, supporting it. Though its awareness is due to the witness-consciousness, it appears as if it is separate from the Sun and seeks enjoyment from the perceived world. The bliss experienced in the mind actually belongs to the Brahman or Self which is the support of the mind. But mind is deluded and seeks the same bliss from the inert objects outside. Mind alone is the support of all experiences.

 

All experiences are centered on the moon, the mind-principle. Mind comes into existence to gain the experiences.

ॐ नक्षत्राणि वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

यो नक्षत्राणामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै नक्षत्राणामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

TRANSLATION

  1. Stars are the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of Stars becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of Stars.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

REAL MEANING

  1. नक्षत्रं means that which does not perish or melt away ( क्षरति नक्षत्रं) and means the fixed rules ordained by Brahma the Creator. These ideas of the Creator alone form the basis of all the experiences of the created beings.
  2. Brahma fulfils his ‘creation-Vaasanaa’ by creating a world according to his ideas. Brahma, the Creator is the total mind structure of all the individuals and he alone experiences all the experiences of all the perceivers of his creation.
  3. He who knows that the Creator is always in a witness state and is merely fulfilling his “creation-vaasana” by creating a world according to his ideas will get established in a state of realization.
  4. Equally, creation is there for fulfilling the experiences or Vaasanaa-fulfillments
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

 Commentary

‘Nakshatra’ (नक्षत्र) means that which does not perish or melt away. (न क्षरति नक्षत्रं). Stars do not change their positions. They are fixed. They are the fixed rules ordained by the Creator. Brahma, the Creator is the total mind structure of all the individuals. He is the Lord with the golden womb (HiranyaGarbha) who experiences all the experiences of all the perceivers of his creation. But as the Creator remains always in the witness state, he is not affected by the perceptions. He fulfils his ‘creation-Vaasanaa’ by creating a world according to his ideas. He sets the rules for his creation. These ideas of the Creator alone form the basis of all the experiences of the created beings.

ॐ पर्जन्यो वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

यः पर्जन्यस्यायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै पर्जन्यस्यायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ॥

TRANSLATION

  1. Cloud is the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of Cloud becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of Cloud.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the support of the waters becomes endowed with the support.

REAL MEANING

  1. पर्जन्य means thundering Rain-cloud viz collection of water vapours ready to pour down as rains and here means collection of unmanifest- Vaasanas ready to use a Jeeva (life-form) as its channel and manifest within the space-time frame to gain experience.
  2. Each rain drop is separate but a downpour gives an illusion of continuity; similarly, though Jeeva’s experiences stay broken after each experience-field, an illusion of continuity is left owing to connecting memory thread.
  3. He who knows that the support of each Vaasana is the eternal Brahman will give up his association with the Vaasana connection and gets established in the state of realization.
  4. Experiences again form the basis for the birth of many more Vaasanaas (since Vaasana reduction does not come about with satisfaction of an experience but more get created). So, Water is the support of Cloud.
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. One who knows that Brahman (Pure Consciousness) is the support of all experiences gets established in the Brahman-state.

Commentary

‘Parjanya’ (पर्जन्य) means thundering cloud/ Rain-cloud. Cloud is the collection of water vapors that are ready to pour down as rains. The ‘collection of unmanifest Vaasanaas’ which is ready to use a Jeeva as its channel and manifest within a frame of space and time is – Parjanya. These unmanifest Vaasanaas alone are experienced by a Jeeva in some manifest field of space and time. Parjanya – the thundering noise represents the deviation from the silent Brahman state to the level of the ignorant Jeeva who lives imprisoned in a world of sound (names) and forms. Cloud alone pours down as waters.

Jeeva is a continuity of Vaasanaa-unfoldment processes. At each Vaasanaa-fulfillment (each drop of rain), there arises a three-fold phenomenon of the perceiver, perceiving and perceived. Though rain-drops are separate, the downpour gives an illusion of continuity. Similarly, though a Jeeva’s experiences stay broken after each experience-field, an illusion of continuity is felt because of the connecting memory thread.

As a Jeeva keeps on perceiving the Vaasanaa-fields, one after another, he produces more Vaasanaas (desire-seeds) which are kept in wait to turn into future experiences. Experiences again form the basis for the birth of many more Vaasanaas.

ॐ संवत्सरो वा अपामायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति ।

यः संवत्सरस्यायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति ।

आपो वै संवत्सरस्यायतनम् ।

आयतनवान् भवति य एवं वेद ।

योऽप्सु नावं प्रतिष्टितां वेद । प्रत्येव तिष्टति ॥

TRANSLATION

  1. ‘Year’ is the support of waters.
  2. He becomes endowed with the support.
  3. He who knows the support of ‘Year’ becomes endowed with the support.
  4. Water is the support of ‘Year’.
  5. He becomes endowed with the support who knows this.
  6. He who knows the boat stably established in the waters becomes himself stabilized.

REAL MEANING

  1. संवत्सर is the time-frame inside which, a Jeeva identified with the physical body goes through the six-fold changes of birth, youth, growth, old age, decay, and death, like a year has six seasons as its counterparts. Life lived within the boundary of a time-span undergoing the changes of birth etc. alone, forms the basis of all experiences.
  2. The unmanifest Vaasanaa which is the essence of Brahman like the tree for a seed, is the cause of a Jeeva’s experiences within a time-frame. Each Vaasanaa comes with a built-in frame of time and space.
  3. He who realizes that the base of each Vaasana fulfilment (experience) within the Jeeva embodiment is the unmanifest Vaasana immediately attains to the state of realization.
  4. Vaasanaa-fulfillment (experience) alone forms the basis of the limited existence of a Jeeva (the year).
  5. He who knows that support of all experiences is Brahman itself, one is established in the Brahman-state. One who knows this becomes established in a state of realization.
  6. If a man stays unattached to the outside surroundings like a traveller in a boat untouched by waters; goes through the life-experiences without identifying with the body, but established in the true nature of Self (Brahman-state); he is freed of his Jeeva-hood which is chained to the Vaasanaas. He remains as the witness-consciousness and is freed of all the six fold changes of the body. Even when the body dies, he remains deathless as Brahman-state. A man who has realized the true nature of the Self is Brahman itself.

Commentary

Samvatsara (संवत्सर) means a year. संवसन्ति ऋतवोऽत्र  – the seasons stay in it as connected. Samvatsara is span of time where changes of seasons occur. Samvatsara is the measure of time. Samvatsara is the time-frame which allows the Vaasanaas to manifest. Samvatsara is the time-frame inside which, a Jeeva identified with the physical body goes through the six-fold changes of birth, youth, growth, old age, decay, and death, like a year has the six seasons as its counterparts.

Life lived within the boundary of a time-span undergoing the changes of birth etc. alone, forms the basis of all experiences.

The unmanifest Vaasanaa which is the essence of Brahman like the tree for a seed, is the cause of a Jeeva’s experiences within a time-frame. Each Vaasanaa comes with a built-in frame of time and space. Vaasanaa-fulfillment (experience) alone forms the basis of the limited existence of a Jeeva.

All these experiences, Vaasanaa fulfillments and the pains gone through as the ego; all these are caused by the ignorance-level of the Jeeva. Because of forgetting the true nature of the Self (Brahman), there arises the identification of the physical body like a ghost in darkness. This identification with the physical form alone is the basis of experiences (water), information (flower), contact (wind), unmanifest desires (cloud), and the changing patterns experienced in life (year). This false superimposition of the Self on a physical frame is due to ignorance of one’s true nature.

Knowledge alone destroys the delusion, like light destroying the darkness; like the ghost vanishing when reasoned properly. Knowledge alone acts as the boat to cross over the waters of experiences.

If a man stays unattached to the outside surroundings like a traveler in a boat untouched by waters; goes through the life-experiences without identifying with the body, but established in the true nature of Self (Brahman-state); he is known as a ‘SthitaPrajna’ – a man of stable intellect.

 

He is free of all Vaasanaas which act as the seeds of all the experiences in the limited time-frame. He is freed of his Jeeva-hood which is chained to the Vaasanaas. He remains as the witness-consciousness and is freed of all the six fold changes of the body. Even when the body dies, he remains deathless as Brahman-state.

OM TAT SAT

19 thoughts on “Mantra Pushpam – the hidden meaning

  1. Sir,I searched,searched,………& searched. At last,I found the hidden meaning in your blog. Thank u very very much.I wish much more contributions on similar lines to enlighten us the true meaning of our scriptures. Thanks once again pl.

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  2. Thank you so much for the post. I have been searching for this sort of explanation for a long time. I am searching for the meaning of “mahishasuramardani stotram” recently. Please post if any good explanation is available.

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  3. On reading, I feel some unknown codes which define our life, lust, struggle and peace are hidden in these meanings. As a consumer of primitive codes in daily life we experience happiness or sorrows … If the nature has bestowed so many things in life, it may take a life time to understand…..( or are these some uncalibrated thoughts on first reading…? ) The path to understanding them makes journey bereft of happiness or sadness….

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  4. Namaste sir
    I am really grateful to you for posting the detailed meaning.
    I absolutely had no knowledge that anything called MANTRA PUSHPAM existed before my dear papa who passed over to the other world came in me dream and asked me to learn this mantra and understand its meaning.
    I had been searching for a detailed meaning of this mantra since then,today after 7 years after he asked me i have been able to find the detailed meaning.
    Its ultimate knowledge to me.I shall put all my effort in understanding it.
    I fold my hands and thank you for posting it.
    Pranams.
    Jyothi

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  5. Thank you very much for the beautiful hidden meaning mantra pushpam has . Without a detailed explanation like this I would not have understood the meaning thank you once again

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  6. A priceless gift. I have immense faith in reciting Manthra Pushpam at the end of every auspicious function. While reciting this, I am particular about the pronouncition and notation. Thank you very much for the detailed commentary. My only suggestion is that the learning and chanting of the Manthra Pushpam should be done should be practiced by newcomers with the assistance of a learned Guru.
    S.Gopalakrishnan

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  7. Namaste ,
    All these years I had listened this without knowing the real inner meaning, thanks for sharing this , if you have any other write up of any other mantras ,please do share.
    If you know mytriye katyayini sutra please explain.
    Regards
    Bharathi

    Like

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