Hayagriva Upaniṣad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

It is a minor Upaniṣad, classed among the Vaiṣṇava Upaniṣads. It is assigned to the Atharvaveda. It has just 20 mantras. Some of them are in verses and the rest in prose.

Nārada approaches Brahmā, the Creator for the knowledge of Brahman by which one destroys all sins and obtains eternal wealth. The Upaniṣad is a reply to this question. It mainly deals with some mantras of Lord Hayagriva by the repetition of which one can get wealth, knowledge and wisdom.

At first, three long mantras are given. Brahmā, Atri, Ravi, Savitṛ and Bhārgava are the five ṛṣis or sages of these mantras. Gāyatrī, Trisṭubh and Anuṣṭubh are the Vedic meters through which they are revealed. Hayagriva is the deity. ‘Hlaum’ is the bija or seed-letter. The mantras are capable of conferring worldly happiness and liberation after death. One of the mantra has been mentioned here:

viśvottirnasvarupāya cinmayānandarupine I tubhyarh namo hayagriva vidyārājāya visnave II svāhā svāhā namah II

The dhyānaśloka given next describes the form of Hayagriva to aid meditation. He has four arms holding the conch, the discus and the book in three hands and exhibiting the mahāmudrā (a pose of the hand) in the fourth. He is bright like the full-moon.

This is followed by some more mantras of 29 letters, 34 letters, one letter (‘hlaum’) and 16 letters. Their use for getting certain desires fulfilled and an explanation as to how these mantras reflect the meaning of the mahāvākyās. The work ends with a phalaśruti or eulogy of the knowledge contained here. It denotes that if the mantras are repeated especially on an ekādaśī day, it confers greatness (mahā- puruṣatva).


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore