…may it come to pass, just as the fruit comes away from the vine…

There’s a classical Sanskrit mantra that yogis chant, the Maha Mrityunjaya, or Great Death Conquering, mantra. And being at Okiwi Passion market garden on Great Barrier Island off New Zealand, I have had the visualisation and experience that the mantra evokes.

Here, at 36 degrees of latitude, equivalent to the Strait of Gibraltar, rock melons can ramp away. Within a few hours of you last looking at them they turn yellow, emit a wonderful perfume and ever so gently separate from the stem. With the lightest touch you can pick the fruit. It’s the right time, all is ready.

The mantra is like a prayer, may I die at the right time. Don’t get scared! For yogis, this death upcoming is just a stage, a passing over to the life between lives. But even if you don’t believe in reincarnation, I think we all hope for a passing over at the right time. Urvaru is a melon (often translated as cucumber).

Yogis (least the ones I know) use this mantra every day, and it’s customary to say it three times, though 108 is also a nice practice. I like to think of it as a prayer also for moving on in life, the different stages in life, and any other change that comes. You feel a ripening and a time to move on. Siva is the yogi god, the god of change, out with the old so the new and more vital can come in. In essence it is a powerful mantra for healing, for ourselves, our nearest and dearest, our community, the world. We also chant it on peoples’ birthdays and should we hear of someone passing away, or on feeling upset at an animal killed by the roadside, for instance.

om tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pusti vardanham

urvarukamiva bahndhanan mrtyormuksiya mamrtat

OM. We worship the Three-eyed Lord (Siva) who is fragrant and who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As the ripened cucumber is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may he liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.

Back to horticulture. The cucumber translation always was a problem for me, because cucumbers, pumpkins and other cucurbits need to be cut, and usually with strong secateurs, as they have tough stems! At last, being with Caity, Gerald and the others at Okiwi Passion, I have understood ripening.