The desire to live long is but natural to every human being. Some of the Hindu religious works have prescribed the performance of a havana or homa with appropriate Vedic mantras, aimed at increasing the duration of life. One such is found in the Bodhāyana-gṛhyasūtras (3.7). The mantras given there go by the name Āyuṣyasūkta. It is also sometimes, called the Ghṛtasūkta since ghṛta or ghee (clarified butter) is used as oblation with every mantra.
Though the mantras are obviously of Vedic origin, the source has not been traced.
The Sūkta has nine mantras. At the time of offering ghee they are uttered, adding the well-known word ‘svāhā’ at the end.
A brief summary of the hymn may now be attempted here:
- May the Supreme Brahman, who, in the form of Śiva, the wearer of elephant skin and the wielder of the bow Pināka, who nipped off a head of Brahmā (the creator), who is also known as Īśāna (the ruler), give us long life! To him we offer this oblation of ghee!
- May the brilliantly shining Sun, with hot rays, who rose from the middle of the ocean, may he destroy our terrible bonds of death and accept our offering of ghee to increase the duration of our life.
- Brahman the Light, deposited the watery embryo in the womb of the five elements. It is brilliantly shining. It is adorable. May we make it grow by offering oblations of ghee, so that the duration of our life increases.
- Lakṣmī the goddess of wealth, is full of vitality. She is the Mother Earth. She is also called Ṣaṣṭhī and Indrasenā. She, the best deity, as knowledge, reminds us of Brahman. Let us satiate her, in this yajña or sacrifice by offering oblations of ghee.
- May these multitudes of goddesses, who are the daughters of Dakṣa-prajāpati, who are sisters, who are responsible for the entire creation, who, with their special forms, are pervading the world, along with their husbands and offsprings, may they accept our oblations of ghee and increase our life-span.
- There are hosts of ancient divine beings. They are capable of cutting away the lives of living beings. May they destroy our powerful enemies! We offer many oblations of ghee to them so that they do not harm or destroy our offspring as also our heroes.
- He who was the sole cause of creating the world in the beginning, he from whom the protector (Indra) of this world emerged, he to whom this world will return at the time of dissolution, may he accept our offerings of ghee to increase our life-span.
- To increase our longevity and feel eternally happy let us offer oblations of ghee to the following deities: Vasus (8), Rudras (11), Ādityas (12), Maruts (21), Sādhyās, Ṛbhus, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Pitṛs, Viśvedevas (10), Bhṛgus, Sarpas (Serpents) and Aṅgirasas.
- O Viṣṇu, who is our ultimate abode, who forgives all our misdeeds, please give us happiness! Your votaries offer to you a series of sweet oblations without any break and happily.