Sanskrit in the Matrix

Here's a little ancient wisdom finding its way into popular culture.

During the Matrix movies, there are two key songs that are sung in Sanskrit. The verses are drawn from ancient Vedic texts, chiefly from the Upanishads. Here's a couple of videos with the songs and lyrics (I've added complete lyrics below, with translations, for anyone interested).

 


Neodämmerung, by Don Davis

Note: this is the song that plays during the final fight between Neo and Smith. When viewed in context, the lyrics are quite significant and demonstrate the creator's symbolic intent.

 

Complete Lyrics with Translation:

[Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, 1.3.28.4]

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṃ gamayeti

(From the Unreal, lead me to the Real!
From Darkness, lead me to Light!
From Death, lead me to Immortality!)

---

[Īśā Upaniṣad, 11]

vidyāṃ cāvidyāṃ ca yas tad vedobhayaṃ saha
avidyayā mṛtyuṃ tīrtvā vidyayāmṛtam aśnute

(He who knows both, wisdom and unwisdom, he, verily,
through unwisdom fording through death, through wisdom reaches the Immortal.)

---

[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 2.2.5]

yasmin dyauḥ pr̥thivī cāntarikṣam otaṃ manaḥ saha prāṇaiś ca sarvaiḥ
tam evaikaṃ jānatʰa ātmānam anyā vāco vimuñcatʰāmr̥tasyaiṣa setuḥ.

(That whereon Heaven and Earth and the space between are woven, with Mind and all lives;
know ye That as the One, without other names, for That is the bridge of immortality.)

---

[Kāṭha Upaniṣad, 2.3.7]

indriyebhyaḥ paraṃ mano
manasaḥ sattvam uttamam
sattvād adhi mahān ātmā
mahato 'vyaktam uttamam

(Higher than the powers is Mind;
higher than Mind is spiritual being;
above spiritual being is the Great Self;
above the Great is the Unmanifest.)

---

[Kāṭha Upaniṣad 2.3.10]

yadā pañcāvatiṣṭhante jñānāni manasā saha
buddhiś ca na viceṣṭate
tām āhuḥ paramāṃ gatim

(When the five powers of perception come to rest, with the mind,
and the understanding no longer strives,
this they call the highest way.)

---

[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 2.2.9]

bhidyate hr̥dayagranthiś chidyante sarvasaṃśayāḥ
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi tasmin dr̥ṣṭe parāvare.

(The knot of the heart is untied, all doubts are cut;
his bondage through works wears out, when That is known, which is above and below.)


Navras, by Juno Reactor & Don Davis

Note: this song closes the whole trilogy, playing during the final credits of the final movie. There is one verse I'm unsure of, which isn't covered in the video either, so I've simply included a phonetic version of it. Perhaps someone else will recognize the Sanskrit of it and can help us fill it in. I'm also unsure of the translation of the Aditya salutation.

 

Complete Lyrics with Translation:

[Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.3.28.4]

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṃ gamayeti

(From the Unreal, lead me to the Real!
From Darkness, lead me to Light!
From Death, lead me to Immortality!)

---

[???]

?umasa detore bappai iyo?
?uessare bae gae iyo?
?nanana sulle baghu gabbai iyo?
?dessare bae gae iyo?

(???)

---

[Śāntiḥ Mantra]

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

(Om, peace! peace! peace!)

---

[Ādityahṛdayam, 17]

om ādityāya namo namaḥ
om ādityāya namo namaḥ
om ādityāya namo namaḥ

(Om, obeisance to the name (form) of Aditya.)

---

[Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.3.28.4]

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṃ gamayeti

(From the Unreal, lead me to the Real!
From Darkness, lead me to Light!
From Death, lead me to Immortality!)

---

[Nārāyaṇa-Gāyatrī]

nārāyaṇāya vidmahe
vāsudevāya dhīmahi
tanno viṣṇuḥ prachodayāt

(We will know Narayana,
We will meditate on Vasudeva,
May Vishnu guide us.)

---

[???]

?umasa detore bappai iyo?
?uessare bae gae iyo?
?nanana sulle baghu gabbai iyo?
?dessare bae gae iyo?

(???)

---

[Śāntiḥ Mantra]

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

(Om, peace! peace! peace!)

---

[Kāṭha Upaniṣad 2.3.10]

(yadā pañcāvatiṣṭhante)... jñānāni manasā saha
buddhiś ca na viceṣṭate
tām āhuḥ paramāṃ gatim

(When the five powers of perception come to rest, with the mind,
and the understanding no longer strives,
this they call the highest way.)