Mantra pushpam is a Vedic prayer chanted towards the end of most poojas.

Traditional Meaning:

The following is repeated several times by replacing X with fire, wind, burning Sun, Moon, stars, Parjanya and year. This interpretation may make one wonder why this prayer is so important.

“X is the source of water, He who knows this, Becomes established in himself,

Water is the source of X, He who knows this, Becomes established in himself.

He who knows the source of water, Becomes established in himself”

My interpretation:

The word apas can also be interpreted as action instead of water. Aapas (with long aa) can be distinguished as Supreme Being’s action. Now one gets a totally different take that is consistent with the spirit of Veda. I will elaborate in a second.

One may also note that fire, wind and Sun are the rulers of physical, subtle and astral realms of our existence (i.e. bhooh bhuvah suvah). Moon rules mind, i.e. window to the world. Stars rule the destiny, i.e. momentum from previous karmas. Parjanya rules senses. Year represents Time.

Every action within us is actually executed by one of these agents, though we may identify with it and think “I do this”. Replace X below with each of the above agents of action within us:

“X is the source of action, He who knows this, Becomes established in Self,

Divine action of Supreme is the source of X, He who knows this, Becomes established in Self.

He who knows the source of actions, Becomes established in Self”

Due to subtle motion of Prana shakti in Supreme Being, actions arise in Him. Due to that divine action of Supreme, Agni, Vayu, Surya, Chandra, Nakshatras etc are created and sustained. They permeate various other beings (like you and me) and act through them.

Anything that happens within us at the gross, subtle or astral level, any perception of the rest of the world, any accumulation of such history of actions and ensuing reactions and even the very notion of a changing Time, are all the works of these beings (Agni, Vayu etc) who operate through all of us and not our work. Strictly speaking, they are not even their works, but a result of the divine work of Supreme.

One who does not identify with various actions that happen within oneself, knows how the divine action of Supreme creates various of these deities and makes them act within us, becomes established in Self!

Just as a big tree or even a big forest may arise from a single flower, various deities arise from Supreme Being and cause so many actions in so many beings. One who truly realizes this and imbibes that realization at all times, is well-established in Self, i.e. Self-realized.

If you reflect, you can see that this prayer is almost like the essence of Vedic wisdom. With this interpretation, importance given to it makes sense!