of 71 /71
M¡³±¥KYA UPANI½AD by Dr. Paul YF Loke

Embed Size (px)


A person who is not accustomed to anintrospective life would find the provision of a fixed locus,in the symbol of Om, on which the mind can direct itsthoughts more amenable and easier to handle.





Dr. Paul YF Loke





1. Introduction

2. Mantra 1 ................................................... 1

3. Mantra 2 ......................................................

4. Mantra 3 ......................................................

5. Mantra 4 ......................................................

6. Mantra 5 ......................................................

7. Mantra 6 ......................................................

8. Mantra 7 ......................................................

9. Mantra 8 ......................................................

10. Mantra 9 ......................................................

11. Mantra 10 ....................................................

12. Mantra 11 ....................................................

13. Mantra 13 ....................................................



1 One of the Upani¾ads of the Atharvanaveda. 2 Varu´a is the deity who presides over water. 3 Upani¾ad-brahma-yogin who wrote commentaries on 108

Upani¾ads, described the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad as "the essence

of all the Upani¾ads' (sarva- VedanÃta-saristha). 4 Muktik¢ Upani¾ad 1, 26-29


According to tradition, the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad 1 – a

great work expounding the quintessence of Advaitic thoughts

– was revealed to Varuna2 who was said to have assumed the

form of a frog (M¢´²uka) to felicitate Lord N¢r¢y¢´a.

Indeed, its inclusion as one of the principal Upani¾ads is a

testament to its significance. Furthermore, not only is this

short work of twelve cryptic mantras commented upon by

eminent teachers3 , such as ¹a´kara, Madhva,etc., its

importance for the realization of the highest truth is eulogized

in the Muktik¢-Upani¾ad, wherein it is declared that ‘The

M¢´²¦kya alone is sufficient for the final release of those

who seek liberation….’4

In his commentary on the Upani¾ad (as part of the

Ma´²¦kya-k¢rik¢, a gloss by Gau²ap¢da), Sankara points

out before commencing on the commentary proper that the

benefit to be derived by the study of the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad

is to gain the direct experience (anubhava) of non-duality.

In other words, advaita-bhava, which in essence is nothing

but the falsification of phenomenal existence characterized

by the matrix of pluralistic relations. In the words of the

Upani¾ad, this negation of the world of names and forms is



called prapa®ca-upaºamam.5 With all the adventitious

attributes6 (adhy¢ropa), such as the three bodies7 sublated

(apav¢da), the ultimate ground of pure

consciousness(svar¦pa-caitanya), bereft of all illusory

superimpositions, shines forth in its full effulgence. This

change in vision, from the many (a distinct feature of

empirical life or vyavah¢rika) to the One (p¢ram¢rthika)

can only be realized through the knowledge of Brahman

revealed in the sacred texts of the Upani¾ads. It is similar to

the restoration to health of a sick person through the

ministration of appropriate medication. The holy scripture

is likened to the medication which relieves the person of the

affliction. And in the spiritual context, the affliction is avidy¢or (ignorance), with the only difference in that through

knowledge of the Upani¾ads the relief is permanent. With

ignorance removed, the reality falsely imputed to the world

is abrogated and the person is restored to his original nature;

regaining the oneness with the Self which was never really

lost. As will be seen, the role of the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad in

this regard is unique compared to the other scriptural texts.

The twelve mantras of the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad are

strung together breathe life to the most sublime and timeless

truth enunciated by the rsis of yore. The Upani¾ad can be

5 See mantra 7. 6 Provisionally accepted as real from the standpoint of relativity. 7 These are the gross body (sth¦la-ºar¤ra), the subtle body(s¦k¾ma-

ºar¤ra) and the causal body(k¢ra´a-ºar¤ra). They are in turn

made from five interdependent sheaths (koºas), namely, the

physical sheath(annamaya-koºa), the vital-air

sheath(pr¢´amaya-koºa), the mental sheath (manomaya-

koºa), the intellectual sheath (vijna®¢maya-koºa) and the

blissful sheath(¢nandamaya-koºa).



broadly looked at as two sections. The first seven mantrasare structured to give a comprehensive examination of the

totality of human experience. It is the undeniable experience

of every person that temporal life is characterized by the ever-

changing states of waking, dream and sleep. However, one

who is more sensitive would be alert to the presence of some

underlying principle which enables the cognition of changes

not only within the waking state (the flux of thoughts and

events), but also changes from one state to another. And for

this awareness of falling asleep from the waking state and

then drifting into dream or emerging from sleep to

wakefulness, there must necessarily be a sentient principle

that is ever present and permeating all these states. It could

well have been based on such empirical observations that

prompted the rsis to develop a framework closely reflecting

the conditions of human life, integrating the varied

experiences on the phenomenal plane with the unitary reality

subsisting in them. The result is a theory positing four pad¢s

(quarters or aspects) of the Self (¡tm¢)8 Just as the illusory

8 It is worth noting that some semblance of a four-p¢da theory

of the Self was already in currency at the time of the §g-veda.

In the tenth mandala, it is stated, ‘Thus is his greatness. But

Pura¾a(synonymous with the Self) is even greater. All things

are one-fourth of him; the immortals in heaven are the three

quarter.’ And in the Maitri Upani¾ad, one finds a further

development of this doctrine but not in the sophisticated form

so clearly and congently expounded in the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad.

The text found in the final verse (7.11) of the Maitri Upani¾ad

reads, "He who sees with the eye (i.e. the Self in the waking

state), who moves in dream (i.e. the Self in the dream state),

who is in deep sleep (i.e. the Self in the state of deep sleep),

and he who is beyond deep sleep (i.e. Tur¤ya or the Fourth),

these are a person's four distinct conditions. Of these, the

Fourth is greater than the rest'.



snake which makes its appearance when the as Áraya

(substratum) of the rope is not known, the pad¢s are in fact

errors in perception arising when the ultimate ground of

one’s being is not realized. Therefore, with the displacement

of the spurious names and forms which condition and

differentiate the world into categories9 , such as macro (the

total environment), micro (the individual), gross (the

waking state), subtle (the dream state) and causal (the deep

sleep-state), all that remains is the unconditioned Self alone,

Turiya or the Fourth in the words of the Upani¾ad. What

comes and goes cannot be real. Truth or reality, on the other

hand , can never be conditioned or negated. And the message

of the M¢´²¦kya is clear: go beyond the ephemeral and abide

in the ever-existent ¡tm¢ and everything will be known

since the Self is verily Brahman (Ayam ¡tm¢ Brahma10).

All it takes is a change in vision. But this change is much

more than just a superficial endorsement or a mere

intellectual understanding of the Upani¾adic truth. To see

unity in the manifoldness entails a fundamental overhaul of

all the cherished values and beliefs of the person, acquired

not only in the present life, but from countless previous

births. Indeed, it goes far beyond the intellect. Hence, for

ignorance (avidy¢) to be annihilated, the knowledge (vidy¢)

has to be internalized, becoming one’s very nature.

The second section, like the seven mantras of the first,

also addresses the same subject – realization of the Self, the

highest goal (puru¾¢rtha) of man – but from a different

9 All these are mere notions having no substantiality of their

own. Their relative existence is borrowed from the ground

upon which they appear. 10 M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad mantra 2. One of the major texts of the

Upani¾ads (mah¢vakyas).



11 Om first occurs in the Taittir¤ya Sa¼hit¢ of the Black Yajur

Veda, where it is called Pra´ava. 12 Taittir¤ya Upani¾ad 1.8.1

perspective. Here the sacred symbol of Om11 is introduced

and examined. The significance of Om, as the basis of all

sounds/ words and therefore all objects, was pointed out in

the first mantra of the present Upani¾ad. ‘Aum it¤ Brahma

(Aum is Brahman), Aum itidamsarvam (Aum is this all

i.e. the universe)’,12 declares the Taittir¤ya Upani¾ad when

it was dwelling upon the contemplation on the Pra´ava. And

given the affirmation of the non-difference of ¡tm¢ and

Brahman as expounded in the second mantra, Om verily is

¡tm¢ too. Once this ¡tm¢-Brahman equation has been

established, the remaining mantras, particularly the eighth

to the eleventh, take the s¢dhaka on a different path. It is

recognized that not everyone will take to the discriminative

enquiry of the first section. Indeed, for those who have pure

minds and keen intellect, the first seven mantras are

sufficient in themselves to bring about realization of the

highest truth. It is,however, important to point out here that

in order to have the knowledge arising from the Upani¾ads,

which is indirect and mediate in nature, to do its work of

eradicating ignorance and bringing about the direct and

immediate experience of Brahman, the seeker must be

equipped with what is known as the s¢dhana-catustaya.

These are the four prerequisites of discrimination between

the real (or eternal) and the unreal (or transient), i.e.

nityanityavastuviveka, detachment (ih¢mutr¢rthabhoga

vir¢ga), a group of six disciplines (ºam¢disampat)

comprising control of the senses, renunciation, etc., and the

intense desire for liberation (mumuk¾utva). Indeed, the



scripture is but one of two wings. The s¢dhana-catustaya,necessary for a pure, focused and discerning mind, is the other.

And in the absence of either, the flight to be freed of the

shackles of ignorance, which keep one mired in the thick of

worldly life, can never take off. For those who may not have

the mental purity or penchant for philosophical reflection,

the meditation on Om (O¼k¢ra-up¢san¢) is presented here

as an alternative. A person who is not accustomed to an

introspective life would find the provision of a fixed locus,

in the symbol of Om, on which the mind can direct its

thoughts more amenable and easier to handle. But even with

this approach, the Upani¾ad has made a provision for

knowledge-based enquiry, since knowledge is ultimately the

only antidote to ignorance. This point, that the meditation

on the symbol Om as Brahman does not vouchsafe the direct

experience of Brahman, is reiterated by ¹a´kara in his

commentary on the Brahma-s¦tra, where the attainment

from O¼k¢ra meditation is seen as only a stage in one’s

journey towards final release13. In the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾ad,

O¼k¢ra is presented as suitable for both meditation

(up¢san¢) as well as knowledge-based enquiry(j®¢na). In

the former, the sound components (m¢tr¢s) of Om (‘ak¢ra,

‘uk¢ra’ and ‘mak¢ra’) are meditated upon as identical with

the aspects(p¢das) of the Self (Vaiºv¢nara, Taijasa and

Pr¢j®a). In the ninth mantra (the first of three mantras given

to O¼k¢ra-up¢san¢) for instance, the s¢dhaka is asked to

meditate on the ‘ak¢ra’ component of the Om upon which is

superimposed Vaiºv¢nara, the Self in the waking state. In

other words, visualizing the entire gross world while

maintaining one’s thoughts on the locus of ‘ak¢ra’. The

rationale for equating the matra with the p¢da is based on



certain common features. ‘Ak¢ra’ is said to be identical with

Vaiºv¢nara because they share the traits of being the first as

well as being all-pervasive. Notwithstanding, the attainment

of worldly gains, which are the primary benefits of any

meditation, it is envisioned by the Upani¾ad that over time

the practice would bring about a positive change in the

individual, rendering the s¢dhaka fit in terms of mental

purity and discriminative power for taking up the higher

endeavour of contemplating on the soundless Om (am¢tr¢),

where all the m¢tr¢s (and the states of consciousness,

namely waking, dream and sleep) have resolved. Here there

is no constant cogitation on a single notion superimposed on

the given locus. Instead, the mind is made to abide in the

silence which is clearly understood to be the substratum

supporting and permeating the entire illusory phenomenal

existence. Therefore, unlike effort-based meditation, what

is recommended in the twelve and final mantra of the

Upani¾ad is the natural abidance1 4 in the pure underlying

13 The text reads, "The result vouchsafed for one meditating on

Brahman with the help of Om, as constituted by three letters,

is the attainment of the world of Brahman, and the emergence

subsequently of complete realization by stages. In this way

this is meant for leading to emancipation by stages, so that

there is nothing faulty'. (Brahma-s¦tra 1.3.13) The world

of Brahman belongs to the realm of the conditioned i.e. the

Lower Brahman. In relation to this, the pure unconditioned

Brahman is termed Higher Brahman. 14 This abidance once established is an all-expansive unitary

experience and it is verily Turiya. Cognitions and thoughts

appear but there is no more than the mere witness of their

rising and passing. In the absence of judgement, the Brahmavid

does not react and even when he acts it is never out of

attachment or aversion.



consciousness which comes with knowledge and

understanding. This contemplation on one’s true nature is

what is meant by nididhy¢sana15

It is beyond any doubt that the M¢´²¦kya Upani¾adis an exceptional work containing the highest teachings of

the Advaitic tradition and presented in a systematic, logical

and concise manner. Therefore, for the suitably qualified

seeker who has the fervent aspiration to ‘leap-frog’, as it

were, from the hollow relative existence of mundane living

to the unconditioned plenitude of the absolute, the Upani¾adis an indispensable companion. Indeed, when welded in the

hands of a teacher who truly knows, it is a lethal instrument

assured of severing ‘the knot of the heart and dispelling all

doubts’16 and giving one the vision where ‘there is no

cessation of the seeing of the seer’17

15 As part of the upadeºa(teaching) to his wife Maitreyi, who

wanted to know the way to immortality, Yajnavalkya

empathically points out that, The Self should be seen or

realized (dra¾°avyaª), heard of (ºrotavyo), reflected on

(mantavyo) and contemplated upon (nididhy¢sitavyaª).

B¨hadaranyaka Upani¾ad (BU) 2.4.5 16 Mu´²aka Upani¾ad 2.2.9 17 BU 4.3.23



Mantra 1

ìpu{X"OY"uO"Qb"Z{X"Qk _"\"| O"_Y"puT"\Y"pAY"pS"z W"tO"z W"\"¬{\"^Y"Qo-ò{O" _"\"êX"puŠ>pZ ï\" $ Y"‚"pSY"[Oe"@¡p“pO"rO"z O"QTY"puŠ>pZ ï\" $$

om ityetad ak¾aram idaï sarvaï

tasyopavy¢khy¢na¼ bh¦taï bhavad bhavi¾yad it¤

sarvam o¬k¢ra eva/ yacc¢nyat trik¢l¢titaï

tadapyo¬k¢ra eva.

om it¤ - Om

etat ak¾aram - this word/syllable

ida¼ sarva¼ - (is) all this

tasya -it (i.e. the word ‘Om’)

upavy¢khy¢na¼ - a clear exposition

bh¦ta¼ - the past

bhavat - the present

bhavi¾yat - the future

it¤ sarvam - all that

o¬k¢ra eva - is Omk¢ra only

trik¢l¢tita¼ - three periods of time

cu tad anyat - and anything else

tat - that

api - also

o¬k¢rah eva - (is) omk¢ra only

The syllable Om is all this. A clear exposition of it

(Om) (now follows). All that (which is) the past, the present

and the future is o¼k¢ra only. And anything else (beyond)

the three periods of time (is) also o¼k¢ra only.




The entire vocabulary of every language, including

all vowels and consonants, is contained in the syllable Om.

In other words, whatever is said i.e. the entire world of words

or ºabda-prapa®ca is verily Om. When a word is articulated,

one has first to open the mouth, and this, according to the

mantra, is identical to the first m¢tr¢ (sound) ‘a’(ak¢ra).

After the word is verbalized, the mouth naturally comes to a

close, and this corresponds to the third m¢tr¢ ‘m’ (mak¢ra).

In between the two movements i.e. when the mouth is

momentarily opened, the sound is said to be ‘u’ (uk¢ra), the

second m¢tr¢ of Om. It is common knowledge that every

word denotes an object or a state of mind. A word and what it

refers to (or its meaning) is determined by convention. So,

when one says ‘pencil’, there is an object – an instrument

made of graphite for writing – which corresponds to it and

every English speaking person knows what is referred to by

the word. It is clear, therefore from the above analysis that in

Om, not only is the word included, the object (or the mental

state) referred to by the word is also included. Indeed,

reference to the past, the present, or the future1 , which is a

thought process, is covered by Om too since thinking is

1 Both the past and the future are founded upon the present.

The past is nothing but the present that has already been

experienced. The future is an extrapolation of the present,



essentially a word-based activity. To reiterate the all-

encompassing nature of Om, the mantra ends with the

declaration that what is beyond time is also verily Om. In

short, Om is everything, representing all that which is within

time i.e. the temporal world, and also that which is beyond

which is essentially an instant in empirical life defined by the

immediate cognition or perception by a subject of an object.

In other words, it is only with reference to a specific cognition,

and in particular the inseparable connection between the name

(a mental notion based on consensus) and the object (a sensory-

mental construct) it refers to, that the present moment is

said to be experienced. This instant, however, is not a point

because as the temporal locus, where the past and the future

meet, it is impossible to determine where one ends and the

other begins. Indeed, can anyone even imagine when time

began or rationally speculate when it will end? Given the

absence of clearly distinguishable segments or periods, one

cannot truly speak of the three divisions of time (past, present

and future) as is commonly understood. In the final analysis,

one has to concede that time is only an idea, a relative notion

dependent on the body and the mind, which man finds useful

in his empirical transactions. It is also pertinent to note here

that time is invariably associated with space because it is only

through the medium of space that the appearance of objects

i.e. corporeality is possible. Indeed from ordinary experience,

everyone knows that in the absence of body, or without referring

to an object, one cannot meaningfully speak of either time or

space. In fact, it is only in relation to a fixed object,

conventionally referred to as "here' or "this', that spatial

indications, such as "above' and "below', "front' and "back',

etc., become useful and practical. The same can be said of




time i.e. the trans-temporal absolute or Brahman. Om,

therefore, is the means to both Sagu´a – Brahman i.e. the

Lower Brahman endowed with attributes and Nirgu´a –

Brahman, the attributeless Higher Brahman2 . For most

people, meditation (up¢san¢)3 on Om, which leads to the

attainment of the Lower Brahman, is recommended.

However, for those who are more spiritually mature, with

sufficient mental purity and discrimination, inquiry into Om

alone i.e. O¼k¢ra-vicara 4 takes one to the ultimate reality.

2 The ultimate ground or Brahman is non-dual, all pervasive

and free from any parts or distinctions. Therefore, the

bifurcation into a "lower' and a "higher' is only a concession

made when the focus is turned towards empirical existence,

which is governed by the limitations of time, space and

causation. In other words, it is to account for creation that

the Lower Brahman with attributes of omnipotence, etc.,

assumes importance. 3 See mantras 9, 10 and 11 for details. 4 O¼k¢ra-vicara is a knowledge-based approach where the

spiritual significance of Om is enquired into. It takes the

form of merging the m¢tr¢s of Om together with the p¢das

(aspects of the Self) they signify into the silence of Om(am¢tr¢),

which is the Tur¤ya wherein all duality is absent. More would

be said of this in the following mantras.



Mantra 2

_"\"êkåuO"Qo V"øÏ" ìY"X"pOX"p V"øÏ" _"pu&Y"X"pOX"p E"O"s T"pO"o $

sarvagï hyetad brahma ayam ¢tm¢ brahma so' yam

¢tm¢ catu¾p¢t

sarva¼ etat – All this

hi brahma – (is) indeed Brahman

ayam ¢tm¢ brahma – This ¡tm¢ (Self) is Brahman

saª ayam ¢tm¢ – This ¡tm¢ (Self)

catu¾p¢t – has four quarters or states

All this is indeed Brahman. This ¡tm¢ is Brahman.

This ¡tm¢ has four quarters.


Although the two words ‘world’(referred to by ‘All

this’ or sarva¼ etat), and ‘Brahman’ are different, there is

identity between them. And this oneness is revealed through

sublation, or what is technically known as badhayam-

s¢m¢n¢dhikara´ya1 . The world which is unreal, is sublated

to reveal the ever-existent ground, namely Brahman, in the

same way the rope becomes evident when the snake

appearance is sublated in the rope-snake illusion. What it

means is that if one wants to have the knowledge of

everything in the world (including those belonging to the 1 sam¢na means the same, and ¢dhikara´a means the ground.

The tool of badhayam-s¢m¢n¢dhikara´ya is therefore used to

reveal the common ground of the terms through sublation of

all adventitious characteristics.



internal world of the mind), this can be realized through an

analysis of, or inquiry into, Brahman. The logical question

which follows is, ‘What is Brahman? ’And the mantra goes

on to categorically affirm ‘This ¡tm¢ is Brahman’. Unlike

‘world’ and ‘Brahman’, which are of different ontological

status (the former being of the nature of insentience and the

latter pure sentience), ¡tm¢ and Brahman are identical in

nature (sam¢na-svar¦pa) and therefore have the same

ontological status (sam¢na-satt¢). In other words, both the

terms ‘¡tm¢’ and “Brahman’ refer to the absolute reality,

beyond words and conceptualization, from which both the

macro up¢dhis (limiting adjuncts responsible for the

appearance of the three states of waking, dream, and sleep)

and the micro up¢dhis ( which define the waker, dreamer,

and sleeper) ‘borrow’ their existence. Given this oneness in

the primary sense of the words, the full import and

significance of the very important Upani¾adic declaration

‘Ayam ¡tm¢ Brahma (This Self is Brahman)’, one of the

four mah¢v¢kyas (great sayings), is realized. The tool of

language analysis used here is technically called mukhya-

s¢m¢n¢dhikara´ya2 . 2 Another illustration of two words in mukhya-

s¢m¢n¢dhikaranya is the identity of the space within the pot

(gha°¢k¢ºa) and the greater unconditioned space (mah¢k¢ºa).

Notwithstanding the differentiation into pot-space and greater

space, it is verily space only. The apparent difference perceived



Since Brahman is everything and is verily ¡tm¢, it

logically follows that everything can be known through

¡tm¢, and specifically through enquiry into it i.e. ¡tm¢-

vicara (Self-enquiry). In other words, to know the truth of

everything, one has to delve into, and realize the true nature

of one’s being, the ever-existent Self. The Self is non-dual,

free from divisions and attributes. It is therefore beyond

conceptualization and description. However, for the purpose

of analysis and understanding, the Self is presented as having

four aspects (p¢das). Each aspect has its own set of up¢dhis

(conditioning adjuncts of name and form or n¢ma-r¦pa),

which ultimately do not have any substantiality. When the

names and forms are gross, the Self seemingly associated

with these is called Viºva (waker). Taijasa (dreamer) is the

name of the Self apparently having a subtle body and

transacting in the subtle world of dream. And when the Self

is as if associated with names and forms in their latent or

potential conditions, it is called Praj®a (sleeper). It must be

reiterated that ¡tm¢ being ‘one (homogeneous whole)

without a second’ is beyond relations. Therefore, any

association with ¡tm¢ has necessarily to be illusory i.e. an

by some (who lack discrimination) is essentially due to the

limitation of the pot, which gives the erroneous impression

that the space within is somehow different from the space

surrounding the pot.



apparent phenomenon given to experience but ultimately

unreal. The fourth aspect (called, Tur¤ya), however, is

completely devoid of any names and forms, either gross,

subtle or latent. In the absence of differentiation which

characterizes the three other states, Tur¤ya is of the nature

of pure consciousness. These four aspects of ¡tm¢, unlike

the four legs of a cow which are unrelated to each other, are

seamlessly related like the four quarters of a ‘k¢r¾¢pa´a’

coin. As a matter of speech, it can be said that the ‘k¢rs¢pa´a’

is the composite of merging the quarter in the half, the half in

the three-quarter and finally the three-quarter in the one

whole coin. In the same way, although the Self-in-itself is an

undivided whole, it is spoken of as though qualified by three

different states. In reality, waking, dream and sleep are errors

of perception (i.e. false) arising from ignorance. As pointed

out earlier, it is the up¢dhis, themselves unreal, which

distract one’s attention from the unitary ground of pure

existence. Indeed, when these artificial constructs are

resolved one into the other, finally merging into that which

is absolutely real (p¢ram¢rthika), the empirical existence

(vyavah¢rika3 ) is transcended, and the realized one

3 The vyavah¢rika is only an appearance with no independent

existence, which only Brahman- the absolute reality

(p¢ram¢rtha-satya) enjoys. As long as Brahman is not known,

the empirical world appears to be real and takes center-stage.



(a j¤van-mukta) is totally free. That beyond is called the

Fourth. The Fourth is a mere number (and not a state) used

in the context of the first three aspects (pad¢s) to indicate

the pure experience upon which they appear. From the above

discussion, it becomes clear that the term ‘p¢da’ is used both

in the sense of an instrument or a means as well as in the sense

of an object or goal. The first three p¢das are therefore the

means i.e. s¢dhana, and the fourth is the goal. In other words,

there is a means-end relationship (s¢dhya-s¢dhana-

sa¼bandha) between the first three pad¢s (Viºva, Taijasa

and Praj®a), and the last (Tur¤ya). Having said this, it should

be qualified that from the highest standpoint, the Self or

Tur¤ya is transrelational and beyond any predication.

However, at the level of human activities, especially in the

context of the seeker, who although is intensely desirous to

be free i.e. mok¾a is nevertheless still operating in the context

of phenomenality, some concession has to be made to speak

of means for realising that which is in reality ever-existent

and ever-attained.


20Mantra 3

G"pBpqZO"_P"pS"pu V"{`^T"øc": _"Ê"pŒ: ï@¡puS"{\"zðp{O"X"sA": _P"t“W"sB\"vÄ"pS"Z:T"øP"X": T"pQ: $$

j¢garitasth¢no bahi¾pr¢j®aª sapt¢¬ga

ekonavi¼ºatimukhaª sth¦labhugvaiºv¢naraª prathamaª


j¢garitasth¢naª – field (of experiences) is the waking state

bahiª praj®aª – aware of the external

sapta a¬gaª – (who has) seven limbs

ekonavi¼ºatimukhaª – with nineteen mouths

sth¦labuk- enjoyer of gross objects

vaiºvanaraª - is Vaiºv¢nara

prathamaª- first

p¢daª – quarter or aspect

The first aspect (of the Self) is Vaiºv¢nara whose field

(of experiences) is the waking state, who is aware of the

external, who has seven limbs, nineteen mouths, and who is

the enjoyer of gross (objects).


The first aspect of the Self is now examined in this

mantra. When the Self is apparently conditioned by the gross

names and forms, it is called sth¦la-¢tm¢ (gross-Self). Every

person is familiar with the two-fold division in the waking

state (j¢grat-avasth¢), where there is a macro environment

in which the individual i.e. the micro aspect transacts within.



Therefore, on the micro-level (vya¾°i) there is a knowing

principle or a knower i.e. pram¢t¨ operating in a wider

environment (sama¾°i) which serves as an object of

knowledge, or what is known as prameyam. It is important

to point out here that the prameyam has no existence apart

from the pram¢t¨, who itself is not independent of the Self.

In other words, it is verily the absolute Self appearing1 as

both the knower and the known. The Self is called the waking

knower when conditioned by the gross names and forms at

the individual level i.e. vya¾°i-sth¦la-n¢ma-r¦pa. And when

conditioned by the gross names and forms at the macro level

i.e. sama¾°i-sth¦la-n¢ma-r¦pa, it appears as the premeya-

prapa®ca (the known universe).As a waking knower, the

Self is called Viºva, the individual waker, and the total

environment in which Viºva transacts in is called Vir¢t or

Vaiºv¢nara. When the Self is in the mode as Viºva i.e.j¢grat-

pram¢t¨, it is turned outwards (bahi¾praj®a2 ) and contact

1 This appearing or becoming is an error which results from

ignorance. When one's true nature is not known i.e.

ignorance, there arises the erroneous cognition that one is

an individual with a body-mind complex transacting in

empirical life defined by the states of waking, dream and

sleep. 2 This externalization is only an appearance since motion

can never be attributed to the Self which is pure and bereft

of attributes or relations. Bahi¾praj®a is therefore a term

used from the standpoint of ignorance, where both the world



with the gross world is through nineteen mouths3 or

gateways (ekona vi¼ºatimukha). And since the external

world is made up of the five gross elements, the Self in the

waking state i.e. assuming the status as a waker (Viºva) is

said to be sth¦la-bhuk (the enjoyer of the gross world).

Until now, the discussion has been on the level of the

vya¾°i-sth¦la-n¢ma-r¦pa (the level of the gross individual

names and forms). The present mantra goes on to state that

the total gross external world (the j¢grat-prapa®ca including

the totality of all beings) cognized and perceived by the waker

and the j¤va are erroneously taken to be real. Indeed, what

goes out through the indriyas (sense organs) is only the

mind in the form of vrtti. And when this is superimposed on

Praj®a (consciousness or Self), it is said that the Self is

extroverted. 3 There are the pa®ca-j®¢nendriyas (the five senses of

knowledge, namely seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and

feeling). These are the "entrances' through which the world

enters as it were and is cognized. Then, there are the pa®ca-

karmendriyas (the five organs of action) which are "exit

gates' through which the Self contacts the world. The five

organs of action are : the organ of speech or voice, the

hands, the feet, the organ of evacuation, and the organ of

generation. Supporting the physiological function of the

karmendriyas are the pa®ca-pr¢´as (the five vital airs, namely

pr¢´a, ap“na, sam¢na, vy¢na and ud¢na). Finally, there is

the antaªkara´a (the internal organ) with its four aspects of

manas (the emotional principle), citta (the memory principle),

aha¬k¢ra (the ego/individuality principle) and buddhi (the

intellect principle).



is also of the nature of the Self. Indeed, it is the non-dual all-

pervasive consciousness which appears as the sun, the stars,

etc., (collectively known as Vir¢t or Vaiºv¢nara) when it is

conditioned by the sama¾°i-sth¦la-n¢ma-r¦pa (the total

gross names and forms). Vaiºv¢nara, the Self in conjunction

with the sama¾°i-sth¦la-n¢ma-r¦pa (i.e. the first aspect

(p¢da) of the Self in its macro or total phase) is said to have

seven limbs (sapt¢¬ga). The details of these are found in the

Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad,4 where it states that the head of

Vai¾v¢nara is the upper world or heaven. The sun and the

air are the eye and breath( i.e. nose) respectively. The

¡havan¤ya fire is said to be the mouth5 of Vai¾v¢nara. The

entire space (¢k¢ºa) is its body. And the ocean and the earth

are the bladder/kidney and the feet of Vaiºv¢nara

respectively. It is important to note that by juxtaposing the

terms ‘sapt¢nga' and ‘ekonaviïºatimukha', the intention

of the mantra is to show the identity of Vaiºv¢nara (endowed

with seven limbs) and Viºva ( the individual waker equipped 4 Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad 5.18.2 5 There are two plausible reasons for this. Firstly, fire illumines.

And speech, like fire, illumines too. Therefore, fire and in

particular the deity of fire (agni-devat¢) is taken to be the

mouth of Vaiºv¢nara. Secondly, the association of the two

could have come from the Agnihotra rite, where the oblation

offerings (essential for the success and efficacy of the

ceremony) are consigned to the sacrificial fire, just as food

(necessary for one's physical well-being) is taken through

the mouth.



with nineteen mouths), since both are of the nature of pure

consciousness. This indeed is the thrust of many Upani¾adic

passages which aim to show the oneness of the adhy¢tma

(the individual) and the adhidaiva (the cosmic) forms of

the Self.



Mantra 4

_\"T"n_P"pS"pu&SO":T"øc": _"Ê"pŒ: ï@¡puS"{\"zðp{O"X"sA": T"ø{\"{\"˜¡W"s v¡G"_"pu{ŸO"rY": T"pQ: $$

svapnasth¢nñ ntaªpraj®aª sapt¢¬ga ekona-

vi¼ºatimukhaª praviviktabhuktaijaso dvit¤yah p¢dah.

svapnasth¢nah – (whose) field is the dream state

antahpraj®aª-(who is) conscious of the internal

sapt¢¬gah – who has seven limbs

ekonavi¼ºatimukhaª – who has nineteen mouths

praviviktabhuk – enjoyer of subtle objects

taijasah - is Taijasa (dreamer)

dvit¤yaª p¢daª – the second quarter or aspect

The second aspect (of the Self) is Taijasa, whose field

of (experience) is the dream state, who is conscious of the

internal (objects), who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths

and is the enjoyer of subtle objects.


The experience of the external world through the

sense-organs in waking invariably leaves a corresponding

impression (v¢san¢) in the mind. It is said that the mind

becomes completely tainted by the experiences of waking in

the same way a piece of cloth takes on the dye in which it is

dipped. When the person goes into the dream state, the



physical sense-organs (j®¢nendriyas) and the organs of

action (karmendriyas) no longer function and only the mind

is active. In that state, the Self conditioned by the subtle names

and forms, now called the subtle Self or s¦k¾ma-¢tm¢

apparently divides into two principles; the dream knower

(svapna-pram¢t¨) or the dreamer, and the dream object

(svapna-prameyam) i.e. the dream world. As the dreamer,

equipped with the subtle up¢dhis of the individual1 , the

Self is called taijasa. And in its aspect as the dream world

(svapna-prapa®ca), with the subtle up¢dhis of the macro

scale2 , the Self is given the name of Hira´yagarbha.

In dream everything is projected out of the mind.

Both the subject experiencing the dream as well as the objects

experienced are of the nature of knowledge. The cognition of

the dreamer is therefore turned inwards i.e. antaªpraj®a and

the dream world is experienced through the nineteen subtle

organs of interaction (ekonavi¼ºatimukha), which are

created out of the v¢san¢s gathered in waking. Since the

person has access to them in the waking state, the knowledge

of the nineteen principles is also available when in dream. It

is for this reason that the dream world experienced by the

dreamer is very similar to the physical world which the

1 vya¾°i-s¦k¾ma-n¢ma-r¦pa (individual subtle names and forms) 2 sama¾°i-suk¾ma-n¢ma-r¦pa (macro subtle names and forms)



dreamer finds himself operating in as a waker3 . The sama¾°i-

n¢ma-r¦pa (macro names and forms) are the same albeit in

subtle forms. Given its introversion, the dreamer or

taijasa(i.e. the Self in association with subtle names and

forms) is also called praviviktabhuk ( the experiencer or

enjoyer of the subtle objects i.e. s¦k¾ma-prapa®ca-bhokta).

Whilst on the topic of dream, it is perhaps pertinent

to pointed out that in the k¢rik¢, a gloss written to elaborate

on the subtle points of the Upani¾ad attributed to

Gau²ap¢da, a whole chapter (Vaitathya Prakara´a) is

devoted to dispel the commonly held belief that relative to

the illusory dream experience, the waking world is real. On

closer examination, one will find that the ascription of reality

to the waking state is based on several criteria, such as utility,

clarity and vagueness, time, etc. For instance, in the case of

utility, it is reasoned that since an object, like pot is used for

carrying water from one place to another in the waking state

i.e. having utility, it cannot be unreal. This according

toGau²ap¢da is unsound because it is illogical to establish

reality based on the sole standards of the waking state. There

is no valid ground for imposing the standard of one state of

3 The concept of time-space in dream is different from that in

the waking state. Therefore, from the standpoint of time-

space, one cannot truly speak of any relationship between

waking and dream.



experience onto another. Food may serve a very important

purpose in the waking state, but its utility of appeasing hunger

does not extend to the dream state. And conversely, food in

the dream world would be of no use to a hungry person in the

waking state. Therefore, the utility of an object in one state is

clearly contradicted in another. Then, there is the argument

that whatever is seen in the waking is real because it is

perceived without distortions (sphuta). And since dream

objects usually lack clarity (avyakta), they are deemed to be

unreal. Both conclusions are erroneous because clarity and

vagueness are visual traits which are dependent on the

instrument of perception and nothing else. They are,

therefore, not suitable yardsticks for establishing reality or

otherwise. Indeed, if one is very objective and carefully

examines the matter, it will be seen that both waking and

dream have a lot in common. In both these states, the

experience of either the waking world or the dream world is

dependent on the observer. From ordinary experience,

everyone knows that the waking world is displaced in the

absence of the waker (i.e. the waking observer) when there is

a change in state from waking to sleep or dream. And

similarly, there can be no dream world in the absence of the

dreamer i.e. the dream observer. The experiences of dream

and waking are therefore not independent phenomena

because if they were, they would not have suffered



displacement in the absence of the respective observers.

Given the interdependence of the seer and the seen in these

two states, the waker (and all the objects observed therein)

and the dreamer (and all the dream objects) have necessarily

to be illusory in nature. Furthermore, a little discrimination

will show that the contents of waking and dream are in essence

the same. Both are of the nature knowledge. In the absence of

the body and the senses, the dream experience is a creation

and projection of the mind. In fact, the waking experience is

ultimately a mental process too since it is only an image

formed in the mind from the sensory perceptions which arise

when the gross sense organs contact objects of the so-called

external4 world. From the above discussion, it is quite clear

that there is nothing further from the truth when it is said

that waking is real and dream is unreal. Besides through logic

and reasoning, the unreality of the waking world is also

corroborated by the testimonies of those who have

transcended the limitation of the upadhis, the elements

giving form to the states of experience. Indeed, from the

standpoint of the unconditioned Self, all the gross objects,

which collectively give the impression of the external world, 4 Even the distinction of external and internal is an arbitrary

one based on the standpoint of the body. In reality i.e. when

empirical existence is transcended, both these concepts are

mere imaginations, which are commonly assumed to exist in

empirical transactions.



are just as illusory as those appearing in dream Therefore, in

the final analysis, that the world is real can only be a popular

notion in the vocabulary of the ignorant.



Mantra 5

Y"e" _"sÊ"pu S" @¡ú"S" @¡pX"z @¡pX"Y"O"u S" @¡ú"S" _\"T"nz T"ðY"{O" O"O_"s "sÊ"X"o $_"s "sÊ"_P"pS" ï@¡”W"tO": T"øc"pS"C"S" ï\"pS"SQX"Y"puåpS"SQW"s×E"uO"puX"sA":T"øpc"_O"wO"rY": T"pQ: $$

yatra supto na ka®cana k¢maï k¢mayate na

ka®cana svapnaï paºyati tat susupta¼/ su¾uptasth¢na

ek¤bh¦tah praj®¢naghana ev¢nandamayo hy¢nandabhuk

cetomukhaª pr¢j®astrtiyaª padaª.

yatra suptaª –where the sleeper

na k¢mayate – does not desire

ka®cana k“ma¼ –any external objects

ka®cana svapna¼ – any dream

na paºyati –does not see

tat susupta¼ –the state of deep sleep is that

su¾uptasth¢na –whose field is deep sleep

ek¤b¦taª - unified

praj®¢naghana eva – there is only a mass of consciousness

¢nandamayaª – who is full of bliss

hi ¢nandabhuk – who is indeed the enjoyer of bliss (ananda)

cetomukhaª – who is the gate to the experience

pr¢j®aª- is Pr¢j®a

t¨tiyaª p¢daª – The third quarter or aspect

The state of deep sleep is that where the sleeper

(ignorant of the Self) does not desire any external objects

nor does he see any dream. The third aspect (of the Self) is

Pr¢j®a, whose field is deep sleep, (in whom all experiences)

have become unified, who is only a mass of consciousness,



who is full of bliss, who is the enjoyer of bliss, who is the gate

to the experience of (waking and dream).


This mantra deals with the third aspect of the Self

when it is in the so-called deep-sleep state (su¾upti-avasth¢),

where all the names and forms (both on the individual level

as well as the macro level) are in dormancy. The Self in this

state is called Pr¢j®a1 . In the absence of the up¢dhis normally

available in waking and dream (i.e. the body, the mind and

the senses), the sleeper (su¾upta) has neither the experiences

of external objects, which characterize the waker, nor the

experience of the internal world privy to the dreamer. With

the quiescence of the mind and the five sense-organs2 ,

differences and distinctions are absent. Indeed, all specific

cognitions and knowledge have become unified. The term

used to described this undifferentiated condition is ‘ek¤b¦ta’.

In the deep-sleep state, the individual(vya¾°i) and cosmic

(sama¾°i) distinction perceived in waking and dream is not

discernible. In other words, both Pr¢j®a(the Self conditioned

by the individual potential names and forms) and Iºvara(the 1 As everything is in its causal condition, the term k¢ra´a-¢tm¢

is also used to describe this state. 2 It is through the five senses, namely auditory(ear), visual(eye),

olfactory(nose), gustatory(tongue) and tactile(skin) that the

universe is differentiated into the special qualities of sound,

colour, smell, taste, and touch respectively.



name given to the Self conditioned by the cosmic potential

names and forms) or Antary¢mi (the Self in its immanent

aspect) cannot be distinguished from each other. The state of

deep sleep is verily a mass of consciousness. And the sleeper

is completely enveloped by non-discrimination or ignorance.

This lack of knowledge(agraha´a) is referred to by the term

‘praj®¢na-ghana'. The world, however, is still present

although everything is in its seed form. This can be compared

to furniture kept in a darkened room. The chairs and tables

may be present, but it appears as though there is nothing in

the room since everything is covered by darkness. So just as

the furniture is not seen in the darkness, the sleeper too is not

given to the experience of either the external or the internal

world. All the defining n¢ma-r¦pa have become unmanifest

(avyaktam). However, the moment the sleeper wakes up,

all that which had been latent immediately become manifest

and the duality of empirical life takes center stage.

The mantra goes on to declare that in that state where

all defining up¢dhis have lost their potency to limit, the

person is free from the sense of being an individual. The

sleeper is free from all mental activities. There is neither the

‘aham-v¨tti' (the mental modification which gives rise to

one’s distinct identity) nor the ‘idam-v¨tti' (the mental

modification responsible for the sense of the other). The

sleeper is given a respite from the restlessness arising from



the interaction between the ‘I’ ( the ego sense) and the other.

As a result, a temporary limitlessness is experienced in sleep.

The term to describe this bliss is ‘¢nandamaya’. And the

sleeper is called ‘¢nandabhuk’(an enjoyer of bliss). It should,

however, be pointed out here that the bliss (¢nanda)3

experienced in sleep is only a peace consequent of the lack of

mental activity when the mind is in its causal condition.

Unlike true ¢nanda, which is verily the Self (¢nanda-

svar¦pa), the bliss experienced in sleep is within time and

space. There is a beginning and an end. And it is only

experienced when one is in the deep-sleep state. In other

words, it is relative joy (¢pek¾ika-¢nanda) conditioned upon

circumstances. Both waking and dream are characterized by

divisions in the forms of the subject-object duality

(dvaitam), and the triad comprising the subject, the object,

3 The bliss is not a reflection of ¢tm¢ because for any reflection

a reflecting medium is necessary. In deep sleep, the mind is

not available. As such, there can be neither suka-v¨tti (mental

mode of happiness) nor duka-v¨tti (mental mode of sadness).

It is also pertinent to note here that when ¢nanda is experienced

in waking and dream, both the experience and the awareness

of it occur simultaneously. When the bliss is experienced the

person is able to immediately articulate it through the

expression "I feel happy'. In sleep, however, where the body-

mind complex is in its causal condition, the ¢nanda is merely

registered. The awareness of it only comes later as a recollection

when the sleeper wakes up and reports "I felt happy'. In sleep,

therefore, there is a time lapse between the experience of

¢nanda and the awareness of it.



and the instrument (tripu°i). The very presence of divisions

give rise to attachment(or aversion), and all its auxiliary

traits, which inevitably lead to suffering. Deep sleep,

however, is free from any mental agitations since the objects

responsible for the differences and distinctions of the other

two states are in dormancy. But alas, the bliss of nirvikalpa4

is short-lived, and the person once again becomes mired in

the anxiety and stress of worldly life upon waking.

The mantra then points out that sleep (Pr¢j®a) is a

gateway (cetomukha5)1 because both the states of waking

and dream emerge from, and eventually withdraw into, it.

As explained earlier in the commentary on the present

mantra, deep sleep is verily a mass of undifferentiated

consciousness, where the micro and macro upadhis of both

the gross and subtle levels are in their casual forms. It is

therefore from this antecedent condition of pure

consciousness associated with the casual body - mind

4 The freedom from vikalpa(imagination or mentation) is a

state which comes and goes. It is for this reason that the state

of deep sleep is also known as nirvikalpa-avasth¢, and not

nirvikalpa-j®¢nam — the permanent freedom from vikalpa

resulting from knowledge – which is the nature of one who is

realized. 5 "Mukha' is mouth or gateway and "cetaª' is the v¨tti - j®¢nam

which gives rise to the cognition of

objects in the waking and dream states.



complex which merely witnesses62 the totality of unified

potentialities that the distinctive knowledge of being a waker

as well as being a dreamer is projected before once again

becoming the undiversified consciousness in the state of deep

sleep. From ordinary experience, everyone knows that a

direct change of status, say from a waker to a dreamer, or a

direct change of a state, say from waking to dream, is not

possible. In waking, the Self is associated with the gross body.

In dream, where the gross body is not available, a dream body

is projected by the mind for transaction in the dream world.

What then needs to happen in the transition from waking to

dream is that the association with the gross body has first to

be given up before the association with the dream body can

take place. As the gateway, Pr¢j®a therefore provides the

necessary hiatus which allows for the disidentification with

one body before identification with another is possible.

6 This witnessing by Pr¢j®a, it might be added, is also that

which is responsible for the cognition of the absence of

objects in deep sleep. And it is this cognition and the resulting

peace which give rise to the expression, "I did not know

anything. I slept soundly' upon waking.



Mantra 6

ï^" _"\"uêÄ"Z ï^" _"\"êc" ï^"pu&SO"Y"pXY"u^" Y"pu{S": _"\"ê_Y" T"øW"\"pTY"Y"pv {`W"tO"pS"pX"o $

e¾a sarveºvara e¾a sarvaj®a e¾o'¬tary¢mye¾a yoniª

sarvasya prabhav¢pyayau hi bh¦t¢n¢m

e¾aª – this or He

sarveºvarah – is the Lord of all

e¾aª sarvaj®aª – He is all-knowing

esah antary¢mi – He is in-dwelling spirit or inner- controller

e¾aª yoniª – He is the womb i.e. source

sarvasya – of all

prabhav¢pyayau – origination or birth and dissolution or


hi – verily or therefore

bh¦t¢n¢m – things, including beings

He is the Lord of all. He is all-knowing (omniscient).

He is the inner-controller. He is the source of all. In Him

verily all things originate and also merge.


Having examined the k¢ran¢-¢tm¢ (causal Self) in

its individual phase, where it is known as Pr¢j®a, the

Upani¾ad now continues to look at the k¢ra´¢-¢tm¢ in its

total or cosmic aspect. The Self, when associated with the

cosmic causal names and forms, is called £ºvara (the Lord).

And £ºvara is said to be the womb (yoni) from which both



the gross world experienced in waking, and its subtle

counterpart in dream arise. Indeed, Pr¢j®a in essence (since

the up¢dhis which characterize waking and dream are all in

their latent states) £ºvara, who having created the universe is

also immanent in it. The spiritual import of this is that if one

can give up the identity as an individual sleeper(Pr¢j®a), the

person is verily £ºvara.1 This oneness of the individual and

the total is experienced daily in sleep, where every being

gives up the false sense of individuality (the source of

suffering) and becomes one with the ground of pure

consciousness i.e. the Self 2 . To support this view of the

identity of tvam-pad¢rtha and tat-pad¢rtha (the individual

and the total), ¹a¬kara in his commentary on this mantra

quotes from the Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad 3 the analogy of a

1 The same can be said of Viºva and Vaiºv¢nara, and of Taijasa

and Hira´yagarbha. In the former, if one can give up the

identity as the gross individual waker (Viºva), then the person

knows that he is verily the consciousness or the deity associated

with the entire gross world. In other words, he becomes

Vaiºv¢nara, or the sth¦la-prapa®ca-abhimani-devat¢. Similarly,

in the latter case, if the dream individual(Taijasa) can

transcend the limitation of being a dreamer, then he is

Hira´yagarbha. 2 It should, however, be pointed out that this experience of

oneness is only a temporary one, since ignorance has not

been completely eradicated and the sleeper soon becomes

identified with the upadhis and once again reconnects with

the phenomenal world. 3 Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad 6.8.2



bird tied to a post, which returns to rest on the post after

flying about in all directions having looked in vain for a

refuge elsewhere. In the same manner, the jÃiva finding no

support or abode in its experiences in the waking and dream

states returns to its causal or original source i.e. sleep for

solace and rest. The second half of the said Ch¢ndogya text

depicts the restlessness of the jiva as ‘a mind flying in various

directions’ and goes on to state that ‘finding no resting place

elsewhere, (it) takes refuge in Pr¢na alone’. The term

‘Pr¢na’ is used in the sense of Param¢tman. The state of

deep sleep therefore offers man a foretaste of what it is to be

totally free from any limitation, where in the absence of a

subject (a waker, etc.), the notion of an object (a wider

environment, such as the waking state, etc.) is irrelevant and


£ºvara, as the Lord of creation, is not only the material

cause (up¢d¢na-k¢ra´a), but is also the efficient cause

(nimitta-k¢ra´a). Being all knowing or omniscient

(sarvaj®a) and all powerful or omnipotent (sarveºvara),

£ºvara has both the knowledge and skill to create the waking

and dream worlds together with their inhabitants and

objects. Furthermore, the Lord having created the sentient

beings is also present in them as the inner



controller(antary¢mi)4 . And having created and sustained

the universe, £ºvara is also the locus in which every living

being and object resolve at the time of dissolution. This

indeed is experienced in sleep, where the individuality of

everyone becomes latent, and with it the entire

phenomenality resolves into its source.

It is clear from the analysis so far that the third p¢da

of the Self is the k¢ra´a-p¢da (causal aspect), and the first

and second p¢d¢s are the kar¤ya-p¢das (effect-aspects). The

pairs of Viºva and Vaiºv¢nara and Taijasa and

Hira´yagarbha are therefore products of the k¢ra´a-¢tm¢.

The ultimate reality (presented in the next mantra as the

fourth p¢da, of the Self) is, however, free from any limitation

and conditioning. Being one without a second, the fourth

p¢da or Tur¤ya as it is called, is therefore absolute5 , beyond

the constrain of time, space and causation.

4 The root "antar' denotes entering. And inhering in every

individual, the inner controller is the principle responsible for

all knowledge and experiences. Hence, it is said that the

entire world emerges from Him(£ºvara). 5 The absolute is free from any divisions, such as cause and

effect i.e. kar¤ya-k¢ra´a-vilakºana¼, and other forms of duality

and multiplicity.



Mantra 7

S"pSO":T"øc"z S" V"{`^T"øc"z S"puW"Y"O":T"øc"z S" T"øc"pS"C"S"z S" T"øc"z S"pT"øc"X"o $ìªÍ>X"\Y"\"`pY" êX"Bp øpåX"“b"Npp{S" {E"SOY"X" \Y"T"QuðY"X" o $ï@¡pOX"T"øOY"Y"_"pZz T"øT"ú"puT"ðpX"z ðppSO"z {ðp\"X"ŸvO"z E"O"sP"| X"SY"SO"u _" ìpOX"p_" {\"c"uY": $

n¢ntaªpraj®aï na bahi¾praj®a¼ nobhayataª-

praj®aï na praj®anaghanaï na praj®a¼ napra•j®am/

ad¨¾°am avyavah¢ryam agr¢hyam alak¾anam acintyam

avyapadeºyam ek‘tmapratyayas¢ra¼ prapancopaºamaï

º¢ntaï sivam advaitaï caturtha¼ manyante sa ¢tm¢

sa vij®eyaª

na antaªpraj®a¼ – not conscious of internal cognition

na bahi¾praj®am – not conscious of the external (world)

nobhayatahpraj®am – neither conscious of both

na praj®¢naghana¼ – not a mass of consciousness

na praj®aï – not the all-knowing consciousness

na apraj®a¼ – not unconsciousness (either)

ad¨¾°am –beyond perception

avyavah¢ryam – beyond transaction i.e. unrelated to any


agr¢hyam –beyond grasp (of any organs of action)

alak¾a´am – uninferable (by any sense-organs)

acintyam – beyond thoughts

avyapadeºyam – indescribable (through words)

ek¢tmapratyayas¢ra¼ – perception of that awareness which

remains unbroken despite all the changes in the states

of waking, dream and sleep



prapa®copaºama¼ – negation of the world

º¢nta¼ – peaceful/tranquil

ĺivam - auspicious

advaita¼ – non-dual

caturtha¼ – the fourth or Tur¤ya

manyate – considered or known

sah ¢tm¢ – this Self

saª vij®eyaª – has to be known/realized

Tur¤ya (is that which is) not conscious of internal

cognition, not conscious of the external (world), not

conscious of both, not a mass of consciousness, not the all-

knowing consciousness nor unconsciousness, (it is) beyond

perception, beyond transaction, beyond grasp (of any organs

of action), uninferable (by any sense-organs), beyond

thoughts, beyond description through words; (it is) that

awareness (or Self) which remains unbroken (in all the three

states), free from the world, peaceful, auspicious and non-

dual. This is known as the Self. It is to be realized.


As explained earlier, the Self, when it is apparently

conditioned by the gross up¢dhis in the waking state, is called

Viºva. And the outwardly oriented Viºva is said to be the

first aspect or manifestation (prathama-p¢da) of the Self.

In the dream state, although the Self is free from the



association with gross elements, it nevertheless is still

conditioned by subtle upadhis and is called Taijasa or

dreamer. The dreamer whose field of activity is confined to

the internal world is the second aspect (dvitÃiya-p¢da) of the

Self. And as both these states are characterized by ignorance

(not knowing the true nature of the Self) and error (erroneous

knowledge), the oneness or non-duality of the Self appears

to be fragmented. In deep sleep, however, both the gross and

subtle forms of limitation are absent. Having gone into

latency, the up¢dhis have temporarily lost their potency to

act. As a result, there is neither external nor internal

cognition. Although sleep is error free, it should be

emphasized that ignorance is still present because the false

identification with both the gross and subtle body-mind

complexes, and the assumption that they are real, have not

been completely eradicated. The Self in this condition of

undifferentiated and undirected awareness is called Pr¢j®a

or sleeper. And Pr¢j®a is the third aspect (t¨tÃiya-p¢da) of

the Self. However, beyond these fleeting states is the Self-

in-itself or the Self per se, and the present mantra declares

that this ever-present,unchanging and homogeneous ground

of existence, where both ignorance and error are absent, is

called Tur¤ya. The all-important question which follows is:

how does one know the Self, subsisting in all the three states

of experience, since it is free from any



attributes1 ? And indeed, being the very essence of the mind

and the senses, the Self is beyond conceptualization and

understanding. The scripture clearly points out that ‘Words

return along with the mind, not attaining it’.2 The senses and

the mind are designed only for the knowledge of the world3

1 Generally, there are five conditions, and at least one of which

must be met for the meaningful employment of a word for

communication or giving knowledge. These are:rudh¤, j¢ti,

gu´a, kriy¢ and sa¼bandha. Rudh¤ is the word or name

agreed upon by everyone for a particular object. A chair, for

instance, is a term which, through common experience and

consensus, refers to an object for sitting. Everyone knows

what is being referred to, and no elaborate explanation need

be made, when the word "chair' is uttered. In the absence of a

commonly agreed term, especially when it involves the

identification of a living thing never seen before, the genus

(j¢ti) i.e. group with common characteristics to which it belongs

would be very helpful. An organism with six legs is likely to

be some kind of an insect. An object can also be revealed

through its property (gu´a) e.g. colour. A person with blond

hair can be easily identified in a crowd of people with black

hair. Motion or function (kriy¢) is another condition. A person

who is running can be spotted with ease especially when the

others are either standing or walking. Finally, the unknown

can be revealed through its relationship (sa¼bandha) with

another object that is known. The book on the sofa, for

example, clearly refers to the one at the specific location,

namely on the sofa, and not to any of the books found

elsewhere. 2 Tattir¤ya Upani¾ad 2.4.1 3 Worldly knowledge is available to one through any of the

following means of knowledge (pram¢´as): perception



and not for that which is trans-empirical. Notwithstanding

what has been said, words is still the only tool available for

the intimation of the absolute reality. The role of words in

this regard is, however, different from the way they are

normally used i.e. as a direct means of communication.

Usually words are employed to directly reveal an object, an

idea or an emotion. But in the case of the attribute-free-Self,

it is indirectly known through the negation of all the false

notions superimposed on it. When the unreal is negated, what

remains is the real. Indeed, the real, call it ¡tm¢ (Self),

Brahman, or the pure ground of consciousness, is ever-

existent. However, when one is deluded (seeing the world as

real) and becomes ensnared by the false4 , the underlying

reality is largely lost sight of. But the moment one realizes

the transciency of phenomenal existence with its phantom

objects and characters, the effulgence of the ever-luminous

Self shines forth unobstructed. This is liberation (mok¾a). It

is pertinent to point out here that the locus in which the error

is perceived (seeing a thing as something else) is also the

very place of its resolution. The rope is the support of the

(pratyak¾a), inference (anum¢na), comparison (upam¢na),

postulation (arth¢patti), or non- apprehension (anupalabdhi).

For the knowledge of the Self, one has to resort to scripture

(¢gama or verbal testimony) which is the sole pram¢´a for it. 4 The oneness is fragmented and the j¤va (the particularized

mode of the Self) becomes identified with the many roles it is

presented with in empirical existence.



snake appearance. Once the illusion of the snake is realized,

only the rope will be seen. One need not convert the snake

into rope because the snake has never come into existence. It

is due to ignorance that the rope which alone exists is seen as

something else. Similarly, the knowledge of the Self

(Tur¤ya) is concomitant with knowing that one is not a

waker, etc., operating in a state known as waking, etc., which

are notions falsely superimposed on the absolute. Notions

are mere names with no substantiality. The truth, as the

substratum of space, time and object, exists independently,

is eternal and there is nothing apart from it5 . Tur¤ya is

therefore not an effect which comes about after the cause,

namely ignorance, is removed.

The constant witness of the ever changing states6 i.e.

the Self or Tur¤ya, has then to be presented in the only way

possible, which is through the negation of all the conceivable

attributes conventionally known to be associated with it. In

5 Even the mind, with its every single thought and every latent

impression (v¢san¢) is ultimately of the nature of pure

awareness. 6 The three states are conditions defined by the up¢dhis of the

mind, the senses and the body. When the full complement of

the up¢dhis is present the j¤va is said to be in the waking

state. Dream is a condition when only the mind is available.

When all the three up¢dhis are not available, having gone

into their latent states, the condition is called sleep. The

states are in reality wrong notions which have to be given up.



7 B¨had¢ra´yaka Upani¾ad (BU) 2.3.6 "Now therefore there

is the teaching ""not this, not this'' (na iti na iti) for there is

nothing higher than this, that he is not this.' 8 Ibid.

the tradition of the Upani¾ads, this method is called

adhy¢ropa-apav¢da (superimposition and subsequent

denial). Its application is perhaps best explained by ¹a¬kara

in his commentary on the text from the B¨hada•ra´yaka

Upani¾ad wherein the teaching of ‘na it¤ na iti’ or ‘not this

not this’ is expounded7 . According to ¹a¬kara, ‘Brahman

has none of the distinguishing marks (such as, name, form,

etc.). Hence, it cannot be described as, “It is such and such” as

we can describe a cow by saying, “There moves a white cow

with horns”. Brahman is described by means of name, form

and action superimposed on it, in such phrases and terms as,

“Brahman is consciousness and bliss,” “Brahman is

consciousness throughout”, etc. However, if the essential

nature alone is intended to be pointed out, free from all

specific features due to the limiting adjuncts, then this is an

utter impossibility. Thus, there is only one way left and that

is to point out (Brahman) by negating all the conceivable

attributes that are known to be associated with it.’8

The mantra begins with the negation of dream and

waking when it declares that Tur¤ya is free from the

consciousness of both the internal(na antaªpraj®a¼) and



the external(na bahispraj®a¼). Then, it goes on to say that

Tur¤ya is not conscious of either (na ubhayataª-praj®a¼).

By this, even should there be an intermediate state between

dream and waking, this too is excluded. It is also not a mass

of undifferentiated consciousness(na praj®¢naghana¼). In

other words, Tur¤ya is not a state of deep sleep. And

continuing with the ‘na it¤ na iti’ approach of the

B¨had¢ra´yaka text, the mantra points out that the pure

relationless experience is neither the all-knowing

consciousness (na praj®am) i.e. not £ºvara9 who is

omniscient, nor is it insentience (na apraj®am or

acaitanyam).To reiterate the fact that Tur¤ya is the non-

dual changeless reality, the negation henceforth takes a

different form. Tur¤ya is now said to be beyond perception

of any of the sense-organs i.e. ad¨¾°am. And as a result of

this, it is beyond transaction (avyavah¢ryam) and is also

beyond grasp(agr¢hyam). Furthermore in the absence of any

attributes or predicates, the mantra goes on to point out that

Tur¤ya is not only beyond inference (alak¾a´am), it is

beyond mentation (acintyam) as well as beyond description


Having elaborated in much details what Tur¤ya is not,

the student may come to the erroneous conclusion that it is

9 It is only from the standpoint of creation that one brings in

the creator or £ºvara.



void i.e. º¦nyam10, a Buddhist concept of the Mah¢y¢na

tradition. To avoid this pitfall, the ultimate reality is

henceforth described in positive terms. Tur¤ya is the ever-

existent awareness subsisting in all the three states. The term

used in the Upani¾ad is ‘eka ¢tm¢’, the one Self. Indeed, it

is the Self alone one must realize (or to know fully, as

indicated by the word ‘pratyaya’) in the conscious

experience of ‘I am’, the unitary subject 11common in

waking, dream and sleep which everyone is aware of. In his

commentary on the mantra, ¹a¬kara gives another meaning

to the phrase ‘eka-¢tm¢-pratyaya-s¢ra¼’, based on his

interpretation of the term ‘s¢ra¼’ to mean that which enables

one to gain the knowledge of Tur¤ya. And that which is

capable of giving the liberating knowledge is the Self. It is

verily through the knowledge of the Self alone i.e. ¢tm¢-

10 The Advaitin gives a very simple explanation to dispense with

the idea of voidness. The very claim of voidness presupposes

the existence of a wider consciousness, in the absence of

which one cannot speak of either emptiness (absence) or

fullness(presence). 11 The subjective sense of existence (Sat) and awareness(Cit) is

in every cognition and experience. The third aspect is infinite

bliss (¢nanda), and like Sat and Cit is beyond the experience

of most people because as long as there is even the slightest

attachment to the body, the preoccupation with its well-being

takes precedence and one loses the equipoise so vital for the

abidance in the highest truth i.e. pure consciousness of




pratyaya, that the highest truth can be realized. This is indeed

the essence of the Upani¾adic statement which implies that

‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon for all these are unified

in it’.1 2

The mantra goes on to declare that in the pure ground

of knowledge (the cit-vastu), all the three states i.e. waking

state, etc., and their subjective forms i.e. waker, etc., are

absent. The term used to describe this is prapancopaºamam.

In other words, in whatever way the world is perceived, that

particular state which is available to the perceiver e.g. waking

world to the waker, is not there in the homogenous Self. And

to ensure the complete understanding of this negation of

phenomenality, especially for those who need further

explanation, Gau²ap¢da expanded upon it and elaborately

discussed the subject (the illusoriness of the world) in 38

12 BU 1.4.7 The term ‘meditation’ in the text means knowledge,

which should be understood as the removal of ignorance or

eradication of the false impressions obscuring the ultimate

reality. And the eradication of ignorance is done through

negation as prescribed in scriptural passages, such as "not

this, not this' (BU 2.3.6). The Self should never be treated

as an object of meditation in the commonly understood sense

since it is beyond the senses and the mind. The phrase "all

these' refers to both the adventitious features, such as pr¢na,

sense organs, etc., at the micro-cosmic (or individual) level as

well as the total upadhis responsible for the macro environment

in the three states.



k¢rik¢s which form the second chapter (Vaitathya

Prakara´a) of his M¢´²¦kya k¢rik¢.

This knowledge being the ultimate truth, is devoid of

any differentiation1 3 .And in the absence of duality, such as

love and hate, happiness and suffering, etc., Tur¤ya is

eternally peaceful (º¢ntam) and is therefore auspicious

(ºivam). Having negated the reality erroneously imputed to

the experienced world (due to lack of discrimination and

knowledge), the mantra ends by reiterating that non-

duality(advaita¼) is the ultimate teaching. And since non-

duality is the very fundamental tenet of Advaita Ved¢nta,

Gau²ap¢da had devoted a separate chapter (Advaita

Prakara´a) comprising 48 k¢rik¢s for its detailed discussion

and analysis. Finally, to show that it is the pure substantive

ground upon which the three illusory states appear, Tur¤ya

is said to be the Fourth (caturtha¼). The import of labeling

it the Fourth is to reinforce the point that Tur¤ya is totally

distinct from the three states of waking, dream and sleep

which have no independent existence of their own.

Notwithstanding the fact that Tur¤ya is distinct from the three

states, it is not separate from them as pot may be distinct

13 Be it difference between two objects of the same class i.e.

sajatiya-bheda, difference of one object from another object

of a different class i.e. vijatiya-bheda or internal difference

i.e. svagata-bheda.



from clay but is never separate from clay. The Fourth is

therefore not a separate state which one can aspire to reach or

attain. Indeed, being the substratum and content of all

phenomenality, Tur¤ya is present in every experience. It is

abiding in each and every cognition, be it in the gross, subtle

or causal. However, most of us are so caught up with the

movie that the screen upon which it is shown is completely

ignored. Just as in reality only the rope exists, but in its place

one sees the snake instead. The knowledge of Tur¤ya, the one

without a second, must be known. When the Self is not

known as Tur¤ya, then credence and importance will be given

to the waker, the dreamer, or the sleeper. ¹a¬kara in his

commentary on the mantra at this juncture appropriately

points out that the true purport of the mah¢v¢kya ‘Tat Tvam

Asi’ is to show the non-difference of jiva (after negation of

all the incidental features of the body, the senses and the mind)

and Brahman (pure consciousness). Stripped of all the false

and limiting factors ‘You’ (Tvam) are verily That(Tat). For

the one who truly knows this (the sole reality of the Self)

beyond an iota of doubt, the duality which continues to be

experienced is clearly seen as a dream without any trace of

substantiality. In the absence of ignorance, there can be no

more errors. As a result, there is neither the desire to possess

i.e. no attachment, nor the urge to avoid i.e. no aversion

since in the absence of a second, the notion of relation is



completely irrelevant. There can no longer be the knowledge

of the other. Instead, the liberated person (j¤van-mukta)

remains forever established as Brahman i.e. knowledge as

Brahman1 4. This non-difference of knowledge and the object

of knowledge is called j®eyabhinna-j®¢na. And this highest

realization, where there is no knower, no known and no

knowing is succinctly encapsulated in, and elegantly

conveyed through, the mah¢v¢kya ‘Praj®¢na¼ Brahma’

(The absolute is awareness).

14 This knowledge is of the nature of pure unconditioned

awareness, where even the seer-seen distinction is transcended.



Mantra 8

_"pu&Y"X"pOX"pRY"b"ZX"puŠ>pZpu&{R"X"pe"z T"pQp X"pe"p X"pe"pÆ" T"pQp ì@¡pZí@¡pZpu X"@¡pZ ò{O" $$

so' yam ¢tm¢dhyak¾aram o¬karo'dhim¢traï p¢d¢

m¢tr¢ m¢tr¢ºca p¢da ak¢ra uk¢ro mak¢ra it¤

saª ayam ¢tm¢ – The same Self

adhyak¾aram – from the standpoint of the (total) syllables

onkaraª –is O¼k¢ra

adhim¢tram –from the standpoint of the individual letters

p¢daª -quarters

m¢tr¢ª -letters

ca m¢tr¢ª – and the letters

p¢daª –(are) the quarters

ak¢raª –‘a’

uk¢raª – ‘u’

mak¢raª –‘m’

it¤ – that

The same Self (described in the previous mantras with

four pad¢s or aspects) is O¼k¢ra from the point of view of

(the) syllables. From the standpoint of the individual letters

(i.e. m¢tras which constitute Om), the quarters (or aspects

of the Self) are letters, and the letters are quarters. The letters

(m¢tras), here are ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘m’.


In the first mantra, Om, the compound syllable

inclusive of all sounds, is said to be everything within and



beyond time and space. The Upani¾ad then goes on to declare

that ¡tm¢ (the Self), comprising as it were four

p¢das(aspects), is verily Brahman too. Hence, given the

common denotation of Om, Brahman and ¡tm¢, it logically

follows that Om is also a symbol denoting the Self. Om1 ,

therefore is a very potent means which can lead one either to

the highest unconditioned truth i.e. the Higher Brahman or

Tur¤ya, or to the conditioned truth i.e. the Lower Brahman

or £ºvara, the cause of the Universe. To realize the ultimate

reality, one needs to enquire into Om from the perspective

of the three aspects of the Self, which are indicated by, and

identified with, the three m¢tras (sounds) of Om. Details of

this Omk¢ra-vicara (enquiry into Om) which results in the

transcendence of all limiting up¢dhis 2 in the soundless Om

will be examined in the twelfth and last mantra of the

Upani¾ad. As for the attainment of the Lower Brahman,

one should instead meditate on the constituent sounds (i.e.

the three m¢tr¢s of ‘ak¢ra’, ‘uk¢ra’, and ‘mak¢ra’) of Om

and their correspondence and identity with the p¢das 1 From the present mantra, the enquiry into, as well as

meditation on Om is introduced, leaving behind the enquiry

into the Self(¡tm¢-vicara), which started with the third mantra,

and culminating in the seventh with an elaborate discussion

of the absolute Tur¤ya. 2 The limiting up¢dhis of the body, the mind, etc., are

responsible for the illusions of waking, dream and sleep; the

sum of which defines men's entire empirical existence.



(aspects) of the Self. According to the mantra, ‘ak¢ra’3 ,

the first m¢tr¢ of Om, is verily Vaiºv¢nara, the first p¢da

of the Self. The second matra ‘uk¢ra’ is none other than

Taijasa, the second p¢da. And likewise, ‘mak¢ra’ the third

m¢tr¢ is Pr¢j®a, the third pada. It is important to point out

here that the correspondence of each m¢tr¢ with each pada

is said to be one of t¢d¢tmya i.e. the identity of essence of a

name or word (v¢caka), and that which is referred to by it

(v¢cya). By providing a symbol as a support (¢la¼bana)

for meditation certainly makes it easier for one who is not

accustomed to the rigour of spiritual discipline to make the

gradual transition from a predominantly worldly existence

of external orientation to one which is more introspective.

Therefore, through Pra´ava-dyn¢na or Omk¢ra-up¢san¢

(meditation on Om), even those less philosophically inclined

who do not take easily to enquiry are not forgotten. Indeed,

maintaining the stream of cognition on a single thought,

invariably makes the mind more and more focused and

increasingly pure. And with spiritual maturity, the s¢dhaka

will in due course be ready for not only the mediate

knowledge of Brahman conveyed through the major texts of

the Upani¾ads (mah¢v¢kyas), but also the direct experience

(anubhava) or the immediate knowledge of the highest truth.

3 The first sound made whenever a person opens the mouth to

articulate a word.



Mantra 9

G"pBpqZO"_P"pS"pu \"vÄ"S"Zpu&@¡pZ: T"øP"X"p X"pe"pÊ"uZp{QX"O\"pŸpT"npu{O" \"v_"\"pêS@¡pX"pS"p{QÆ" W"\"{O" Y" ï\"z \"uQ $$

j¢garitasth¢no vaiºv¢naro karaª pratham¢

m¢tr¢pte-r¢dimatv¢d v¢pnoti ha v¢i sarvan k¢m¢n

¢diºca bhavati ya evaï veda

j¢garitasth¢nah – locus or field (of activity) is the waking


vaiºv¢narah - Vaiºv¢nara

ak¢raª –is ‘a’

pratham¢ m¢tr¢ – the first letter (of Om)

¢pteª – (due to its) all-pervasiveness

v¢ ¢dimat-tv¢t –and it being the first

¢pnoti ha vai – surely attains/fulfills

sarv¢n k¢m¢n – all desires

¢dhiª – foremost/best

ca bªavati – and becomes

yaª – the seeker

evam -thus

veda –knows

Vaiºv¢nara, whose field (of activity) is the waking state,

is ‘a’ (ak¢ra) the first letter of (Om) due to (the similarity

of) all-pervasiveness and on account of being the first. The

seeker who knows thus (i.e. the oneness of akara and

Vaiºv¢nara) fulfills all desires and becomes the best.




The identity of ‘ak¢ra’, the first m¢tr¢ of Om, with

Vaiºv¢nara1 the first p¢da of the Self having the waking

state as the sphere of activity is now alluded upon. And two

common features, namely all pervasiveness and primary

status, are cited for establishing the oneness between the two.

According to the rules of Sanskrit phonetic (as well as

ordinary experience), ‘ak¢ra’ (or ‘a’) is the basic sound

produced whenever one opens the mouth to utter any word,

alphabet or sound. It is therefore the material cause of all

other sounds. And as the effect has necessarily to be pervaded

by the cause, so all sounds and alphabets are in essence

‘ak¢ra’, in the same way all gold ornaments are gold only.

There is an Upani¾adic statement which declares that, ‘The

sound ‘a’ is indeed all speech.’2

As Lord or Vir¢°-£ºvara, Vaiºv¢nara is verily the Self

pervading the whole universe. Indeed, it is only in the waking

state that the full complement of up¢dhis (the body, the mind

and the senses), necessary for the experience of the three states

of waking, dream and sleep which define the totality of the

human existence, are available. It is in this sense that

1 The Self obtaining in the gross-cosmic context i.e. the physical

universe 2 Aitareya ¡ranyaka 2.3.7



Vaiºv¢nara is said to be all- pervasive since it is these very

up¢dhis which enable the jÃiva to make the expressions, ‘I

am awake’, ‘I was dreaming’ and ‘I slept soundly’ in the

waking state. There is also scriptural support for this. The

passage from the Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad, ‘Of this Universal

Self (i.e. the Vaiºv¢nara-¡tman), the head is the effulgent

light, the eye is the universal form…. The feet are the earth’3

clearly attests to the all-pervasiveness of Vaiºv¢nara..

Primacy, or being the first (¢dimatv¢t), is the second

feature which both ‘ak¢ra’ and Vaiºv¢nara have in common.

‘Ak¢ra’, the first m¢tr¢ of Om, is the beginning sound4 of

any verbal expression because it is the first sound produced

the moment the mouth is opened. Indeed, even the cry of a

new born begins with ‘ak¢ra’. In the same way, Vaiºv¢nara

is also the first because both the states of dream and deep

sleep are preceded by the waking state.

As an incentive to induce interest in this up¢san¢, the

mantra vouchsafes that the one who meditates on the oneness

of ‘akara’ and Vaiºv¢nara will not only have all the worldly

desires fulfilled but shall also emerge foremost amongst all

the great people5 . It should, however, be pointed out here

3 Ch¢ndogya Upani¾ad 5.18.2 4 There are no other sound or alphabet which precedes "ak¢ra'. 5 The attainment of worldly gains and pleasures cannot be the

true import of the mantra. The real purport is to entice those



that the meditation is not just on the sound of ‘ak¢ra’, but

upon the sound symbol6 one must visualize the whole

physical universe. In other words, one should be meditating

on the ‘ak¢ra’ aspect of Om as the universe, and not purely

on the sound only. This technique is technically called ak¢ra-


who are not spiritually inclined to embark on some form of

spiritual practice, like meditation. And hopefully over time,

they become imbued with more sattvic qualities which

predispose them to further pursue the inward life. But

notwithstanding the implied objective , one who meditates on

Om as ak¢ra with the corresponding visualization of

Vaiºv¢nara, given the identity of the two as described, will

attain Viºva-Vaiºv¢nara as the immediate benefit. And there

will be mastery over both the individual and total names and

forms of the gross waking state. In other words, one will have

control not only over the individual waking life, but also the

macro environment of the gross universe. 6 The ‘ak¢ra’ functions as a tangible support which the mind

can focus on. And it is a rule of meditation that whatever one

meditates upon one ultimately attains or becomes.



Mantra 10

_\"TS"_P"pS"_O"vG"_" í@¡pZpu {ŸO"rY"p X"pe"puO@¡p^"pêQlW"Y"O\"pŸpuO@¡^"ê{O" \"v c"pS"_"SO"{O"z _"X"pS"Æ" W"\"{O" S"p_Y"pV"øÏ"{\"O@s¡“u W"\"{O" Y" ï\"z \"uQ $$

svapnasth¢nastaijasa uk¢ro dvit¤ya m¢trotkar¾¢d

ubhayatv¢d votkar¾ati ha vai j®¢nasantatim sam¢naºca

bhavati n¢syabrahmavit kule bhavati ya eva¼ veda

svapnasth¢nah – locus or field of (activity) is the dream


taijasaª - Taijasa

ukaraª dvitiy¢ m¢tr¢ – is the second letter ‘ u’

utkar¾at - superiority

v¢ ubhayatat – on account of it being in the middle (of waking

and sleep)

utkar¾ati ha vai –he thus excels

j®¢nasantatim – his range of knowledge

sam¢naª – equal (to all)

ca bhavati – and becomes

na -no

asya – in this

abrahmavit – one ignorant of Brahman

kule – lineage or family

bhavati – will be

yaª – that one/ the seeker

eva¼ - thus

veda –knows

Taijasa, whose field (of activity) is the dream state, is

the second letter ‘u’ due to it being in the middle (of waking

and sleep) and on account of its superiority (in relation to the



waking state). One who knows thus i.e. the identity of "uk¢ra'

and Taijasa excels in his (scope and depth) of knowledge and

becomes equal to all. In his family no one will be ignorant of



The oneness of ‘uk¢ra’ and Taijasa is examined here.

And the mantra points out that there are two features which

they both share in common. The first is superiority. Both the

second m¢tr¢ of Om and the second p¢d¢ of ¡tm¢ are

identical on account of being superior. The second common

characteristic is the intermediate status of both ‘uk¢ra’ and


Notwithstanding the fact that as the first sound, ‘ak¢ra’

is superior to all other sounds and alphabets, ‘uk¢ra’ is still

said to be greater or more superior in an implied sense. This

can be best understood through the illustration of the

foundation of a building and the many floors built above it.

‘Ak¢ra’ the building-block of all sounds can be compared to

the supporting sub-structure and ‘uk¢ra’ is the first floor

constructed on it. It is therefore, in this sense of being the

first floor relative to the foundation below that ‘uk¢ra’ is as

it were superior to ‘ak¢ra’. The superiority of Taijasa over

Viºva is based on the fact that dream, being a subtle state of

experience, is an effective means for understanding the



illusoriness of the world. Indeed, when the experience of

dream, which mirrors the waking life, is clearly known to be

unreal when the person wakes up, there is the realization

that the external world of names and forms characterized by

the same relationships and dualities as in dream is probably

nothing more than a projection of the mind.1 Hence, when

dream is seen in the correct perspective i.e. with sensitivity

and discrimination, it can be a powerful tool which brings

the s¢dhaka closer to knowing the highest truth.

The second common feature of 'being in between' is

obvious enough and needs no further explanation. "Uk¢ra',

the second m¢tr¢ comes after ‘ak¢ra’ the first m¢tr¢, and

before ‘mak¢ra’, the third m¢tr¢. Similarly, dream is a state

between waking and sleep.

The mind of one who meditates on ‘uk¢ra’ as Taijasa

will over time become increasingly subtle, focused and more

knowledgeable2 . At the same time, attachment to, and desire 1 That the world is but an idea or a thought of the mind is

easily substantiated by the fact that nothing of the so-called

external or internal world can be known independent of the

senses and the mind. 2 These are the benefits which come with the attainment of

Taijasa-Hira´yagarbha for one who meditates on om as

"uk¢ra'.The person will have the knowledge of both the total

and the individual names and forms of the subtle state. In

other words, the nature of the macro dream environment i.e.

the subtle universe(Hira´yagarbha) as well as that of the

individual dreamer(Taijasa) will be known.



for, external objects and mundane pursuits will gradually

decline. The world no longer has such a strong hold on the

individual. And with the natural development of dispassion,

equipoise and other positive traits, there can be no envy or

hatred towards such a person, who now lives a life of quiet

introspection and is treated in the same way by all. It is also

vouchsafed that none of the descendents of such one will be

born without the knowledge of Brahman.



Mantra 11

_"s "sÊ"_P"pS": T"øpc"pu X"@¡pZ_O"wO"rY"p X"pe"p {X"O"uZT"rO"u\"pê {X"S"pu{O" \"pòQzk _"\"êX"T"r{O"Æ" W"\"{O" Y" ï\"z \"u $$

su¾uptasth¢naª pr¢j®o mak¢rast¨tiya m¢tr¢

miterap¤terv¢ minoti ha v¢ idam sarvam ap¤tiºca bhavati

ya evam veda

su¾upta sth¢nah – whose locus or field (of activity) is the

sleep state

pr¢j®ah - Pr¢j®a

mak¢rah trt¤ya m¢tr¢ – is the third letter ‘m’

miteª – being a measurement of

v¢ ap¤teª – mergence/ where all merges

minoti ha v¢ -knows

idam sarvam –all this

ap¤tiª – ground of dissolution

ca bhavati – and becomes

yaª evam veda – one who knows this

Pr¢j®a, whose field (of activity) is the sleep state, is the

third letter ‘m’ on account of it being a measure (of both

waking and dream since it is from sleep these two states

appear to emerge) as well as the ground of dissolution (where

everything becomes unified). One who knows this (identity

of mak¢ra and Pr¢j®a) knows (the truth) of all this (i.e. the

real nature of empirical life) and becomes the ground into

which all merges i.e. £ºvara.




The two common features now cited for establishing

the identity of ‘mak¢ra’ and Pr¢j®a are conveyed by the

terms ‘miti’ and ‘ap¤ti of the mantra. The term ‘miti’ means

‘to measure’ or ‘measuring’. And to measure is to know.

For instance, to quantify grains or cereals, a measuring

container (traditionally known as prastha) has to be used.

By measuring out the contents from the prastha one knows

how much grains there is. In the present mantra, it is declared

that just as grams and cereals are measured by the measuring

vessel, so too the waking and dream states are said to be

measured out by Pr¢j®a, after having resolved into,

subsequently manifest from their causal conditions in the

state of deep sleep. Indeed, as discussed in the sixth mantra,

Pr¢j®a is verily £ºvara who is both the material cause as well

as the efficient cause of the waking and dream worlds.

Similarly, in the articulation of Om, particularly when it is

uttered in uninterrupted succession, both the sounds of

‘ak¢ra’ and ‘uk¢ra’ first merge as it were into ‘mak¢ra’

before re-emerging from it to form the following Om.

The other common feature indicated by the term ‘ap¤ti’

conveys the sense of resolving into, or becoming unified

with, the ground. And going back to the fifth mantra, Pr¢j®a

is the ground where the waking and dream states are

withdrawn and become unified as one undifferentiated mass

of consciousness (ek¤bh¦taª praj®¢naghana). In the same

way, when Om is uttered, the first two m¢tr¢s, of ‘ak¢ra’



and ‘uk¢ra’ seemingly appear to resolve and lapse into

‘mak¢ra’, the third and last m¢tr¢.

As with the preceding two mantras, where the fruits

(phala) were addressed, the present mantra points out that

the clear understanding of the oneness of ‘mak¢ra’ and

Pr¢j®a brings with it two important benefits. First of all,

there is the realization, although still intellectual in nature,

that the gross world of waking, like the dream experience, is

only a manifestation arising from the depth of deep sleep. In

the state of deep sleep, all up¢dhis which define waking and

dream have become dormant in their undifferentiated causal

forms. Therefore, one who truly knows Pr¢j®a will have all

the knowledge of empirical life which is qualified by the

three states of experience. Having understood the

insubstantiality of the world of names and forms i.e. the true

nature of the universe, the s¢dhaka now realizes that he is

none other than the conditioned Self from where (or whom)

phenomenality manifests. In other words, the practitioner

knows, albeit as mediate knowledge, that he is in fact £ºvara.

What it comes to is this: one who meditates on Om as

‘mak¢ra’ attains Pr¢j®a-£ºvara. Indeed, from the foregoing

discussions, it is clear that one of the chief benefits from the

meditation on Om is the gradual purification of the

s¢dhaka's buddhi, rendering it increasingly subtle so that

it is fit for the saving knowledge expounded in the hallowed

texts of the Upani¾ads.


68Mantra 12

ìX"pe"Æ"O"sP"puê&\Y"\"`pY"ê: T"øT"ú"puT"ðpX": {ðp\"pu&ŸvO" ï\"X"puŠ>pZ ìpOX"v\"_"z{\"ðpOY"pOX"S"pOX"pS"z Y" ï\"z \"uQ $$

am¢traºcaturtho'vy¢vaharyaª prapa®copaºamah

sivo'dvaita evam o¬k¢ra ¢tmaiva

ºaïviº¢ty¢tman¢tm¢naï ya evaï veda.

am¢trah – no parts (soundless)

caturthah – fourth or Tur¤ya

avyavah¢ryaª – beyond all phenomena/ transactions

prapa®copas'amah – free from the world

sivaª - auspicious

advaitaª – non-dual

evam - Thus

o¬karah – Oïk¢ra

¢tm¢ eva – Self alone

sa¼viºati – enters/merges

¢tmana – by through (his own) Self

¢tmanam – the Self

yah veda – He who knows

eva¼ – thus

That which has no parts (soundless), which is beyond

all transactions, free from the world, auspicious, non-dual is

Tur¤ya. Thus Omk¢ra is verily the Self. He who knows thus

enters the Self through the Self.


The soundless (am¢tr¢), free from any parts or

components, is verily the Fourth(caturtha), the pure ¡tm¢.



And according to the present mantra, it is beyond empirical

transaction (avyavah¢rya) because in that which is free from

all sounds, both names and the objects they refer to are also

absent. Indeed, with the negation of the m¢tr¢s1 and the

corresponding upadhis swhich arbitrarily demarcate the

seamless Self into the illusory states, what is left is am¢tr¢,

the pure non-dual underlying consciousness, the Tur¤yam.

This dissolution of the three prapa®cas (worlds), namely

the gross, the subtle and the causal is technically called

prapa®copaºamam . In their absence, all diversity and

differentiation, such as cause-effect, subject-object, etc., are

transcended. Where there is no second (advaita), the am¢tr¢

has necessarily to be of the nature of infinite bliss since there

is no other to cause fear. It is therefore said to be auspicious


It is clear from the above discussion that one who knows

Om in the way addressed i.e. through enquiry into the am¢tr¢,

will merge in his true nature. This emerging or entering is

indicated by the term ‘sa¼viºati’ of the text. One should,

however, note that in this entering no spatial movement is

involved. Instead, it is of the essence of knowledge, when

one finally realizes the highest truth. A movement as it were

1 All the three m¢tr¢s are merged one into the other ("akara'

into "ukara', and so on), like the retracting sections of a

telescope and finally resolving in am¢tr¢.



from ignorance to knowledge. In other words, this resolution

or merging into pure existence, or Brahman is essentially

the recognition (after negation of all vikalpas i.e mental

constructs) of that which has always been present. This

recognition of the jiva of its true nature is beautifully

discussed in the text as ‘entering the Self by the Self’ or

sa¼viºati-¢tm¢nam-¢tman¢. This shift in vision, from the

narrow perspective of seeing oneself as a limited individual

to the expansive vision of seeing one in the many, is


The mantra then gives the assurance that those who

knows the highest truth (that the soundless am¢tr¢ is in

essence the Fourth or Tur¤ya) will never be born again, just

as when one recognizes the rope through discrimination the

snake seemingly3 disappear and never reappears ever. Indeed,

2 In the presence of light, darkness disappears. It happens

simultaneously and the two are not causally related. Light,

therefore, is not a cause, nor darkness an effect. In the same

way, the resolution of the phenomenon through knowledge is

also instantaneous, and not governed by any cause-effect

relation. 3 Although experienced, the snake never existed. All along there

was only the rope. Indeed, one can never speak of the

disappearance of an object which never existed in the first

place. Therefore, in the case of the snake illusion, at most

one can say is that as it was seemingly present, the snake

seemingly disappeared when the rope became evident.



with the negation of even the status of creatorhood,

symbolized by the final mergence of ‘mak¢ra’ (being

identical with the causal state of Pr¢j®a) into am¢tr¢, the

universe is no more than a passing shadow to the realized

one. However, for those whose bent of mind is more practice

oriented, preferring rituals and actions over inquiry, Om can

be used as a tool for meditation. In particular, the s¢dhaka

can meditate on each component m¢tr¢ with the

corresponding aspect of the Self superimposed on it. And as

mentioned in the preceding three mantras, meditation on the

m¢tr¢-p¢da complex brings with it certain benefits. But,

notwithstanding whatever maybe the benefits or attainments,

one must not forget that these are still within the realm of

phenomenality, conditioned by time, space and causation,

and therefore can never be eternal.