Mandukya Upanishad is the smallest among the ten principal Upanishads. Though being smallest in size it is highest in
philosophy and deals with the subject of Pure Consciousness directly. Mandukya Karika of Gaudapadacharya is a famous
commentary on this Upanishad. Adi Shankaracharya has written his commentary (Bhashya) on Mandukya Upanishad and
Mandukya Karika. There is further explanatory commentary (Tika) by Anandagiri on Shankaracharya's Bhashya.
We present here the notes taken from the audio talks by Revered Ramananada Saraswati and Revered Ranganathanadnaji Maharaj on
Mandukya Upanishad. The talks by Revered Ramananda Saraswati also take into consideration the Bhashya of Shankaracharya
and the Tika of Anandagiri.
(The upanishad and its commentary being in sanskrit, many sanskrit terms are inevitable while discussing them. Appropriate English
translations are provided wherever possible. The original text for the Upanishad and the Karika can be downloaded from
* Chapter I
* Chapter II
* Chapter III
* Chapter IV
Mandukyopanishad is the essence of Vedanta (vedantartha-sarasamgrahabhutam) as it does two important things: analyzing the
three states of consciousness with the view of making it means to transcend them and it looks deeper into the problem of causality.
Muktikopanishad states that, 'if the sole object be the attainment of the Highest Truth (supreme goal of life) the single Upanishad
of Mandukya is sufficient'
vedantartha-sarasamgrahabhutam – Jiva (Individual soul) and Brahman (Infinite Reality) are identical. This is the
essence of Vedanta. This is to be firmly established in the intellect (heart) of the spiritual aspirant (संग्रह -
सम्यक्-ग्रहण samgraha - samyaka-grahana).
मंगलाचारण ‘Mangalacharan’ (Opening verse invoking Auspiciousness):
(1) In Brahman the waking experiences or waking world (स्थान sthan or sphere of activity) are
imagined and hence the corresponding entity having waking experiences (स्थानी sthani) is
i.e. for waking state: sthan is विराट Virat and sthani is
dream state: sthan is हिरण्यगर्भ: Hiranyagarbha and
sthani is तैजस: Taijasa;
deep sleep state: sthan is ईश्वरः Ishwara and sthani is
This is called अध्यारोप Adhyaropa (superimposition) and it begins with Tat Padartha
(‘That‘ in the statement ‘That Thou Art’); Tat refers to Brahman - the Absolute Reality. This process of explanation is refered
as विधिमुख Vidhimukha.
In waking and dream experiences, our relationship with objects of experience is one of knowledge only and no other relationship can
be established. We merely reveal them (or become conscious of them) by the light of Atman. In other words attachment and hatred for
objects is merely an imagined idea.
(Atman and Brahman are the words used to refer to the ultimate Reality of Pure Consciousness. Reality behind the world is generally
termed as Brahman while the same Reality behind the individual is termed Atman)
Even Ishwara (God or sum total of all beings) is imagined in Brahman.
This first mangalacharan verse can be considered as salutations to the supreme-transcendent (Para) Brahman.
(2) In this verse the अपवाद Apavaad (de-superimposition) is mentioned which begins with
Tvam Padartha (‘Thou’ in the statement ‘That Thou Art’); Tvam refers to individual soul (Jiva). This is also
referred as निषेधमुख Nishedhmukha.
In this verse it is established that the individual transmigrating soul is non-different than the supreme Reality.
This second mangalacharan verse can be considered as salutations to the Ishwara or Guru (Apara Brahman).
Thus in these two mangalacharan verses, the fact of identity of Jiva and Brahman is firmly established in the
intellect/mind of the spiritual aspirant from two different aspects. (In first - starting from Bramhan the process of world and
Jiva is explained to be imaginations in Brahman. In second – starting from Jiva, the absolute identity of Jiva
and Brahman is explained.)
After a single day’s quota of waking experiences is exhausted, the dream state manifests in the same Brahman.
- The use of terms सूत्रात्मा Sutratma
and Hiranyagarbha for cosmic subtle body is according to the importance given to either Prana (vital force) or
बुध्दि: Buddhi (intellect or heart) respectively.
- When the Atman (Self) is referred as सच्चिदानंद Satchidananda
(Being-Consciousness-Bliss), our intellect can’t grasp it because our concepts about ourselves and objects are always conditioned
and we understand only conditioned being, conditioned consciousness, and conditioned bliss but not the substratum which is simple
- A gap (opening), as it were, is created in the homogeneous-undivided Satchidananda by the stirring
up of ‘I’ and then between ‘I’ (aham) and ‘This’ (idam) there is space for the entire phenomenal universe to
- When the eyes of the waking state are closed we see the dream world with the eyes of the dream state.
Similarly our ‘knowledge eye’ is closed and hence we see the waking world. If by the grace of God our ‘knowledge eye’ is opened
and we realize our true nature, we would then experience everything as our own Self. (i.e. all the things and entities experienced
- आगम Agama (Revealed scriptures) mention three types of desires:
1. कामवासना Kama Vasana (desire for sexual enjoyment) resulting
from the fickleness of Buddhi,
2. कर्मवासना Karma Vasana (desire for work) resulting from
the dullness of intellect, and
3. अपराधवासना Aparadha Vasana (lack of faith in
scriptures) resulting from the subtleness (shrewdness) of intellect which dominates श्रध्दा
A person can realize Truth if he is devoid of Karma Vasana and Aparadh Vasana but has little
of Kama Vasana, as in the case of King Janaka; but such is not necessarily an ideal for all spiritual aspirant.
- Dream experiences are negated in waking but waking experiences are not negated in dream, they are
negated only when Truth is realized. Dream is based on the ignorance of the waking state and waking state is based on the
ignorance of the Self.
Out of the four chapters of Mandukya Karika, the first one is based on all the twelve mantras of Mandukyopanishad and discusses the
nature of 'Aumkar' and its use in Self-realization; second chapter proves the illusoriness of all phenomenon; third chapter
proves the non-dual nature of ultimate Reality/Brahman; and the last chapter refutes the claims of other philosophies which
contradict the non-dual nature of Truth.
Chapter I – आगम प्रकरण Agama Prakaran (Chapter on Upanishadic Texts)
(1) अभिधान Abhidhan – वाचक Vachak (Name – Word)
अभिधेय Abhidheya – वाच्य Vachya (Form – Meaning of word)
All the Abhidhan i.e. all forms in phenomenon are gross manifestations of Abhidheya i.e. of Name (also referred as
Shabda-Brahman/Naad-Brahman/Sphota/Hiranyagarbha or Logos/Cosmic Subtle body). Thus all names and forms
are manifestations of Aumkar ('Pranav Dhvani'). The ultimate Reality is beyond name and form, space and time, body and
mind; and thus is beyond Aumkar, but to reach it, we have no other means than Aumkar and hence the Truth is also
referred by Aum (ॐ).
(Please see Swami Vivekananda's explanation of Aum in his 'Bhakti-Yoga'[Chapter VII] at:
Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda[Volme III] )
(2) The names and forms of phenomenon which were referred as Aumkar in first mantra are here referred as identical with
Brahman. We may misunderstand this 'Brahman' as something separate from ourselves and hence to remove this misconception it is stated
that अयमात्मा ब्रह्म Ayam-Atma-Brahma. Ayam-Atma
referes to our finger pointing to our heart i.e. 'I am'; and hence 'I am Brahman'.
@ 'Ayamatma-Brahma' is one among the four main Mahavakyas from Veda.
चतुष्पात् Chatushpat (four legs/quarters) - this Atman (or Brahman) is
said to be of four legs/quarters; however it is not to be understood as having four separate legs/quarters like the four legs of a
cow but rather four quarters of a one single coin (Rs, Dollar). Just as four quarters make one whole and one whole can be seen as
made up of four quarters, similarly this Atman is made up of four quarters.
(Later these four quarters would be explained identical with A, U, M, & Amatra of Aumkar and also with waking, dream,
deep-sleep, Turiya states)
Some Vaishnavas interpret the meaning of first two verses of Mandukya as below:
A – अनिरुध्द Aniruddha – विश्वरुप Vishwarupa
U – प्रद्द्युम्न Praddyumna – तैजसरुप Taijasarupa
M – संकर्षण Sankarshan – प्राज्ञरुप Praajnarupa
̐ – वासुदेव Vasudev – तुरियरूप Turiyarupa
Taking into consideration the explanation of AUM as above, they believe that these first two verses describe a technique for
spiritual practice. But this is not the expected meaning of श्रुति Shruti (Upanishad).
Here the chapter is about knowledge (Jnana) and Shruti wants to establish the aspirant in his/her real nature
through knowledge and inquiry; no technique or process, as such, is being described here.
(3) बहिष्प्रज्ञ: Bahishprajnah – The senses are outer as
compared to the mind hence the term Bahishprajnah, though the Prajnaa (consciousness) is within. Consciousness of
waking state is called Vishwa. Nineteen mouths are: five senses of knowledge, five senses of action, five vital-force (Pranah),
Manah, Chittah, Buddhi, Ahamkaar. This is Pratham Paada (first part of Atman).
(4) अन्त:प्रज्ञ: Antahprajnah – The mind is inner as compared to
the senses hence the term Antahprajnah, though the Prajnaa (consciousness) is within. Consciousness of dream state is
called Taijasa. It functions on the basis of impressions gained in waking state. This is Dvitiya Paada (second part of Atman).
(5)Due to our ignorance of our real nature, in all the three states of waking, dream, and deep-sleep, we are 'asleep' and not really
awakened. The deep-sleep state underlies all our three states of consciousness. In order to discuss deep-sleep, separate from waking
and dream, here in this mantra the adjectives 'does not desire' (न कंचन कामं कामयते
'na kanchan kaamam kamayate') & 'does not dream' (न कंचन स्वप्नं पश्यति
'na kanchan swapnam pashyati') are given.
प्रज्ञ: Prajnah – प्रकर्षेण
जानाति इति प्रज्ञ:
Prakarshena Janati iti Prajnah
प्राज्ञ: Praajnah – प्रज्ञ:
Prajnah ava Praajnah (deep sleep consciousness)
प्रकर्षेण Prakarshena – सर्वकालिक्त्व
Sarvakalikatva & सर्वविषयित्व Sarvavishayitva
- all the knowledge of waking and dream becomes unified in deep sleep hence it is called Praajna; also since in deep-sleep,
unlike waking and dream states, there is no separate knowledge of time and space but just the 'substratum knowledge' covered
with 'ignorance', it is called Praajna.
In deep sleep we are united with the Sat (Pure Being) aspect of the Reality but we do not comprehend it due to ignorance.
एकीभूत: Ekibhutah – In deep sleep the mind-made duality of waking and dream states is
unified. The duality is not destroyed but is not experienced because no instrument of discrimination is available in that state.
This is similar our inability to locate things in total darkness, things are 'as if unified' in darkness.
प्रज्ञानघन Prajnaanghana – mass of consciousness, similar to
above explanation of Ekibhutah, everything is covered with darkness and all knowledge of waking and dream becomes concentrated
in Praajna hence Prajnaanghana.
आनन्दमय: Aanandamayah – The cause of exhaustion in waking and dream states is the
oscillation of mind as subject-object duality; this is absent in deep sleep and hence we derive bliss from deep sleep. Thus it is
termed as Aanandamayah (full of bliss).
If a person is given all the pleasures of the Earth to enjoy and is denied sleep, he/she will suffer and won't be happy at all;
deep-sleep rejuvenates us. Still this bliss of deep-sleep is not comparable to the bliss of Self-realization.
आनन्दभुक् Aanandabhuk – Effortless bliss.
चेतोमुख: Chetomukhah – Praajna is the doorway (cause) for Vishwa and
Taijasa (effects); hence Chetomukhah. OR
Vishwa and Taijasa are the doorways for Praajna hence Chetomukhah.
Na Etasmat Jatyantar Bhutonyesham Eva – In Samkhya and Yoga philosophy Ishwara is different from Jiva as they
believe in पुरुष Purusha and प्रकृति Prakriti.
Ishwara is Purusha-Vishesha (special type of soul) while Pradhana is the उपादान कारण
Upadana Karana (material cause). In case of Naiyayikas also Ishwara is Tatastha and only the निमित्त कारण
Nimitta Karana (efficient cause) not the Upadana Karana. But in Vedanta, Ishwara being the
Nimitta as well as the Upadana Karana, is non-different from Jiva; Praajna itself is Ishwara.
उपाधिप्रधानता Upadhipradhanta (consciousness
under the control of limiting adjuncts) is Jiva while चैतन्यप्रधानता
Chaitanyapradhanta (consciousness in control of limiting adjuncts) is Ishwara.
In the context of ‘सदेव सोम्य इदम् अग्रासीत
sadev somya idam agrasita’ (Chhandogya Upanishad), the verse ‘प्राणबन्धनं
हि सोम्य मन: pranabandhanam hi somya manah’ uses the word मन:
manah to refer to the जीवात्मा Jivatma while the word प्राण:
pranah points to परमात्मा Parmatma or Sadbrahma. The aspect of
Brahman referred by pranah is सद्ब्रह्म Sadbrahma or शबलब्रह्म
Shabalabrahma and not the unborn, absolute Brahman. This Sadbrahma or Shabalabrahma is the seed (cause) for
creation of Jivas. To refer the Absolute Brahman, shruti says ‘अक्षरात्परत:
aksharaatparatah parah’ i.e. पर: parah (superior) than अक्षर: Aksharah
(unchangable) [अव्याकृत Avyakrit (unmanifested)/Sabij (causal)/Shabalabrahma (potential)] etc.
Similarly in the shruti verse सबाह्याभ्यन्तरो ह्यज:
‘sabahyabhyantaro hyajah’, the absolute, unborn Brahman is referred as the substratum of cause (अभ्यन्तर:
abhyantarah) and effect (बाह्य: bahyah).
परावाणी Paravani (source of speech) = Brahman (Absolute Truth)
पश्यन्ति Pashyanti (causal speech) = Avyakrutatma/Ishwara (undifferentiated Self/cosmic causal body)
मध्यमा Madhyama (subtle speech) = Hiranyagarbha (cosmic subtle body)
वैखरी Vaikhari (gross speech) = Virat (cosmic gross body)
In waking state, the oscillation of mind is in the form of perception through senses and in dream it is of the form of desire-laden
memory. In deep sleep oscillation of mind is absent and mind with senses is absorbed in prana (vital forces). The Jiva
then resides in the ह्रदयाकाश Hridayakasha (space of heart). Perception and
memory are forms of thought, in the absence of which, the seer remains indistinguishably in the form of Praajna in the heart alone.
(7) Turiya (transcendental consciousness) is characterized as:
devoid of any cause for word to arise
शब्दप्रवृत्ति Shabda-Pravritti (causes of word):
- जाति Jati (species) e.g. cow, dog etc.,
- गुण Guna (quality) e.g. loving, angry, intelligent, artistic etc.,
- क्रिया Kriya (action) e.g. reader, farmer etc.,
- सम्बन्ध Sambandha (relation) e.g. princely-man, father-son etc.,
- रुढी Rudhi (custom) e.g. pankaj for lotus flower
negation of all specific attributes
negation of Taijasa (dream state consciousness)
negation of Vishwa (waking state consciousness)
negation of interval between dream and waking
negation of Praajna (deep sleep state consciousness)
negation of Sakshi (witness consciousness)
negation of inertness
ungraspable by senses of perception
devoid of empirical dealings as it is ungraspable
ungraspable by senses of action
can not be pointed out by direct perception or inference
'unthinkable' as it is alakshanam
'unspeakable', can not be formulated in words
the Self that subsists in waking, dream, and deep sleep is the ‘I-am’ consciousness
the only valid proof for Turiya is the unchanging ‘I-am’ consciousness in every being
cessation of all phenomenon; after the negation of sthani in three states, now the sthans are also negated
unchanging, tranquil, peace
auspicious as it is devoid of any differentiation
How to worship or meditate on such a Turiya or transcendental Pure Consciousness?
The homogeneous supreme Reality should be identified as our own inner Self (प्रत्यगात्मा
pratyagatma) and we should always abide in it. To feel the Turiya as our own ever-present-Self (अपरोक्ष-नित्य-दृष्टित्व
aparoksha-nitya-drishtitva) is meditation.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi was asked what is turiya? He replied:
There are three states only, the waking, dream, and sleep.Turiya is not a fourth one: it is what underlies these three. But
people do not readily understand it. Therefore it is said that this is the fourth state and the only Reality. In fact it is not
apart from anything; for it forms the substratum of all happenings; it is the only Truth; it is your very Being. The three states
appear as fleeting phenomenon on it and then sink into it alone. Therefore they are unreal. … …
… … Turiya is only another name for the Self. Aware of the waking, dream, and deep sleep states we remain unaware of our own
Self. Nevertheless the Self is here and now. It is the only Reality. There is nothing else. So long as identification with body
lasts the world seems to lie outside us. Only realize the Self and they are not.
(8) This Upanishad started with the verse ‘all this is verily ॐ (Aum)’. Aum points to the Parabrahma
(Transcendental Reality) and the way to reach it is also Aum. Though the Reality is devoid of अभिधान
Abhidhan (word) and अभिधेय Abhidheya (meaning of word), it is reached through them.
In the beginning of the chapter, first it was pointed that ‘all this is Aum’, then ‘all this is Brahman’, and then ‘this
innermost Self of all beings (i.e. Atman) is Brahman’. Then the Atman was said to have four quarters in it: Vishwa, Taijasa,
Praajna, and Turiya. It was said that the waking, dream, and deep sleep states are imagined in Brahman (Adhyarop),
then they were negated by stating characteristics of Brahman in negative terms like na antahprajna, na bahishprajna (Apavad).
Why this process?
The world that we experience in waking and dream is a superimposition on Brahman and correspondingly our
imagination about ourselves as Vishwa, Taijasa, and Praajna ('I am so-and-so, my age is 'x' years, I think, I
feel, I know, I don't know' etc.) is also a superimposition and not a reality. By the negation of all these we are guided to
dissociate ourselves from the superimposition and establish urselves as we truly are i.e. Turiya (Infinite Pure Consciousness).
Prior to this verse, the above-mentioned process was explained; now the relation between above-mentioned four quarters and मात्रा
maatras (letters) of ॐ (Aum) is explained. Why is it necessary? Some experts say that the further process is not required for
superior and middle type of spiritual aspirants (उत्तम अधिकारी
uttam adhikari and मध्यम अधिकारी madhyam adhikari)
but is meant for the lowest type of spiritual aspirants (अधम अधिकारी adham adhikari)
as they haven’t yet developed the subtle buddhi to grasp the Truth. Other experts dispute this and say that the Upanishad and
the commentary on it, is meant to confer the knowledge of Reality on the aspirant - by establishing the absolute identity between
individual soul and Supreme Truth - and thus no process (उपासना upasana) towards the goal
is given here. They say that the further verses and commentary is for the glorification (स्तुत्यर्थ
stutyartha) of this identity of Jiva and Brahman.
(9) ‘अ’ (A) = Vishwa / वैश्वानर Vaishwanar
‘A’ is the first letter and also pervades all speech; similarly Virat is the first quarter and it pervades all.
(Speech-impaired people may not utter any other sound but they can utter A!)
(10) ‘उ’ (U) = Taijasa / हिरण्यगर्भ Hiranyagarbha
‘U’ is in the middle of ‘A’ and ‘M’, also it is superior to ‘A’ and thus signifies intermediate-ness and excellence. Taijasa
is superior to Vishwa; and dream state is in the middle of waking and deep sleep states.
(We move in the circle: waking-dream-deep sleep-dream-waking)
(11) ‘म’ (M) = Praajna / Ishwara(Avyakrutatma)
‘M’ is the merging point for ‘A’ and ‘U’, and it sort of ‘measures’ them i.e. ‘taking in’ and ‘throwing out’. Similarly Vishwa
and Taijasa are dissolved in Praajna; and Praajna sort of measures them i.e. ‘absorbing in’ and ‘issuing out’.
(Mitee – the measuring pot used to measure grains like wheat, barely etc.)
(12) The three letters of Aum merge in the fourth Amatra of Aum ( ̐ ). The spiritual
aspirant who has practiced the identity of A, U, M of with waking, dream, and deep sleep states, merges himself/herself into the
real Self i.e. Turiya - the infinite Reality out of which all states appear.
(All the twelve verses of the Mandukya Upanishad are discussed in this first chapter of 'Mandukya Karika'. The chapter also contains few
karikas i.e. explanatory verses by Gaudapadacharya on the Upanishadic verses. Chapter 2, 3, and 4 of the 'Mandukya Karika' has
no Upanishadic verses but only Karikas.)
Chapter II – वैतथ्य प्रकरण Vaitathya Prakaran (Chapter on Unreality)
Waking state – Jivas are more aware of the ‘Being’ aspect; are conscious of their existence. Waking objects are revealed
primarily by the light of the Atman (Pure Consciousness) and not just by sun or other lights.
Dream state – Jivas are more aware of the ‘Consciousness’ aspect. Though sun, moon, and other lights are absent in dream state;
dream objects are revealed by the light of Atman.
Deep sleep state – Jivas are more aware of the ‘Bliss’ aspect. There is no object to be revealed.
In all the three states, the existence, consciousness, and bliss is due to the Atman, though the degree of awareness about them varies.
To establish the unreality of dream experiences, karikas 1 and 2 use logic about space and time while karika 3 uses
basis of shruti (upanishads) passage. If doubt is raised that the objects in dream state are real in dream while the waking
objects are real in waking state then it is refuted by these 3 karikas.
Thus the unreality of the दृष्टान्त drishtant (illustration) i.e. of the
dream is proved. Based on this, now it is inferred in karika 4 that the waking experiences are as unreal as that of dream
experiences. दृष्यत्वात् Drishyatvat (being perceived) is the
common factor for the experiences in these two states. The difference between the two states is only of the duration of time and
dimension of space.
An inference has following five parts:
- प्रतिज्ञा Pratijna (proposition to be proved)
– waking state objects are unreal
- हेतू Hetu (ground) – Drishyatvat i.e. being perceived
- दृष्टान्त Drishtant (illustration) – dream objects
- हेतूपनय Hetupanaya (relation between illustration and
proposition) – 'objects being percieved' is the similarity between dream and waking states.
- निगमन Nigaman (reiteration) – hence waking state objects are unreal
In karika 6, another reason is given to establish the unreality of waking objects: आदावन्ते च
तत्तथा aadavante-cha-yannasti-vartamanepi-tat-tatha i.e. that which does not exist in the
beginning and the end is equally so in the present (or middle).
(11) A doubt is raised that if the waking and dream states are unreal then the phenomenon experienced in these states i.e. 'experiencer'
and his experiences, would have no basis. Also the question would arise as to whom does these dreams appear? This has to be answered
as it is observed that there is no dream without the dreamer; also without the answer to this question the waking up from the dream
would be a problem!
(12) & (13) Answer to the above doubt is given: the self-luminous Atman imagines Itself through Itself by the power of Its own Maya;
It then cognizes the objects. How is this done? The प्रभु Prabhu (Lord) i.e. Atman or Self
manifests diversely the things existing in mind: external objects like sun, moon, earth etc. as well as internal objects like thoughts,
emotions, desires etc. The dreamer is the Lord and not the individual Jiva.
प्रभु Prabhu (Lord): प्रभवते अस्मात् सर्वम् इति प्रभु
Prabhavate asmat sarvam iti prabhuh (That from which all this is manifested) OR
प्रभवते स्वयं नाना रूपेण इति प्रभु
Prabhavate swayam nana repun iti prabhuh (That which manifests as all this) OR
समर्थो भवति इति प्रभु
Samartho bhavati iti prabhu (One which is capable)
Thus the firm conclusion of Vedanta is: knowledge and memory are not without the support of Atman; nihilists (some Buddhists) deny
this. Also there is no extra-cosmic creator in Vedanta.
(14) & (15) One might wonder that thoughts, emotions etc. being internal can be imaginations but what about the external world objects
and events which appear concrete and seem to last longer? The answer given in these two karikas is that the difference between
internal and external is only related to the duration of time and organs of perception. Hence internal as well as external things are
imagined as in dream. In case of waking state, the external objects are perceptions of sense-organs while the internal objects are
of the mind. (In dream too, one has experience of 'inner' thoughts within oneself and 'outer' objects separate from oneself!)
(16) The Lord (Prabhu) first imagines the individual soul (Jiva) and internal & external objects of experience. The
individual soul gets his memory according to the thought impressions he/she has.
(17) & (18) Ignorance about the real nature of Self is the cause of Jiva and removal of ignorance is Self-knowledge.
(19) The Lord through His Maya projects infinite objects like vital forces etc. and is deluded by them!
(26) Samkhya philosophy has 25 principles:
प्रकृति-विकृति Prakriti-Vikriti - a. महत्
Mahat (Cosmic Intelligence)
b. अहंकार Ahamkaar (Ego)
- शब्द shabda (sound),
- स्पर्श sparsha (touch),
- रूप rupa (form),
- रस rasa (taste),
- गन्ध gandha (smell)
प्रकृति-विकार Prakriti-Vikara - a. पञ्च-ज्ञानेन्द्रिय
(five perceptive sense)
(five organs of action)
(objects related to five sense)
d. मनस Manas
पुरुष Purusha (Self)
प्रकृति Prakriti (Nature)
Yoga philosophy has 26 principles: the 25 mentioned above and Ishwara
पाशुपत Pashupat or एकत्रिंशक
Ektrinshak philosophy has 31 principles: the 25 of Samkhya philosophy, माया Maya, and पञ्च-कञ्चुक
Panch-kanchuk (राग raga, अविद्या avidya, नियति
niyati, काल kaal, कला kalaa).
Some other philosophies have infinite principles.
(27) As per Vedic वर्णाश्रम varnaashrama tradition:
For ब्राह्मण Brahmin the four ashramas i.e. ब्रह्मचर्य
brahmacharya, गृहस्थ grihastha, वानप्रस्थ
vanaprastha, and संन्यास sanyasa are compulsory.
For क्षत्रिय Kshatriya the three ashramas i.e. brahmacharya, grihastha, and vanaprastha are compulsory.
For वैश्य Vaishya the two ashramas i.e. brahmacharya and grihastha are compulsory.
For शूद्र Shudra only one ashrama i.e. brahmacharya is compulsory.
(But for a man of intense dispassion, embracing sanyasa-ashrama is allowed from any other ashrama)
Karikas 20 – 28 describe philosophies that define the Self in various categories like प्राण: praanah (vital force),
गुण guna (quality), मन: manah (mind), काल kaal (time), देश desha (space),
चित्त chitta (inner psyche), धर्माधर्म dharmadharma (right/wrong conduct),
पाद paad (quarter), लोक loka (spheres of existence), भुवन bhuvan (dwelling place), भोज्य
bhojya (object of enjoyment), सूक्ष्म shukshma (subtle), स्थूल sthula (gross),
तत्व tatva (element), आश्रम ashrama (stage of life), लिंग linga (charecteristic),
सृष्टि strishti (cosmos) etc.
The reason for imagination of world in the Self is these above mentioned (20-28) diverse ideas. According to Vedanta the only real entity/principle
is 'Self' which is Consciousness-Bliss itself.; by Its 'light', everything else is conscious and illumined. Ignorance about this Self gives
rise to various imaginations. The diversity experienced in the world gives rise to various ideas which come forth as varied philosophies.
Avyakrutatma (Praajna) is the cause and the Praanah is the primary effect; above mentioned principles (20-28)
are further effects of Praanah. Apart from these, the other differences observed in the phenomenal world are imaginations in
(29) In whichever way a human being perceives/imagines/worships the Atman (Self), in that very way the Atman protect him/her.
(30) People devoid of discrimination consider Praanah etc. as different from the Self while the discriminating ones know the
non-dual Self (i.e. Praanah etc. being non-different than the Self) and hence are free from any doubt.
(31) Shruti (Veda) and तत्वदर्शी Tatvadarshi (seers of Truth) know
the phenomenal universe as dreamlike and as unreal as a city in the sky (गन्धर्वनगरम्
(32) This is an often quoted karika and many scholars unable to comprehend it have accused Gaudapadacharya of teaching a false
philosophy. The karika says (from the Absolute point of view): In Truth there is no origination, no dissolution, none in bondage,
none striving or aspiring for freedom, and none liberated!
(33) Since all the imaginations are based on the infinite Self, non-duality is auspicious and conducive to well-being of all, even
during the transactions of phenomenal world. Though no imaginations have absolute existence in Pure Consciousness, all the imaginations
– including world and its creatures – are deriving their existence from the Self. The idea of separateness is unreal and inauspicious.
This is also stressed by Swami Vivekananda in his ‘Practical Vedanta’; he advocates that Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic Vedanta) knowledge
applied to all spheres and all walks of life is auspicious. Sri Ramakrishna uses the words नित्य Nitya
and लीला Lila to indicate the absolute and relative aspects of the Self respectively and says that
God can be realized with eyes closed as well as with eyes open!
The life that we lead is transitory play of Consciousness but the basis of it is the unchanging and ever-present Pure Consciousness
i.e. phenomenal ‘I’ is temporary play but real ‘I’ is immortal and permanent.
Chapter III – अद्वैत प्रकरण Advaita Prakaran (Chapter on Non-duality)
In the first chapter, with the help of scriptures it was proved that the experiences of dream and waking state are effects of ignorance
and are unreal from तुरीय Turiya i.e. Pure Consciousness point of view. Also the characteristics
of Turiya were described in negative terms. In the second chapter, with the help of logic, the unreality of 'misapprehension' of Truth, i.e.
experience of dream and waking states, was explained. In this third chapter the causal ignorance i.e. 'non-comprehension' of Truth
would be negated and it would be proved that the Supreme, Transcendental Pure Consciousness is the only reality; the description of
creation of universe is incidental and for the sake of understanding the Truth.
Question may be raised as to how logic - a product of intellect - can prove non-duality of Pure Consciousness which is beyond intellect?
Answer: Logic guided by scriptures and of 'sincere-inquiring-nature' regarding Truth, is helpful for a spiritual aspirant. Independent logic
which reasons without basing itself on true Self, can not grasp Truth as it will always analyze/probe the outer/objective इदम्
idam (this) and never the inner/subjecive अहम् aham (I am).
(1) Those who believe in causality are कृपण: kripanah (narrow-minded people). People with ideas of
separateness, fear, and ignorance are small minded. One may ask why criticize the aspirant in the beginning of the chapter? The
distinction of worshipper and worshipped that an aspirant takes for granted is contradictory to the conclusion of chapter 2 and the
premise of chapter 3. Thus the criticism of duality is appropriate while establishing non-duality.
Those who consider themselves as bodies (gross or subtle) and think that the Brahman was unborn in the beginning and now it is born
are जातब्रह्म Jatabrahma and not अजातब्रह्म
Ajatabrahma. In their delusion they consider the eternal Pure Consciousness to be under the domain of Time!
It is interesting to quote here a question that was put to Sri Nisargadatta Mj and his reply to it:
Q: You said that before I was born I was one with the Pure Being of Reality; who decided that I should be born?
A: In reality you were never born and shall never die. But now you imagine that you are, or have a body and you ask what has brought
about this state. Within the limits of illusion the answer is: desire born from memory attracts you to a body and makes you think as
one with it. But this is true only from the relative point of view. In fact there is no body, nor world to contain it; there is only
a mental condition, a dream-like state, easy to dispel by questioning its reality.
(2) Brahman being always unborn, it alone is अकार्पण्यम् Akarpanyam limitless.
(3) Just as 'space enclosed in a pot' is non-different from 'outer infinite space', the jivas are non-separable from Brahman.
The space and Atman are both homogeneous, subtle, and beyond contamination; but space contains dissimilar objects like earth, sun,
moon etc.; this does not apply to Atman.
(10) All bodies (gross, subtle, and causal) are dreamlike; they appear and disappear by the Maya of the Lord.
(15) & (16) In the shruti there are passages in which origination of world is mentioned, as also karma, worship (upasana),
differentiation, duality etc. are mentioned. Such passages are meant only for the purpose of explaining the non-dual Reality and
never for origination of the world, or duality. The jivas are experiencing the world and have many desires in them, so the
Vedas try to solve their problems by mentioning various paths. Shruti narrates story of origination of world in such a way that
the spiritual aspirant understands the unreality of world! World, including all beings in it, is of illusory nature and only the
non-dual Brahman exists! Thus the passages explaining world-process are meant for madhyam and adham adhikari
(middle-type and lowest-type of spiritual aspirants).
(17) The means of experience that we have – senses and mind – are illusory and hence all our experiences are also illusory. These
illusory means can not enter the Truth hence the ‘experience’ of Truth is difficult to reach, e.g. eyes can see everything but they
can not see themselves. Truth has no conflict with any imaginary object hence Advaita (non-duality) has no conflict with other
philosophies. Philosophies like Samkhya, Naiyayika etc. that are busy in the explanation of the imaginary objects, contradict each other.
(18) Shruti view is: power (शक्ति shakti) of Brahman is inferred from the effects seen
(i.e. creation etc.) and is non-different from the 'wielder of power' (शक्तिमान shaktimaan).
The power is inferred during the experience of effect i.e. when we experience phenomenon we have to admit the shakti; but in
absence of effect (e.g. in super-conscious state of Samadhi) shakti is absent and Absolute Brahman alone exists.
Agama view is: Independent-power (स्वातन्त्र्यशक्ति
swatantryashakti) is ever-present in Brahman though never separate from It. Sri Ramana Maharshi explains this point as follows:
'The Vedantins say that Maya is the shakti of illusion premised in siva. Maya has no independent existence. Having
brought out the illusion of the world as real, she continues to play upon the ignorance of the victims. When the reality of her
not being is found, she disappears. 'Recognition' (pratyabhijna - an Agama text) says that shakti is coeval with siva.
The one does not exist without other. Siva is unmanifest, whereas shakti is manifested on account of Her independent
will swatantra. Her manifestation is the display of the cosmos on Pure Consciousness, like images in a mirror. The images can
not remain in the absence of a mirror. So also the world can not have an independent existence. Swatantra becomes
eventually an attribute of the Supreme. Sri Shankara says that the Absolute is without attributes and that Maya is what is not and
has no real being. What is the difference between the two? Both agree that the display is not real. The images of the mirror can not
in any way be real. The world does not exist in reality (vastutah). Both schools mean the same thing. Their ultimate aim is
to realize the Absolute Consciousness. The unreality of the cosmos is implied in Recognition (pratyabhijna), whereas it is
explicit in Vedanta.'
(20) द्वैताद्वैतवादी Dvaitadvaitawadi
also known as भेदाभेदवादी Bhedabhedawadi or भर्त्यप्रपञ्च
Bhartyaprapancha is an old non-dualistic opinion in which the phenomenon is considered as real and originating from Brahman.
They also consider jiva to be real in the phenomenal world.
(22) Dvaitadvaitawadi philosophy holds that the world and soul to be real while non-dualistic Vedanta followers considers
them to be illusory. If they are real then a person will remain a person and an animal will remain an animal. Brahman will have to be
considered then as transforming entity; this contradicts reason. Shruti narrates the process of creation etc. with the aim of
establishing non-duality in the heart of the spiritual aspirant and it is not meant to be a real creation process.
(23) The shruti passages about creation can be interpreted to mean that they are secondary to the purpose of non-duality but other
passages which describe the absolute characteristics of Brahman can not be otherwise interpreted; e.g. former category of passages
include: ‘यतो वा इमानि जायन्ते
yato va imani jayante’ which is further added with ‘तत् विजिज्ञासस्व
tat vijijyasasva’ and later with ‘तत् ब्रह्म tat brahma’. Thus
these passages are pointing to non-dual and unborn nature of Brahman. The latter category of passages include: ‘सबाह्याभ्यन्तरोहि अज:
sabahyabhyantaro hi ajah’ which is complete in itself and does not require to be added further with other statements. The
conclusion is that shruti passages about creation of world etc. are actually meant to prove the illusory nature of world.
(24) There are shruti passages which negate the creation. If shruti wanted us to believe that the creation is real then
these ‘creation negating’ passages should not have been there; but there are such passages e.g. ‘नेह नानास्ति किञ्चन
neha naanaasti kinchana’; also there are passages suggesting the illusory nature of creation such as ‘इन्द्रो मायाभि
indro maayaabhi’. The purpose of creation passages is to guide the ‘world-experiencing soul’ towards the only Reality of non-dual Brahman.
Doubt: In the ‘अभिधान-ग्रन्थ/कोष-ग्रन्थ’
(dictionary) called ‘निघन्टू Nighantu’ by यास्क
Yaska, there are eleven synonyms for माया maya; one of which is प्रज्ञा
prajnaa. So why not interpret maya to mean prajnaa instead of मिथ्या mithya (illusion)?
Explanation: By the word prajnaa, only the consciousness related to the senses is meant and not the Pure Consciousness. Our
senses are painting an illusory world on the Pure Consciousness; in that sense the word prajnaa is meant to be maya.
Swami Vivekananda says: ‘Upon Him the senses are painting chairs, and tables, and rooms, and houses, and worlds, and moons, and suns,
and stars, and everything else.’
(25) संभूति - सम्यक् भूति ऐश्वर्यं यस्या: - हिरण्यगर्भ
(Cosmic subtle mind – first product of Ishwara)
In this karika the word sambhuti is to be interpreted as उपासना upaasana
(worship) while असंभूति asambhuti as कर्म karma (work).
In ultimate knowledge of the Reality there is no place for co-existence of karma (work); but karma as a step towards the
knowledge i.e. क्रम krama (order/stpes) is accepted.
(1) साधना saadhana or karma combined with upaasana (process towards the goal)
(2) साध्य saadhya or hiranyagarbha or sambhuti (goal to be reached)
Both 1 and 2 mentioned above are deprecated from highest point of view.
(26) The shruti passages related to creation of the world are meant as means for spiritual practice (साधनरूप
saadhanrupa) just as the ‘world-that-is-experienced’ is also a means for spiritual practice. This is Adhyaropa. Swami
Vivekananda says: ‘The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger
spiritually.’ But by this if an impression is derived that Brahman is saadhya (goal to be reached) and there is causality in
Brahman, then this impression is negated by ‘नेति नेति neti neti’ passages.
As explained in the note on verse 7 of first chapter, Turiya is the only Substratum/Reality that exists; all the three states
(waking, dream, and deep sleep) are superimposed on this substratum. In relation to these three states, Turiya is called the
Fourth. Similarly with respect to the ‘saadhan’, 'world', Brahman is called ‘saadhya’; in Itself, Brahman is the
ever-present Truth and not goal of any process. Such a Brahman is pointed by the 'negating' shruti passages; the neti, neti
approach to describe Brahman is better than describing It in terms of 'world' like infinite as sky/sea/space. This is so because our
mind is accustomed to think in terms of sense-inputs only i.e. in terms of 'world' and when scriptures talk about Self/God/Brahman as
infinite/unborn/all-pervasive, our mind is baffled and tries to 'imagine' Brahman as something similar to vast sky/sea; this is
essentially not the purport of the shruti and hence negating all that mind can conceive is a better approach.
(27) Doubt: If the Atman is ever unreachable in experience then it must be असत् asat (non-existent)?
Explanation: The effect (i.e. world) that is experienced can be taken as the indication for सत्-स्वरुप परमात्मा
satswarup Paramatma (Reality that is Pure Being); e.g. magician shows magic but he himself is not seen (this is an example of
illusory efficient cause) or a rope mistaken for snake (here material cause is illusory). Even after going through innumerable births
and experiences, our real nature remains unchanged, ever-present, Pure Consciousness; during these experiences too it remains
unaffected. Hence in Vedanta it is termed as कूटस्थ kutastha – literally meaning the
anvil which takes the blows from a blacksmith and still remains unchanged.
(28) नैयायिक Naiyaayika philosophers are असत् कार्यवादी
Asat Kaaryavaadi i.e. they believe creation out of non-existence. They also consider the existence and non-existence to be two
entities opposite to each other. वैनाशिक (माध्यमिक/शून्यवादी)
Vainaashika (Maadhyamika/Shunyavaadi) are also Asat Kaaryavaadi but they believe non-existence to be the
absence of existence.
But it not observed anywhere that something is born out of non-existence. Hence their position is not tenable; e.g. वन्ध्यापुत्र
vandhyaaputra (son of a barren woman) is not seen actually or by assumption.
(34) & (35) चित्त (Chitta) = चित् (Chit) + त् (t)
i.e. World/mind = Consciousness +
Attachment to objects of experience
सुषुप्ति sushupti – mind merged in ignorance but desires are in causal form
समाधि samaadhi – mind merged in Pure Consciousness and even desires in their causal form are burned.
(36) For a Self-realized person, the phenomenal dealings are illusory; his/her own ‘life-show’ is apparently carried on with liberated-mind
(बाधित अनुवृत्ति baadhita anuvritti).
(37) अभिलाप abhilaap – वाक् vaak (speech)
‘You will find that none of you can think without some symbol.’ – Swami Vivekananda
In Yoga – समाधि samadhi is by चित्तवृत्ति-निरोध
chittavritti-nirodha - by controlling the modifications of mind and thus merging it in Prakriti, Purusha then
becomes separate & free.
In Vedanta – समाधि samadhi is by आत्मसत्यानुबोध
aatmasatyaanubodha (realization of true Self)- control of mind is natural when Brahman is realized as true Self; becoming one
with Reality itself is samadhi i.e. mind dissolves in Infinite Pure Consciousness.
(38) To remain ignorant of true Self is narrow-mindedness (कृपणता kripanataa)
To realize the true Self is to get rid of narrow-mindedness (अकृपणता akripanataa)
In human birth, not to strive for self-knowledge and to depart the world ignorantly, is narrow-mindedness.
There is nothing to be ‘gained’ in Self-knowledge; only to loose all! All false self is to be given up as Sri Nisargadatta Mj put it:
‘The false self must be abandoned before the real self can be found.’
(39) अस्पर्शयोग asparshayoga (Yoga of ‘no contact’). In the
ultimate Reality, all types of subject-object duality is absent. The Truth is never touched by sin or virtue.
दुर्दर्श: durdarshah (difficult to grasp) - To the conditioned being, the
name-less, shape-less Self is difficult to understand and he/she has to repeatedly practice श्रवण shravan
(listening about Atman), मनन manana (cogitating about It), and निदिध्यासन
nididhyasan (continuous abiding in Atman).
People are afraid (बिभ्यति bibhyati) of fearlessness (i.e. Brahman). They are afraid
to loose the personality/individuality idea.
(40) For people who have attained the highest non-dual Self-knowledge, the mind is automatically calmed but for the mediocre and
struggling aspirants, practice of mind-control is essential. The practice may be जप japa (repetition of sacred mantra),
तप tapa (austerity), भक्ति bhakti (devotion), निष्काम-कर्म
nishkama karma (self-less work), प्राणायाम pranayama (control of prana) etc.
(42) The scriptures advice us to control the mind by systematic approach and not by stubborn insistence. We have to be firm in our
implementation of sadhana but obstinacy is to be avoided. Methods mentioned in the above karika for mind-control are the
examples of systematic approach while tamasik sadhanas like standing on one foot, remaining hungry etc. are the examples of
obstinacy. Even in the path of Hatayoga there is a systematic implementation of its techniques.
In desires and enjoyments, the mind gets exhausted; it gets relief in deep sleep which is dissolution of mind to seed form. When we
are tired and feel sleepy, the mind is unable to move further and wants to get back to seed form (लय laya). Laya
is as much an obstacle to Self-realization as desires and sense-enjoyments are.
(43) Mind generally lives in the meshes of sense-objects because of its desire for enjoyment; it can run only to such objects wherein
it has at least one among its primary false beliefs about them namely:
1. sense-objects are real (सत्यत्व भावना
2. sense-objects are permanent (नित्यत्व भावना
nityatva bhavana) and
3. sense-objects have 'potential happiness' in them (समीछिनत्व भावना
These three false values have been super-imposed by the mind upon the sense-objects; the objects in themselves have none of these values.
By discriminating on the limited, sorrowful, and transitory nature of all duality, the mind gradually becomes desire-less. If sense-objects
were real, then after repeated enjoyments, we should feel fulfillment but it is observed that this does not happen and instead we feel
more and more emptiness. The sense-objects are illusory and have no reality by themselves; we should stop running after them.
First discipline is to understand that the things experienced are transitory and are causes of misery; this is practice of detachment (वैराग्याभ्यास
vairagyaabhyaas). Next is to understand that these things are only appearances and have no existence by itself; only the unborn,
infinite Self exists; this is practice of knowledge (ज्ञानाभ्यास
jnanabhayas). Thus the out-going mind is restrained and is stabilized in the Self.
(44) & (45) If mind is controlled from external objects and is also not allowed to go into sleep, still it does not get established in
the Self. Why?
It becomes immobile as it were. The reason is - subtle desires which are holding it to the limited consciousness (कषाय
kashaya). These desires are to be unearthed and got rid of. Kashaya is difficult to detect and has to be carefully observed & eliminated;
‘I-am-the-body’ idea and related desires are to be systematically & resolutely counteracted.
Following three are the main obstacles for Self-realization:
1) लय/स्तब्धता (laya/stabdhata) mind becoming immobile due
to तमोगुण tamoguna inertia; its causes could be heavy diet, heavy work, lack of sleep etc.
(bahirmukhata/vikshepa) mind attached to external sense-objects due to रजोगुण rajoguna
(rasaaswada/samaadhisukha) mind attached to the bliss of ignorance associated causal consciousness (आनन्दमयकोष
Spiritual aspirant should engage himself/herself only in bare necessary dealings of the world and should avoid unnecessary engagements.
(46) अनिङ्गनम् Aninganam – absolutely steady mind
Modes of mind-stuff (चित्त chitta) according to Yoga philosophy:
क्षिप्त kshipta, विक्षिप्त
vikshipta, मूढ mudha, एकाग्र ekagra, and निरुद्ध
Difference between Yoga Samadhi and Vedanta Samadhi: former is the result of separation between purusha (Self) and prakriti
(Phenomenon) and in it the mind/nature is neither negated nor is it dissolved in Self; in latter the mind/nature is merged completely
in the Self and it is the result of constantly meditating on the Reality of the Self.
In Vedanta, the transmigrating nature of an embodied being is not absolutely real but in Yoga it is real. Also in Yoga there are many
Purusha (Self) while in Vedanta Brahman alone is the Self.
Chapter IV – अलातशान्ति प्रकरण Alaatashaanti Prakaran (Chapter on Quenching the Firebrand)
In this last chapter it will be proved in detail that, the dualist and Buddhist philosophies, being contradictory to each other, are
untenable. The purpose of doing this is to make the spiritual aspirant firm footed so that he is not deceived by these philosophies.
The analogy of firebrand refers to the causal chain of transmigration. In the phenomenal world, the association of the Self with
non-self entities like mind, body, senses etc. is experienced but this association can not be real; this is so because for any association
two distinct entities are required and body-mind complex do not have any existence apart from the Self. Just as heat is associated
with fire but can not be proved apart from it similarly the body-mind complex is associated with Self but can not be proved apart from it.
(1) द्विपद dvipada (two-legged) – Human being (though birds are also two-legged, here the term refers to human being).
द्विपदांवरम् dvipadamvaram (greatest amoung two-legged)
– Self-Realized human being (in the context of Mandukya Karika the term refers to Narayan-Rishi of Badarikashrama i.e. Guru of Gaudapadacharya).
आकाशकल्पेन aakaashakalpena – Knowledge similar to space i.e.
subtle, vast, and part-less but not unconscious like space.
jneyabhinnena dharmaan – To realize that the world experienced in waking and dream states as non-different from the Self; hence
the world and its beings are also compared with space.
(2) अस्पर्शयोग asparshayoga – Not connected with anything i.e.
devoid of subject-object duality. That is the nature of Reality.
(9) प्रकृति prakruti – सांसिद्धिकी
samsiddhiki (achieved through right practice e.g. supernatural powers attained by the yogis)
स्वाभाविकी swabhaviki (inherent by nature e.g. heat in fire)
सहजा sahajaa (attained by birth e.g. flying ability of a bird)
अकृता akrutaa (not produced out of anything e.g. nature of water to flow downwards)
The unborn Atman can never change it’s nature and hence no birth is possible for It.
(10) Even when we experience birth, life, and death, we are by our real nature birthless, deathless, pure, and immortal. The true
Self of ours never undergoes any change since by nature (स्वभाव/प्रकृति)
it is changeless! And hence our experience of birth, life, and death is like a dream. The entire series of transmigration does not
affect our real nature in the least; but due to our ignorance and lack of attention we get disturbed even by minor incidents in life.
This is the tragedy of human existence!
(14) हेतु hetu – कारण kaarana (cause) – धर्माधर्म
dharmaadharma (good/bad deeds)
फल phala – कार्य kaarya (effect) - देह deha (body)
The above two are inter-dependent (cause-effect). In the world everything is causal; hence nothing in it can be said to be existing
entirely independent and causeless. The Atman (Self) alone is free and causeless.
Karika 3 onwards it was shown that various dualistic philosophies fight with each other and contradict each other. Any attempt to
explain the 'experienced world' in terms of cause and effect is self-contradictory. This is proved with the help of logic and similes.
First it was shown that the Samkhya and Naiyayika philosophies contradict each other, later in karika 24-27 the Buddhist
philosophical streams were shown to contradict each other.
The major Buddhist philosophical streams are:
वैभाषिक vaibhashik - बाह्यार्थ अपरोक्षवादी (प्रत्यक्षवादी)
bahyartha aparokshavaadi/pratyakshavaadi (external objects are directly perceived entities)
सौत्रान्तिक sautrantik - बाह्यार्थ अनूमेयवादी
bahyartha anumeyavaadi (external objects can be known only by inference)
योगाचार yogaachaar - बाह्यार्थ शून्यवादी (विज्ञानवादी)
bahyartha shunyavaadi/vijnanvaadi (external objects do not exist; perception and inference
are not the proofs; there is only a flow of mental-cognitions)
माध्यमिक maadhyamik – सर्वशून्यवादी
sarvashunyavaadi (nothing exists)
(28) विज्ञानवादी vijnanvaadi opinion is refuted with logic
that it is absurd to assume birth of 'momentary mind'. This would be as futile as trying to trace the footprints of a flying bird!
शून्यवादी shunyavaadi opinion is ‘bolder’ than vijnanavaadi –
they say everything is shunya (non-entity). This is as absurd as to catch space by hand.
(37) – (39) विद्यमानत्वम् vidyamaanatvam (day
after day same phenomenon appearing) and अनेकसाधारणत्वम्
anekasaadhaaranatvam (many observers confirming same phenomenon) are said to be the characteristics of waking state – which
make it different from dream state. But this logic is ‘waking-self logic’ and during dream experiences also similar argument can be put!
Hence just as during dream the dream experiences appear real but in fact they are not real, the waking experiences also appear real
during waking time but they are ultimately not real. The experiencing entity of dream state comes to waking state and with respect to
waking experiences thinks that waking experiences are the cause of dream experiences. But in fact the same entity is having the dream
and waking experiences due to non-discrimination and getting itself mixed with subtle and gross bodies.
(42) The explanation of world is discussed by Self-realized people only for aspirants with dull intellect so that these aspirants
may gradually – by study of Vedanta – realize that there is no such real entity as world!
(47) – (52) Analogy of अलात alaat (firebrand) is introduced in karika 47. Till this karika
the unborn Self was proved by showing the contradictory nature of dualistic philosophies and impossibility of birth for the unborn Self.
If a firebrand is swirled rapidly, different images/shapes (like circle etc.) are seen, but these images – though seen – have no actual
existence. If the firebrand is stopped, the images are not seen.
e.g. 1 – For pots, the potter is efficient cause and clay is material cause
2 – For shapes seen in the firebrand example, the 'swirling of firebrand' is efficient cause and
'firebrand' is material cause
If we exclude potter from the e.g. 1 above, then the pots remain i.e. clay in the shape of pot remains. But in e.g. 2, if swirling of
the firebrand is stopped, the shapes do not remain; here the the shapes do not disappear somewhere and neither are they merged into
the firebrand. Thus it is proved that they have no existence at any time – even during they were seen! Similarly the universe, its
creatures, the phenomenal dealings etc. appear in Brahman but have no real existence at any time. They appear and disappear like a
dream. In firebrand analogy there is swirling of the firebrand, no such thing is required in Brahman for the phenomenon to appear.
In other words, our birth, life, death, rebirth etc. are all unreal from Absolute point of view as Swami Vivekananda says:
‘Birth, life and death are but old superstitions. None was ever born, none will ever die, one
changes ones position that’s all. This is first fact of consciousness is – I am.’
If we ask why do these phenomenon appear in Brahman? What is the cause? Then 'ignorance of the real Self' is the only answer. The
quotation by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj given in karika 1 of chapter 3 above proves same point. Brahman and the world do not have a
cause-effect relationship hence the appearances are अनिर्वचनीय
(54) The external objects are neither the cause nor the effect of mind; mind and external objects both are illusory appearances of
Pure Consciousness (Brahman). The Reality is devoid of cause-effect relationship.
(55) – (56) As long as we are attached to the cause-effect chain, we are subjected to the ‘birth-death-rebirth’ cycle and consequently
we have to experience the ‘world’. On realization of infinite Pure-Consciousness-Bliss as our real nature, this causal chain is broken
and the appearance of body, world etc. cease.
(64) – (65) In dream, the dream world (दृश्य drishya) is identical with the dreaming-mind (द्रष्टा
drashta). Also the dreaming-mind is identical with the dreamer himself. Thus the dreamer projects a dream-mind and associated
dream-world. But all the while the projected mind and the imaginary world are identical with the dreamer. This is also the case with
(67) चित्त chitta (mind or subject) – चैत्य chaitya (cognized
object) e.g. knowledge of pot – pot
The above two are always interconnected and in fact it can not be proved that they have a cause and effect relationship between them.
From Absolute point of view they do not have any existence by themselves and appear to exists only because the seer imagines them that way.
(79) अभूताभिनिवेश abhutabhinivesh – अभूत
abhuta (objects that have no existence) + अभिनिवेश abhinivesh (to be convinced that they exist)
Our understanding about ourselves, others, and world is a abhutabhinivesh; in place of infinite, non-dual, Pure Consciousness
– the only Reality ever existing – we see or experience ourselves, others, and world as existing!
(81) The Atman or Self is स्वयंप्रकाश-स्वरुप
swayamprakaash-swaroop i.e. it shines by its own light and does not require external light like sun, moon, fire etc. to illumine
it and It is ever-present.
(82) Doubt: If nature of the Self is as mentioned above and we are repeatedly being told about It, why can’t we grasp It? Why do we
experience body, mind, world etc. and not Atman?
Explanation: ‘We’ – are essentially the Self, Pure Consciousness; forgetting this fact we attach ourselves to the illusory body-mind
phenomenon and then worry about Self-realization! All we have to do is to be aware of this fact and let go our hold on the body-mind
complex. Since we hold on to the ‘body-mind instrument’ and through it experience the phenomenal world, we are always ‘outward-focused’.
To ‘experience’ the Self we have no ‘instrument’; this is the ‘difficulty’ in the Self-realization. Being Itself the substratum of
thought-speech channel, the Atman is also difficult to describe or think of.
(83) Various philosophies try to describe Self/God in various ways:
(a) अस्ति asti – Self ‘IS’ (existence) – Sankhya and other dualistic philosophies - चलभाव
chalabhaav (moving or transmigrating nature)
(b) नास्ति naasti – Self ‘IS NOT’ (non-existence) – Vainashik or Vijnanwaadi
Buddhist philosophies - स्थिरभाव sthirabhaav (fixed or stationary nature)
(c) अस्तिनास्ति astinaasti – Self ‘IS and IS NOT’
– Ardhavainashik or Charwaak or Digambar Jain philosophies - उभयभाव
ubhayabhaav (both fixed and moving nature)
(d) नास्तिनास्ति naastinaasti – Self ‘IS NOT
and IS NOT’ – Maadhyamik or Atyantik Shunyawaadi Buddhist philosophies - अभाव abhaav (void nature)
All the above philosophers, by putting forth such subtle philosophies, are in fact ‘covering’ the Self as it were and hence are getting
deluded. If such is the plight of philosophers, no wonder majority of humanity is ignorant about the Atman.
(86) A Self-realized person has peaceful and blissful mind as a result of Self-discovery. That’s the nature of his mind; he does not
need to practice mind control. But a spiritual aspirant has to practice mind control and that which is natural to आत्मज्ञानी
atmajnani (Self-realized person) is a spiritual practice for aspirants.
(87) In this chapter from karika 3 to karika 86, the birth-less nature of Atman was proved by showing the contradictory
nature of dualistic philosophies. Now from karika 87 onwards the same truth is explained by Vedanta’s अवस्थात्रय
awasthaatraya (analyzing the three states of consciousness) method.
जाग्रत jagrat (waking state) – लौकिकम्
laukikam (experienced with external objects)
स्वप्न swapna (dream state) – शुद्धलौकिकम्
shuddhalaukikam (experienced without external objects)
(88) सुषुप्ति sushupti (deep sleep) – लोकोत्तरम्
lokottaram (no objects, no experience)
ज्ञानम् jnanam (subject) and ज्ञेयम् jneyam
(object) is उपाय upaay (means) to reach विज्ञेयम्
vijneyam (transcendental knowledge) i.e तुरीय turiya.
(90) Spiritual aspirant must be aware of following four categories, so that he/she can move correctly on the path:
हेय heya – that which is to be avoided (the contents of three states or all phenomenal knowledge)
ज्ञेय jneya – that which is to be known (transcendental knowledge)
आप्य aapya – that which is to be attained or to be taken help of e.g. पाण्डित्य
panditya (hearing), बाल्य baalya (cogitating), and मौन mauna (continuous meditation).
पाक्य paakya that which is to be rendered ineffective or to be sterilized like attachments,
hatred, desires etc.
(92) The objects of the phenomenal world including all creatures do not have absolute existence. They are संदिह्यमानस्वरुप
sandihyamaanswarup (not positively ascertainable); they can neither be said to exist nor not to exist. But the Self is not sandihyamaanswarup
rather it is नित्यनिश्चितस्वरुप
nityanishchitaswarup (positively ever present). Swami Vivekananda says, ‘It is through the inscrutable power of Maya, which can
not be indicated as either existent or non-existent that the relative consciousness has come upon the Jiva who is none other than
Brahman. This is generally known as the conscious state. And the state in which this duality of relative existence becomes one in the
pure Brahman is called in the scriptures the super-conscious state…’
(94) In scriptures, often an ignorant person is derided (कृपण: kripanah – small minded, miser etc.).
This is done just to encourage the spiritual aspirant towards the goal.
(99) ‘All knowledge and knower are essentially infinite Pure Consciousness’ – this truth is not proclaimed by the Buddhists, though
they negate the phenomenal world and its creatures. Vedanta alone proclaims the real nature of the phenomenon.
This karika specifically mentions the above point since throughout the treatise Gaudapadacharya uses terms and verses resembling
Buddhist literature. He makes use of these terms and verses because they were popular in the intellectual circles of India at his times.
But this could give us the wrong impression that Buddhist and Vedanta philosophies are identical. In order to clear the confusion and
state the difference between the two philosophies, here in karika 99, the above point is highlighted. Swami Vivekananda says,
'Buddhism is a great religion in some respects, but to confuse Buddhism with Vedanta is without meaning; anyone may mark just the
difference that exists between Christianity and the Salvation Army.'
(100) Our salutations to the infinite Pure Consciousness that is difficult to attain for those who have not sharpened their minds with
discrimination and dispassion. How can salutation be made to the Truth that is devoid of any subject-object relationship? The answer is:
to get rid of body-consciousness and to establish ourselves in Pure Consciousness is in itself नमस्कार
Just as opening of Mandukya Karika was by two verses invoking auspiciousness (Mangalacharan), in the end of the text there are
three such verses dedicated to Brahman, Paramguru (Supreme Teacher/God), and Guru.
| ॐ शान्ति: | ॐ शान्ति: | ॐ शान्ति: |
| Om Peace | Om Peace | Om Peace |