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Essence of the Mandukyopanishad

by Swami Sivananda



Om bhadram karnebhih srinuyama devah
Bhadram pasyemakshabhiryajatrah,
vyasema devahitam yadayuh.

Svasti na indro vriddhasravah
svasti nah pushah visvavedah,
Svasti nastarkshyo arishtanemih
svasti no brihaspatirdadhatu,

Om Santih, Santih, Santih.

Om, O gods, may we, with our ears, hear what is auspicious; O ye! Fit to be worshipped, may we, with our eyes, see what is auspicious; may we enjoy the life allotted to us by the gods, offering our praise with our bodies strong of limb. May Indra, the powerful, the ancient of fame, vouchsafe us prosperity. May He, the nourisher and the possessor of all wealth, give us what is well for us. May the Lord of swift motion be propitious to us, and may the protector of the great ones protect us too.


1. Om, the word, is all this. Its further explanation is this. All that is past, present and future is verily Om. That which is beyond the triple conception of time, is verily Om.


2. All this is verily Brahman. This Atman (the Supreme Self) is Brahman. This Atman has four quarters, four feet, not like those of a cow, but like the fractions of a coin


3. The first quarter is Vaisvanara whose sphere is the state of waking, who is conscious of the external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who enjoys the gross objects.


4. The second quarter is the Taijasa whose sphere or field or place is dream, who is conscious of internal objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and enjoys the subtle objects.


5. That is the state of deep sleep wherein the sleeper does not desire any objects nor does he see any dream. The third quarter or condition is the Prajna whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all experiences have become one, who is verily a mass of consciousness, who is full of bliss, who enjoys bliss, and who is the way leading to the knowledge (of the two other states).


6. This is the Lord of all, this is the knower of all, this is the internal Ruler, this is the cause of all, this is verily the Origin and End of all beings.


7. The wise think that the fourth, Turiya, is not that which is conscious of the internal (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the external (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a compact mass of knowledge, nor that which is simple consciousness, nor that which is insentient. It is unseen, unrelated, incomprehensible, undefinable, unthinkable, indescribable, the sole essence of the consciousness of the Self with no trace of the conditioned world, the peaceful, all-bliss, non-dual. This is the Atman, the Self and it is to be realised.


8. This is that Atman even with regard to the letters (of the word Om); it is the Omkara with its parts. The quarters are the parts, and the parts the quarters. The parts of OM are 'A', 'U' and 'M'.


9. The first part 'A' is Vaisvanara whose sphere is the condition of waking, on account of all-pervasiveness, or on account of being the first. He who knows this obtains verily all desires and becomes the first.


10. Taijasa, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, is represented by the letter 'U' ,the second letter of Om, on account of superiority, or on account of being middle. He who knows this becomes great in knowledge and the equal of all. No one ignorant of Brahman is born in his family.


11. Prajna, whose sphere is deep sleep, is 'M', the third part (letter) of Om, because it is both the measure and that wherein all become one. He who knows this is able to measure all and to comprehend all within himself.


12. That which has no parts is the fourth, transcendental, destitute of phenomenal existence, all bliss and non-dual. This verily is Omkara. He who knows this merges his self in the Self.


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