Mandukya Upanishad, Class 5


Mantra # 3:

The first quarter (pada) is “Vaisvanara” whose sphere is the waking state, who is conscious of the external world of objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who enjoys the gross objects of the world.

Swamiji said after introducing two types of analysis: Omkara Vichara in mantra #1 and Atma Vichara in mantra # 2 now the Upanishad has entered Atma Vichara. Last class we discussed an overview of Atma Vichara. Atma is seen as Chatush Pada Atma.

I, the original consciousness, called the Turiya Atma appears with three types of nama rupas as Sthula, Sukshma and Karana atmas; here, I, the consciousness, sthula atma, obtaining in jagrit avastha with sthula nama and rupa; sukshma atma obtaining in sukshma avastha with sukshma nama and rupa;(I consciousness seen from Sukshma nama Rupa in Svapna avastha); and Karana atma is I the consciousness obtaining with all potential nama and rupas in Shushupti avastha.

“I”, the sthula atma divide myself into two that is Pramata and Prameya; both being in jagrit avastha.

Similarly, Sukshma Atma divides itself into Svapna Pramata and Svapna Prameya. Similarly, with Karana Atma that divides itself into Sushupti Pramata and Sushupti prameya. In Sushupti, the differences between pramata and prameya are not distinguishable.

Finally, the “I” without any name or rupa or any form of pramata or prameya is known as the Turiya Atma.

The first three aspects of jagrit, svapna and sushupti are all mithya as they have nama and rupa. The fourth pada of Turiya alone is Satyam.

Now Upanishad will talk of:

  • first pada related to Sthula atma in mantra # 3;
  • fourth mantra will discuss the second pada of Sukshma atma;
  • fifth and sixth mantras will take up third pada related to Karana atma and
  • seventh mantra will talk about Turiya atma or the fourth pada.

Mantra # 3: (continued)

Continued: First pada is about Sthula Atma. The name Sthula Atma is not given by the Upanishad but given by us to better communicate the idea. It is the name of  “I” the consciousness principle. It is not an independent one, but one seen through Jagrat Avastha. Sthula Atma is the consciousness obtaining in waking state. Jagrat Sthanam avastha means I am not the pure consciousness. In jagrat avastha, the “I”, am associated with Sthula nama and rupa and appear as jagrat pramata; the knower; and as jagrat prameyam, the knowable. I divide myself into the knower and knowable. Now, when am I knower and when am I the known?

Knower: When “I” am obtaining in jagrat avastha with Vyashti (micro cosmic or the physical body) sthula nama and rupa, then I am Pramata. Thus, when I am obtaining in jagrat avastha associated with nama rupa at individual body level, Vyashti, then I am Pramata.


When am I Prameyam?

When I am obtaining in jagrat avastha with samashti sthula nama and rupa, then I am known as Known or Prameya. Thus, when consciousness is associated with samashti, macrocosm, it becomes Prameya.

Thus, I, with micro and macro nama rupas become Pramata and prameyam. Vyashti is description of individual and samashti is description of the Total or cosmic.

Jagrat Pramata:

The Knower I, when I am associated with individual body, I become Waker with my consciousness turned outwards, extrovert, through my Gyana indriyas. It is an extrovert consciousness. How do I contact external world? I have 19 counters or openings and through them I interact. They are the five gyanenindriyas that provide input from the world to me; the five karmendriyas are my output to the world through my activities; the Pancha Pranas (Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, Vyana the five physiological functions); and four internal organs of Manaha, Budhi, Chitta and Ahamkara. Manaha is the emotional principle; Budhi is intelligence principle; Chitta is memory principle and Ahamkara is ego principle.

Thus, we have the 19 organs.

Another description of the Jagrat Pramata is that I experience an external world that is gross. In dream every object is my own thought, vasana maya. In jagrat it is bhautika vishaya or born from pancha Bhutani. So, I am called Sthula Bhut (experiencer); all this is the Sthula Atma.

The technical name for jagrat prapancha is Vishwa.

I, the one consciousness, am all pervading with varieties of nama and rupas appearing as even the stars, the moon and sun with Samashti nama’s and rupa’s as Vaishwanara. With samashti nama rupa I am called Vishwa or Virat Ishwara. In this mantra Virat is Vaishwanara. This Virat in Vaishwanara is same as in Gita’s chapter 11’s Vishwa Rupa. Saptanga Ishwara is described in Chandogya Upanishad as Virat Ishwara. It means, I , with seven limbs. What are those limbs? They are:

1) Head of Virat, the heaven;

2) Eye of Virat, the sun;

3) Breath of Virat, Total Vayu;

4) Mouth of Virat, Agni Tatvam;

5) Body of Virat, Akasha or space;

6) Bladder of Virat, Ocean or water storing capacity;

7) Feet of Virat Ishwara, prithvi or earth.

Thus in waking state, I am the individual as well as the world. In dream, I create a dream world from my own vasanas. The entire dream world is I myself.

Thus, Vishwa + Virat=Prathama Pada or my own first aspect.

It should be noted that Vishwa here is jagrat pramata with Jagrat prameya also known as Sthula atma.

Mantra # 4:

The second quarter (pada) is Taijasa whose sphere of activity is the dream state, who is conscious of the internal world of objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who enjoys subtle objects of the mental world.

The second pada of Me, the chaitnaya Tatvam is, “I”, in svapna avastha or svapna sthanam. In Svapna, I am associated with subtle nama and rupa. All nama rupas are mental projections of dream. They are vasana maya rupas, hence called sukshma atma. This atma breaks up into svapna pramata and svapna prameya. I become svapna pramata, with individual nama rupa and I also become svapna prameya, with samashti prameya. As svapna pramata I am called Taijasa. As svapna prameya I am called Hiranyagarbha.

Thus: Taijasa + Hiranyagarbha=Sukshma Atma. This is second pada.

As a dreamer I am not extrovert.  I don’t contact external world. My Gyanendriyas and karmendriyas don’t function in svapna. I am experiencing an internal world projected by my own mind.

Definition of dream per Atma Bodha is: During jagrit avastha our mind records every event. In svapna that recording is played back. It is experienced internally. Even in svapna, if I hear sound I need dream ears. To consume dream coffee I need a dream mouth. So projected indriyas are there in dream as well. Thus all 19 organs exist in dream as well. All of them, however, are turned inwards from waker’s point of view. Though the sense organs are not made of pancha Bhutani, they are made of my vasanas. The dream jalam is from my dream vasana water. I am experiencer of sukhma prapancha. Praviviktham Bhuk or Sukshma Prapancha Bhokta.

The very same I appears as prameya with samshti nama rupa. Here also sapta anga’s are there. All are svapna sun, earth,Vayu, Agni, water, akasha. As samashti nama rupa I am Hiranyagarbha and Taijasa.

Thus: Taijasa+ Hiranyagarbha=my own Sukshma Atma or my second pada.

It should be noted that when I am associated with the dream anatma body, I am called Taijasa and when associated with the dream anatma world, I am called Hiranyagarbha.

Mantra # 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 (pada) is the “Prajna” whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all (experiences) become unified or undifferentiated, who is verily a homogeneous mass of Consciousness entire, who is full of bliss, who is indeed an enjoyer of bliss and who is the very gateway for projection of consciousness into other two planes of Consciousness-the dream and the waking.

Here we start the third pada, the all-pervading shushupti Sthanam. Shushupti Sthanam is the “I”, obtaining in Sushupti avastha, the sleeper. From my own standpoint I am not any of them. Now the Upanishad gives us a definition of Sushupti.

But first let us define Jagrat. Jagrat means contact with world through sense organs. The Upanishad does not offer any definition; this is our definition.

Swapna is defined, our definition, as expressing an internally projected world.

Sushupti, as defined by Upanishad, is that state of deep sleep in which one does not have any desire for external objects. Why is it so? Because he does not experience external world, hence he has no desires for external objects. In sushupti one also does not experience an internal Svapna world, as well. So, neither, external (jagrat), or internal (svapna) universe is experienced and this is called Sleep.

My body mind complex is a two in one device. When both are not functioning it goes to the sleep mode. The negation of Svapna and jagrat avastha is  sushuptam or deep sleep or dreamless sleep. Why use the word deep sleep? Deep means dreamless. REM sleep is one with dreams, while dreamless sleep, is deep sleep. Now the Upanishad talks about the third pada. Sushupti sthanam is the third pada or Karana Atma. Eki Bhut means where all differences have merged. Thus all five shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha have merged. Sense organs differentiate and they are resolved. What is this merger? Sense organs continue to exist, but they now exist in potential form or in Karana avashta or in Avyakta avastha. Once objects are not differentiated object cognizance is also not differentiated.

Thus, let us say there is a clip and a watch; both are seen differently in my mind as I have watch knowledge (cognizance) or clip knowledge (cognizance). Thus we have many external as well as many internal cognizances.

In sleep object differentiation is resolved; all forms of knowledge are resolved as well. In sleep there is no differentiation of knowledge. Say five people are sleeping. All are in same condition of equal ignorance during sleep. Thus, one may know English, another Sanskrit etc. But in sleep they are all equal since their knowledge has merged. However, once they wake up the differentiation comes back up again. This state is called Pragyana Ghanaha in mantra, where in, all forms of knowledge are undifferentiated. Thus two types of mergers occur, merger of objects and merger of knowledge of objects. Here the word merger does not mean disappearance of knowledge. Knowledge goes into its potential form and upon waking it re-appears.

Take Away:

 Thus in waking state, I am the individual as well as the world.

In dream, I create a dream world from my own vasanas. The entire dream world is I myself.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy