Mandukya Upanishad, Class 7


Mantra # 6:

This is the Lord of all, this is the knower of all, this is the inner controller, this is the source of all. And this is that from which all things originate and in which they finally dissolve themselves.

Swamiji said the Upanishad is in middle of Chatushpada Atma Vichara. The teaching wants to say that ultimately “I” am Turiya Chaitanyam, which does not have any time or space limitations. This Turiya Chaitanyam is appearing as Jagrit, Swapna, and Sushupti avasthas.

It is appearing in three Veshams. Citing an example, it is the same gold that appears as a bangle, ring and chain.

Gold by itself is neither bangle, nor ring nor chain. Bangle is like the first pada, ring is like the second pada and chain is like the third pada. Gold is like the fourth pada or Turiyam. There are no such things called bangle, ring or chain. The substance is only gold that appears as all three ornaments. Thus, I, Turiyam manifest as gross creation. Gross creation is not a substance in itself. The Turiya Chaitanyam is the only substance that appears as gross creation. There is no matter separate from Consciousness. There is no separate gross matter separate from Consciousness.

Thus, I, appear as Sthula Atma consisting of knower and known. With another nama and rupa I appear as sukshma atma or subtle dream universe. Here, I am the dream knower and known, all my own appearances.  I, in sushupti, take on another nama and rupa, in seed form. In sushupti everything is in avyakta rupam. I am thus the third pada called Karana atma, it incudes the knower and the known pairs in an undifferentiated form.

In all three states the pairs are:

Vishva and Virat in Sthula

Taijasa and Hiranyagarbha in Sukshma

Prajna and Antaryami in Karana

The anataryami was described in last class in mantra six.

In I, the consciousness, all nama and rupa’s are available at the time of pralaya and in a miniature form in the sleep state as well and in this state I am called Anataryami. Antaryami is jagat karanam. Karanam is name for the seed form that is the source of origination of all things; just as a pregnant woman is called a mother. It is both Nimitha karanam and Upadana karanam. Nimitha is intelligent cause while Upadana is material cause. Antaryami has Total knowledge and total skills. He is cause of whole jagat prapancha. Thus, as nimitha karanam, he is omniscient, omnipotent and Omni-present.

Upadana karanam, the material cause, is indicated by Yoni.

So, who is Anataryami? Antaryami is my third Vesha.

Now, I am trying to find who am I, without a Vesha, not playing the roles of Waker, Sleeper, Dreamer or Turiyam? Every Vesha has a complication or role related problem. Father role has its problems; mother role has its problems. There is no problem-free role. Only by knowing my role-free nature, will I know myself.

Here Gaudapada gives us a break from mantras with a few Karikas or commentaries summarizing the first six mantras.

There are nine karikas before seventh mantra.

The content of the nine karikas is the consolidation of the first six mantras in which the three quarters (padas) of atma were described. Karika does not comment upon every word of the mantra. That is the difference from a bhashyam, commentary. Karika is an analysis, study or an observation.

In first five karikas, Gaudapada is summarizing the first five mantras and three padas as well. He clubs all three padas together for commentary. Thus, the karikas give us the total vision of the mantras.

In karika # 1 he is summarizing Pada Trayam.

In karika # 2 he is summarizing Sthana Trayam or location for sake of upasana purposes. Here a particular body part is chosen for location of pada for performing the upasana.

In karika # 3 he is describing the Bhoga Trayam; that is experiences enjoyed by each pada.

In karika # 4 he describes Tripti Trayam indicating what gives pleasure to each pada. It performs a Tarpanam for each pada. Tarpanam is process of pleasing. Tripyati means process of pleasing. Thus, he describes who pleases Vishwa, who pleases Taijasa and who pleases Prajna?

Karika # 1:

बहिष्प्रज्ञो विभुर्विश्वो ह्यन्तःप्रज्ञस्तु तैजसः  
घनप्रज्ञस्तथा प्राज्ञ एक एव त्रिधा स्मृतः

Vishwa the first quarter (pada) is He who is all –pervading and who experiences the external, the gross objects (the waker), Taijasa, the second quarter (pada), is He who cognizes the internal, the subtle bodies (the dreamer). Prajna is He, who is a mass of Consciousness. He is one alone who is thus known as three, in three different planes of Consciousness. 

Describing the three padas, he says:

First pada is  describing Vishwa. It is I, the Waker, Sthula Atma, physicalized in the waking state. I am Vishwa  turned extrovert. I am waker “I”. I am Vibhu; I am Virat. Vishwa is Virat when identified with macro nama rupa. It is like the prime minister of the country, who represents not the old and unsteady man that he is, but the will of a billion people. His signature on a treaty is the signature of the country.

Pada # 2 is Taijasa or I, identified with dream body, a thought body. In dream, every object is a thought. Thought body is vasana maya. Antaha Pragyaha means turned inwards; thus, “I”, replay the vasana’s registered in me in jagrat avastha.

Third pada: is Pragyaha is not different from antaryami or sleeper “I” or Ghana pragyaha. Gaudapada presents Pragyana Ghana as Ghana pragyaha. It is a better way of phrasing it. At this stage all my knowledge has merged into one mass Consciousness.

A very important point made by Guadapada is that the one Consciousness, the Turiya,“I”, am known by three different namas. It is like I am grand father, father and son. From my own point of view, once you negate the relations, the names are gone and I am just a person.  My waker, dreamer and sleeper statuses are all just relative ones. “I” am the one known by three different names.

Karika # 2:

दक्षिणाक्षिमुखे विश्वो मनस्यन्तस्तु तैजसः  
आकाशे ह्य्दि प्राज्ञस्त्रिधा देहे व्यवस्थितः

Viswa works from the right eye, Taijasa from the mind and Prajna from the heart space. Thus, the one Self is conceived as working from three headquarters as three distinct entities.

This is not part of mandukya Upanishad but was introduced by Gaudapada based on other Upanishads. Other Upanishads talk of three types of Upasanas that meditate on oneness of the being. Thus, wave and ocean are water. Difference is only in name and form. Form itself has no weight; name also has no weight; once you remove nama and rupa, both wave and ocean end up being just water.

Vyashti Samshti Aikyam: When we live as an individual in the world we forget individual is not a separate from Total. Cauvery water dispute is there because people of Karnataka do not see the entire country as one people. Similarly, India Pakistan problem festers in south Asia because we do not see ourselves as Asians but rather as Indians and Pakistanis. Ego is the cause of Samsara. So ego-killing meditation is very important for Vedanta to work. The three ego-killing Upasanas are:

Vishwa Virat aikya upasana

Taijasa Hiranyagarbha aikya upasana

Prajna Antaryami aikya upasana.

Thus, for sake of convenience, we invoke Lord Shiva on a Shiva linga while we invoke Vishnu on a Shaligrama.

So we have to invoke in ourselves, the locus given to us by the Upanishad and meditate on the oneness.

Waker I, Vishwa, should be invoked on the right eye. Why invoke on right eye; because, the eyes are the most powerful organ contacting the external world. Between both eyes the right eye is more powerful. So, in waking state right eye plays a very important role. According to scriptures the right eye is considered more sacred. Vishwa is thus invoked in the right eye.

This upasana is highlighted in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (chapter 4, section 2).

The location of Taijasa is inside the mind. All thoughts are registered as vasanas in subconscious mind. Some of our dreams come from subconscious mind. The mind, being the prominent part of the subtle body, is used for invoking Taijasa.

Prajna: according to shastras, in sleep, all faculties are withdrawn into Hridayam. This is deep sleep when you don’t smell, see, feel, etc. Golakams are there but Indriya Shakti is withdrawn. So, it is located in Hridayam.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states (chapter 2, section 2) that within our heart, there is an inside space into which all our sense powers are resolved when we are in deep sleep. Prajna is invoked in this space.

Thus we have three upsanas:

Vishwa Virat aikya upasana

Taijasa Hiranyagarbha upasana

Prajna Antaryami upasana

Karika # 3:

विश्वो हि स्थूलभुङ्नित्यं तैजसः प्रविविक्तभुक्  
आनन्दभुक्तथा प्राज्ञस्त्रिधा भोगं निबोधत

Know these to be the threefold experiencers; Viswa always experiences the gross sense objects. Taijasa enjoys the subtle world of objects and Prajna the blissful.

 Describes the three fold experiences of the padas.

Vishwa Bhoga:

Vishva, the waker, experiences the gross material

objects of the world regularly in every waking moment. The objects of the world are made up of the five elements.

So Waker is prathama pada or Vishwa.

Taijasa bhoga: Sukshma bhokta or pravivikta bhuk is the dreamer, not in contact with physical world. His contact is with intangible world of dreams. In dream, they become tangible.

The dreamer cannot contact the gross material universe because to do so, sense organs must be available. The tangible, material world goes away from the dreamer. The dreamer sees dream mountain, rivers, etc., that are thoughts which were in the subconscious mind in the form of vasanas. The vasanas registered in the mind come out in dream. Thus the dream is subtle vasana-based universe. The dreamer is the experiencer of the subtle thought world.

Prajna bhoga: or ananda Bhuk is one who enjoys ananda with all divisions removed.

The waker and the dreamer have pleasurable and painful experiences but the sleeper always experiences happiness. During sleep state all the koshas (sheaths)

except the vital sheath and the bliss sheath are resolved. The vital sheath is operating keeping the body

alive. In this state all emotions and thoughts are resolved. Only body exists in an undisturbed condition.

In this state the atmananda, which is the original nature of atma gets reflected in the calm mind that is

resolved in the causal body. The sleeper is the experiencer of the reflected bliss.

There is no more a localized person. Why do we welcome sleep? Why do we prepare our bed, because, we love sleep very much. We hate getting out of sleep. This is a universal experience, in all yugas, in all conditions. In sleep, we are in advaitam hence the reason for our love. Where there is dvaitam there are problems. Thus, we all have got advaita anubhava. Our problem is, we don’t realize that it is our real state.

One philosopher said,” You are not a human being seeking spiritual experience; rather you are a spiritual being who temporarily has a human experience.”

Thus, there are three bhogams of Sthula, Suskhma and Ananda.

Karika # 4:  Tripti Trayam:

 स्थूलं तर्पयते विश्वं प्रविविक्तं तु तैजसम्  
आनन्दश्च तथा प्राज्ञं त्रिधा तृप्तिं निबोधत

The gross objects satisfy the Viswa, whereas the subtle objects satisfy the Taijasa, while the bliss satisfies the Prajna, Thus the bliss is threefold.

Three types of tarpanam are described here. Tarpanam means pleasing; it is not just offerings to ancestors.

Sthula vastus of waking state please Vishwa in the Waker “I”. Shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha are all to please Me alone. Sthulam Vishwan Tarpayate. So, gross universe entertains Waker.

Pravikthabhuk Taijasa Tarpayate. Sukshma vastu are mentally projected objects in dream. Dreamer only wants the objects in the dream state; thus, he wants dream water not waking water. Let us keep in mind that waking state is also a projected state alone. The subtle, dream universe entertains the dreamer.

Anandaha karanam tarpayate.

In Anandaha there is no differentiation. As long as there is dvaitam between food and you there is no ananda. Thus, if food is placed in front of you and you are asked to wait, you don’t like it. But when food is placed and you start eating there is no more duality, it is advaitam as you and food become one and this causes ananda. This ananda pleases the sleeper. The reflected happiness entertains the sleeper.

This is tripti trayam.

Take Away:

I am usually playing the role of Waker, Sleeper, Dreamer or Turiyam.

Only by knowing my role-free nature, will I know myself. It is like, once you remove nama and rupa, both wave and ocean end up being just water.

With Best Wishes,


Ram Ramaswamy