Mandukya Upanishad, Class 15


Mantra # 9:

जागरितस्थानो वैश्वानरोऽकारः

प्रथमा मात्राऽऽप्तेरादिमत्त्वाद्वाप्नोति

वै सर्वान्कामानादिश्च

भवति एवं वेद

He who is Vaishvanara having for his sphere of activity the waking state is Aa the first letter of AUM, on account of its “ all pervasiveness” or on account of “ being the first”- these two are the common features in both. One who knows this surely attains the fulfillment of all his desires and becomes the first or the foremost among all.

Swamiji said from Mantra # 3 to Mantra # 7 the Upanishad analyzed chatushpada atma; Here we travel gradually from Vishwa toTaijasa to Pragya to Turiyam. In Vishwa, I am the consciousness, which is the witness of gross universe. In Taijasa I am consciousness that is witness of subtle universe. In Pragya I am consciousness that is the witness of the causal universe, which I experience as total blankness. In Sushupti when I am experiencing total it is the experience of whole universe in potential form.

In Vishwa my attention is on object I. In Taijasa I am conscious witness of sukshma prapancha. In Pargya, I am witness of Karana parapancha. In Turiyam I turn my attention to I the observer who am there even as sthula, sukshma and Pragya are all changing. Thus Vishwa, Taijasa and Pragya are stepping stones to land in Turiyam.  This Turiyam was described in mantra # 7.

Now we are starting to turn out attention to Chatur matra OM kara; travelling from A to U to M where I turn my attention to consciousness, one that is aware of silence. Thus sound is an object of my awareness; then Silence is an object of my awareness then to the awareness itself that is a witness of the silence. Thus when sound is not, awareness is still there; when silence is not, awareness is still there; when silence is there, it is the awareness of silence. So starting with awareness of sound, awareness of silence, thus Omkara Vichara is travelling from sound to silence to awareness of silence. Here sound is an object; silence is an object while the awareness is not an object. This awareness continues in silence and sound. Awareness and witness are used synonymously.

So, how to do I make use of Omkara upasana to land into my own awareness?  To develop the skill of Omkara Vichara initially I learn to equate the four padas to the four matras and let the mind absorb this equation completely.

Now we move to mantra # 9 where Vishwa and Aa kara are equated.

Here, Vishwa (Vaishwanara) and Aa kara are equated. Upanishad prescribes a meditation to equate and assimilate the knowledge. Sound Aa is taken as symbol to meditate upon. Aa represents Virat or Vishwa rupa; thus during meditation the whole gross atma comes up. Thus shaligramam is an object of reverence for an Indian. This perspective comes from generations of association, while a foreigner just sees it as a piece of art.

Two common features of Aa and Virat are:

  1. Virat is first gross creation and after Virat all other creations came about. Among alphabets too Aa is the first letter.
  2. The pervasion of both. Aa sound has transformed into all other letters. Aa inheres in all alphabets. Sri Krishna says in chapter # 10, I am Aa kara. Virat and Aa kara are both all-pervading or Vyapti.

Phalam for this Upasana is:

Worldly results: In mantra, Veda means Upasana. Here Upasaka attains all kamas and pervades his possessions or expands them. His family expands; property and possession all expand. One who meditates on Aa kara and Vishwa in life will become foremost in any field he enters, hence the word Aadishcha Bhavati is used.

Above were the material results of the Upasana.

Spiritual benefits are: His capacity to equate Aa with Vishwa expands. In meditation, when he practices Vedantic meditation, mind thinks of Vishwa, Taijasa, and Pragya; it also goes to Hiranyagarbha, Antaryami and Chaitanya adhishtanam. The silence will not be blankness; it will represent consciousness behind silence. The stillness in Omkara meditation will land in Consciousness.

Mantra # 10:

जागरितस्थानो वैश्वानरोऽकारःप्रथमा मात्राऽऽप्तेरादिमत्त्वाद्वाप्नोति

वै सर्वान्कामानादिश्च

 भवति एवं वेद

He who is Taijasa, having for his sphere of activity in the dream state, Is U the second letter of AUM; on account of “superiority” or on account of “ being in between the two”. He who knows this attains to a superior knowledge and is treated equally by all and finds no one in his line of descendants who is not a knower of Brahman.

Now comes equation of second pada, Taijasa (Vyashti) or Hiranyagarbha (Samashti) is equated with U kara. In Sanskrit, joining of alphabets Aa and U creates O. It is a symbol for meditation on second pada or Swapna or Taijasa. Here too there are two common features between them; they are:

  1. Hiranyagarbha, the subtle, is superior to Virat, the gross. So also the sound U is superior to Aa. Why is it superior? Subtle is always superior to gross. From Hiranyagarbha comes Virat. Sukshma is a Karanam while Virat is a Karyam. Virat is born from Hiranyagarbha. At destruction, Virat goes back into Hiranyagarbha.

U is Utkrshat or superior to Aa. Aa becomes U which then become M. Thus U swallows Aa as such it is superior.

  1. Ubhayataha: intermediary status. In Vishwa, Taijasa and Pragya; among them Taijasa is in the middle; U too is in the middle. May you learn to meditate on these two. Try to see subtle universe, the cosmic mind, all packaged in U. This is U kara Hiranyagarbha Upasana.

What is benefit of this Upasana? By practicing Sakama upsana, following benefits accrue:

  1. Because he meditates on Gyana Shakti, it is an upasana on Saraswati or Samasto Gyana Upasana. This person will become learned. Santati means extent of knowledge. Utkrashati means increases.
  2. Samanascha Bhavati: He will become a common man to all. He will be accepted by all groups; he will not be a part of any camp; he will be liked by all; a mediator.

His knowledge will influence his family; his family will also be learned or will be Brahma Gyani’s.

If a person practices Nishkama Upasana, this equation will help him in Omkara Uapasana. In his mind whole universe will come up and resolve itself into silence.

Mantra # 11:

सुषुप्तस्थानः प्राज्ञो मकारस्तृतीया मात्रा

 मितेरपीतेर्वा मिनोति वा

 इदं सर्वमपीतिश्च भवति

एवं वेद ११

Pragya, whose sphere of activity is deep sleep, is M the third letter of AUM, because it is both the “measure” and also “ that wherein all become one”. One who knows this identity of Pragya and M is able to know the real nature of things and beings, and also come to realize as being the Self of all.

The third mantra is M kara; this M is equated to Pragya or Antaryami or Ishwara. In Upanishad, the fifth and sixth mantras described Pragyaha as obtaining in deep sleep. At cosmic level it is called Pralayam and at individual level it is called Laya or sleep. These two also have two common features.

They are:

  1. Apithe: ground of dissolution or merger or disintegration. Pragya is sleep state, when whole universe dissolves, just as in pralayam. My worries, knowledge etc, dissolve in sleep. At Samashti, Ishwara dissolves everything in him. Apitihi is Laya sthanam.

M is also Laya sthana. When you close mouth the sound that comes out is Mm. Mm is thus resolution ground for all alphabetic letters.

2) Mithihi: A measuring vessel. Pragya is compared to a measure. Mm is also compared to a measure.

When people measure, say in a village, the grain disappears in the measure and then, when, one pours out the grain becomes visible again; this is similar to un-manifesting and manifesting.

Pragya is also like a measure. When I go to sleep, my world goes into Me, the Pragyaha and becomes invisible. When I wake up, it all reappears again. It repeats when I go to sleep again. So, Pragyaha is also a measure.

It is same with letter M. After speaking, I close my mouth with M. All other sounds are resolved. They again come back when I talk again. Thus, it is similar to a measure as well.

This measure-ness is a common feature. So during meditation see the M sound and visualize the hidden universe.

The benefits of this meditation are that one who practices M kara Antaryami Upasana gets two worldly benefits.

  1. Because of the “measure upsana” he will be able to measure everyone and everything; and make the right judgment.
  2. Apitishcha Bhavati: everything is resolved into him. He becomes one with Ishwara. All problems disappear into him.

Spiritual benefit: is developing skill for Vedantic meditation or Omkara meditation.

Take Away:

Omkara meditation: Meditating upon the letters of OM (AUM) and the corresponding universes will help in arriving at Turiyam. As the letters get resolved into silence, the three universes will get resolved into Turiyam in Vedantic meditation. This dhyanam is mentally resolving the entire universe into me, the consciousness. Chanting OM helps in visualizing the universe arising out of me. The silence following the chanting helps in visualizing the universe resolving into me. OM chanting is creation, its duration is sustenance, and the following silence is dissolution. Having chanted OM a few times, I remain silent with the knowledge that everything arises out of me and everything resolves into me.


With Best Wishes,


Ram Ramaswamy