Mandukya Upanishad, Class 27


Karika # 24:

kāla iti kālavido diśa iti ca tadvidaḥ |
vādā iti vādavido bhuvanānīti tadvidaḥ || 24 ||

24. The Knowersof time call It time2the Knowers of space (ether) call It space (ether). Those versed in disputation call It the problem in dispute and the Knowers of the worlds call It the worlds.3

Continuing his teaching Swamiji said, Gaudapada pointed out that universe experienced in any manner (as Swapna, Jagrat, or any other higher state), still remains an object of experience and thus a mithya.

Mithya means relative reality, meaning it has meaning only in a particular state. Once the state changes, the object is no more real.

The truth of Turiya Atma is that as Observer, I am the projector and sustainer and experiencer of whatever I projected with the help of a relevant body; the dream world through the dream body and the waking world through the waking body. The bodies themselves are projections.

Using the projected bodies I experience the projected universe. When this truth is missed, so many anatmas are mistaken as atma, the reality. Until now, various misconceptions with regard to the external world were pointed out.

Thus Swapna Prapancha is real in swapna but not in Jagrat; jagrat prapancha is real in jagrat but not in swapna. Therefore Gaudapada says Observer alone is Satyam while observed is Mithya.

Advantage of this knowledge is that mithya, relative reality, cannot affect Satyam, the absolute reality. The advantage of this knowledge is that whatever happens in Drshya Prapancha, it does not affect Me. This includes the world, the body and mind; all are drsihyam and thus mithya; whatever happens to them, I, Turiyam, am unaffected. Once I lose sight of the fact that I, The Observer, am reality, then Mithya becomes Satyam.

Once waker is lost sight of, dream becomes reality; instead of seeing dream as my creative glory, it becomes a nightmare.

To convey this idea Gaudapada talked of errors of philosophers in Karikas # 20-28. Each philosopher has mistakenly taken one object or other as the truth; they don’t realize I the observer am the truth.

Karika # 25:

mana iti manovido buddhiriti ca tadvidaḥ |
cittamiti cittavido dharmādharmau ca tadvidaḥ || 25 ||

25. The Cognizers1 of the mind call It the mind;of3 the Buddhi (intellect) the Buddhi4; of theChitta (mind-stuff), the Chitta5; and the Knowersof Dharma (righteousness) and Adharma (unrighteousness) call It the oneor the other.

There are astrologers who attribute everything to time such that I look at myself as a slave of time; I give reality to time; I think every moment of life is determined by stars; thus this greatest Brahman has become a victim of time, a mithya. Every event seems to confirm my confusion that I am victim of Kala; thus I become an extrovert controlling various planets via Pariharas.

I am not criticizing astrology; it is a relative reality; it does not take me to absolute reality; any apara Vidhya should take me to para vidhya. Therefore, till death they are obsessed with Jyotisham.

Another set of people is obsessed with quarters. They don’t do namaskara facing south. We should grow out of all this and realize that all directions are relative reality. Our aim is to grow out of them; that is why Dakshina murthy is facing south.

It takes time to grow out of these conditions. They even consider seeing a Sanyasi to be a bad omen.

“A Gyani swallows Yama”, per Katho Upanishad; for him, the entire world is food; even Yama is frightened of a gyani.

Similarly, a variety of systems like mantra vada, tantra vada; each considers that they can influence life. Each Vada claims it can influence you becoming greater than “you”.

Gaudapada asks why transform your life when you are complete and wonderful. Other systems say 14 Lokas are the true. Each loka is governed by its own conditions. Common feature of these philosophies is that, “I” am slave of these factors. Vedanta says, I am not dependent on anything; rather they all depend on me.

Karika # 26:

pañcaviṃśaka ityeke ṣaḍviśa iti cāpare |
ekatriṃśaka ityāhurananta iti cāpare || 26 ||

Some1 say that the Reality consists of twenty-five categories, others2 twenty-six, while there are otherswho conceive It as consisting of thirty-one categories and lastly people are not wanting who think such categories to be infinite.

Then, there are ones, obsessed with psychology and believe everything is determined by the mind. They divide mind into two parts. One part of mind, the lower layer, is the unconscious mind, determined by childhood experiences. Every human life has this unconscious mind.

I am a victim of my own mind as my mind is a victim of my own past. They don’t accept freewill. They also say, anger is part of unconscious mind, as is one’s low self- image. Thus I am made slave of psychologists.

Another philosophy is Buddhism also known as Kshanik Vada. It says that the knowledge we have is reality. They believe in budhi; they done believe in Atma; they believe in stream of thoughts; they believe every thought exists for a moment. This system is also known as Yogachara.

Some others consider memory to be the ultimate truth. Even the way one judges situations and people, depends on memory. Citing an example: A man falls into a river and is rescued; but, thereafter, he is scared of the river.

Purvamimasa: This group says punya and papam are only reality. All Lokas are due to punya and papa. God is also punya and papam alone. They believe in Vedas but don’t believe in God. They believe Vedas are eternal without a creator. Dharma and adharma revealed in Vedas is the ultimate truth.

All these philosophies have the common factor that they believe in external factors as controlling me.

Karika # 27:

lokām̐llokavidaḥ prāhurāśramā iti tadvidaḥ |
strīpuṃnapuṃsakaṃ laiṅgāḥ parāparamathāpare || 27 ||

27. Thosewho know only to please others call It (Reality) such2 pleasure; those3 who are cognizant of the Āśramas call It the Āśramas; the grammarians call It the male, female or the neuter, and others know It as the Parā4 and Aparā.

Another group believes world as absolute reality. For convenience they divide world into a few principles and call it Tatvani. Sankhya philosophers believe world is made of 25 Tatvas. Gaudapada, however, says, this is again another misconception.

Sankhyas are materialists who don’t believe in God. They believe in Vedas but don’t accept God. Their philosophy is known as Atheistic Theism.

Yoga philosophers believe in 25 Tatvams plus Ishwara and it is known as Theistic Theism.


Kapila Muni wrote Sankhya.

Jaimini wrote Mimamsa

Patanjali wrote on Yoga.

All these people are listed in Karikas 20-28. Gaudapada says, all these philosophers including: Jaimini, Kapila amd Patanjali are all confused; they consider “I” am a slave of external factors. Reality is that they are all slaves of Me, the Turiyam.

Pashupatha shaivism is yet another group; they have four sub groups such as: Kapalika, Pashupathas. They believe in 31 Tatvams as making up the world.

When we say Shiva or Vishnu, what does it mean to you? If they are an object located somewhere different from you, then Shiva and Vishnu are an objectified personal God. Advaita does not accept either; we are Brahmavadis. Shiva or Krishna is not different from Me. For sake of Chitta shudhi you can accept them as Objective gods. Ultimately Shiva and Vishnu are non-different from Me; I am Smartha or a Brahmavadi.

There are others who say there are infinite principles that make up reality.

Karika # 28:

sṛṣṭiriti sṛṣṭivido laya iti ca tadvidaḥ |
sthitiriti sthitividaḥ sarve ceha tu sarvadā || 28 ||

28. The Knowers1 of creation call It creation; the Knowers of dissolution describe It as dissolution and the believers in subsistence believe It to be subsistence. Really speaking, all2 these ideas are always imaginedin Ātman.

Another group believes happiness is ultimate truth. They say objects of happiness and pleasures are ultimate truth.

There are others obsessed with Varna ashrama dharma. It is acceptable to follow this for some time to gain spiritual growth but soon after one has to get out of it. It is only a means and not an end in itself. Treating means, as an end is un-wise; so one has to grow out of Varna ashrama. Don’t let anything bind you.

Grammarians obsessed with words and language believe language is only truth. They are known as Sphotavadis. They forget language is only a means of communication.

Parampapas: They believe ultimate truth is in form of papa. The believe Karya, Karana Brahma is ultimate truth. Gaudapada says, Karya Karana Vilakshanam is ultimate truth or Turiyam; it is neither karyam nor karanam.

In chapter # 3 we will analyze Karya Karana Vilakshnam in greater detail.

Take Away:

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy