Mandukya Upanishad, Class 14


Karika # 18:

विकल्पो विनिवर्तेत कल्पितो यदि केनचित्  
उपदेशादयं वादो ज्ञाते द्वैतं विद्यते १८

If any one has ever imagined or projected the manifold ideas, they might disappear. This explanation is for the purpose of teaching. Duality in the explanation ceases to exist when the highest Truth is Realized.

Swamiji said in these karikas beginning from # 10 to # 18, Guadapada made an analysis of mantra # 7, the most significant mantra of the Upanishad. He also did a comparison and contrast of the four padas as well.

He said Turiyam has to be known. What is its significance? Once I know Turiyam, immediately Ignorance is removed, just as light removes darkness immediately and automatically.

Once Ignorance is gone, Error and misconceptions along with it also go away. Once rope is not known clearly we see a snake. Once we know it is a rope all misconceptions of rope such as snake, crack in the floor etc go away. There may be many misconceptions; they all go away. Therefore knowledge removes Ignorance and Error. Once both are gone; I know I am the consciousness that is Turiyam, free from Ignorance and Error. As per Vedanta, Turiyam, by definition is, Consciousness free from Ignorance and Error. If Ignorance and Error are there it is Vishwa or Taijasa. If Ignorance alone is there it is Pragyaha. So Ignorance alone can make me an Agyani in all three padas. Once Ignorance goes, one becomes a Gyani with awareness that he is Turiyam.

Once I know I am Turiyam, I can claim all features of Turiyam as my own. One main feature of Turiyam is that it is Shantam, Shivam and Advaitam. In my vision there is no duality at all; all are gone.

Even the idea that I am Gyani has duality in it. As a knower, I am a subject who knows something as an object; this involves dvaitam. With knowledge this duality goes and I am no more a knower. Self-knowledge removes the idea of knowerhood. A gyani loses the idea that he is not even a Gyani?? Then who am I? I am not pramata, prameya or pramanam; but I am Turiyam without all three features of Vishwa, Taijasa and Pragya.

A side point here is when a Gyani says I am non-dual advaitam; dvaitam continues for him; he just does not attribute reality to it.

If this were not true a Gyani cannot even be a Guru, as he has to see at least one Shishya, which means Dvaitam. When we say Gyani is in advaitam, perceptual dvaitam continues but he does not attribute advaitam to it. Sky is perceived as a blue dome over earth. Knowledge is that there is no blue dome, but perception continues even while knowing it is a perception alone. I know ocean water is colorless, but eyes will still report it as with color; however, I will know it is a perception only.

Similarly, sun does not rise rather it is the earth that moves. My perception sees sunrise and sunset, but I know the sun does not rise or set.

I perceive the stationary earth but I know it moves violently around the sun. As per Vedanta, perception does not prove reality.

You see pure blue water, blue dome in sky and a stationary earth. Gyani also perceives these dualities, but he knows the perceived reality is not real.

He knows water is colorless and moving earth is really moving at 60,000 MPH. Our sense organs are not designed to know reality. They are meant to give us a working knowledge of world. Hence newspapers report daily, the sunrise and sunset times. This is for the working knowledge alone. What is working knowledge; it is that, there is duality. Real knowledge is that there is no duality.

Working knowledge is Vyavahrika Satyam. Paramarthika Satyam is Shantam, Shivam, and Advaitam; I alone am; there is nothing else there. I am non-dual Turiyam. The topic that perception does not prove reality is discussed in chapters 2 and 3 elaborately.

This concludes analysis of mantra # 7.

Mantra # 8:


पादा मात्रा मात्राश्च पादा

अकार उकारो मकार इति

The same Atman is again Aum from point of view of the syllables. The AUM with parts is viewed from the standpoint of its sound or letters. The quarters are the letters (morae) and the letters are the quarters. The letters here are A, U and M.

 I had told that this Upanishad has two types of enquiries.

  1. Chatushpada Atma Vichara.
  2. Chaturmatra Omkara Vichara.

Omkara analysis is composed of four components to it. We have completed the # 1, Chatushpada Atma Vichara with Mantra # 7. The first mantras from # 2 to # 5 dealt with this including the 18 Karikas.

Now we are in second phase of Upanishad related to Omkara Vichara. The “kara” attached to Om means the word Om. This analysis is from mantra # 8 to # 12.

These are the final mantras of the Upanishad. Word Om is a monosyllable or one sound Om. It has four parts like atma. For atma they were called the four padas; in same manner Om is a compound syllable with four parts to it.

In Atma each was called pada while in OM each is called matra or letter.

  1. Akara Matra: In English there is no akara at all. In Indian languages Aa is first and significant letter. Scriptures say Aa is most significant alphabet of all. It is the sound that comes automatically from mouth.
  2. U kara Matra: There is no U in English language as well. Hence Om can’t be written in English. In Sanskit, as per grammar or Sandhi rules, Aa+ U=O.
  3. M kara matra: It is a consonant.
  4. Amatra: is the silence that follows the Om.

We can equate Atma and Om in all respects. Atma is a compound with four parts to it as is OM. Since both have four parts, one can equate each part to a part of Om respectively. What is the advantage of this equation? Once you equate Om and Atma, we can use it for meditation. When we chant OM all four padas of atma come up by association. Then we can claim Turiyam. For Turiya Dhyanam, Omkara is an ideal symbol.

Atma analysis leads to pure consciousness while Omkara analysis leads to pure silence. The silent consciousness is my inner most nature while all our talking is Samsara. This is the analysis.

This atma with four padas is Omkara.

Thus: Total Atma= Total Omkara.

If you dismantle the components of both, each pada equates to each matra and vice versa.

Om has A U M and Silence (amatra). Silence is discussed in mantra # 12. Amatra means the silence that follows.

What about the four padas of Atma? We already discussed the four padas from mantra # 2 to 5, both at macro and micro level.

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.

In this mantra each matra is equated to each respective pada. The sound Aa is hidden in Om and is the first letter of Om. It is equated to First pada of Atma or Jagrat Sthana, the Waker principle or Vaishvanara.

Aa equals Waker “I”.

Why is Aa the first pada or Vaishwanara or Virat? In Shastra there is a rule that when a symbol is used for an object, both should have common features. Green is shown in Indian flag for prosperity. Why so? Prosperity means a lot of wealth, a lot of greenery etc. Without greenery it will indicate draught conditions; hence association with green.

What connects Aa with Virat? Because of its pervasion it connects with Virat. All-pervasive is the character of Virat and alphabet Aa.

Virat is all pervading or Vishwa Rupa Ishwara or cosmos; hence all pervading AA is also all pervading.

How do you say so? In Phonetics or Shikshashatram, Aa is the basic sound produced just by opening the mouth. The very same Aa becomes Ee when you show your teeth by modifying the mouth. Aa becomes Uu by spouting the mouth. Aa is basic material that is transformed into all other letters. Aa is the material cause, karana akshara, while others are karya aksharani. Thus one gold becomes many jewelry. The cause pervades all effects. Gold pervades all ornaments. Letter Aa pervades all alphabets. All alphabets are manifestations of Aa. For each alphabet there is a devata. For Aa, it is Brahma as Karanam for whole creation. Aa is Sarvavyapi; Virat is also Sarvavyapi. Apte in shloka means Sarvavyapi.

There is a second common feature. Virat is born first before creation of individual being. Macro is born first then individual being(s) come about. Aa is also first born sound. Adimatva means Primary. So, both are all pervading and primary. May you meditate on Aa as a symbol of Virat just as we meditate on a Linga as a symbol of Lord Shiva. So, perform Akar Virat Aikya dhyanam.

Take Away:

When a Gyani says I am non-dual advaitam; dvaitam continues for him; he just does not attribute reality to it.

As per Vedanta, perception does not prove reality.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy