Mandukya Upanishad, Class 50: Summary of Chapter 3


In Mandukya Upanishads, 7th mantra is crucial and two significant words in that mantra are prabanjobasama and advaidam.  The word prabanjobasama is explained in the second chapter.  That means prabanja mithyatvam.  This prabanja mithyatvam is explained by Gowdapadha with the word prbanjaj vaithathyam.  In second chapter Gowdapadha explained the mithya of prabanjam.  Prabanja can be described

  1. Prabanja equals to viswa, virad plus taijasa, hiranyagarba  plus pragya, eeswara all these six put together is prabanja
  2. Gross body and gross objects, subtle body and subtle objects, casual body and causal objects put together is prbanja
  3. Prabanja is the group consisting of pradhama padha, dwedia padha, tritaya padha or the first three padas put together. Padha thrayam equals to prabanja
  4. The first two padhas are kariyam or product; third padha is called karanam; prabanja the whole universe consisting of kariyam and karanam. Prabanja mithyatvam means kariyam is also mithya and karanam is also mithyam.

The third chapter is advaida prakaranam and explains the word advaidam.  Advaidam is the name given to the fourth pada, thuriyum.  Since the first three padas are in the form of kariyam and karanam, the fourth pada should be kariya karana vilakshanam.  the word advaidam refers to the thuriyuam which is neither kariyam nor karanam.  That thuriyam is the atma, which is I myself.  The essence of mandukya is I am the sathya thuriyum.  The kariya karana prabanja is floating in me and whatever happens there will not affect me.

This chapter has 48 verses which can be classified into five portions or topics:

  1. Introduction:  the first two verses;
  2. Dhrishti nisehtha or negation of the creation or kariya prabanja; also known as ajathi vajaha
  3. Atma gyanam or self-knowledge; two special words used are atma sathyanu bodhaha and asparsha yogaha
  4. Nidhithyasanam; internalization of vedantic teaching or assimilation of wisdom.  Mano nigraha; regulation of our thoughts in keeping with the vedantic teaching.  Re-orientation and reconciliation of our thinking and mind.
  5. Conclusion


All duality will cause samsara; whether the duality is secular or sacred.  All forms of karma or actions which involve duality are also samsara, even if those actions are religious and ritualistic.  Karma is samsara whether it is lowkika or not.  All forms of upasana involves duality even though they are in the form of mediation of various deity.  They come in the form of duality of devotee and deity.  All dwaidams are samsara because in dwaidam there is time and space; wherever time is there yama dharma raja.  Time alone is responsible for birth, growth, decay, decease, death, separation of near and dear ones.  If dwaidam is samsara, advaidam alone gives moksha.

Both kariyam and karanam will come under dwaidam.  All the products and cause will come under dwaidam because in the kariya prabanja we experience duality.  Whether you take a tree, it is full of duality with trunk, leaves, flowers etc.  Same with human body.  Karnam is also dwaidam because it is nothing but kariyam in unmanifest form.   Therefore, karanam is also dwaidam, but this dwaidam is not visible therefore it appears like advaidam.  Like sushukthi appears as advaidam, but it is also dwaidam.  Nirvikalpa samadhi is not advaidam, dwaidam is there in potential form.  The real advaidam is beyond kariyam and karanam.

Dhrishti nisehtha or negation of the creation

Brahman, the thuriyum, advaidam is beyond kariya karanam and neither kariyam or karanam.  Gowdapadha focuses on the part that thuriyum or brahman or atma is not karanam.

No product has come out of thuriyum.  This means nothing is born out of Brahman.  This he does in four stages:

  1. Logical negation of jiva shrishti:  Pot space is seemingly born, but on inquiry you find out that birth and death, movement, plurality – everything belongs to pot only.   Pot space does not have birth, death, movement or plurality.  Body alone has birth, death, movement.
  2. Logical negation of creation:  through dream example, he logically negates the creation  of the world.  In dream it appears as though a world is created, there is space, time, object, transactions.  Even though all these are seemingly born, but there is only one mind full of thoughts and there is no time, no object and no transaction.  On waking you know; this is really not there.  Similarly, from the standpoint of waker, there is time, object, space, transactions; but all of them are so tangible and real but when you wake up to thuriyum higher order of reality, this world is unreal.  Dream world is unreal, from the dreamer’s standpoint, it is real.  Similarly, this world is unreal but thuriyum standpoint, this world is unreal.
  3. Scriptural of negation of jiva shrishti:  Scriptures clearly reveal jivatma paramatma aikyam. Through maha vakyams.
  4. Scriptural negation of jagat shristy:  Scriptures repeatedly negate the universe by the statement there is no plurality at all in front of me.  If the universe is not born, how am I seeing.  If swapna prabanja is not born, how do you see it?  This is an erroneous perception.  It only appears to be born; it is maya or mithya from thuriyum standpoint.  From waker’s standpoint, the world is real.  For waker’s transactions, the world is required.  You can say world is unreally born.  This is mithyatavam.  Since there is no kariya prabanja, Brahman can’t be called karanam.  Brahman is kariya karana vilakshanam.

Atma gyanam or self-knowledge

Mind alone is responsible for samsara by creating duality.  Moksha requires tackling the mind.  Mind is the cause of samsara and amani bava is the solution; another word is mano nasaha;

  1. Mano nasaha means destruction of ignorant, problematic, burdensome mind.  This you do it by making the mind wise.  Replace the problematic mind by non-problematic mind by getting wisdom.
  2. Mano nasaha is understanding the mind as mithya; once the mind is understood as mithya it is as good as destroyed because mithya mind is as good as nonexistence.

Snake can be understood only by understanding the rope; mind can be understood as mithya by understanding thiriya adhishtanam.  Atma gyanam as the only means of mani pava and the only means of moksha.  This atma gyanam is given two names:

  1. Atma sathyana bodhaha:
  2. Asparsha yogaha:  A knowledge of myself which is free from all relationships.  Atma is relationless because relationship requires duality; advaidam is non duality; in advaida atma, there is no question of any relationship.

When you say atma gyanam is freedom from all relationship, that can be frightening.  We think security is because of relationship.  Advaidam will tell the real security  is discovering security in myself not in spouse, father, mother or guru or god.  As long as security comes from outside, you are in trouble.


internalization of vedantic teaching or assimilation of wisdom.  Who is the candidate for nidhishytasanm:

  1. Manda Adhikari:  Limited qualifications has neither gyanam or gyana palam.
  2. Madhyamna Adhikari:  Medium sadhana sadhushta sambandhi;  he has sufficient qualification to receive the knowledge; but gyana palam does not come which means internal transformation does not take place.   Such people have to take to nidhidhyasanam or dwelling up on the teaching.  It can be in the form repeated hearing; writing; reading, discussing, teaching are all nidhithyasanam.  Formal method of nidhithyasanam is vedantic meditation which is ashtanga yoga.  Lord Krishna elaborates in the sixth chapter.  Gowdapadha also talks about this nidhithyasanam.
  3. Uthama Adhikari: Maximum sadhana sadhusta sambandhi: Gets gyanam and gyana palam at the same time

Restlessness, dullness, tendency experience occurring in meditation are the four obstacles; remove the obstacles and practice nidhithyasanam  Design the type of meditation that is suitable to you; gyanam will be converted to gyana nishta and the teaching will be available during transactions.


This thuirya atma alone is the highest reality or paramarthika sathyam; everything else experienced by me either pradhipadhika sathyam or vyavakarika sathyam and are mithya.  In I the thuriyuam mithya prabanja appears and disappear;

Sādhana Catuṣṭayaṃ

Fourfold Qualifications