The Manduky upanisad Is the shortest amongst the principal upnisad –s having just 12 mantra –s but presents the quintessence of our entire upanisadik teaching.
It analyses the Entire range of human consciousness in the three states of waking (jagrat) dream (svapna) and dreamless Sleep (susupti) which are Common to all men. It asserts unEquivocally that the Absolute Reality is non –dual (advaita) and attributeless (nirguna).
It has a unique method of approach to Truth. It provides symbol for meditation In the mono- syllable AUM -- comprishing of Three sounds A, U,M, detailing its Philosophical implications According to Muktikopanisad, it forms the Epitome of all the hundred and Eight Upnisad-s which have been accepted as authentic
[Here below we reproduce a divine message of blessings and encouragement received at the time of the Jnana yajna in the year 1953 from H.H. Sri Svami Tapavanamji Maharaja of Uttarakasi (Himalyas), at whose feet Svami Chinmayananada learnt the scriptures-Ed.
Brahman is the only Reality. Nothing else is real. All the Universe, consisting of this ever-shining sun, moon and stars, is a dream – a long, long dream. How can this everlasting Universe perceived in the waking state be a dream? In the great Mandukya Karika, this illustrious Seer and Acarya Sri Gaudapada tries to answer this question. The Karika explains clearly and proves with various inferences and logic that this Universe is nothing but a dream
Let this Universe be dream or a reality. Of what use is it to us to think over it and waste our time? By thinking over this problem, we can certainly come to the conclusion that and such momentary worldly objects cannot give us Eternal Bliss. Eternal bliss is Brahman, and not this dream-like momentary Universe.
Then we should try to realize that eternal, blissful Brahman, and to be established in that imperishable and undecaying bills. Gaudapada takes us to that eternal bliss, eternal Brahman, by the most direct short-cut –as an arrow flies – and not by the serpentine, twisting path. That is the greatness and peculiarity of this wonderful work, Karika.
The English-educated people of our Capital city are very fortunate to have the opportunity of hearing the discourses on this Karika from the lips of Svami Chinmayananda, a modern samnyasi of modern education. I believe that he will explain to you the subject of the text in the modern and scientific way and not in the orthodox way as the old samskrta pandita-s do.
Perhaps, by attending the lectures, you will understand intellectually the non-creation theory. You may feel intellectually convince that the Turiya- Brahman alone is real and that the world of the other three states is not really created and hence it is a long, long dream. But to realise the Reality as “I am Turiya – Brahman “ and to experience it, and to get established in It, is quit far far away, from a mere academic understanding of the Vedanta.
Therrfore don’t neglect God. By God’s grace alone can His Real Nature the Turiya state be realised. Practice the love and devotion to God. Chant His name. Praise His glory and always meditate upon his greatness. Do all the works as worship unto Him. In course of time, by such practice, after acquiring the purity and concentration of this impure and wavering mind, you will be able to see face to face and realise the eternal, blissful turiya- Brahman.
Perhaps it is with this idea in the mind that along with the preaching of the non-creation theory, the akhanda kirtana of the personal God is also being conducted as an important item in the Yajnasala.
I hope that the Delhi people will be highly benefited by this jnana yajna ceremony, now conducted by sri Svami Chinmayananadaji. May God bless you all for the successful termination of the jnana yajna and also for the successful practice of the Knowledge which you attain from it?
The Upanisad –s contain the cream of the cream of the veda-s. They constitute the sacred Bible of the Hindu-s! The Upnisad-Study cannot be undertaken merely with the help of sledge-Hammer of language-knowledge, or the pick-axe of wolrd- meanings. This is a science which Should be learnt at the feet of a Master to grasp its true import, as the very word suggests.
Vedanta (Veda +anta i.e., the end of veda-s) as the litera meaning connotes comprises of The philosophical portion of the Veda-s called the Upanisad-s. Of about 280 Upanisad-s Unearthed so far, 108 have been accepted as authentic texts, and out of them eleven have been Commented upon by the recent master – minds, Acarya-s like Sri Sankara Ramanuja and Madhavacarya, and are thus classified as ‘Major.’
The other Upanisad-s are considered as ‘Major”—not on Account of their contents,or in the depth of their thoughts, or In the completeness of their exposition but because no Commentaries are available from the great Acaraya-s. The new Initiates are generally prescribed This ‘minor’ Upanisad-s only after a thorough study of the exhaustive commentaries (Bhasya-s) by The great Masters on five or six of Major Upanisad-s . Thus, these became ‘minor’ only with Reference to the knowledge the students have already acquired as a result of their study of the "main’’ Upaninsad-s , and their reflection on these ‘minor’ ones serves as an interesting revision of .The Knowledge already gathered.
The Mandukya upanisad derives its name after its seer Manduka and belongs to the Atharva veda. It is the Shortest Amongst the principal Upanisad-s having just 12 mantra-s but Presents the Quintessence or our entire Upanisadik teaching.
It analyses the entire range of humang consciousness in the three states of waking (jagrat),dream (svapna) and dreamless sleep) suspti) which are common to all men . It asserts unequivocally That the Absoulte Reality is non-dua (advaita) and attributeless (nirguna).
It has a unique method of apporach to the Truth. It Provides symbol for meditation in the Mono syllable AUM—Comprising of three sounds A, U, M – detailing its philosophical Implications .According to Muktikopanisad , it forms the epitome Of all the hundred and eight upanisad-s , which Have been accepted as authentic.
Gaudapada, the granda –preceptor (parama-guru) of sri Sankaracarya , worte a Karika (glossory) on this Upanisad,Which is one of best philosophical works in Samskrta, forms the Background of the upanisad. Its importance can be guaged form th fact that sri sankara worte a bhasya (Commentary) on the Karika by his parama –guru
The first of the four chapter of Karika i.e., Agama Prakarana, is an exposition of the ‘’unity of Consciousness ‘’ in the three states of waking , dream and deep- sleep . Vaitathya Prakarana, the second Chapter, is devoted to the exposition of the unreality of the world-of- duality . Gaudapada asserts that Waking experiences are similarto dream experience – in bot the states the objects experienced are External to oneself ; also that dream water quenches the dream thirst as much as water of the waking State quenches the dream thirst of the waking state-thus emphasising that the objects too are in no way Different. Gaudapada positively asserts that from the standpoint of highest Realisation, there is neither Death, nor birth, nor bondage, nor release for the Atma.
The third chapter entitled Advaita Prakarana asserts that One manifests Himself as many without undergonig any real Change. To reinforce this assertion, he cites the illustra Space which is appraently cut up into different portions and Different forms, and given different names. But in reality Ghatakasa (the pot-space) is not different from Mahakasa (the Unrestricted space) . Jiva is, similarly , not different from the absolute Atman . Every change is only imaginary . To the realised man, everything is Atman alone.
The fourth chapter known as Alatasanti Prakarana is an Enuciation of the Theory of Non-creation (Ajati Vada), rejecting the conception of God as Creator. God has actually transforme himself into the world , just like a juggler projecting an illusion.the world of duality is seen only as a result of self-delusion –mere imagination. Even the Creator God, who is unreal, is helpful as a prop for sustaining one’s efforts until Realisation. Once the Truth is realised everything may remain as it is, but one well not consider them real, and therefore, would not get attached to them. Attachment alone constitutes bondage.
Repeated reprints had resulted in numerous in-accuracies rendering understanding of some concepts difficult for new Sadhaka-s. Besides readability was poor in small print. Both these aspects are taken care of in the revised layout, the credit for which is due to Shri Vishwamitra Puri who with consistent perseverance and devotion scrutinized the entire book very minutely to identify ambiguities, misprints missing words and lines; added diacritical marks and pursued steadfastly, the suggested changes/ improvements with the Acarya of Sandipany Mumbai for approval.
In this revisd Edition diacritical marks are used for Transliteration of Samskrta words in the verses as well as commentary. A new ‘word-for word meaning’ section has been added to the Upanisad mantra-s as well as Karika verses, to enable the sincere seekers to have an in depth study. For the benefit fo readers not knowing Devanagri, transliteration of samskrta words is also added to this section. Non –English words have been italicized. In the ‘free translation’ section , where the entire text is italicized to distinguish Samskrta words, ‘normal’fonts are used. This will help readers to identify and pronounce the words correctly.
In some of the verses, for easy understanding of the readers, we have given a free translation which does not strictly conform to the word- meanings.
The English plural sign ‘S’ has been added to the untranslated Samskrta words after a hyphen (-) to show that it is not elemental to the word e.g., mantra-s, veda-s, Rsi-s etc. Macrons are used on the last letter e.g., ‘a,i ‘ of such words to lengthen the quantity of sound in consonance with the pronunciation.
To be true to the Samskrta text in transliteration ,we have used “ Brahman “ for the first Varna instead of the commonly used word “Brahmin”. It need not be confused with the term “Brahman” of the vedantin-s.
To facilitate easy location of a particular verse distinctive markings are given at the top of each page along with chapter number and Name of the chapter.
A key to the transliteration and pronunciation is added in the beginning and Alphabetical Index to the Karika verses and Upanisad mantra-s at the end of the book.
We are pleased to bring out the present revised Edition of the original commentary given by H.H.Svami Chinmayananda whom we all reverentially refer as pujya Gurudeva. This is our humble offering at His holy feet with a prayer that may His words and guidance inspire us to carry on His work in all spheres of activities such as this--- publication of scriptural thoughts for the benefit of the society.
Gudhipadava day: 28th march 1998
At Delhi, Svamiji conducted a ninety-one-days’ discourse-session and the text –book chosen was Mandukya Upanisad with Gaudapada’s Karika. Of the ten great Upanisad-s, the most difficult of them in style and theme is Mandukya, and with the Karika it becomes perhaps the most voluminous too.
We have added, at the appropriate places, the original Samskrta mantra-s with a Roman transliteration of the same. Each mantra is followed by a free translation, where in often we have taken liberties to make the expressiveness of the Samskrta language clearly brought out through the English expression. The translations are followed by Svamiji’s elaborate discourses.
The volume is not without the literary fault—repetitions No longer can any student accuse the book of this fault, because we have deliberately incorporated it, to help the student to get at the main ideas of Vedanta at one single reading of the text-book.
The deliveries of these discourses by Sri Svamiji Mharaja in yajnasala were so fast that we could not get reporters to repeat them verbatim. This volume represents only points gathered from the discourses which were later on elaborated in the present from. Svamiji has read them through and suggested at many places editorial amendments.
When the Upanisadik Seers, by a process of complete elimination of their ego through the divine method of sublimation, reached the Palace of Truth, they entered therein to rediscover themselves to be the owners of it. That Realm of Perfection is indeed the world, reaching which no one returns. However, there are some among them, rare birds, who had flown back, in their divinely selfless game of service, to lead, guide and encourage other manifestations of themselves unto the Truth. They try to express the topography of the Realms Beyond and the main paths by which one can reach them. At such moments of godly inspiration and intoxicating bliss, the Rsi-s forgot to subscribe their names to their own masterpieces-the Upanisad-s! Thus, we have an incomparable literature on philosophy in the volumes of the Upanisad-s, the authors of which are unknown to us. We only know that there was behind these sparkling words of wisdom a personality who revelled in the subjective experience of the very theme which he describes in such a wealth of details.
Even when we happen to write a fairly expressive letter or a satisfactory note, we cannot but show it to others and share the joy that is in creative art. All creative artists are thus a liability and a nuisance with the gross men of action and trodders of beaten paths. A painter will beg at your feet to walk into his garret to enjoy his creation. A musician will go mad and make you miss your train. A writer will hang on to your collars and make you listen to volumes of manuscript. An Archimedes will forget his own nakedness and run along the roads of the city crying 'Eureka.' These are instances when man rises for a fraction of a moment from his low identifications with his own limitations .and gets a glimpse of a minutest ray from the knowledge of the Absolute. There is no true poet or painter or musician or scientist who would not willingly claim himself to be the entire author of their wondrous masterpieces. Creative art is at its best only when the limited ego makes an exit in all its entirety.
Naturally, the Upanisadik Seers, when they got themselves established in the experience of the Realms that lie beyond the shores of the ego could not claim any authorship to their declarations. Even at their best they felt that they had not expressed anything about the actual majesty, glory, perfection and completeness of the theme they wanted to handle; the Infinite cannot be grasped or conveyed in terms of the finite. "God defined is God defiled."
Again, unlike the philosophy and the philosophical text- books in Europe, in India, Upanisad-s were not commodities for growing rich or instruments for earning applauses. To the West, philosophy is one of the avenues for self-gratification and self-satisfaction; in the East, to the Rsi-s and their true children, the Hindu philosophy is for self-adoration and self- satisfaction. Hence they, as it were, chose to remain behind the screen and sincerely felt that the knowledge, they gained and gave expressions to, was not theirs. They only happened to hear the mantra-s from within themselves as though spoken by somebody other than themselves. The term Sruti itself means "that which is heard."
Every disciple, when established in his own personal subjective experience of the Truth indicated to him by his own Master, became himself a Master and when he, in turn, explained and expressed that state of experience to the seekers who approached him did not claim the discovery for himself but only quoted their own guru-s Thus, our scriptural textbooks preserved their purity and chastity till today and .have come down to us in the hierarchy of teacher-disciple generations. We are not to allow ourselves to accept any declaration made from the platforms of the intellect and the mind as part and parcel of our eternal Yeda-s. If we do so, we too would have a philosophy that is changing every fifteen years as in the west.
In Europe, we find that with every changing vicissitude of national life, with every war, with every revolution, there is a thorough re-arrangement of material values lived, and consequently, there is a change in the attitude of their mind and intellect towards life. With every disturbance in the brain cells, in kaleidoscopic variety we get a library of philosophies from Plato to date. But in India, the eternal Veda-s and the Upanisadik truths are as true today as they were when they were taught in the flowery valleys of the sacred Ganges.
Though the scientific developments, communal awareness, political consciousness or international situations, may meddle with our outer and inner world of objects and feelings, the experience of deep sleep, you will admit, is one and the same at all times. We may have progressed and thoroughly changed in the external set -up in the world and the consequent inner psychological and intellectual assessments of things, but the experience of sleep is not different at any time. So too, the eternal experience of Godhood. This is the goal preached in the Upanisad-s. Truth is changeless and unchangeable whatever be the outside change in our gross life.
Before we enter the text-book proper, we may as well enquire a little into the very construction of the Upanisad; its contents and the Gloss (Karika).
The Veda text-books are four in number: Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharvana Veda. Each of these text-books consists of three divisions: the earliest part is called the Mantra- s, the middle portion is called the Brahmana-s and the last portion is called the Upanisad-s or Aranyaka-s. The mantra-s consist mainly of songs upon the glories of Nature, the might and power of the phenomenon. Therein we clearly see that the great Aryan-s of that era recognised in and through the innumerable names and forms in Nature, the striding form of a Lordly Power, kind, tolerant and merciful, and yet, at once mighty, severe and unrelenting. In the brahmana portion we have a prescription, minute in their details, for the various rituals to be performed while conducting Yajna-s and Yaga-s. The Aranyaka-s are pure philosophical discussions upon the one Reality that is the substratum for the pluralistic phenomenal world and upon how that Truth can be realised by the seekers.
There are altogether about 183 known Upanisad-s so far discovered, of which about 125 have been accepted as orthodox. Of them, ten are the most important inasmuch as, upon them the great philosophers of the modern times have all commented elaborately and exhaustively. Of the ten important ones, the Mandukya Upanisad has been given a very high status.
The Mandukya Upanisad as such contains only twelve mantra-s. Because of its brevity, it becomes very difficult for the students to understand its entire import without sufficient explanation and therefore, Sri Gaudapada, the grand guru of Sri Sankara, took upon himself to write a Karika (Gloss) upon this Upanisad. Thus, today no body considers his study of Mandukya Upanisad complete without the Karika.
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