Source: "The Upanishads
- A New Translation" by Swami Nikhilananda
Chapter I [of Gaudapada’s Karika] – Agama Prakarana (The Chapter based
on Vedic Testimony)
Mandukya Upanishad - Verses I-VI:
I: Harih Aum! AUM, the
word, is all this, the whole universe. A clear explanation of it is as
follows: All that is past, present and future is, indeed, AUM. And
whatever else there is, beyond the threefold division of time—that also
is truly AUM.
II: All this is, indeed, Brahman. This Atman is
Brahman. This same Atman has four quarters.
III: The first quarter is called Vaisvanara,
whose sphere of activity is the waking state, who is conscious of
external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the
experiencer of gross objects.
IV: The second quarter is Taijasa, whose sphere
of activity is the dream state, who is conscious of internal objects,
who is endowed with seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the
experiencer of subtle objects.
V: That is the state of deep sleep wherein one
asleep neither desires any object nor sees any dream. The third quarter
is Prajna, whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all experiences become
unified, who is, verily, a mass of consciousness, who is full of bliss
and experiences bliss and who is the door leading to the knowledge of
dreaming and waking.
VI: He is the Lord of all. He is the knower of
all. He is the inner controller. He is the source of all; for from him
all beings originate and in him they finally disappear.
1 Visva is all—pervading, the experiencer of external objects. Taijasa
is the cognizer of internal objects. Prajna is a mass of consciousness.
It is one alone that is thus known in the three states.
2 Visva is the cognizer through the right eye; Taijasa is the cognizer
through the mind within; Prajna is the akasa in the heart. Therefore the
one Atman is perceived threefold in the same body.
3—4 Visva experiences the gross; Taijasa, the subtle; and Prajna, the
blissful. Know these to be the threefold experience. The gross object
satisfies Visva; the subtle, Taijasa; and the blissful, Prajna. Know
these to be the threefold satisfaction.
5 The experiencer and the objects of experience associated with the
three states have been described. He who knows these both does not
become attached to objects though enjoying them.
6 Surely a coming into existence must be predicated of all positive
entities that exist. Prana manifests all inanimate objects. The Purusha
manifests the conscious beings in their manifold forms.
7 Some of those who contemplate the process of creation regard it as the
manifestation of God’s powers; others imagine creation to be like dreams
8 Those who are convinced about the reality of manifested objects
ascribe the manifestation solely to God’s will, while those who
speculate about time regard time as the creator of things.
9 Some say that the manifestation is or the purpose of God’s enjoyment,
while others attribute it to His division. But it is the very nature of
the effulgent Being. What desire is possible for Him who is the
fulfillment of all desires?
Mandukya Upanishad Verse VII:
VII: Turiya is not that which is conscious of
the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer
(objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which
is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It
unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible,
uninferable, unthinkable and indescribable. The essence of the
Consciousness manifesting as the self in the three states, It is the
cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss and non—dual.
This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman and this has
to be realized.
10 Turiya, the changeless Ruler, is capable of destroying all miseries.
All other entities being unreal, the non—dual Turiya alone is known as
effulgent and all—pervading.
11 Visva and Taijasa are conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is
conditioned by cause alone. Neither cause nor effect exists in Turiya.
12 Prajna does not know anything of self or non—self, of truth or
untruth. But Turiya is ever existent and all—seeing.
13 Non—cognition of duality is common to both Prajna and Turiya. But
Prajna is associated with sleep in the form of cause and this sleep does
not exist in Turiya.
14 The first two, Visva and Taijasa, are associated with dreaming and
sleep respectively; Prajna, with Sleep bereft of dreams. Knowers of
Brahman see neither sleep nor dreams in Turiya.
15 Dreaming is the wrong cognition and sleep the non—cognition, of
Reality. When the erroneous knowledge in these two is destroyed, Turiya
16 When the jiva, asleep under the influence of beginningless maya, is
awakened, it then realizes birthless, sleepless and dreamless
17 If the phenomenal universe were real, then certainly it would
disappear. The universe of duality which is cognized is mere illusion (maya);
Non—duality alone is the Supreme Reality.
18 If anyone imagines illusory ideas such as the teacher, the taught and
the scriptures, then they will disappear. These ideas are for the
purpose of instruction. Duality ceases to exist when Reality is known.
Mandukya Upanishad - Verses VIII-XI:
VIII: The same Atman explained before as being
endowed with four quarters is now described from the standpoint of the
syllable AUM. AUM, too, divided into parts, is viewed from the
standpoint of letters. The quarters of Atman are the same as the letters
of AUM and the letters are the same as the quarters. The letters are A,
U and M.
IX: Vaisvanara Atman, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, is A,
the first letter of AUM, on account of his all— pervasiveness or on
account of his being the first. He who knows this obtains all desires
and becomes first among the great.
X: Taijasa Atman, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, is U, the
second letter of AUM, on account of his superiority or intermediateness.
He who knows this attains a superior knowledge, receives equal treatment
from all and finds in his family no one ignorant of Brahman.
XI: Prajna Atman, whose sphere is deep sleep, is M, the third letter of
AUM, because both are the measure and also because in them all become
one. He who knows this is able to measure all and also comprehends all
19 When it is desired to describe the identity of Visva and the letter
A, the chief ground given is the fact that each is the first in its
respective sphere. Another reason for this identity is the
all—pervasiveness of each.
20 The clear ground for realizing Taijasa as of the same nature as the
letter U is the common feature of superiority. Another plain reason for
such identity is their being in the middle.
21 The indisputable reason given for the identity of Prajna and M is the
common feature that both are the measure. The other reason for such
identity is another common feature, namely, that both represent the
state of mergence.
22 He who knows for certain the similarity of the three states and the
three letters of AUM, based upon their common features, is worshipped
and adored by all beings and also is a great sage.
23 Through meditation on A the seeker attains Visva; through meditation
on U, Taijasa; and through meditation on M, Prajna. Meditation on the
"soundless" brings no attainment.
Mandukya Upanishad - Verse XII:
XII: The Fourth (Turiya) is without parts and
without relationship; It is the cessation of phenomena; It is all good
and non—dual. This AUM is verily Atman. He who knows this merges his
self in Atman—yea, he who knows this.
End of Mandukya Upanishad
24 AUM should be known quarter by quarter. There is no doubt that the
quarters are the same as the letters. Having understood AUM quarter by
quarter, one should not think of anything else.
25 The mind should be concentrated on AUM. AUM is the fearless Brahman.
He who is always absorbed in AUM knows no fear whatever.
26 AUM is verily the Lower Brahman. It is also stated to be the Higher
Brahman. AUM is beginningless and unique. There is nothing outside it.
It is unrelated to any effect and is immutable.
27 AUM is, indeed, the beginning, middle and end of all things. He who
has realized AUM as immutable immediately attains the Supreme Reality.
28 Know AUM to be Isvara, ever present in the hearts of all. The calm
soul, contemplating AUM as all—pervading, does not grieve.
29 One who knows AUM, which is soundless and also endowed with infinite
sounds, which is all good and the negation of duality, is a real sage
and none other.
Chapter II [of Gaudapada’s Karika] — Vaitathya Prakarana (The Chapter on
1 Harih Aum. The wise declare the unreality of all entities seen in
dreams, because they are located within the body and the space therein
2 The dreamer, on account of the shortness of the time involved, cannot
go out of the body and see the dream objects. Nor does he, when
awakened, find himself in the places seen in the dream.
3 Scripture, on rational grounds, declares the non—existence of the
chariots etc. perceived in dreams. Therefore the wise say that the
unreality established by reason is proclaimed by scripture.
4 The different objects seen in the confined space of dreams are unreal
on account of their being perceived. For the same reason i.e. on account
of their being perceived, the objects seen in the waking state are also
unreal. The same condition i.e. the state of being perceived exists in
both waking and dreaming. The only difference is the limitation of space
associated with dream objects.
5 Thoughtful persons speak of the sameness of the waking and dream
states on account of the similarity of the objects perceived in both
states on the grounds already mentioned.
6 If a thing is non—existent both in the beginning and in the end, it is
necessarily non—existent in the present. The objects that we see are
really like illusions; still they are regarded as real.
7 The utility of the objects of waking experience is contradicted in
dreams; therefore they are certainly unreal. Thus both experiences,
having a beginning and an end, are unreal.
8 The objects perceived by the dreamer, not usually seen in the waking
state, owe their existence to the peculiar conditions under which the
cognizer i.e. the mind functions for the time being, as with those
residing in heaven. The dreamer, associating himself with the dream
conditions, perceives those objects, even as a man, well instructed
here, goes from one place to another and sees the peculiar objects
belonging to those places.
9—10 In dreams, what is imagined within the mind is illusory and what is
cognized outside by the mind, real; but truly, both are known to be
unreal. Similarly, in the waking state, what is imagined within by the
mind is illusory and what is cognized outside by the mind, real; but
both should be held, on rational grounds, to be unreal.
11 If the objects perceived in both waking and dreaming are illusory,
who perceives all these objects and who, again, imagines them?
12 It is the self—luminous Atman who, through the power of Its own maya,
imagines in Itself by Itself all the objects that the subject
experiences within and without. It alone is the cognizer of objects.
This is the decision of Vedanta.
13 The Lord (Atman), with His mind turned outward, imagines in diverse
forms various objects either permanent, such as the earth, or
impermanent, such as lightning, which are already in His mind in the
form of vasanas, or desires. Again, He turns His mind within and
imagines various ideas.
14 Those that are cognized internally only as long as the thought of
them lasts and those that are perceived outside and relate to two points
in time, are all mere objects of the imagination. There is no ground for
differentiating the one from the other.
15 Those that exist within the mind as subjective ideas and are known as
unmanifested and those that are perceived to exist outside in a
manifested form, both are mere objects of the imagination. Their
difference lies only in the difference of the organs by means of which
they are perceived.
16 First of all is imagined the jiva, the embodied individual and then
are imagined the various entities, both external such as sounds, forms,
etc. and internal such as the pranas, sense— organs, etc., that are
perceived to exist. As is one's knowledge so is one's memory.
17 As a rope lying in darkness, about whose nature one remains
uncertain, is imagined to be a snake or a line of water, so Atman is
imagined in various ways.
18 When the real nature of the rope is ascertained, all misconceptions
about it disappear and there arises the conviction that it is nothing
but a rope. Even so is the true nature of Atman determined.
19 Atman is imagined as prana and other numberless ideas. All this is
due to maya, belonging to the effulgent Atman, by which It appears,
Itself, to be deluded.
20 Those conversant with prana describe Atman as prana; those conversant
with the elements, as the elements; those conversant with the gunas, as
the gunas; and those conversant with the tattvas, as the tattvas.
21 Those acquainted with the padas call It the padas; those acquainted
with objects, the objects; those acquainted with the lokas, the lokas;
those acquainted with the gods, the gods.
22 Those conversant with the Vedas describe Atman as the Vedas; those
conversant with the sacrifices, as the sacrifices; those conversant with
the enjoyer, as the enjoyer; and those conversant with the objects of
enjoyment call It the objects of enjoyment.
23 The knowers of the subtle call It the subtle and the knowers of the
gross, the gross. Those that are familiar with the Personal Deity call
It the Personal Deity and those that are familiar with the void, the
24 Those that know time call Atman time and those that know space call
It space. Those versed in the art of disputation call It the object of
dispute; and those knowing the worlds call It the worlds.
25 The knowers of the mind call Atman the mind; the knowers of the
buddhi, the buddhi. The knowers of the chitta call It the chitta; and
the knowers of righteousness and unrighteousness call It righteousness
26 Some say that Atman consists of twenty—five cosmic principles; some,
of twenty—six principles; some, again, of thirty—one principles; while
there are yet others who describe It as consisting of an infinite number
27 Those who know how to gratify others call Atman gratification; those
who are conversant with the asramas call It the asramas. The grammarians
call It the masculine, feminine and neuter genders; and still others,
the Higher Brahman and the Lower Brahman.
28 The knowers of creation call It creation; the knowers of dissolution,
dissolution; and the knowers of preservation, preservation. In truth,
all such ideas are always imagined in Atman.
29 The disciple grasps only that idea which is presented to him by his
teacher. Atman assumes the form of what is taught and thus protects the
disciple. Absorbed in that idea, he realizes it as Atman.
30 Atman, though non—separate from all these ideas, appears to he
separate. He who truly knows this interprets, without any fear, the
meaning of the Vedas.
31 As dreams, illusions and castles in the air are viewed, so is the
tangible universe viewed by the wise, well versed in Vedanta.
32 There is neither dissolution nor creation, none in bondage and none
practicing disciplines. There is none seeking Liberation and none
liberated. This is the absolute truth.
33 Atman is imagined as the unreal objects that are perceived to exist
and as Non—duality as well. The objects, too, are imagined in the
non—dual Atman. Therefore Non—duality is Bliss.
34 The diversity in the universe does not exist as an entity identical
With Atman, nor does it exist by itself. Neither is it separate from
Brahman nor is it non—separate. This is the statement of the wise.
35 The wise, who are free from attachment, fear and anger and are well
versed in the Vedas, have realized Atman as devoid of all phantasms and
free from the illusion of the manifold and as non—dual.
36 Therefore, knowing Atman as such, fix your attention on Non—duality.
Having realized Non—duality, behave in the world like an inert object.
37 The illumined sannyasin does not praise any deity, does not salute
any superior and does not perform rites to propitiate departed
ancestors. Regarding both body and Atman as his abode, he remains
satisfied with what comes by chance.
38 Having known the truth regarding what exists internally as also the
truth regarding what exists externally, he becomes one with Reality, he
exults in Reality and never deviates from Reality.
Chapter III [of Gaudapada’s Karika] – Advaita Prakarana – (The Chapter
1 The jiva, betaking himself to devotional worship, abides in the
manifest Brahman. He thinks that before the creation all was of the same
nature as the birthless Reality. Therefore he is said to possess a
2 Therefore I shall now describe Brahman, which is unborn, the same
throughout and free from narrowness. From this one can understand that
Brahman does not in reality pass into birth even in the slightest
degree, though It appears to be manifest everywhere.
3 Atman, which is like akasa (infinite space), is said to be
manifested in the form of jivas, which may be likened to the akasas
enclosed in pots. The bodies, also, are said to be manifested from
Atman, just as a pot and the like are created out of akasa. As regards
the manifestation of Atman this is the illustration.
4 As, on the destruction of the pot etc., the akasa enclosed in them
merge in the great akasa, so the jivas merge in Atman.
5 As the dust, smoke, etc. soiling the akasa enclosed in a
particular pot do not soil the other akasas enclosed in other pots, so
also the happiness, miseries, etc. of one jiva do not affect other jivas.
6 Though the diversity of forms, functions and names of the akasas
associated with different receptacles is admitted, yet this does not
imply any real differentiation in akasa itself. The same is the
conclusion regarding the jivas.
7 As the akasa enclosed in a pot is neither an effect nor a part of
the real akasa, so the jiva is neither an effect nor a part of atman.
8 Children regard akasa as being soiled by dirt; likewise the
ignorant regard Atman as being similarly soiled.
9 Atman, in regard to Its birth and death, Its going and coming i.e.
rebirth and Its dwelling in different bodies, is not unlike akasa.
10 All aggregates are produced by Atman's maya, as in a dream. No
rational argument can be given to establish their reality, whether they
are of equal status or whether some are superior to others.
11 The Supreme Self is the self of the five sheaths, such as the
physical and the vital, which have been described in the Taittiriya
Upanishad. That the Supreme Self is like akasa has already been stated.
12 The same akasa dwells within both the earth and the stomach;
likewise, the same Brahman dwells within the pairs described in the
13 The identity of the jiva and Atman is praised by pointing out
their non—duality; multiplicity is condemned. Therefore non— dualism
alone is free from error.
14 The separateness of the jiva and Atman, which has been declared
in the earlier section of the Upanishads, dealing with the creation, is
figurative, because this section states only what will happen in the
future. This separateness cannot be the real meaning of those passages.
15 The scriptural statements regarding the creation, using the
examples of earth, iron and sparks, are for the purpose of clarifying
the mind. Multiplicity does not really exist in any manner.
16 There are three stages of life, corresponding to the threefold
understanding of men: inferior, mediocre and superior. Scripture, out of
compassion, has taught this discipline for the benefit of the
17 The dualists, firmly clinging to their conclusions, contradict
one another. The non—dualists find no conflict with them.
8 Since Non—duality is Ultimate Reality, duality is said to be Its
effect. The dualist sees duality in both the Absolute and the relative.
Therefore the non—dualist position does not conflict with the dualist
19 The unborn Atman becomes manifold through maya and not otherwise.
For if the manifold were real, then the immortal would become mortal.
20 The disputants assert that the unborn entity (Atman) becomes
born. Now can one expect that an entity that is birthless and immortal
should become mortal?
21 The immortal cannot become mortal, nor can the mortal become
immortal. For it is never possible for a thing to change its nature.
22 How can one who believes that an entity by nature immortal
becomes mortal, maintain that the immortal, after passing through
change, retains its changeless nature?
23 Corning into birth may be real or illusory; both views are equally
supported by the scriptures. But that view which is supported by the
scriptures and corroborated by reason is alone to be accepted and not
24 From such scriptural passages as, "One does not see any
multiplicity in Atman" and "Indra (the Supreme Lord), through maya,
assumes diverse forms", one knows that Atman, though ever unborn,
appears to have become many only through maya.
25 Further, by the negation of the creation, coming into birth is
negated. The causality of Brahman is denied by such a statement as "Who
can cause It to come into birth?"
26 On account of the incomprehensible nature of Atman, the
scriptural passage "Not this, not this" negates all dualistic ideas
attributed to Atman. Therefore the birthless Atman alone exists.
27 What is ever existent appears to pass into birth through maya,
yet from the standpoint of Reality it does not do so. But he who thinks
this passing into birth is real asserts, as a matter of fact, that what
is born passes into birth again.
28 The unreal cannot be born either really or through maya. For it
is not possible for the son of a barren woman to be born either really
or through maya.
29 As in dreams the mind acts through maya, presenting the
appearance of duality, so also in the waking state the mind acts through
maya, presenting the appearance of duality.
30 There is no doubt that the mind, which is in reality non—dual,
appears to be dual in dreams; likewise, there is no doubt that what is
non—dual, i.e. Atman, appears to be dual in the waking state.
31 All the multiple objects, comprising the movable and the
immovable, are perceived by the mind alone. For duality is never
perceived when the mind ceases to act.
32 When the mind, after realizing the knowledge that Atman alone is
real, becomes free from imaginations and therefore does not cognize
anything, for want of objects to he cognized, it ceases to be the mind.
33 Knowledge (Jnana), which is unborn and free from imagination, is
described by the wise as ever inseparable from the knowable. The
immutable and birthless Brahman is the goal of knowledge. The birthless
is known by the birthless.
34 One should know the behavior of the mind which, being endowed
with discrimination and free from illusions is under control. The
condition of the mind in deep sleep is not like that but is of a
35 The mind is withdrawn in deep sleep, but it is not so when the
mind is controlled. The controlled mind is verily the fearless Brahman,
the light of whose omniscience is all—pervading.
36 Brahman is birthless, sleepless, dreamless, nameless and
formless. It is ever effulgent and omniscient. No duty, in any sense,
can ever be associated with It.
37 Atman is beyond all expression by words and beyond all acts of
the mind. It is great peace, eternal effulgence and samadhi; It is
unmoving and fearless.
38 Brahman is free from mental activity and hence from all ideas of
acceptance or relinquishment. When knowledge is established in Atman it
attains birthlessness and sameness.
39 This yoga, which is not in touch with anything, is hard for yogis
in general to attain. They are afraid of it, because they see fear in
that which is really fearlessness.
40 Yogis who are ignorant of Non—duality depend on the control of
the mind for attaining fearlessness, the destruction of misery,
Self—Knowledge and imperishable peace.
41 The mind is to be brought under Control by undepressed effort; it
is like emptying the ocean, drop by drop, with the help of a blade of
42 The mind distracted by desires and enjoyments should he brought
under control by proper means; so also the mind enjoying pleasure in
inactivity (laya). For the state of inactivity is as harmful as the
state of desires.
43 Turn back the mind from the enjoyment of desires, remembering
that they beget only misery. Do not see the created objects, remembering
that all this is the unborn Atman.
44 If the mind becomes inactive, arouse it from laya; if distracted,
make it tranquil. Understand the nature of the mind when it contains the
seed of attachment. When the mind has attained sameness, do not disturb
45 The yogi must not taste the happiness arising from samadhi; he
should detach himself from it by the exercise of discrimination. If his
mind, after attaining steadiness, again seeks external objects, he
should make it one with Atman through great effort.
46 When the mind does not lapse into inactivity and is not
distracted by desires, that is to say, when it remains unshakable and
does not give rise to appearances, it verily becomes Brahman.
47 This Supreme Bliss abides in the Self. It is peace; it is
Liberation; it is birthless and cannot be described in words. It is
called the omniscient Brahman, being one with the birthless Self, which
is the true object of knowledge.
48 No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can
produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.
Chapter IV [of Gaudapada’s Karika] — Alatasanti Prakarana
(The Chapter on the Quenching of the Fire—brand)
1 I bow to the best among men, who, by means of knowledge, which is
like akasa and which is non—different from the goal of knowledge,
realized the nature of the jivas (dharmas), which, too, are like akasa.
2 I bow to the yoga known as asparsa, taught in the scriptures,
which promotes the happiness and well—being of all creatures and is free
from strife and contradictions.
3 Some disputants postulate that only an existing entity can again
come into existence, while other disputants, proud of their intellect,
postulate that only a non—existing entity can come into existence. Thus
they quarrel among themselves.
4 An existing entity cannot again come into existence (birth); nor
can a non—existing entity come into existence. Thus disputing among
themselves, they really establish the non—dualistic view of ajati
5 We approve the ajati (non—creation) thus established by them. We
have no quarrel with them. Now hear from us about Ultimate Reality,
which is free from all disputations.
6—8 The disputants assert that the unborn entity (Atman) becomes
born. How can one expect that an entity that is birthless and immortal
should become mortal? The immortal cannot become mortal, nor can the
mortal become immortal. For it is never possible for a thing to change
its nature. How can one who believes that an entity by nature immortal
becomes mortal, maintain that the immortal, after passing through
change, retains its changeless nature?
9 By the prakriti, or nature, of a thing is understood that which,
when acquired, becomes the essential part of the thing, that which is
its characteristic quality, that which is its inalienable nature from
its very birth, that which is not extraneous to it and that which never
ceases to be itself.
10 All the jivas are, by their very nature, free from senility and
death. But they think they are subject to senility and death and by the
very power of thought they appear to deviate from their true nature.
11 The disputant according to whom the cause itself is the effect
must maintain that the cause is born as the effect. If it is born, how
can it be called birthless? If it is subject to modification, how then
can it be said to be eternal?
12 If, as you say, the effect is non—different from the cause, then
the effect too must be unborn. Further, how can the cause be eternal if
it is non—different from the effect, which is born?
13 There is no illustration to support the view that the effect is
born from an unborn cause. Again, if it is said that the effect is
produced from a cause which itself is born, then this leads to an
14 How can they who assert that the effect is the cause of the cause
and the cause is the cause of the effect, maintain the beginninglessness
of both cause and effect?
15 Those who say that the effect is the cause of the cause and that
the cause is the cause of the effect maintain, actually, that the
creation takes place after the manner of the birth of father from son.
16 If causality is asserted, then the order in which cause and
effect succeed each other must be stated. If it is said that they appear
simultaneously, then, being like the two horns of an animal, they cannot
be mutually related as cause and effect.
17 The cause that you affirm, cannot be established as the cause if
it is produced from the effect. How can the cause, which itself is not
established, give birth to the effect?
18 If the cause is produced from the effect and if the effect is,
again, produced from the cause, which of the two is born first upon
which depends the birth of the other?
19 The inability to reply to the question raised above, the
ignorance about the matter and the impossibility of establishing the
order of succession if the causal relation is admitted clearly lead the
wise to uphold, under all conditions, the doctrine of ajati, or
20 The illustration of the seed and the sprout is something which is
yet to be proved. The illustration i.e. the middle term, which itself is
not yet proved, cannot be used for establishing a proposition to be
21 The ignorance regarding the antecedence and the subsequence of
cause and effect clearly proves the absence of creation (ajati). If the
jiva (dharma) has really been horn, then why can you not point out its
22 Nothing whatsoever is born, either of itself or of another
entity. Nothing is ever produced, whether it be being or non—being or
both being and non—being.
23 The cause cannot be produced from a beginningless effect; nor can
the effect be produced from a beginningless cause. That which is without
beginning is necessarily free from birth.
24 Subjective knowledge must have an object for its cause; otherwise
variety becomes non—existent. Further, from the experience of pain, the
existence of external objects, accepted by the dualistic scriptures,
must be admitted.
25 The dualists, by force of reason, assert that there is a cause of
subjective knowledge. But from the standpoint of the true nature of
things we assert that the so—called cause is, after all, no cause.
26 The mind is not related to external objects or to the ideas that
appear as such objects. This is so because objects are non— existent and
the ideas that appear as external objects are not distinct from the
27 The mind does not enter into the causal relation in any of the
three periods of time. How can it ever be subject to delusion, when
there is no cause for such delusion?
28 Therefore neither the mind nor the objects perceived by the mind
are ever born. To see their birth is like seeing the footprints of birds
in the sky.
29 The cause, Brahman, from which the birthless mind is asserted, by
the dualists, to have been born is itself unborn. Because Brahman is
ever unborn, therefore it is never possible for It to be other than what
30 If, as the dualists contend, the world is beginningless, then it
cannot be non—eternal. Moksha (Liberation) cannot have a beginning and
31—32 If a thing is non—existent in the beginning and in the end, it
is necessarily non—existent in the present. The objects that we see are
really like illusions; still they are regarded as real. The utility of
the objects of waking experience is contradicted in dreams; therefore
they are certainly unreal. Both experiences have a beginning and an end.
33 All entities seen in dreams are unreal, because they are
perceived inside the body. How is it possible for things that are
perceived to exist, really to exist in Brahman, which is indivisible and
34 It is not reasonable to think that a dreamer actually goes out in
order to experience the objects seen in the dream, because of the
discrepancy of the time involved in such a journey. Nor does he, when
awakened, find himself in the places seen in the dream.
35 The dreamer, after awaking, realizes the illusoriness of the
conversations he had with friends etc. in the dream state. Further, he
does not possess in the waking state anything he acquired while
36 The dream body is unsubstantial because the other i.e. the
physical body, different from it, is perceived. Like the dream body, all
things cognized by the mind are unsubstantial.
37 Since the experience of objects in dreams is similar to the
experience of objects in the waking state, waking experience is regarded
as the cause of dream experience. It is only by him who admits waking
experience to be the cause of dream experience that waking experience
can be regarded as real.
38 All entities are a\said to be unborn, since birth cannot be
established as a fact. It is utterly impossible for the unreal to be
born of the real.
39 A man filled with the impressions of the unreal objects seen in
the waking state sees those very things in dreams as well. But he does
not see in the waking state the unreal objects seen in dreams.
40 The unreal cannot have another unreality for its cause, nor can
the real have the unreal for its cause. The real cannot be the cause of
the real. And how utterly impossible it is for the real to be the cause
of the unreal!
41 As a person in the waking state through false knowledge appears
to handle objects, whose nature is inscrutable, as if they were real, so
also, in dreams, he perceives, through false knowledge, objects whose
existence is possible in the dream state alone.
42 Wise men teach causality only for the sake of those who, afraid
of non—creation, assert the reality of external objects because they
perceive such objects and also because they cling to various social and
43 Those who, because of their fear of the truth of absolute non—
creation and also because of their perception of external objects, deny
ajati (non—creation) are not affected by the evil consequent on the
belief in creation. This evil, if there is any, is insignificant.
44 As an elephant conjured up by a magician is taken to be real
because it is perceived to exist and also because it answers to the
behavior of a real elephant, so also external objects are taken to be
real because they are perceived to exist and because one can deal with
45 It is Consciousness, Vijnana, alone that appears to be born or to
move or to take the form of matter. But this Consciousness is really
ever unborn, immovable and free from the traits of materiality; it is
all peace and non—dual.
46 Thus the mind is never subject to birth. All beings, too, are
free from birth. Those who know this do not fall into false knowledge.
47 As the line made by a moving fire—brand appears to be straight,
crooked, etc., so Consciousness, when set in motion, appears as the
perceiver, the perceived and the like.
48 As the fire—brand, when not in motion, is free from all
appearances and remains changeless, so Consciousness, when not in
motion, is free from all appearances and remains Changeless.
49 When the fire—brand is set in motion, the appearances that are
seen in it do not come from elsewhere. When it is still, the appearances
do not leave the motionless fire—brand and go elsewhere, nor do they
enter into the fire—brand itself.
50 The appearances do not emerge from the fire—brand, because their
nature is not that of a substance. This applies likewise to
Consciousness, because of the similarity of the appearances.
51—52 When Consciousness is associated with the idea of activity, as
in the waking and dream states, the appearances that seem to arise do
not come from anywhere else. When Consciousness is non—active, as in
deep sleep, the appearances do not leave the non—active Consciousness
and go elsewhere, nor do they merge in it. The appearances do not emerge
from Consciousness, for their nature is not that of a substance. They
are incomprehensible, because they are not subject to the relation of
cause and effect.
53 A substance may be the cause of another substance and a non—
substance, the cause of another non—substance. But the jivas cannot
possibly be anything like a substance or a non— substance.
54 Thus external appearances (objects) are not caused by the mind,
nor is the mind caused by them. Hence thoughtful people hold to the
principle of absolute non—creation.
55 As long as a person clings to the belief in causality, he will
find cause producing effect. But when this attachment to causality wears
away, cause and effect become non—existent.
56 As long as a person clings to the belief in causality, samsara
will continue to expand for him. But when this attachment to causality
wears away, samsara becomes non—existent.
57 The entire universe is created by false knowledge; therefore
nothing in it is eternal. Everything, again, as one with Ultimate
Reality, is unborn; therefore there is no such thing as destruction.
58 Birth is ascribed to the jivas; but such birth is not possible
from the standpoint of Reality. Their birth is like that of an illusory
object. That illusion, again, does not exist.
59 The illusory sprout is born of the illusory seed. This illusory
sprout is neither permanent nor destructible. The same applies to the
60 The term permanent or impermanent cannot be applied to the
birthless jivas. What is indescribable in words cannot be discriminated
about as permanent or impermanent.
61—62 As in dreams the mind acts through maya, presenting the
appearance of duality, so also in the waking state the mind acts through
maya, presenting the appearance of duality. There is no doubt that the
mind, which is in reality non—dual, appears to be dual in dreams;
likewise, there is no doubt that what is non—dual i.e. Atman, appears to
be dual in the waking state.
63 The dreamer, wandering about in all the ten directions in his
dream, sees the whole variety of jivas, born of eggs, moisture, etc.
64 These entities, which are objects of the mind of the dreamer, do
not exist apart from his mind. Likewise, the mind of the dreamer is an
object of perception of the dreamer alone.
65—66 The waking man, wandering about in all the ten directions in
his waking state, sees the whole variety of jivas, born of eggs,
moisture, etc. They are the objects of the mind of the waking man and do
not exist apart from it. Likewise, the mind of the waking man is an
object of his perception alone.
67 Both the mind and the jivas are objects of each other's
perception. Can the one exist independent of the other? The reply of the
wise is in the negative. There is no evidence of the existence of the
one without the other; they are cognized only through each other.
68—70 As the dream jiva comes into existence and disappears, so also
these jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear. As the
jiva conjured up by the magician comes into existence and disappears, so
also these jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear. As
an artificial jiva comes into existence and disappears, so also these
jivas perceived in the waking state appear and disappear.
71 No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can
produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.
72 The world of duality, which is perceived to exist and is
characterized by the subject—object relationship, is verily a movement
of the mind. The mind, again, from the standpoint of Reality has no
contact with any object. Hence it is declared to be eternal and
73 That which exists on the strength of false knowledge based upon
imagination does not really exist. Again, that which is said to exist on
the strength of the views advanced by other schools of thought does not
74 Atman is called birthless (aja) from the standpoint of false
knowledge based upon imagination; in reality It is not even birthless.
The unborn Atman is said to be born from the standpoint of the false
knowledge cherished by other schools of thought.
75 People persistently hold to the idea of unreality i.e. duality.
But such duality does not exist. One who has realized the absence of
duality is not born again, since there remains no longer any cause for
76 When the mind finds no cause—superior, inferior, or middling—it
becomes free from birth. How can there be an effect without a cause? 77
The birthlessness of the mind, which is free from manifestation and
causal relationship, is absolute and constant. For duality i.e. the
perceiving mind and its objects is merely an objectification of the
78 Realizing the absence of causality as ultimate truth and not
finding any other reason for birth, one attains that state which is free
from grief, desire and fear.
79 On account of attachment to unreal objects the mind pursues such
objects. But it comes back to its pure state when it attains
non—attachment, realizing their unreality.
80 The mind freed from attachment to all external objects and
undistracted by fresh objects attains the state of immutability. The
wise realize such a mind to be Brahman; It is undifferentiated,
birthless and non—dual.
81 The birthless, dreamless and sleepless Reality reveals Itself by
Itself; for this Dharma (Atman) by Its very nature is self— luminous.
82 The Lord (Atman) becomes easily hidden because of attachment to
any single object and is revealed with great difficulty.
83 The ignorant, with their childish minds, verily cover Atman by
predicating of It such attributes as existence, non—existence, existence
and non—existence and total non—existence, deriving these
characteristics from the notions of change, immovability, combination of
change and immovability and absolute negation which they associate with
84 These are the four theories regarding Atman, through attachment
to which It always remains hidden from one's view. He who knows the Lord
to he ever untouched by them indeed knows all.
85 What else remains to be desired by him who has attained the state
of the brahmin—a state of complete omniscience and non—duality, which is
without beginning, middle, or end?
86 The humility (vinaya) of the brahmins is natural. Their
tranquility (sama) is also natural. Further, the control of the senses (dama)
comes natural to them. He who has realized Brahman attains peace.
87 Vedanta recognizes the ordinary state of waking, in which
duality, consisting of objects and the idea of coming in contact with
them, is admitted. It also recognizes a purer ordinary state i.e. the
dream state, in which is experienced duality consisting of objects and
the idea of coming in contact with them, though such objects do not
88 The wise recognize another state, in which there exist neither
objects nor ideas regarding them. This state is beyond all empirical
experiences. They describe the three: knowledge, the objects of
knowledge i.e. the three states and the supremely knowable i.e. Ultimate
89 Having known knowledge and the threefold knowable, one after
another, the knower, endowed with supreme intellect, attains in this
very life and everywhere, the state of omniscience.
90 One should be conversant, at the very outset, with four things.
These are as follows: the things to be avoided, the goal to be realized,
the disciplines to be cultivated and the tendencies to be rendered
ineffective. Of these four, all except the goal to be realized i.e. the
Supreme Reality exist only as products of the imagination.
91 All Atmans (Dharmas) are to be known, by their very nature, to be
beginningless and unattached like akasa. There is not the slightest
variety in there in any way or at any time.
92 All jivas are, by their very nature, illumined from the very
beginning. There can never be any doubt about their nature. He who,.
having known this, rests without seeking further knowledge is alone
capable of attaining Immortality.
93 The jivas, from the very beginning and by their very nature, are
all peace, unborn and completely free. They are characterized
by sameness and non—separateness. The unborn Atman is always established
in sameness and purity.
94 Those who always wander in the realm of separateness cannot
realize the purity of Atman. Their minds are inclined to differentiation
and they assert the separateness of the Atmans. Therefore they are
95 They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who
are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Atman.
The ordinary man does not understand their way.
96 Knowledge, which is the very essence of the unborn jivas, is
itself called unborn and unrelated. This Knowledge is proclaimed to be
unattached, since it is unrelated to any other object.
97 To those ignorant people who believe that Atman can deviate from
Its true nature even in the slightest measure, Its eternally unrelated
character is lost. In that case the destruction of the veil is out of
98 All jivas are ever free from bondage and pure by nature. They are
illumined and free from the very beginning. Yet the wise speak of the
jivas as capable of knowing Ultimate Reality.
99 The Knowledge of the wise man, who is all light, is never related
to any object. All the jivas, as well as Knowledge, are ever unrelated
to objects. This is not the view of Buddha.
100 Having realized the Knowledge of the Supreme Reality, which is
hard to grasp, profound, birthless, the same throughout, all light and
free from multiplicity, we salute It as best we can.
Aum. Peace! Peace! Peace!
Final Salutation by Sri Sankaracharya [in the Mandukya
I salute Brahman, the destroyer of the fear of those who take refuge
in It—which, though unborn, appears to be associated with birth through
Its own majestic powers; which, though motionless, appears to be moving;
and which, though non— dual, appears to have assumed many forms to those
whose vision is deluded by the perception of diverse objects and their
I prostrate myself at the feet of the teacher of my teacher, the
most adored among the adorable, who—out of sheer compassion for the
beings drowned in the deep ocean of the world, infested by the terrible
sharks of incessant births and deaths—rescued, for the benefit of all,
this nectar, hardly attainable even by the immortals, from the inmost
depths of the ocean of the Vedas by churning it with the rod of his
I make obeisance with my whole being to those holy feet—the
dispellers of the fear of the chain of births and deaths—of my own great
teacher, who, through the light of his illumined wisdom, destroyed the
darkness of delusion enveloping my mind; who put an end, for ever, to my
appearance and disappearance in this terrible ocean of innumerable
births and deaths; and who enables all others, too, that take shelter at
his feet, to attain unfailing knowledge of the scriptures, peace and the
state of perfect non—differentiation.
Aum Tat Sat