there be peace and love among all beings of the universe. OM
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Upanishad is the shortest of the
Upanishads and is in prose, consisting of
just twelve verses expounding the mystic syllable
OM [AUM], the three psychological states of
waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the Transcendent
Fourth state [Turiya] of illumination. The
Muktikopanishad says that the Mandukya
Upanishad alone is enough for salvation.
Mandukya Upanishad with the Karika
embodies in itself
the quintessence of the substance of the entire
philosophy of Vedanta."
OM. Shining Ones!
May we hear through our ears what is auspicious;
Ye, fit to be worshipped! May we see with our eyes
what is auspicious; May we, endowed with body
strong with limbs, offering praise, complete the
full span of life bestowed upon us by the divine
beings; May Indra, of enhanced fame, be auspicious
unto us; May Pushan, who is all-knowing, be
auspicious unto us; May Tarkshya, who is the
destroyer of all evils, be auspicious unto us; May
Brihaspati bestow upon us auspiciousness! OM!
Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!
1. OM! This Imperishable Word is the whole
of this visible universe. Its explanation is as
follows: What has become, what is becoming, what
will become verily, all of this is OM
[also written as AUM]. And what is beyond
these three states of the world of time that
too, verily, is OM.
2. All this, verily, is Reality
[Brahman]. The Self is Reality. This Self
has four quarters.
3. The first quarter is vaisvanara. Its
field is the waking state. Its consciousness is
outward-turned. It is seven-limbed and
nineteen-mouthed. It enjoys gross objects.
4. The second quarter is taijasa. Its field
is the dream state. Its consciousness is
inward-turned. It is seven-limbed and
nineteen-mouthed. It enjoys subtle objects.
5. The third quarter is prajna, where one
asleep neither desires anything nor beholds any
dream: that is deep sleep. In this field of
dreamless sleep, one becomes undivided, an
undifferentiated mass of consciousness, consisting
of bliss and feeding on bliss. His mouth is
6. This is the Lord of All; the Omniscient;
the indwelling Controller; the source of All. This
is the beginning and end of all beings.
7. That is known as the Fourth quarter:
neither inward-turned nor outward-turned
consciousness, nor the two together; not an
undifferentiated mass of consciousness; neither
knowing, nor unknowing; invisible, ineffable,
intangible, devoid of characteristics,
inconceivable, indefinable, its sole essence being
the consciousness of its own Self; the coming to
rest of all relative existence; utterly quiet;
peaceful; blissful: without a second: this is the
Atman, the Self; this is to be realised.
8. This identical Atman, or Self, in the
realm of sound is the syllable OM, the above
described four quarters of the Self being identical
with the components of the syllable, and the
components of the syllable being identical with the
four quarters of the Self. The components of the
syllable are A, U, M.
9. Vaisvanara, whose field is the waking
state, is the first sound, A, because this
encompasses all, and because it is the first. He
who knows thus, encompasses all desirable objects;
he becomes the first.
10. Taijasa, whose field is the dream state,
is the second sound, U, because this is an
excellence, and contains the qualities of the other
two. He who knows thus, exalts he flow of knowledge
and becomes equalised; in his family there will be
born no one ignorant of Reality.
11. Prajna, whose field is deep sleep, is
the third sound, M, because this is the measure,
and that into which all enters. He who knows thus,
measures all and becomes all.
12. The Fourth is soundless: unutterable, a
quieting down of all relative manifestations,
blissful, peaceful, non-dual. Thus, OM is the Self,
verily. He who knows thus, merges his self in the
Self yea, he who knows thus.
OM! Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!
grand Guru of Shankara, is the author of
Mandukya Karika, a commentary on
Mandukya Upanishad. It was written in 8th
century, and is the earliest available systematic
treatise on Advaita. Gaudapada deals with
perception, idealism, causality, Truth, and
Reality. The Fourth state [Turiya]
corresponds to silence as the other three
correspond to OM. It is the substratum of the other
three states and is referred to as absolute
In the Fourth state of consciousness, the mind is
not simply withdrawn from the objects, but becomes
one with Reality [Brahman]. In both deep
sleep and "Transcendental Awareness" there is no
consciousness of objects but the objective
consciousness is present in an unmanifested "seed"
form in deep sleep, while it is transcended in
Turiya. Specifically, if one identifies the
wordless state with Turiya and meditates, one
realises the true Self and "there is no return to
the sphere of empirical life".
I bow to that
Reality who pervades the entire world by a
diffusion of the rays of knowledge that pervade all
things that are moving and unmoving, who after
having enjoyed [in the waking state] all
objects of enjoyment that are gross, and who again,
after having drunk [in the dream state] all
objects born of desire and illumined by the
intellect, reposes while experiencing bliss Himself
and making us all enjoy by His own illusory
creation [maya], and who, through an
attribution of maya, is the Fourth in number, and
is Supreme, Immortal and Unborn.
May He, the Self of the universe, dwelling in the
Fourth state, protect us, who, after having enjoyed
[in the waking state] the gross enjoyments
resulting from virtue and vice, enjoys again
[in the dream state] the other subtle
objects which are created by His own intelligence
and illumined by His own light, and who, after
having absorbed all of them gradually into Himself
and having abandoned all distinctions, becomes
devoid of attributes.
Visva having exterior consciousness is
all-pervading, whereas taijasa has interior
consciousness, and prajna, similarly is dense with
consciousness. Thus, the One alone is regarded in
2. Visva is seen in the right eye which is
its seat of experience, whereas taijasa is inside
the mind and prajna is in the space inside the
heart. In these three ways he dwells in the
3. Visva is ever the enjoyer of the gross,
taijasa of the subtle, and, similarly, prajna of
bliss. Know therefore the enjoyment in three
4. The gross satisfies visva, the subtle
satisfies taijasa and, similarly, gladness
satisfies prajna. Know therefore the satisfaction
in three ways.
5. He who knows these two, [viz. that
which is shown to be the thing to be enjoyed and
that which is shown to be the enjoyer], in the
three states, does not become affected, even though
6. It is a settled fact that coming into
being can be said only of positive entities that
exist. Prana creates all; and the Supreme Self
[Purusha] creates the conscious beings
7. Those who think of creation hold it as
the manifestation of God's power; while others
regard creation as the same as dream and
8. Creation is the mere will of the Lord,
say those who thought out well the [process
but those who rely upon time hold that the birth of
beings is from time.
Some others hold that creation is for the enjoyment
of God, yet others say that it is for
His sport. But it is
the very nature of the resplendent Being, for what
desire can He have whose
desires are all fulfilled?
10. Turiya, the Lord powerful to bring about
the cessation of all sorrows, is imperishable,
as the non-dual Lord of all entities, and is
11. Visva and taijasa are regarded as
conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is
cause. But these two [viz. cause and
effect] do not exist in Turiya.
12. Prajna knows neither himself nor others,
neither truth nor untruth. But that Turiya is
ever the all
13. The non-cognition of duality is common
to both prajna and Turiya. Prajna is
sleep of the nature of cause, whereas that sleep
does not exist in Turiya.
14. The first two [viz. visva and
taijasa] are associated with dream and sleep,
but prajna is associated
with sleep devoid of any dream. The knowers of
Reality do not see either sleep or
dream in Turiya.
15. Dream belongs to him who perceives
wrongly and sleep to him who knows not
the false notion of these two comes to an end, the
state of Turiya is attained.
16. When the individual self [jiva],
sleeping under the influence of the illusion
[maya] that is beginningless, is
awakened, then he
realises Turiya that is Unborn, sleepless,
dreamless and non-dual.
17. If a phenomenal world were to exist, it
should, no doubt, cease to be. This duality is
illusion; in reality it is non-dual.
18. The notion [such as the teacher, the
taught and the scripture] will disappear, if
imagined it. This notion is for the purpose of
instruction. When the Truth
is realised, duality does not exist.
19. When the identity of visva with the
letter A is meant, [i.e. when the identity of
visva with the
letter A is admitted], the common feature of
being the first is seen to be obvious, as
common feature of all-pervasiveness.
20. In the event of taijasa being
apprehended as identical with U, [i.e. when the
identity of taijasa
with the letter U is admitted], the common
feature of superiority is seen clearly, and
so too is the
21. In the even of prajna being apprehended
as identical with M, [ i.e. when the identity
with the letter M is admitted], the common
feature of being the measure is seen to be
obvious, and so too
is the common feature of absorption.
22. He who knows conclusively the common
similarities in the three states, becomes
worship and adoration by all beings, and is also a
23. The letter A leads to visva and the
letter U to taijasa. Again, the letter M leads
For the one who is free from letters, there is no
24. OM should be known, quarter by quarter.
It is beyond doubt that the quarters of the
Self are the
letters of OM. Having known OM, quarter by quarter,
one should not think of anything
25. Let the mind be fixed on OM, for OM is
Reality, the Fearless. For him who is ever
fixed on OM,
there is no fear anywhere.
26. OM is indeed the lower Reality; OM is
also regarded as the higher Reality. OM is
without a cause,
without interior and exterior, without effect, and
27. OM is indeed the beginning, middle and
end of everything. Having known OM thus, one
the identity with the Self.
28. One should know OM to be the Lord
dwelling in the hearts of all. Having known the
the intelligent one does not grieve.
He by whom is known OM, which is without measure
and possessed of infinite magnitude
and which is auspicious, since all duality ceases
in it, is a sage and none else.
wise declare the unreality of all objects in a
dream because they are located within [the
body] and also because they are confined within
a limited space.
2. Since the period is short, one does not
go to the place and see. Also, every dreamer, when
awakened, does not exist in that place of a
3. The non-existence of the chariot etc.,
[seen in a dream] is heard of [in the
sruti] from the point of view of reasoning. The
knowers of Reality say that the unreality thus
arrived at through reasoning is revealed [by
the sruti] in the context of a dream.
4. There is the unreality of the objects
even in the waking state. Just as they are unreal
in a dream, so also are they unreal in the waking
state. The objects [in a dream] differ
owing to the location within the body owing to the
5. The wise say that the states of waking
and dream are the same, in view of the similarity
of the objects [seen in both the states]
and in view of the well-known ground of
6. That which is non-existent in the
beginning and at the end is definitely so in the
present [i.e. in the middle]. The objects,
though they bear the mark of the unreal, appear as
7. Their utility is opposed in a dream.
Therefore, on the ground of having a beginning and
an end, they are regarded as definitely unreal.
8. To see unusual things in a dream is
indeed an attribute of the dreamer just as it is in
the case of those who dwell in heaven. The dreamer
associates himself [with the dream
conditions], experiences those objects, even as
the one, well instructed here [goes from one
place to another and sees objects belonging to
9. Even in a dream, what is imagined by the
mind within is unreal, while what is grasped
outside by the mind is real. But both these are
seen to be unreal.
10. Even in the waking state what is
imagined by the mind within is unreal, while what
is grasped by the mind outside is real. It is
reasonable to hold both these to be unreal.
11. If the objects of both the states be
unreal, who comprehends all these and who again
12. The self-luminous Self, by Its own maya
imagines Itself by Itself and It alone cognises all
objects. This is a settled fact of the Vedanta
13. The Lord imagined in diverse forms the
worldly objects existing in the mind. With the mind
turned outward, He imagines diversely permanent
objects as also impermanent things. Thus the Lord
14. Things that exist within as long as the
thought lasts and things that are external and
conform to two points of time, are all imaginations
alone. The distinction between them is caused by
15. The objects that seem to be unmanifested
within the mind, and those that seem to be
manifested without, are all mere imaginations,
their distinction being the difference in the
16. First of all, He imagines the individual
self and then He imagines various objects, external
and internal. As is a mans knowledge, so is
his memory of it.
17. Just as a rope, the nature of which is
not known in the dark, is imagined to be things
such as a snake, a water-line, etc., so too is the
Self imagined as various things.
18. As when the real nature of the rope is
known, the illusion ceases and the rope alone
remains in its non-dual nature, so too is the
ascertainment of the Self.
19. The Self is imagined as infinite objects
like prana, etc... This is the illusion of the
luminous One by which It itself is deluded, as it
20. The knowers of prana hold prana to be
the cause of the world, which the knowers of the
elements regard the elements to be the cause.
Qualities are the cause, say the knowers of
quality, whereas the knowers of category consider
categories to be so.
21. The knowers of the quarters [such as
visva] hold the quarters [to be the
cause], while the knowers of sensory objects
regard sensory objects [to be the cause].
the worlds [are real], say the knowers of
the worlds, and the knowers of the gods consider
the gods to be so.
22. Those well-versed in the Vedic lore hold
the Vedas [to be real], while the
sacrificers subscribe it to the sacrifices. Those
who know the enjoyer hold the enjoyer to be real,
whereas those familiar with the enjoyable things
think of them to be real.
23. Subtlety is real, say those who know the
subtlety, while those familiar with the gross
regard it to be so. Reality is possessed of a form,
say the worshippers of God with form, while the
worshippers of the formless hold the Reality to be
24. The astrologers hold time to be real,
while the knowers of directions consider directions
to be so. Those stiff in debate affirm that
disputations lead to the Reality, whereas those who
aspire after the worlds consider them to be
25. The knowers of the mind hold it to be
the Self, while the knowers of the intellect regard
it to be so. The knowers of the heart ascribe
Reality to it, whereas it is attributed to virtue
and vice by those who know them.
26. Some say that twenty-five categories
constitute the Reality, whereas others speak of
twenty-six. Again, some say that thirty-one
categories constitute It, yet some others hold that
they are infinite.
27. Those who know the people and their
pleasures find reality in pleasures. Those who are
familiar with the stages of life regard them as
real. The grammarians ascribe reality to the words
in the masculine, feminine and neuter genders,
whereas others know Reality to be the higher and
28. Those who know all about creation say
that Reality consists in creation. Reality lies in
dissolution, say those who know it, while those who
know about subsistence hold it to be the Reality.
All these ideas are always imagined on the
29. He to whom a teacher might show an
object sees that alone as the Reality. That object,
too, becoming one with him, protects him. That
state of being engrossed culminates in his
self-identity with the object shown.
30. By these things that are non-separate
from the Self, this Self is manifested as though
separate. He who knows this truly comprehends the
meaning of the Vedas without entertaining
31. Just as dream and magic, as well as a
city in the sky, are seen to be unreal, so too, is
this universe seen to be unreal from the Vedanta
texts by the wise.
32. There is no dissolution, no origination,
none in bondage, none possessed of the means of
liberation, none desirous of liberation, and none
liberated. This is the ultimate Truth.
33. This Self is imagined to be unreal
objects and also to be non-dual. The objects are
also imagined on the non-dual Self. Therefore
non-duality is auspicious.
34. This world viewed on the basis of the
Self, is not different. Neither does it ever exist
independent by itself nor is anything different or
non-different from the Self. Thus know the knowers
35. By the sages who are free from
attachment, fear and anger and well-versed in the
Vedas is realised this Self which is beyond
all imaginations, in which the phenomenal world
ceases to exist and which is non-dual.
36. Therefore, having known it thus, one
should fix ones memory on non-duality
[i.e. should give undivided attention].
Having attained the non-dual, one should conduct
oneself as though one were a dullard.
37. The ascetic should be free from praise
and salutation and also from rituals. The body and
the Self should be his support and he should depend
upon what chance brings.
38. Having perceived Truth internally and
having perceived it externally, one should become
identified with Truth, should derive delight from
Truth, and should never deviate from Truth.
aspirant, resorting himself to devotion, remains in
the conditioned Reality. Prior to creation all this
was of the nature of the birthless Reality. Hence
the man with such a view is considered to be of
2. Therefore, I shall describe that Reality
which is free from limitation, is Unborn and is
ever the same. Listen how nothing whatsoever is
born, though it appears to be born in all
3. The Self is said to be existing in the
form of jivas [individual souls], just as
the infinite ether exists in the form of ether
confined within jars. Similarly, It is said to be
existing as the aggregate of bodies, even as ether
exists like jars, etc... This is the illustration
with regard to birth.
4. Just as when the jars, etc., cease to
exist, the ether, etc., confined within them become
merged in the infinite ether, so also the
individual souls become merged in the Self
5. Just as when the ether confined within a
particular jar contains dust and smoke, that is not
the case with all jars, in the same way, all the
individual souls are not associated with happiness
6. Though forms, functions and names differ
here and there [in respect of the ether
contained by jars etc.,], yet this causes no
differences in the ether. Similar is the conclusion
with regard to individual souls.
7. As the ether within a jar is not a
modification nor a part of the infinite ether, so
an individual soul is never a modification nor a
part of the Supreme Self.
8. Just as to the children the sky becomes
soiled by dirt, so too, to the unwise the Self
becomes tainted by impurities.
9. The Self, in regard to Its death and
birth, going and coming, and Its existence in all
the bodies, is not dissimilar to ether.
10. All aggregates [such as body]
are created like dream by the maya of the Self.
Whether they be superior to another or equal, there
is no ground to prove their reality.
11. The individual self of the sheaths
beginning with that made of food, which have been
described in the Taittiriya Upanishad, is
the same as the Supreme Self, as explained [by
us already] on the analogy of ether.
12. Just as it is taught that ether in the
earth and the belly is verily the same, so also the
Supreme Reality is declared to be the same with
reference to every two [viz. the corporeal and
super physical], in the Madhu-Brahmana
13. Since the non-difference of individual
self and the Supreme Self is extolled on the basis
of their identity, and since diversity is censured,
therefore, that [non-duality] alone is
14. The separateness of the individual soul
and the Supreme Self which has been declared
[in the sruti] prior to the discussion of
creation [in the Upanishads], is in
a secondary sense in view of the result of the
future, for it [separateness] is not in
fitness if held in its primary sense.
15. The creation which is differently set
forth by means of [the illustrations of]
earth, gold, sparks etc., is just a means to reveal
the idea of identity. But multiplicity does not
exist in any manner.
16. There are three stages of life
low, medium, and high. This meditation is enjoined
for their sake out of compassion.
17. The dualists, firmly settled in their
own doctrine which is arrived at by their own
conclusions, contradict one another. But this
[view of the non-dualist] is in no conflict
18. Non-duality is indeed the Supreme
Reality, inasmuch as duality is said to be its
product. For them duality constitutes both [the
Real and the unreal]. Hence this [our
view] is not opposed to theirs.
19. This Unborn Self undergoes modification
through maya and not in any other way. For, if the
modifications are to be a reality, the Immortal
would tend to be mortal.
20. The disputants think of the very Unborn
Self on terms of birth. How can the Self that is
Unborn and Immortal tend towards mortality?
21. The Immortal can never become mortal.
So, too mortal can never become Immortal. For a
change in ones nature cannot ever take place
in any manner.
22. How can the entity that is Immortal
remain unchanged according to one to whom a thing
that is Immortal by nature can be born, since it is
a product [in his view]?
23. The sruti favours equally the creation
in reality and through maya. That which is settled
by the sruti and supported by reasoning is true,
and not anything else.
24. Since the sruti says, "There is no
multiplicity here", "the Lord, owing to maya, is
seen diversely", and "The Self, though Unborn,
appears to be born in many ways", it becomes
obvious that He is born through maya.
25. By the censure of [the worship
of] Hiranyagarbha, the source of the universe,
is negated creation. By the statement, "Who will
cause it to be born?", is denied causality.
26. On the ground of non-apprehension of
Reality, all the preceding instruction [for Its
comprehension] is negated by the sruti, "This
Self is that which has been declared as "not this,
not this"." Hence the Unborn Self becomes revealed
of that which exists occurs only through maya and
not in reality. He who thinks that something is
born in reality, should know that that which is
already born is [re]born.
28. The birth of that which is non-existent
cannot occur either through maya or in reality, for
a son of a barren woman cannot be born either
through maya or in reality.
29. As in a dream the mind vibrates through
maya, as though with dual roles, so in the waking
state the mind vibrates through maya, as though
with dual roles.
30. There can be no doubt that the non-dual
mind alone appears in a dream in dual roles.
Similarly, in the waking state too, the non-dual
mind appears to possess dual roles.
31. Whatever there is, moving and unmoving,
which constitutes this duality, is perceived by the
mind, for when mind does not exist as mind, duality
is never perceived.
32. When the mind ceases to imagine
consequent on the realisation of the Truth which is
the Self, then it attains the state of not being
the mind and becomes a non-perceiver, owing to the
absence of objects to be perceived.
33. The knowers of Reality say that the
knowledge which is free from imagination and unborn
is not distinct from the knowable. The knowledge of
which Reality is the sole object is unborn and
everlasting. The Unborn Self is known by the
[knowledge that is] unborn.
34. The behaviour of the mind thus
restrained, which is free from all imagination and
which is endowed with discrimination, should be
noticed. The mind in deep sleep is of a different
character and is not like that when it is under
35. The mind becomes dissolved in deep
sleep, but when under restraint, it doesnt
become dissolved. That mind alone becomes Reality,
the Fearless, endowed with the light that is
consciousness on all sides.
36. Reality is birthless, sleepless,
dreamless, nameless, formless, ever-resplendent and
omniscient. As regards That, there can be no
routine practice of any kind.
37. The Self is devoid of all external
organs, and is above all internal organs. It is
exquisitely serene, eternally resplendent, divinely
absorbed, unchanging and fearless.
38. Where there is no thought whatever,
there is no acceptance or rejection. Then
knowledge, rooted in the Self, attains the state of
birthlessness and sameness.
39. This Yoga that is said to be not in
touch with anything is hard to be perceived by
anyone of the yogis, for the yogis who behold fear
in what is fearless, are afraid of it.
40. For all the yogis, fearlessness,
cessation of misery, awareness and everlasting
peace, depend upon the control of their mind.
41. By a tireless effort such as that by
which the emptying of an ocean, drop by drop, is
aimed at with the help of the edge of a kusa grass
[use in sacred ceremony], the conquest of
the mind will become possible through absence of
42. With the proper means one should bring
under restraint the mind that is torn amid desire
and enjoyment. Even when the mind is well settled
down in sleep, it should be brought under
restraint, for sleep is as harmful as desire.
43. Remembering that everything is
productive of grief, one should withdraw
[ones mind] from the enjoyment of the
objects of desire. Similarly, remembering that
everything is the Unborn Reality, one does not
certainly see the born [i.e. duality].
44. The mind that is in deep sleep should be
awakened and the mind that is distracted should be
brought back to tranquillity again. One should know
the mind as passion-tinged, and should not disturb
it when it has attained the state of
45. In that state one should not enjoy the
happiness, but should, by means of discrimination,
become unattached. When the mind that has become
still tends towards wandering, it should be unified
with the Self with efforts.
46. When the mind does not become merged nor
distracted again, when it becomes motionless and
does not make appearances [as objects],
then it verily becomes Reality.
47. That highest bliss exists in ones
own Self. It is calm, identical with liberation,
Indescribable, and Unborn. Since It is one with the
Unborn knowable Reality, the knowers of Reality
speak of It as the Omniscient
48. No individual self, whatsoever, is born.
It has no cause [of birth]. Such being the
case, this is the highest Truth where nothing is
of the page
I bow down to him who is the best among men and who
has realised the individual souls that are like
ether, through his knowledge which again resembles
ether and is not different from the object of
2. I bow down to that Yoga which is devoid
of touch with anything [that implies
relationship], which conduces to the happiness
of all beings and is beneficial, and which is free
from dispute and contradiction and is taught by the
3. Certain disputants postulate the birth of
an entity already existing, while some others,
proud of their intelligence, and opposing among
themselves, postulate the birth of what is not
4. That which already exists cannot be born
and that which does not exist also cannot be born.
Those who argue thus are none but non-dualists and
proclaim only the birthlessness.
5. We approve the birthlessness revealed by
them. We do not quarrel with them. Now, learn this
which is free from all disputes.
6. The disputants think of the self on terms
of birth. How can the Self that is Unborn and
Immortal tend towards mortality?
7. The Immortal can never become mortal. So,
too the mortal can never become Immortal. For a
change in ones nature cannot ever take place
in any manner.
8. How can the entity that is Immortal
remain unchanged according to one in whose view a
thing that is Immortal by nature can be born, since
it is an effect [in his view]?
9. By the term nature is to be known that
which comes into being through right attainments,
which is intrinsic, inborn, and non-produced, and
which does not give up its character.
10. All the souls are free from decay and
death by nature. But by thinking of decay and
death, and becoming absorbed in that thought, they
deviate [from that nature].
11. According to him who holds that the
cause itself is the effect, the cause must be born.
How can that which is born be Unborn? How can that
which is subject to modification be Eternal?
12. If [in your view] the effect is
non-different from the cause and if, for that
reason, the effect also is Unborn, how can the
cause be Eternal, since it is non-different from
the effect that undergoes birth?
13. He who holds the view that the effect is
born from an Unborn cause, has no example [to
be cited]. If the born effect is viewed as born
from another born thing, it leads to ad
14. How can they, who hold that the effect
is the source of the cause and the cause is the
source of the effect, assert beginninglessness for
cause and effect?
15. According to the disputants who hold
that the effect is the origin of the cause and the
cause is the origin of the effect, birth may be
possible, just as a father might be born of a
16. If cause and effect be possible, the
order [in which they originate] has to be
found out by you, for if they originate
simultaneously, there is no relationship between
the two, as is the case with the horns of a
17. Your cause that is produced from an
effect cannot be established. How will a cause,
that is itself not established, produce an
18. If the cause emerges from the effect and
if the effect emerges from the cause, which of the
two has arisen first on which depends the emergence
of the other?
19. Your inability to reply tantamounts to
ignorance, or there will be a difference in the
order of succession [postulated by you].
Thus indeed is the absence of birth revealed by the
wise in all manner.
20. What is called the illustration of a
seed and a sprout is always equal to the major term
[yet to be proved]. The middle term
[viz. the illustration] that is equal to
the unproved major term, cannot be applied for
establishing a proposition yet to be proved.
21. The ignorance regarding antecedence and
succession reveals birthlessness. From a thing that
is born, why is it that its antecedent cause is not
22. Nothing whatsoever is born either of
itself or of something else. Similarly, nothing
whatsoever is born whether it be existent or
non-existent or both existent and non-existent.
23. A cause is not born of an effect
that is beginningless, nor does an effect take
birth naturally [from a cause that is
beginningless]. For that which has no cause has
no birth also.
24. Knowledge has its object, since
otherwise it brings about the destruction of
duality. Besides, from the experience of pain, the
existence of external objects, as upheld by the
system of thought of the opponents, is
25. In accordance with the perception of the
cause of knowledge, the latter is deemed to be
based on external objects. But from the point of
view of Reality, the [external] cause is
regarded as no cause.
26. Consciousness is not in contact with
objects nor is it in contact with the appearances
of objects. For the object is certainly
non-existent and [the ideas constituting]
the appearances of object are not separate from
27. Consciousness does not ever come in
contact with objects in the three periods of time.
Without a cause [i.e. external object] how
can there be its false apprehension?
28. Therefore consciousness is not born, nor
are things perceived by it born. Those who perceive
it as having birth, may as well see footprints in
29. Since it is the birthless that is born
[in the view of the disputants],
birthlessness is its nature. Hence deviation from
this nature can happen in no way whatsoever.
30. If transmigratory existence be
beginningless, its termination will not be reached.
And liberation will not be Eternal, if it has a
31. That which is non-existent in the
beginning and the end is definitely so in the
present. The objects, although similar to the
unreal, look as though real.
32. Their utility is opposed in a dream.
Therefore, for the reasons of their having a
beginning and an end, they are definitely
remembered to be unreal.
33. All objects are unreal in a dream,
inasmuch as they are seen within the body. In this
narrow space, how is the vision of creatures
34. It is not reasonable to say that objects
in a dream are seen by [actually] going to
them, since it runs counter to the regulation of
time that is needed for the journey. Further, no
one, when awake, remains in the dream.
35. In a dream, what has been discussed with
friends and others [and settled] is not
resorted to when awake. Whatsoever is acquired in a
dream, too, is not seen when awake.
36. And in a dream, the body becomes unreal,
since another body is seen [in the bed]. As
is the body, so is everything cognised by the
consciousness all unreal.
37. Since the experience [of
objects] in a dream is just like that in the
waking state, the former is thought of as being
caused by the latter. Such being the case, the
waking state is considered to be real for that
38. Such birth is not established,
everything is said to be Unborn. Besides, it is not
possible for the unreal to be born from the Real,
in any way whatsoever.
39. Having seen unreal things in the waking
state, one, deeply impressed, sees those very
things in a dream. Likewise, having seen unreal
objects in a dream, one does not see them when
40. There is no non-existent that serves as
the cause of the non-existent, in the same way as
the existent does not serve as the cause of the
non-existent. There is no real entity that serves
as the cause of another real entity. How can the
unreal be the product of the Real?
41. Just as one, for want of discrimination,
takes unthinkable objects in the waking state as
real, so too, in a dream, one sees things in that
state alone, for want of discrimination.
42. For those who, from their own experience
and right conduct, believe in the existence of
substantiality, and who are ever afraid of the
birthless, instruction regarding birth has been
imparted by the wise.
43. For those who, for fear of the Unborn,
and also owing to their perception of duality,
deviate from the right path, the evil springing up
from acceptance of birth [creation], does
not accrue. The evil effect, if there be any, will
be but little.
44. Just as an elephant magically conjured
up is called an elephant by relying on perception
and right conduct, similarly, for reasons of
perception and right conduct a thing is said to be
45. That which bears semblance of birth,
appears as though moving, and, similarly seems to
be a thing [of attributes], is
consciousness that is birthless, unmoving and
non-material, serene and non-dual.
46. Thus consciousness is Unborn; thus the
souls are regarded to be Unborn. Those who realise
thus certainly do not fall into misfortune.
47. Just as the fire-brand set in motion
appears as straight, crooked etc., similarly, the
vibration of consciousness appears as the perceiver
and the perceived.
48. Just as the fire-brand devoid of motion
is without appearances and birth, so also
consciousness devoid of vibration is without
appearances and birth.
49. When the fire-brand is in motion, the
appearances do not come from elsewhere. Neither do
they, when the fire-brand is free from motion, go
elsewhere, nor do they enter into it.
50. They did not go out of the fire-brand
owing to their not being of the nature of
substance. In the case of consciousness, too, the
appearances must be the same, for as appearance
there can be no distinction.
51. When consciousness is in motion, the
appearances do not come from elsewhere. Neither do
they, when the consciousness is free from motion,
go elsewhere, nor do they enter again into It.
52. They did not go out of consciousness
owing to their not being of the nature of
substance, for they ever remain incomprehensible on
account of the absence of relation of effect and
53. A substance could be the cause of a
substance and another could be the cause of any
other thing. But the souls cannot be regarded
either as substances or as some other thing
different from all else.
54. Thus external objects are not born of
consciousness; nor is consciousness born of
external objects. Thus have the wise settled the
birthlessness of cause and effect.
55. As long as there is fascination for
cause and effect, so long do cause and effect come
into existence. When the fascination for cause and
effect ceases, there is no further springing up of
cause and effect.
56. As long as one is completely absorbed in
cause and effect, so long does transmigration
continue. When the absorption in cause and effect
ceases, one does not undergo transmigration.
57. From the relative plane of thinking
everything seems to be born and is not, therefore,
Eternal. From the Absolute plane of perception
everything is the Unborn Self and there is,
therefore, nothing like destruction.
58. The souls that are thus born are not
born in reality. Their birth is like that of an
object through maya. And that maya again is
59. Just as from a magical seed comes out a
sprout of that very nature which is neither
permanent nor destructible, so too, is the
reasoning applicable in respect of objects.
60. In the case of all birthless entities
the terms permanent and non-permanent can have no
application. Where words fail to describe, no
entity can be spoken of in a discriminative
61. As in dream consciousness vibrates
through illusion, as though dual by nature, so in
the waking state consciousness vibrates through
illusion as though possessed of dual
62. There can be no doubt that the non-dual
consciousness alone appears in a dream as though
dual. Similarly, in waking state, too, the non-dual
consciousness appears as though dual,
63. The dreamer, as he wanders in the
dreamland always sees the creatures born from eggs
or from moisture as existing in all the ten
64. These [creatures], perceptible
to the consciousness of the dreamer, have no
existence apart from his consciousness. So also
this consciousness of the dreamer is admitted to be
the object of perception to that dreamer alone.
65. The man in the waking state, as he
wanders in the places of the waking state, always
sees the creatures born from eggs or from moisture
as existing in all the ten directions.
66. These [creatures], perceptible
to the consciousness of the man in the waking
state, have no existence apart from his
consciousness. So also, this consciousness of the
man in the waking state is admitted to be the
object of perception to that man of the waking
67. Both these are perceptible to each
other. "Does it exist?" [To such a
question] "No" is said [by way of
answer]. Both these are devoid of valid proof,
and each can be perceived only through the idea of
68. Just as a creature seen in a dream takes
birth and dies, so also do all these creatures come
into being and disappear.
69. Just as a creature conjured up by magic
takes birth and dies, so also do all these
creatures come into being and disappear.
70. Just as an artificial creature
[brought into being by incantation and
medicine], takes birth and dies, so also do all
these creatures come into being and disappear.
71. No creature whatsoever is born, nor is
there any source for it. This is that Supreme Truth
where nothing is born whatsoever.
72. This duality consisting in the
subject-object relationship is nothing but the
vibration of consciousness. Again, consciousness is
without object and is, therefore, declared to be
73. That which exists by virtue of being an
imagined empirical view, does not exist in reality.
Again, that which exists on the basis of the
empirical view brought about by other schools of
thought, does not really exist.
74. Inasmuch as the soul, according to the
conclusions arrived at by other schools of thought,
takes birth from a fancied empirical view point, it
is said in consistence with that empirical point of
view that the soul is Unborn; but from the point of
view of Supreme Reality, it is not even Unborn.
75. There is a mere fascination for unreal
things, though there exists no duality. Having
realised the absence of duality, one is not born
again for want of a cause.
76. When there are no causes
superior, inferior or medium then
consciousness does not take birth. How can there be
any result when the cause is absent.
77. The birthlessness of consciousness which
is free from causes is constant and Absolute, for
all this [i.e. duality and birth] was an
object of perception to It which had been Unborn
78. Having realised the Truth that is
uncaused and having abstained from obtaining any
further cause, one attains the state of
fearlessness that is devoid of grief and delusion
79. Owing to fascination for unreal objects,
consciousness engages Itself in things that are
equally unreal. On realisation of the non-existence
of objects, consciousness, becoming free from
attachment, abstains [from them].
80. Then, there follows a state of
stillness, when the consciousness has become free
from attachment and does not engage itself in
unreal things. That is the object of vision to the
wise. That is the Supreme state on non-distinction,
and that is birthless and non-dual.
81. This is birthless, sleepless, dreamless,
and self-luminous. For this Entity [the
Self] is ever luminous by Its very nature.
82. Owing to the Lords fondness for
any object whatsoever, he becomes ever veiled
effortlessly, and is unveiled every time with
83. A man of puerile imagination definitely
covers the Self by affirming that It "exists",
"exists not", "exists and exists not", or again,
"exists not", "exists not", and by possessing such
views as [that It is] changing and
unchanging, both changing and unchanging and
84. These are the four alternative views,
owing to a fascination for which the Lord becomes
ever hidden. He is the all-seer by whom is the Lord
perceived as untouched by these.
85. Having attained omniscience in its
entirety, as well as the non-dual state of
Brahmanhood that is devoid of beginning, middle,
and end, does anyone wish anything thereafter?
86. This is the humility of the wise ones
[brahmanas]; this is said to be their
natural control. Since, by nature, they have
conquered the senses, this is their restraint.
Having known thus, the enlightened one becomes
rooted in tranquillity.
87. The duality that is co-existent with
both object and its perception is said to be the
ordinary waking state. That state where there is
only perception without the actual presence of an
object is said to be the ordinary dream state.
88. The state devoid of object and devoid of
perception is regarded as extraordinary. Thus have
the wise for ever declared knowledge, object, and
89. On acquiring knowledge [of the
threefold objects] and on knowing the objects
in succession, there follows consequently, for the
man of great intellect here, the state of
omniscience for ever.
90. Those which are to be abandoned,
realised, adopted, and made ineffective should be
known first. Of these, the three, excepting the
thing to be realised, are regarded as mere
imaginations born of ignorance.
91. It should be known that all souls are,
by nature, similar to ether, and Eternal. There is
no diversity anywhere among them, even an iota of
92. All souls are, by nature, illumined from
the very beginning, and their characteristics are
well ascertained. He, for whom there is thus the
freedom from want of further acquisition of
knowledge, is considered to be fit for
93. All souls are, from the very beginning,
tranquil, Unborn and, by nature, entirely detached,
equal, and non-different, and inasmuch as Reality
is thus Unborn, unique, and pure, [therefore
there is no need of tranquillity to be brought into
94. There cannot ever be any purification
for those who always tread the path of duality.
They follow the path of difference, and speak of
diversity and are, therefore, considered to be
95. They who have well-settled convictions
regarding That which is Unborn and ever the same,
indeed are possessed of great knowledge in this
world. But the common man cannot comprehend it.
96. The knowledge existing in the birthless
souls is regarded unborn and unrelated. Inasmuch as
the knowledge has no relation with other objects,
it is declared to be unattached.
97. If there be birth for a thing, however
insignificant it may be, non-attachment shall never
be possible for the ignorant man. What to speak
then of the destruction of covering for him?
98. All souls are devoid of any covering and
are by nature pure. They are illumined as well as
free from the beginning. Thus they are said to be
masters since they are capable of knowing.
99. The knowledge of the one who is
enlightened and all-pervasive, does not enter into
objects. And so the souls also do not enter into
objects. This fact was not mentioned by the
100. Having realised the non-dual state that
is hard to perceive, deep, Unborn, uniform and
serene,we offer our salutations to It, as best as
OM! O gods, may we hear with our ears what is
May we see with our eyes what is auspicious;
May we, while offering our praise to gods
With our bodies strong of limbs,
Enjoy the life which the gods are pleased to grant
May Indra of great fame be well disposed to us;
May the all-knowing [or immensely wealthy]
Pusha be propitious to us;
May Garuda, the vanquisher of miseries, be well
pleased with us;
May Brihaspati grant us all prosperity.
OM! Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!
Here ends the Mandukyopanishad, included in
Paris cedex 18
(0)1 42 58 79 82