Verses 1-6 of the Mandukya Upanishad are traditionally associated with Verses 1-9 of the Gaudapada Karika.
1. OM! - This Imperishable Word is the whole of this phenomenal universe. Its
explanation is as follows, What has become, what is becoming, what will become, - verily, all of this is OM. And what
is beyond these three states of the world of time, - that too, verily, is OM.
"This Imperishable Word...
The Absolute Brahman, Self, or God, alone is "Imperishable". It is well known that
the whole of this manifest universe is transient and mortal. There exists no material form that will not perish
with time. It is Truth as Absolute
Knowledge that is imperishable. The word OM is described as imperishable due to it being the sound or name of the Universe.
Creation, this Universe, is that immortal knowledge of the Absolute.
"Is the whole of this phenomenal universe"
The word OM, described above as the sound of eternal knowledge, is the sound of this Universe becoming
physically manifest. Therefore it is the name of that Knowledge that forms this entire mortal Universe.
"What has become, what is becoming, what will become, - verily, all of this is OM"
"What has become" Refers to the experiencing of this manifest creation as it
exists, it is only the created experience that changes due to its transience and mortality. The
Absolute reality itself, being immortal is eternally unchanging. The same truth applies to
"what is becoming", Om is the sound of Creation coming into being, progressing
in accordance with its laws to "what will become", which includes its inevitable material end.
"And what is beyond these three states of the world of time, - that too, verily, is OM"
All that is created is transient and mortal and therefore subject to the effects of time.
Therefore, time becomes manifest only with the creation of the material universe, that is OM.
What is beyond the world of time is what is immortal and the Absolute alone is immortal. Om is beyond the world of time
because whether it is manifest or unmanifest it is held as the eternal knowledge that is the Absolute.
2. All this, verily, is the Absolute. The Self is the Absolute. This
Self, such as it is, has four quarters.
" All this, verily, is the Absolute".
We have as a description of reality from the scriptures that The Absolute, Brahman, God, alone exists. It
naturally and logically follows that "All this... is the Absolute".
Even this transient and mortal universe is "the Absolute" because it is formed of the immortal
knowledge and consciousness that is the Absolute. All of this is Absolute Knowledge manifest,
(but the Absolute is greater than this manifest experience, this unknowable infinity will be described as the fourth quarter).
"The Self is the Absolute".
The word "Self" conveniently describes the experiencing of the projected manifest
forms of creation, particularly sentient beings. In reality all names and forms exist purely as knowledge
within Non-Dual Absolute Consciousness.
In truth it is within Absolute Consciousness that all experience takes place. No actual "Self"
exists as an entity, (because The Absolute or God alone exists).
The "Self" is merely a convenient description for the
experience of desire within this duality, witnessed by the Absolute through Maya.
"This Self, such as it is, has four quarters".
So, this "Self", is merely a linguistic convenience ("such as it is")
for describing the created or projected forms of Absolute knowledge.
Being created, the Self is mutable, it appears to have changes of states, sleeping
waking dreaming and so forth.
These states are experienced as states of consciousness, as it were, they are named and described here
through "four quarters"
The four quarters are not meant to be taken literally of course.
The imagined four quarters are for the exposition of Om and "Self" Consciousness only.
All This Self or Om is the Absolute, but the Absolute is more than all This. That the Absolute is more
than Om or the Self, needs to be held in mind while considering
the "four quarters". The fourth "quarter" is in fact the one eternal Absolute reality,
it is the Non-Dual Consciousness within which the first three transient mortal quarters are held,
as it were.
The meaning is that the described states are merely experiences that appear on the one
unchanging Consciousness Absolute. The fourth state is the eternal reality that remains after
the cessation of the three transient states. In reality no "state" exists, there is just
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.
"The first quarter is Vaisvanara. Its field is the waking state"
Vaisvanara means "all men" it is the material forms of "self" in creation, the same material, merely
many different forms.
The meaning is that this "waking state" describes the experiencing of everyday
life of the person existing through desire and birth.
it is described as "waking state" rather than "awake" because the very experience
of birth and duality within this universe is said to be Maya, resulting
from the forgetting of our true identity with the Non-Dual Absolute. Therefore, in terms of Consciousness, until this
individual "self" Realises the one Self as the Self of all, and surrenders desire,
we cannot be considered as fully realised, conscious or awake.
"Its consciousness is outward-turned"
In the waking state which is described as awake in our limited awareness, our consciousness awareness is
fed through our senses. Our senses being "outward-turned" inform us that this material
universe is the truth of all there is. It follows that our desires will be of a material nature.
"It is seven-limbed and nineteen-mouthed"
Vaisvanara is described as this material universe which resulted from that original desire to experience worldly knowledge.
The seven limbs being :- heaven=head, sun=eye, air=vital force, space=middle part,
water=bladder, earth=two feet, fire= mouth.
The nineteen mouths (gates of experiences) being :- five senses, five organs of action,
vital force (consisting of five forms of breath), mind, intellect, ego and thoughts.
All of these represent the means of experiencing the satisfaction of material desire. The universe is the material of desire, AUM is desire.
This form of "Self" described as consisting of limbs and mouths is to enable our interaction with the universe as the means of
The ultimate meaning is that the
being in the "waking state" relies on his senses. Mans desires are to feed and satisfy his senses.
"It enjoys gross objects".
Relying on our senses our world is a material world. The world of gross creation. Within
this "waking state" what we understand or enjoy are "gross objects".
In the waking state man works to create the objects of his desire.
4. The second quarter is Taijasa. Its field is the dream state.
Its consciousness is internal. It is seven limbed and nineteen mouthed. It enjoys subtle objects.
"The second quarter is Taijasa. Its field is the dream state".
Taijasa is the "Self" experiencing, in consciousness, the dream state.
In the dream state conscious awareness is internal, the dream within is seen as the reality.
With this understanding there is no conscious perception of the so called waking "reality".
The difference between waking state and dream state, in consciousness, is merely one of perception or memory.
Taijasa has the meaning of "luminous" which here
means that a person, when dreaming, is his own light. A person in the "waking state"
has his way and understanding lit by information from the "outward-turned" senses.
In the "dream state" the person, the "self" furnishes the dream
through the light of his own intellect and knowledge according to its desires and interpreted experiences.
"Its consciousness is internal"
While asleep and dreaming the being is not conscious of external phenomena because the person
is not looking to the senses for guidance. In this state the "self" consciousness is experiencing a world
according to its own knowledge and creation.
"It is seven limbed and nineteen mouthed".
The knowledge that is being experienced in the consciousness of dream is still the same knowledge,
which is Absolute Knowledge. As such the dream world will
resemble the gross world of the senses, sensing and desiring the material universe, enabled through the same
"mouths and limbs".
In all respects other than material there is no difference between waking and dream states of consciousness.
"It enjoys subtle objects"
In the dream state, the internal world is not made up of material objects. All objects of desire are
achieved or fulfilled or "enjoyed" through subtle knowledge.
In the dream state man (self) lives or rests in the ongoing subtle creation of the desires of his intellect and experience.
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 sustained by bliss. His mouth is
"The third quarter is Prajna where one asleep neither desires anything nor beholds
any dream: that is deep sleep"
Prajna has the meaning of pure consciousness and knowledge.
Prajna describes the state of deep sleep, meaning dreamless sleep. Without the experience of dreams or sensory input there is
nothing to differentiate within consciousness. there is no consciousness of duality, desire or
"In this field of dreamless sleep, one becomes undivided, an undifferentiated
mass of consciousness, consisting of bliss and sustained by bliss".
Prajna being consciousness alone and at rest the state is harmony and bliss.
"sustained by bliss" distinguishes this state of bliss from the true state of Absolute Bliss, which
is properly described as Truth, Consciousness and Bliss.
In this state of deep sleep, "Prajna" the bliss is due to the temporary forgetting of desire
and so forth. this is the bliss of ignorance, so as said this bliss of ignorance sustains itself,
it relies on its own ignorance.
The true Bliss of Non-Dual Absolute Consciousness is the Bliss of Absolute Truth. Within this Absolute Truth
duality does not exist as the cause of the delusions of desire and fear.
Bliss is the natural eternal state of The Absolute.
"His mouth is consciousness"
This "Self" of Creation came into being to satisfy desire. The attributes of this
"Self" of mouths and limbs were the means of experiencing the satisfaction of that desire.
Without the desire or fear of the waking or dream state
there only remains that "undifferentiated mass of consciousness" which is the experience
"mouth" of this Prajna.
6. This is the Lord of All the Omniscient; the Inner director the Source
of All. This place is the beginning and end of all beings.
"This is the Lord of All the Omniscient"
This is the "state" of Self that transcends the other three states.
This "Self", beyond experienced states is as described, "the Lord of All the Omniscient"
which means this "Self" is the knowledge that supports the apparent duality of forms of manifest Creation.
This is the state of the "Self" before manifestation of the Universe and after the return of the universe
to unmanifest Knowledge.
This is the "Self", as the Non-Dual Absolute.
"the Inner director the Source of All".
The apparent individual within the duality and Maya of creation is nonetheless "directed" by
Absolute Knowledge as all that exists is. This "Inner director" of the being has been called
the "self" hence the name "(Absolute) Self", the One "Self" of the
duality "self" within creation as we have described previously.
"This place is the beginning and end of all beings".
If this place is "the beginning and end of all beings" then it is confirmation that we
are considering the unity of the Absolute, as "in" the "fourth quarter", or, more accurately, that consciousness Absolute or God or Brahman is none other than this very consciousness found within that supports these so called states and names and forms.
It is from the Non-Dual Absolute that all that materially exists is made manifest, and it is to this Unity
that all forms or states return on the cessation of desire.
This same unity of "Absolute Self" Consciousness is also
approached by the meditating Sage through stillness and the intuition of Buddhi and intellect. This access
or closeness is known through "self" or the inner director. Through this intuitive closeness
or perhaps openness,
Divine Truth becomes known.
We are told by the subtle intellect, the Rishi and these words of the
scriptures of this access to divine truth, but any actual "process", as it were, is not
witnessed or does not come into the awareness of any of the states of consciousness.
The meaning is,
Which quarter is the One quarter that knows all other quarters or states, but at the same time
is unknown by those three states?
Which quarter is the One quarter that provides continuity or unity to the other three?
Which One quarter is it that through the very fact of its existence allows the other three quarters to "imagine" themselves
as being a complete entity?
Which one quarter is it that allows the other states to rise and fall, come into apparent being
and apparently to fall out of being?
Which one "Quarter" is Eternal.
What is it that Alone Truly Exists?
This is to be realised.
Chapter 1 of Gaudapada´s Karika.
1. One and the same All-pervading is traditionally known (lit. remembered) as being
three-fold (l) Visva, cognisor of Outside, (2) Taijasa again, cognisor of inside, and (3) Prajna,
likewise, cognition massed
"One and the same all pervading"
This is the Absolute or Self Consciousness "pervading" or supporting Creation.
In this first verse of his Karika, Gaudapada links with the Mandukya Upanishad and referes to the
descriptions given there to the "apparent" three states of consciousness experienced within creation.
These are described as being merely "apparent" because Absolute Self consciousness, within
which all this is experienced, is immutable, unchanging, which means there are no "states" in reality.
The experience of the states of
waking sleep, dream sleep and deep sleep by individuals is because "their" very experience of individuality
or "self" is itself merely a projected experience within Absolute Self consciousness itself.
This is why our highest consciousness is called only "the waking state", because this conscious experience is the experience
of the delusion of duality. Our true identity as That eternal unchanging Absolute consciousness is purely the witness
to our delusional experience of duality, ignorance and mortality.
"(lit. remembered) as being three-fold"
These "remembered" states
could be described much like our experience in the waking state of being the witness to having a dream state.
We only know or remember the dream state when we arise into the waking state, it follows we will only know our Absolute state
when we arise from our "waking state" or "life state", as it were.
2. One and the same All pervading Self, is well set up threefold in the body Visva in the front of the right
eye, Taijasa again, inside in the mind, and Prajna in the void in the heart.
"One and the same All pervading Self"
The "Self" is The Absolute, described here as "Self" due to the Self Consciousness experience within creation.
This Absolute Self is the One, Non-Dual, reality that eternaly exists. This Universe is experienced as
existing purely due to it's being pervaded or supported by That Absolute knowledge and Consciousness. reference :-
"these worlds, these gods, these Vedas, these beings and these all are
this Self". Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.4.6.
"is well set up threefold in the body"
This Absolute Self described as "well set up in the body" means the body (and all this) is
but the Self as described above.
The term "threefold" referes to the said three perceived states.
"Visva in the front of the right eye"
Visva concerns the external and this is perceived via the eye.
"Taijasa again, inside in the mind"
Taijasa similarly but internaly percieved by the mind, Manas and memory.
"Prajna in the akas (void) in the heart"
Prajna, consciousness still, as the void. although the Arkasa or void is experienced within through
intellect and Buddhi,
it should be remembered that all this is the "Self". The void within is as the space in an empty jar.
wherever that jar moves the space within is the one void of existence. But, there exists no void in
reality. In reality the "Self" Consciousness is all this. The action of the
"void in the heart" is as the void in the jar, wherever it experiences it will be within the
"Consciousness" of the "Self".
the statement "One and the same all pervading Self", it should be remembered while describing and
discussing Consciousness as different states that these states are due to Maya or delusion only. That is,
Consciousness is Absolute, unchanging and is the supporter and enabler of all that is.
intention here is to show that although within Creation one's level of consciousness appears to change, these
changes, these limitations, these appearances of individuality are due to Maya or delusion only.
If at any time ones understanding is at variance to this reality then forgetting is taking place.
3. For ( him ), always, Visva is the enjoyer of the gross, Taijasa is the enjoyer of the subtle,
Prajna likewise is the enjoyer of bliss, know the enjoyment thus to be three fold.
"For ( him ), always.."
For him, the being of creation and form, the experience is always as if consciousness
is changeable, mutable, having more than one form. Here it appears three fold.
The three states of differentiation experienced are waking, dreaming
and deep sleep. They are attributed to (apparent) differentiation in consciousness due to differentiation in
awareness, so they are accordingly given different names to describe those different experiences.
"Visva is the enjoyer of the gross"
As said these are Visva, the waking state, experiencing or enjoying all the external material
"Taijasa is the enjoyer of the subtle"
Taijasa, the dream state experiencing or enjoying dream, Subtle,
"Prajna likewise is the enjoyer of bliss"
Prajna whose state cognises no sensory input or desire consequently rests in stillness and
"know the enjoyment thus to be three fold"
experience termed here as enjoyment is meant as the enjoyment of privilege. That is, to exist and be experiencing
is a privilege. As such an experience of boredom would regardless of circumstance also be to enjoy the privilege
4. The gross gratifies Visva, the subtle again, Taijasa; and bliss likewise, Prajna. Know gratification
thus to be three fold.
"The gross...Visva, the subtle...Taijasa; bliss...Prajna."
Visva means outward looking through the senses, therefore it understands the Gross material objects.
Taijasa means internal through the mind therefore it understands subtle objects known through knowledge alone.
Prajna means consciousness alone, therefore it understands the experience of bliss.
"Know gratification thus to be three fold"
These three states under discussion are the Self previously described in verse Two above as "well set up
threefold in the body".
That "Self" so set up, is to enable the satisfaction of that first desire for worldly
Therefore when the experiences called Visva, Taijasa, and Prajna are witnessed that experience is
seen as the "gratification" of purpose. The same would be said when on hearing a
sound the principle of hearing would be said to be gratified.
5. What enjoyable is proclaimed in the three abodes, and what enjoyer is proclaimed in the three abodes he again,
who knows both these, although enjoying, is not contaminated.
This verse refers to being either the transcending knowledgeable witness, or a participant of action affected
by the emotions of desire.
"What enjoyable is proclaimed in the three abodes"
Each of the states under discussion produce an experience. The object that is enjoyable is known and can be named,
"what enjoyer is proclaimed in the three abodes"
The person within Creation that is supported by the Absolute Self to experience "self" is
known "proclaimed" to be the enjoyer.
"he again, who knows both these"
"He" is that consciousness that transcends all states. As described in the previous experiencing of the
three states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, it is only in the relatively "transcendent",
as it were, state of waking that the other experienced states are known or remembered.
"He", that consciousness, will be the knower of "both these".
"although enjoying, is not contaminated".
Similarly to the higher of the imagined three states of consciousness, so here, only the higher consciousness that transcends the experienced and the experiencer, the consciousness of the
witness, will remain free of the attachment of the emotions of desire.
If the being of creation literally took these three states to be three different consciousnesses providing three
different states of enjoyment he would be in error. His understanding would suffer the contamination of ignorance
If, by observing that, throughout the apparent changes in consciousness,
there is consciousness that is constant and aware or knowledgeable of all this. This person of creation would become
aware of the underlying and sustaining Absolute consciousness that is unaffected by experience. For instance,
when one is in deep sleep apparently unconscious, undreaming, and unknowing this fact, this knowledge,
is still known within consciousness. This person would observe the enjoyer and the enjoyed as being that
same Absolute Consciousness, as a unity.
Knowing, understanding, and realising the reality of
non-duality this person of creation transcends duality and its ignorance.
6. There must be some origin of all entities that exist, this is the well considered conclusion.
Prana creates all, Purusa creates the rays of the mind that is, the individual souls, separate from one another.
"There must be some origin of all entities that exist"
All entities that have apparent existence have been created, that is, all things or bodies that
exist have come into being through birth or other natural causes.
All that is encompassed within this whole
Universe has a beginning. Also, all entities within this Universe have a natural end, an entropy.
All that exists has a beginning and an end.
This "well considered conclusion" is as intimated above, logical.
"Prana creates all",
Prana is known as the breath that supports life so it is seen as a vital force. Vital force has come to be seen as
that which "manifests" all material forms. As all creation is seen to have arisen through
that first desire for the material organs of the body, through which to experience worldly knowledge then a
represents material desire, but it does not exist as an entity.
The meaning here is that this material Universe was created. In fact all that exists is made manifest through
Absolute Consciousness and Knowledge.
"Purusa creates the rays of the mind that is, the individual souls"
Purusha, represents the one Absolute Consciousness of many births,
especially when viewed from "within Creation". In verse 2. Above, the description
"One and the same All pervading Self, is well set up threefold in the body" could be
said to pertain to Purusa as the inner witness, the Observer.
Prana and Purusha have different
subtleties of aspect and understanding when used or referred to in different situations. But ultimately,
both Prana or vital force, and Purusha, are only attributed "qualities", as it were,
of the Absolute Self. Such descriptive qualities
or aids exist because even though we are describing a singularity, that Singularity, the Absolute Self,
is unknowable. The Self is known only through the fact of Existence, but no form of creation is
the Absolute Self.
the meaning of this verse is, all forms of this creation have
an origin, therefore they have an end, they are mortal. The Absolute Birthless Self Alone,
being without beginning, without origination, is eternal.
7. Other creation theorists, on the other hand, consider creation to be the manifestation of Purusa;
creation is imagined by others as having the same nature as dream and illusion, (Maya).
"Other creation theorists",
These other theories refer to those who have a dualistic view of Creation. They believe that there exists a
separate God who has further created us as separate beings.
"consider creation to be the manifestation of Purusa".
These people, accepting duality, believe that this creation is God or Purusa manifesting
this Universe, and that is eternal because it is the will of God.
This dualistic understanding is seen by the non-dual philosophy of Advaita as being due to their
their attention or discrimination being captured within creation.
"creation is imagined by others as having the same nature as dream and illusion (Maya)".
Others contemplating the nature of this existence attribute the appearance of the universe to the same
forms of delusion or illusion that manifest objects in dreams or other conscious states.
But, following on from verse 6. above, it should be seen by all theorists that all within Creation,
this Universe, has a beginning and an end.
All that can be detected through our senses is transient. therefore no theorist can detect anything that has
true existence. Being transient and mortal all that appears to exist is dependent on another for its support.
Therefore, the meaning is, the mechanics of this universe are of lesser importance. The greater
need is to realise "That" that is eternal. There is nothing here within creation that has true being.
Whatever or wherever "here" is, it is demonstrable that nothing truly exists as an entity in itself.
That is, all forms are mortal due to being dependent on their parts, and their parts are dependent on the parts of their parts.
The creation theorists of the various disciplines and beliefs are to this day still searching for and discovering
lesser parts of the greater parts. Non of this is directed at that transcendent intelligence that supports
all "This" Creation.
If it is transcendent truth that will set us free, that truth, that reality, is not
contained or to be found within creation is the assertion of the Vedas :-
"This (universe).... differentiated only into name and form" Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.7.
The intention here, regarding the Mandukya Upanishad, is to demonstrate that it is
the "fourth" or Turiya that alone is unchanging and Eternal.
To realise the Eternal is to realise the Truth.
8. Creation is due to just the will of the Lord so think others who are quite convinced about there being a
creation; the Time theorists consider the creation of beings as from Time.
"Creation...the will of the Lord...think others...convinced...there being a creation;"
Some people believe that we and this Universe were created by a God, having a separate benign existence,
who will "personally" maintain the Universe for eternity. That is, they believe this creation
to have a real separate existence.
"the Time theorists consider the creation of beings as from Time".
Some people, believing that time exists as an entity on its own, believe that, with the course of time
coincidence or some other action will produce the cause of material forms appearing.
This theory does not acknowledge the question of existence itself. for instance the existence of time itself,
or the existence of the duality of components producing the "coincidence".
9. Creation is for the sake of enjoyment of the Lord so say others; for the sake of sport so say
This again is the very nature of God the shining one so say others, arguing What possible desire can
there be in one for whom desire would ever be fulfilled?
"Creation is for the sake of enjoyment of the Lord so say others"
How can creation be due to a desire of the Absolute? The very nature of Absolute is completeness in every
meaning, The Primal Singularity. There could exist no desire that would not be already fulfilled.
"for the sake of sport so say still others"
Again, The Absolute, by definition, is Absolute, it has no needs. The Absolute seeks no pastime.
"This again is the very nature of God the shining one so say others...What possible desire can there be
in one for whom desire would ever be fulfilled"
All of the previous theories assume a cause or some desire or need or purpose of a "Creator".
With this verse Gaudapada is negating all of these theories. "That" that is Absolutely complete,
and Bliss itself cannot logically be ascribed a "reason" for any movement or change whatsoever.
Therefore, Gaudapada puts forward the theory that this Universe or Creation itself
"is the very nature of God the shining one".
Gaudapada's meaning is that the appearance of this Universe and its contents in all its states is merely the Absolute being all
its forms of Knowledge it's very Self, which is the true nature of the Absolute, or Primacy of Existence.