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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Upanishads > Mandukya Upanisad with Gaudapada's Karika > Translations




Peace Chant


          Om.  Oh gods worthy of worship, may we hear with [our] ears

and see with [our] eyes [that which is] worthy;

          Having worshipped with steady-limbed bodies,

may we obtain as long as we live [that which is] arranged by the gods.

          Indra [who is] possessed of great swiftness is good to us,

the all-knowing Pushan is good [to us];

          Tarkshya [who is] Arishtanemi is good to us,

Let Brihaspati bestow on us that which is good.


          Om, peace, peace, peace


          That one [i.e., Brahman] is full, this one [i.e., universe] is full;

          From fullness, fullness arises;

          Having taken away fullness from fullness, still fullness remains.


          Om, peace, peace, peace.



Mandukya Upanishad


Verse 1

          "Om."  This syllable is this all;

          Its explanation is, has been, [and] will be;

          All is just the syllable "om".

          What[ever] else has gone beyond the three times

[i.e., past, present, and future], that also is only the syllable "om".


Verse 2

          Indeed all this is Brahman, this Atman is Brahman;

          This Atman [has] four feet (or states).


Verse 3

          The first state is Vaishvanara, the experiencer of gross [objects];

          [It is] the waking state [which] knows the external [and it has]

seven limbs [and] nineteen mouths (i.e., organs of sense and action).


Verse 4

          The second state is Taijasa, the taster of subtle [objects];

          [It is] the dream state [which] knows the internal [and it has]

seven limbs [and] nineteen mouths (i.e., organs of sense and action).


Verse 5

          The third state is prajna, the state of deep sleep;

          When one who is asleep neither desires any pleasures

nor sees any dreams, that [is the state] of deep sleep.

          Having become unified, [it is] just nothing but

[contentless] knowledge;

          Indeed, [it is] made of bliss, experiencing bliss, [with only]

consciousness as its media of expression.


Verse 6

          This [consciousness] is the lord of all, the all-knowing,

the dweller within, the source of all;

          Indeed, the origination and passing away of all beings.



Mandukya Karika     


Verse 1

          Vishva, indeed, is knowledge of the wide-extending external [world],

but Taijasa [is the] knowledge [of the] internal.

          Then, prajna is concentrated knowledge;

          [There is] only one [self], [yet] known in three ways.


Verse 2

          Vishva is in the outlet (lit., mouth) of the right eye,

but Taijasa is inside the mind.

          And, prajna is in the space within the heart;

          [This is how] the three ways are arranged separately in the body.


Verse 3

          Vishva, indeed, always experiences gross [objects]

[but] Taijasa experiences subtle [objects].

          Also, prajna experiences bliss;

          Know experience as three-fold.


Verse 4

          The gross satisfies Vishva but the subtle satisfies Taijasa.

          And, bliss [satisfies] prajna;

          Know satisfaction as three-fold.


Verse 5

          That which [is to be] enjoyed in the three states

and he who is the enjoyer has been revealed.

          But he who knows this [as] both, he, enjoying, is not tainted

(by worldly experience).


Verse 6

          It is the consensus that the origin of all beings is from existence.

          The life force, the person, generates all the

rays of consciousness separately.


Verse 7

          Some emanationists think that the origin is from evolution

(or expansion), and, others [think] that the emanation resembles

maya or a dream.


Verse 8

          Thus [those who are] firmly resolved on creation [think]

"it is just the will of the lord."

          Some 'thinkers of time' think [that the] generation of beings

is from time.


Verse 9

          Some [think that] emission is for the purpose of enjoyment,

and others for the purpose of playing.

          That this is god's own nature,

what desire [is there] of one [who] has obtained one's desire? 



Mandukya Upanishad


Verse 7

          [The Atman] is not internally knowing, nor externally knowing, nor

both [internally and externally] knowing, nor a condensation of knowledge,

nor knowing, nor not knowing. 

          They think [that] the fourth state is invisible, beyond worldly doings, ungraspable, without characteristics, unthinkable, undefinable, the one

essence of self-knowledge, the calming down of manifestations, peaceful,

benevolent, non-dual;

          This is the Atman, this is to be known.



Mandukya Karika


Verse 10

          The ruler of the cessation of all sufferings is the imperishable lord.

          The non-dual god of all beings [is known as] the fourth,

the all-pervading.


Verse 11

          The bonds of cause and effect rule Vishva [and] Taijasa.

          Prajna is bound by cause [only];

          But, in the fourth state, the two (i.e., cause and effect) do not prevail.


Verse 12

          Prajna perceives something that is not the self and also not another,

not truth and also not falsehood.

          [However], the fourth [state] is always omniscient.


Verse 13

          [There is] of both prajna and the fourth states

the equality of not grasping duality.  

          Prajna is united with seed sleep and it (i.e., seed sleep)

is not known in the fourth state. 


Verse 14

          The previous two states are connected with dream [and] sleep,

and prajna with dreamless sleep.

          They who have ascertained [this] see

neither sleep nor dream sleep in the fourth.


Verse 15

          Dream is [the state where] things are grasped wrongly,

sleep does not know reality.

          But the fourth state is attained when the delusion

of the two [previous states] perishes.


Verse 16

          When the sleeping soul awakens from its beginningless illusion,

then one knows the unborn, the non-sleeping, the non-dreaming,

[and] the non-dual.


Verse 17

          If [the universe] manifests, then, without doubt, it would vanish.

          This duality is nothing but illusion, in reality it is non-dual.


Verse 18

          If the [universe] were a contrivance made by someone, it would disappear.

          This argument is for the sake of teaching;

          Having been known, duality would not be seen.



Mandukya Upanishad


Verse 8

          That this atman, with reference to syllables, is the syllable "om";

          With reference to elements, the quarters are the elements and the elements are the quarters.

          The letter "a", the letter "u," [and] the letter "m."


Verse 9

          The waking state is Vaishvanara, the syllable "a" or the first element,

because of Acquiring or because of being first;

          He who knows thus, indeed, obtains all desires and becomes first.


Verse 10

          The state of dream sleep is Taijasa, the syllable "u" or the second element,

because of Up-rising or because of Uniting both.

He really extracts [from the elements] the continuity of knowledge

and becomes united;

          There is not a non-knower of Brahman in the family of him

who knows thus!


Verse 11

          The state of dreamless sleep is prajna, the syllable "ma", the third element.

          Because of measuring or because of merging,

he who knows thus, indeed, measures all this and one becomes merged into. 



Mandukya Karika


Verse 19


          Divided up [into its three components] the first component "a" of the syllable "om" has in common with the waking state the fact that they are both beginnings;

          And, it would also have Acquisition in common in agreement with the [same three] components.


Verse 20

          The drawing out is clearly seen, in the sense of the "u"-ness of Taijasa.

          It would be in accordance with the [second] measure and likewise is a Union of both [the waking and dreaming state].


Verse 21

          Commensurate with the measuring of prajna yet going beyond [the previous two letters] is the syllable "ma."

          But, in accordance with the measure, it, indeed,

also has in common dissolution (or Melting).


Verse 22

          Without doubt, he who knows the analogy [relating]

the syllable "om" to the three states [of consciousness].

          He is a great sage who should be worshipped and praised by all beings.


Verse 23

          The "a" syllable leads to Vishva and the "u" syllable to Taijasa.

          And again, the "ma" [leads] to prajna;

          The going [around in samsara] is not seen in the immeasurable state.



Mandukya Upanishad


Verse 12

          The fourth [state] is without measure, it is not worldly, it is the calming down of [internal and external] manifestations, it is benevolent and non-dual. 

          Thus, it is the syllable "om" which is, indeed, the Atman. 

          He who knows this merges the [individual] Atman with the [universal] Atman

[i.e., Brahman].


Mandukya Karika


Verse 24

          The syllable "om" is in accordance with the four quarters;

          From knowledge, it is undoubtedly that the [four] quarters are the [four]

elements [or syllables].

          Having realized that the syllable "om" is in accordance with the quarters,

one should not think of anything else.


Verse 25

          One should bind one's thought to the mystical syllable "om";(1)

          The mystical syllable "om" is Brahman, [it is] fearless.

          One who is eternally joined to the mystical syllable "om"

does not know fear at all.


Verse 26

          Indeed, the mystical syllable "om" is the lower [i.e., Saguna] Brahman,

and the mystical syllable "om" [is also] known as the highest [i.e., Nirguna] Brahman.

          The mystical syllable "om" is without beginning, not internal, not external,

without another and unchanging.


Verse 27

          Indeed, the mystical syllable "om" is thus the beginning, middle,

and likewise, the end of everything.

          Just so, having known the mystical syllable "om",

one reaches that immediately.


Verse 28

          One should know that the mystical syllable "om" is, indeed, the lord

located in the heart of all.

          Having thought of the syllable "om" as pervading everything,

the steady one does not suffer.


Verse 29

          Boundless [and] infinite,

[the syllable "om"] is benevolence [and the] cessation of duality.

          By whom the syllable "om" is understood,

he is a sage and not another [kind] of person.





(1) The Sanskrit term for what I am translating as the mystical

syllable "om" is pranava.