Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad is the smallest of the ten Upaniṣads and belongs to the Atharvaveda. It has only twelve verses, all in prose. But it has been considered as the basic to the principles of Vedānta, especially the Advaita Vedānta. An analysis of the three states of consciousness and relating them to the three syllables a, u and m of Praṇava or Oṅkāra and establishing the turīya[1] as the highest reality is the specialty of its teaching. These three states are jāgrat,[2] svapna[3] and suṣupti[4]

Content of the Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad[edit]

A brief account of the twelve verses may now be given here:

  • Verse 1: All the manifested world is the syllable Om. Whatever exists in time, the past, the present and the future, and also whatever is beyond it, that too is Om.
  • Verse 2: All this is verily Brahman. This ātman, the individual soul, is Brahman. He has four aspects.
  • Verse 3: Vaiśvānara, the ātman associated with the waking state, is the first aspect. He recognizes external objects. He has seven limbs like the sun, the air and the earth. He has nineteen mouths such as the sense-organs and the motor-organs. He experiences gross material objects.
  • Verse 4: Taijasa, the second aspect is the ātman associated with the dream state and recognizes internal objects. He too has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and experiences the subtle objects.
  • Verse 5: The prājña is the third aspect. He is the same ātman associated with the deep-sleep state, where there are neither dreams nor desires. He is a solid mass of cognition, full of bliss and enjoys bliss.
  • Verse 6: He is the lord of all, the knower of all and the inner controller. He is also the origin of this world.
  • Verse 7: The turīya is the fourth aspect of the ātman as it were. He is different from the other three. He is indescribable since he is beyond the ken of all the senses. He is one without a second. He is the Ātman[5] who should be known or realized.
  • Verse 8: From the standpoint of the whole letter, the ātman is Om. The three syllables of Om are a, u, and m.
  • Verse 9: Vaiśvānara is the first syllable a. One who knows him thus will be able to attain all desires.
  • Verse 10: Taijasa is the second syllable u. One who knows him thus increases his knowledge. In his family only the people knowing the Brahman[6] are born.
  • Verse 11: Prājña is the third syllable, m. He who knows this, knows all and gets merged in all.
  • Verse 12: The Turīya, the ‘fourth’ as it were, is beyond all the three syllables. He it is into whom the world dissolves. He is one, beyond all the dualities and the very personification of auspiciousness. One who realizes him, attains his own real self.

Notes from the Verses[edit]

One of the four Mahāvākyas or ‘great sentences’, accepted by the Advaita Vedāntic tradition, viz., ayam ātmā brahma, occurs in the second verse. Proving the existence of the ātman as the pure conscious spirit, different from the body-mind complex, though existing in it or even identified with it and equating it with Brahman, the Absolute, the cause of and the spirit behind the universe is the main purpose of this Upaniṣad. The unique method used for this is the analysis of the three states of consciousness. There is a long expository treatise on this Upaniṣad called Kārikā or Māndukyakārikā by Gauḍapāda.[7] teacher’s teacher of Śaṅkara.</ref>He lived in A. D. 788- 820.</ref>


  1. Turīya means ‘the fourth’.
  2. Jāgrat means wakefulness.
  3. Svapna means dream.
  4. Suṣupti means deep-sleep.
  5. Ātman means Universal Self.
  6. Brahman is referred as Ātman here.
  7. He lived in 7th Century A. D.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

By Swami Harshananda

Maṅgala literally means ‘the auspicious’.

The planet mars, one of the nine mentioned in the works on astrology is also known as Maṅgala. Its other names are:

  1. Aṅgāraka
  2. Kuja
  3. Bhauma
  4. Āvaneya
  5. Lohitāñga
  6. Krurākṣa

It is supposed to rule over the color red and ruled over by God Kārttikeya or Subrahmaṅya and the element of fire. It is said to be a malefic planet but gives beneficial results in southern direction. Its nature is that of a kṣattriya. Its residence in the body is the marrow whereas outside, it lives in the fire-place. Actually, these details are useful in astrological predictions.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore