Subāla Upanisad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Subāla Upaniṣad is a fairly long minor Upaniṣad, assigned to the Śukla Yajurveda. It has 16 khaṇḍas[1] the total number of mantras being 67. Almost the whole Upaniṣad is in prose. A brief summary of the Upaniṣad may now be attempted here:

Khanda 1[edit]

It consists of 6 mantras. It discusses about the topics like:

  • Nature of Brahman without attributes
  • Creation of the world

Khanda 2[edit]

It has 4 mantras. It talks about the following topics:

  • Puruṣa - the Supreme Person
  • Creation of scriptures
  • Various beings
  • Reverse process of dissolution

Khanda 3[edit]

It has 3 mantras. It describes about the attainment of the Atman by practising the six disciplines like:

  • Satya - truth
  • Dāna - charity
  • Tapas - austerity
  • Ahimsā - non-violence
  • Brahmacarya - celibacy
  • Nirvedana - detachment or renunciation

Khanda 4[edit]

It has 4 mantras. It talks about the subject like:

  • Daharākāśa - space in the region of the heart
  • Three states of consciousness

Khanda 5[edit]

It has 15 mantras. This section which is fairly long, describes the following:

  • how the various organs, their objects and their presiding deities are all connected by nāḍīs[2]
  • How the ātman activates them all
  • He[3] is the knower of all, the supreme ruler of all, fit to be worshiped by all and unaffected in any way.
  • He is indescribable

Khanda 6[edit]

It has 7 mantras. This section declares that:

  • The whole creation has proceeded out of Nārāyaṇa
  • Nārāyaṇa is everything

Khanda 7[edit]

It has 2 mantras implying that the Nārāyaṇa is the inner Self[4] of everything.

Khanda 8[edit]

It has 1 mantra which infers that the ātman lives in the impure body but is ever pure, shining and divine.

Khanda 9[edit]

It has 16 mantras. It delineates regarding the following:

  • Dissolution of the entire creation into Brahman during pralaya
  • Result of knowing that Brahman is becoming that Brahman
  • Means of attaining Brahman through Vedāntic disciplines like repeating the Vedas, self-control, renunciation and samādhi

Khanda 10[edit]

It has 2 mantras. It explains the following:

  • All the worlds have been established in Brahman.
  • One who knows it, becomes Brahman.

Khanda 11[edit]

It has 1 mantra. This section describes:

  • Four types of nādīs
  • Result of departure of the soul through these
  • Exit through the fourth nāḍī called apunarbhavā gives the soul liberation.

Khanda 12[edit]

It has 1 mantra. This short section deals with:

  • Purity of food
  • One should not consume food which is stale and gone bad
  • A sanyāsin can eat the food brought to him unasked by his devotees, but should not plan for it

Khanda 13[edit]

It has 2 mantras depicting the mode of sādhana of sanyāsins and the characteristics after attaining perfection.

Khanda 14[edit]

It has 1 mantra which uses the analogy of the food and the eater and concludes that the Brahman is called Paradeva and he is the substratum of all the ‘eaters’.

Khanda 15[edit]

It has 1 mantra which shows that How does one who is vijñānaghana[5] burn or destroy the seed of rebirth. As he rises above the body at the time of death, he burns everything from prāṇa right up to mṛtyu,[6] because of the very realization.

Khanda 16[edit]

It has 1 mantra which gives the tradition of transmitting Brahmavidyā whom to give and whom not to give and the importance of devotion to the guru.


  1. Khaṇḍas means sections.
  2. Nāḍīs means tubular structures similar to nerves.
  3. Here He is referred to as the ātman.
  4. Inner self means antaryāmin.
  5. Vijñānaghana is a realized soul.
  6. Mṛtyu means death.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore