Meditation on Om and Mandukya Upanishad


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This book covers all-important items that are useful for all Sadhakas. The book is divided into seven chapters dealing with Philosophy of Om, Meditation on Om, Prayers, songs and Kirtan on Om. Detailed lessons given in this book on Japa, meditation of Om will be of great help to all aspirants in their daily Sadhana. At the end you will find the exhaustive notes and commentary on Mandukya Upanishad, the most important of all major or classical Upanishads.


About The Author

Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of sage Appayya Dikshitar and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.

His passion for service drew him to the medical career, and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a health journal and wrote extensively on heath problem. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.

It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to life of renunciation to qualify for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.

In 1932 Swami Sivananda started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of Spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 Swamiji undertook a lightning tour on India and Ceylon. In 1953 Swamiji convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. Swamiji is the author of cover 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religious and creeds. To read Swamiji's works is no drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July 1953 Swamiji entered Mahasamadhi.



The Infinite is Bliss. The infinite only is Bliss. The infinite is Brahman, the Atman and the Superman Self. The infinite is the Absolute. The Infinite is Bhuma, the unconditioned, that is beyond time, space and causation. The Infinite is Immortality. Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else there is infinity. The Infinite abides in its own greatness. The Infinite is Supreme Peace. The Infinite is Fearlessness. The Infinite is Existence Absolute, knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute. The Infinite is All-full and indivisible. The Infinite is Self-existent, self-contained and Self-luminous. The Infinite alone is real. The Infinite alone exists in the three periods of time. You must search, understand and realise the infinite.

Brahman is infinite. Brahman is the only reality. Brahman is independent and self-existent. The finite cannot be self-consistent real and self-dependent. The finite depends for its existence upon something else, namely Brahman, the Absolute. People generally raise the question why and how if the Brahman is the only Reality, the finite appears at all? You cannot understand how the appearances come out of Brahman and are absorbed into it. You can understand this only when you get knowledge of the Self. This is a transcendental time space and causation cannot find out a solution for a thing which is beyond time, space and causation. Do not rack your brain any more on this point.

Brahman or the Absolute is eternally perfect and good. The evil is due to illusion that makes you see evil Get Knowledge of Brahman, the self. The illusion and evil will vanish and you will behold the Self only everywhere.

There is no bliss in anything finite. Where one sees or hears or understands something else, that is finite. The finite is perishable. The finite is conditioned in time, space and causation. The finite is mortality. The finite is creation of Maya. The finite is unreal. The finite is mere appearance. The finite has no independent existence. The finite depends upon the infinite for its own relative existence. The finite can never be apart from the infinite.

Some ignorant people only say that Vedanta preaches immorality, hatred and pessimism. This is a very sad mistake. Vedanta does not preach either immorality or even indifference to morality. The realisation of Brahman is not possible for the immoral. An aspirant who has ethical perfection and who is endowed with the four means, can become student of Vedanta. How can you expect an aspirant who possesses discrimination, dispassion, serenity, self-restraint, forbearance, endurance, faith, one-pointed mind and a burning desire for liberation to lead an immoral life? It is quite absurd. Vedanta wants you to destroy selfish love and passion for the body and to develop pure, disinterested, comic love the magnanimous divine Prem. It never preaches pessimism but it preaches the pinnacle of optimism. It preaches, "give up this little illusory pleasure and you will get eternal and infinite bliss. Kill this little 'I' and you will get eternal and infinite, you will become immortal. Give up this illusory world and you will get the vast domain of supreme peace, the Kingdom of God ." is the pessimism? Certainly not it is wonderful optimism

Vedanta wants you to give up Moha for body, wife, children and property. Vedanta wants you to abandon all worldly desires, cravings and longings for worldly objects. Vedanta wants you to eradicate the desire for power, name and fame. Vedanta wants you to break all ties and connections with the world. Vedanta wants you to cut off ruthlessly all worldly attachments by the sword of discrimination.

Rise above desires. Abandon your beggarly attitude of mind. Feel the majesty of your self. There is neither desire nor Vasanas in the self. It is ever pure. It is all -full and self-contained. Identify yourself with the glorious self. Then all desires will die. Then all desires will be fulfilled. This is the secret of the fulfilment of desires. Then Nature will obey you. You cam command the element. All the right Siddhis and the nine Riddhis will roll under your feet. They will stand with folded hands to carry out behests. This is the sublime teacher of Vedanta.

Lord Jesus commanded the waves to subside. They obeyed immediately. Shams Tabriez commanded the sun to come down a bit. The sun obeyed. Nimbarka commanded the sun not to move beyond the line of the Neem tree that was in front of his house. The sun carried out his behest immediately. Jnana Dev commanded the wall and the Masjid to move. They obeyed at once. Visvamitra said: "let there be a third world for Trisanku, " Then and there a world was created. Akalkot Swamiji commanded: Let this dead man come back to life," at once the sages were absolutely free from the ground with sires. They simply willed at times to do good to the humanity. Everything came to pass instantaneously.

Vedanta the knowledge of the self is not the sole property of Sannyasins or recluses who live in forests of caves of the Himalayas. Study the Upanishads and you will find that many Kshatriya kings, who were very busy in their daily affairs of life, were in possession of Braham-Jnana. They gave instructions to Brahmin priests even. Pravahana Jaivali the king of Panchala taught the Panchagni-Vidya, the knowledge of five fires to Gautama and his son, Svetaketu. Sukadev had to go to king Janaka to have confirmation of his knowledge and Realisation. He was tested by Janaka in his Durbar.

You mast be practical Vedantin. Mere theorizing and lecturing is only intellectual gymnastics and lingual warfare.

This will not suffice. If Vedanta is not practicable, no theory is of any value. You must put Vedanta in daily practice in every action. Vedanta teachers oneness or unity of Self. You must radiate love to one and all. The spirit of Vedanta must be ingrained in your cell and tissues, nerves and bones. It must become part and parcel of your nature. You must think of unity, speak of unity. If you deliver a thrilling lecture on the platform on Vedanta and say, "I am the all, I am the one self in all, there is nothing but myself," and show in action the next moment a different attitude of selfishness and separateness, you will not produce any impression on the public. You will be called a dry Vedantin only. Nobody will care for you.

See how king Janaka lived. He lived the life of a practical Vedantin while ruling his kingdom. you cannot conceive any man busier than king Janaka. He was ruling over millions of people and yet he was a sage, deep thinker, profound philosopher and a practical Vedantin. He had no attachment to his property or body or his family people. He shared what he had with others. He moved with all. He had equal vision and a balanced mind. He led a very busy life amidst luxuries. He was not a bit affected by external influences. He always kept up a serene mind. He held discussions with various sages, on transcendental matters. That is the reason why he still lives in our hearts.

See how king Janaka lived. He lived the life of a practical Vedantin while ruling his kingdom. You cannot conceive any man busier then king Janaka. He was ruling over millions of people and yet he was a sage, deep thinker, profound philosopher and a practical Vedantin. He had no attachment to his property or body or his family people. He shared what he had with others. He moved with all. He had equal vision and a balanced mind. He led a very busy life amidst luxuries. He was not a bit affected by external influences. He always kept up a serene mind. He held discussions with various sages, on transcendental matters. That is the reason why he still lives in our hearts.

If a Yogi or a Sannyasin, who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya. A real Yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind performing intense activity amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita. Lord Krishna says, 'Remember me at all time and fight.' lord Krishna imparted this instruction to Arjuna in the Battlefield.

Though Arjuna was despondent in the beginning, he gained spiritual and fought in the battlefield with prefect tranquility of mind. He become a practical Vedantin eventually.

If you can maintain, when you are performing intense activity, serenity of mind which cannot be ruffled, balance of mind which can never be disturbed, whatever happens, you have made considerable progress in the spiritual path. This indicates that you possess immense inner spiritual strength.

A collector of a district saw a sick patient on the roadside in a dying condition. He was a very sympathetic man. He carried the patient to the neighboring hospital on his own shoulders. Look at his felling of oneness, he is practical Vedantin whether he knows Upanishad or not. Many people and even many Sannyasins say, "Mahatma Gandhiji is a simple Karma Yogi only. He is not a Vedantin. "There is no practical Vedantin greater than Gandhiji. He lives in every moment of his life, the life of a practical Vedantin, he lives for the well-sacrifice, service, non-violence, truthfulness, purity, unity are his creed. But he never puts on a label of a Vedantin. He never advertises, "I am Brahman -Aham Brahmasmi.

The sun, the flowers, the Ganga, the sandal tree, the fruit-bearing tress, the cows-all teach practical Vedanta to the world. They live for serving the humanity in a disinterested spirit. The Sun radiates its light alike over a cottage of a peasant and a palace of a king. The flowers waft their fragrance to all without expecting anything. The cool, refreshing waters of the Ganga are drunk by all. The sandal tree wafts its aroma even to the man who cuts it with an axe. The fruit-bearing tress behave in the some manner. They please the gardener who nourished them as well as the man who cuts them. The cows live to nourish babies, the Children, the invalids and the convalescents. Image for a moment that the world is devoid of cows for six months or the race of cows has become extinct. How miserable and weak you will become! The rate of mortality will increase considerably. The world will abound with anaemic patients. O selfish ignorant man, learn lessons from these practical Vedantins and become wise

Vedanta is very practical. It does not preach an impossible ideal. Vamadev, Jadabharata, Sankara and many others have realised the truth of Vedanta. You can also realise it if you will. What is wanted is regular and constant practice. You must perfect faith in the Srutis and in the words of your Guru. You must have perfect faith in your self first.

There is neither birth nor death for you. Thos art the immortal undecaying self. Maya deludes you hand you identify yourself with the perishable body. You foolishly imagine that you are subject to birth and death. Free yourself from the clutches of maya. Soar high in the realms of Supreme peace and reach the abode of Immortality through purification and meditation.

Sri Sankara, the great propounder of Advaita philosophy has said that the world is an illusion and the goal of man is to find the Reality Behind the phenomenon, Plato also denied that the world was a reality. Even in the West many philosophers have said that the world is mere appearance and the noumenon only is the solid Reality.

The over soul of the Western philosophers is the Brahman of the Upanishads the Atman of the Vedantins. The Supreme Soul the Paramatman which is the support for the individual soul is the 'over soul.' The 'Over Soul' is the 'substance' of Spinoza or the 'Things in itself' of Kant. The essence of Vedanta has slowly been infiltrated into the minds of Western philosophers and they have accepted now the existence of one eternal principle of self which is distinct from body and mind.

To look for the God without abandoning the God within is like going in quest if conch-shells after giving up the precious diamond on the hand. If you cannot find him in your heart you will not find Him anywhere else. Search him within in the innermost recesses of the heart. He is subtler than the sublets. Make the lotus of your heart as pure as possible. Withdraw the fuel if desires and extinguish the fire of Sankalpas. Realise the truth now through your higher mind. Enjoy the perennial joy of divine Bliss.

A rich man keeps his valuable jewels in an iron safe that is kept in the innermost chamber of his bungalow. One has to pass the through five compartments before he reaches the compartment in which the iron safe is placed. Five walls screen the iron safe. Even so this most valuable jewel of the Atman is placed in the Atman. The five veils are the Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya Kosas. You must tear these five veils if you want to approach the Atman. In other words, you will have to pass through the five compartment formed by the Kosas if you want to get at the jewel of the Atman.

You cannot separate the particles of sugar that are mixed with sand or dust; but an ant can separate them very easily. So also if you want to taste the nectar of immortality or enjoy the Atmic Bliss, if you want to separate the Atman from the five sheaths, you must become an ant, i.e., you must kill your egoism, pride and vanity and develop humility.

Mind, body, Prana and senses are parts of the phenomenal world. There are two aspects of the Truth, viz., static and dynamic. The static aspect is the Trigunatita Ananta Brahman the impersonal God. The Dynamic aspect is the personal God, Isvara. World is God in motion. It is the dynamic aspect power and spirit are one. Existence is unmanifested Brahman. Expression or motion or manifestation is Saguna Brahman. Brahman seen through the veil of Maya is Isvara, personal God. This phenomenal appearance is an illusion. You cannot dismiss the phenomenal world as merely imaginary and yet cannot treat it as real. Maya is neither sat(real) nor Asat(unreal) nor Sat-asat. It is an indescribable illusory power of God.

Believe in the glory of your own Self. "Thou Art That" Search hears and understands, reflect, meditate and realise this immortal Atman. This Atman was never born and will never die. Abandon all superstitions and doubts. Scorch out all wrong Samskaras and wrong suggestions. Man or women can realise the goal of Vedanta. Burn all false differences. There is no low, no high, no great, no small, no superior, no inferior, no animate, no inanimate. Behold your own self everywhere. There is nothing but the Self.

Your individual will will become one with the cosmic will. You will have experience of comic consciousness. You will feel that all ears, all eyes your eyes, all mounts your mouths, all tongues your tongues, all hands your hands, all legs your legs and all minds your minds. This will be a magnanimous experience indeed. Words will fail to describe adequately the grandeur of this experience.

You cannot die, because you were never born. You are the immortal Atman. Birth and death are two false scenes in the unreal drama of Maya. They concern the physical sheath only, a false product formed by the combination of five elements. The ideas or birth and death are a mere superstition.

O ye of little faith, wake up from your long sleep of ignorance. Get the knowledge of the Self. O wanderer in this quagmire of Samsara, go back to your original abode of eternal peace, the fountain of infinite joy and power, the spring of boundless ecstasy the source of life, the origin of light and love, the immortal blissful Brahmic seat of illimitable splendour and pristine glory. Fill the mind with thoughts of the Self. Saturate your feelings with purity and divinity. Let the light of lights shine in every hair on your body. Let the infinite Godhead vibrate in every cell of your body. Let every breath sing the strong of infinity and eternity with Soham.

Vedanta is that sublime philosophy which teachers that the individual soul is identical with the Supreme Soul and removes the illusion of the Jiva. Vedanta is the science of the Atman that helps the aspirants to eradicate to eradicate fear, sorrow grief, delusion and to realise the self. Vedanta is that magnanimous philosophy which raises the ignorant Jiva to the sublime heights of Brahmanhood. Vedanta is panacea for all human aliments. Vedanta is the sovereign specific for the disease of birth and death. Mere theorizing of Vedantic principle will not do. You should become a practical Vedantin. You should do Sadhana in the prescribed lines. The Japa, chanting and mediation on Om are the most Important portions of the Vedantic Sadhana.

The state of Turiya, Brahman, the Atman and Om are one. Om is an embodiment of the essence of the whole of the Vedas. The Brahmins used the sacred monosyilable as the first and the last word of every religious ceremony. The whole essence of the Vedas is compressed in the symbol of Om. This symbol is endowed with occult powers of the highest character. Aspirants who read the path of Vedanta repeat always mentally Om with Bhava and feeling and enjoy supreme Bliss form this mystic practice.

Again and again, sing the glory of Om. Apply your heart, mind and soul to the music of Om. Perform all action as an adoration of the sacred Pranava. Live and move in Om. Make Om the centre of your dwelling place. Utter Om in each and every breath of the nose. Be ever wakeful in the bliss of Om. Melt the dream of this illusive world in the wakefulness of Om. Sink the pains and miseries of Samsara in the Bliss of Om, the bliss of the Eternal, the Abode of peace, Bliss and joy.

Be a spiritual hero in the Adhyatmic battlefield. Become a brave, undaunting, spiritual soldier. The inner war with the mind the senses, Vasanas and Samskaras is more terrible then the external war. Fight against the mind, the senses, the evil Vasanas, Trishnas, Vrittis and Samskaras boldly. Use the machine-gun of Brahma-Vichara to explode the mind efficiently. Dive deep and destroy the under-currents of passion, greed, hatred, pride and jealously through the submarine or torpedo of the Japa of Om. Soar high in the higher regions of bliss of the self with the help of aeroplane of Brahmakara-Vritti. Use the 'mines' of chanting if Om to explode the Vasanas that are hidden in the sea of the subconscious mind. Sometimes move the tanks of discrimination to crush your ten enemies, the ten turbulent senses. Start the 'Divine League' and make friendship with your powerful allies, viz., dispassion, fortitude, endurance, serenity, self-restraint, to attack your enemy-mind. Threw the bomb of Sivoham Bhavana to destroy the big mansion of body and the ideas 'I am the body', 'I am the doer', 'I am the enjoyer', Spread profusely the gas if Sattva to destroy your internal enemies, viz., Rajas and Tamas quickly. 'Black out' the mind by destroying the Vrittis or Sankalpas by butting out all the lights or bulbs of sensual object so that the enemy-mind may not attack you. Fight closely against your enemy-mind with the bayonet of one-pointedness (Samadhana) to get hold of the priceless treasure of the Atmic pearl. The joy of Samadhi, the Bliss of Moksha, the peace of Nirvana are now yours, whoever you may be, in whatever clime you are born. Whatever might he your past life and history, work out your salvation. O Beloved Ram, with the help of the above means (Sadhana) come out victorious right now in this very second. Meditation on Om with Bhava and meaning leads to realisation of Brahma-Jnana. This is the Vedantic Sadhana.

Think of nothing other than Om. Dedicate all your actions and movement for the sake of the Eternal. May Om be the solace of your life. May Om be the solace of your past, present and future. May you ever live drowned in the ecstasy of Pranava.

Sri Appayya Dikshit-Acharya has expounded the oldest Vedanta on modern lines. It is called Sankhya Yoga or Anubhavadvaita of Experiential Monism. He has written a number of works, but his Pranava Rahasya is important this view point. It is in manuscript from. Much information on this mystic Pranava can be gathered from Sri Rama Gita (which forms a part of Tattvasarayana translated into English commentary by Appayya Dikshit), Anubhuti Mimamsa Bhashya Muktiratna and Jivachintamani.

In this book, I have given all important items that are useful for all Sadhakas. The book is divided into 7 Chapters dealing with philosophy of Om, Meditation on Om, prayers, Songs and Kirtan on Om, Detailed lessons given in this book on Japa, Meditation of Om will be of great help to all aspirants in their daily Sadhana. At the end I have added the exhaustive notes and commentary on Mandukya Upanishad, the most important of all the major or classical Upanishads.

Mandukya Upanishad is an Upanishad of the Atharva Veda. It is one of the classical Upanishads. There are 12 Mantras in the Upanishads. Sri Gaudapadacharya, the Parama Guru the grand-preceptor of Sri Sankara has written a Karika on the Upanishads which is very illuminating and sublime.

The Upanishad takes its name after the seer of the Upanishad, Manduka. It is the shortest of the ten classical Upanishads. Among the Upanishads it is the most difficult. Sri Gaudapada has written 251verses as the Karika to explain this most important Upanisads. Sri Sankara has written a commentary on both the Upanishads and Karika. Ananda Giri has written a Tika on the Upanisads, which gives a very good explanation of Sri Sankara's commentary.

The Upanishad is very terse. Without the help of this Karika you cannot have a comprehensive understanding of this mantras; you cannot get a clear insight into the system of though of Philosophy that is propounded in this unique Upanishad.

The Upanishad does not deal with rituals and Upasana. It does not contain any story or parable or dialogue. It deals with pure philosophy alone, with the metaphysical discussion of the Ultimate Reality, Brahman and the method of approach to the truth. It is said in the Muktikopanishad: "the only means by which the final emancipation is attained is through Mandukya Upanishad alone which is enough for the salvation of all aspirants."

This short Upanishad gives the secret meaning of Om which is the name of Brahman. It gives an analysis of the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep. Through a study and clear grasp of these states, through proper understanding of Om and its right significance you can find out the way to approach and realise Brahman.

Study Mandukya Upanisads. You will know all about Om and the four states, viz, waking state, dream state deep sleep state and Turiya (the fourth), Brahman.

May you all rest in the non-dual Brahman and taste the nectar of immortality! May you all reach the forth state of Bliss, Turiya by analyzing the experiences of the waking, dream and deep sleep states! May you all have a comprehensive understanding of Omkara or Pranava, and the Amatra. May you all enter the soundless Om by transcending the sounds, "A", "U" and "M". May you all meditate on Om and attain the goal of life, the Ultimate Reality, Sat-chit-ananda Para Brahman. May the Om guide you. May this Om be your centre, ideal and goal. May the secrets and truths of this Mandukya Upanishad be revealed unto you. May the blessings of Sri Gaudapada, Sri Sankara and the seer of this Upanishad be upon you all!




  Prayer to Om 7
  Guru Vandana 8
  Omkara Smarana Stotra 10
  Nirguna Song 12
  Introduction 17
Chapter I: Philosophy Of OM
1 Symbol of Brahman 33
2 Importance of Om 37
3 Benefits of Om 39
4 What is Om 42
5 Composition of Om 45
6 Sixteen States of Consciousness 50
Chapter II: Meditation On Om
1 Sadhana 52
2 Japa of Om 53
3 Chanting of Om 53
4 Om With Pranayama 55
5 Yukti 55
6 Trataka on Om 56
7 Meditation on Om 57
8 Saguna and Niguna Meditation 59
9 Laya Chintana of Om 61
Chapter III
  Formulae for Meditation 63
Chapter IV
  Brahmakara Vritti 66
Chapter V: Songs and Kirtans On OM
1 What is Om 73
2 Sacred Om 73
3 Nirguna Song 75
4 Song of Virat 76
5 Song of Bliss 77
6 Song of Chidanand 77
7 Sweet Om 78
8 Vedantic Song 79
9 Song of Brahmanayam 80
10 Kirtan on Om 80
Chapter VI: Garland OF Om
  Chhandogya Upanishad 82
  Kathopanishad 84
  Prasnopanishad 85
  Brihadaranyakopanishad 86
  Mundaka Upanishad 86
  Taittiriya Upanishad 86
  Svetasvatara Upanishad 86
  Sandilya Upanishad 87
  Dhyanabindhu Upanishad 87
  Naradaprivrajaka Upanishad 87
  Manu Smriti 90
  Patanjali Yoga Sutras 91
  Srimad Bhagavadgita 91
Chapter VII
  Mandukyopanishad 92