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2015-09-21 01:51:11 UTC
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The Mandukya Upanishad is the keystone in the arch of Shankara's Adwaita Vedanta. The scripture was made famous by Gaudapadacharya, the teacher of the teacher of Shankara. Gaudapada composed a famous Karika or commentary on Mundakya, and Shankara composed a commentary on both, for our understanding.

This famous Upanishad is traditionally assigned to the Atharva Veda, which in turn is traditionally in the keeping of the Jyotirmath, one of the four mathas established by the Adi Shankara in 812 A.D. Since the time of the first Shankaracahraya, Trotaka Saraswati, this scripture has been recited on a daily basis at the Badrika Ashram, Himalayas.

This scripture deals with the sacred syllable, the Pranava, mentioned in Yoga Sutra. It describes the three constituent phonemes which are identified with the three states of consciousness, deep sleep state, dream state, and the waking state. The Upanishad proposes a fourth state of consciousness which is termed Turiya, the Fourth, that is, the transcendental state.

Dr. Patrick Olivelle, the translator, is the Chair, Department of Asian Studies, and Director, Center for Asian Studies, at the University of Texas at Austin.


"Anyone who knows this is sure to construct this whole world and to become also its destruction."

Here is a further explanation of it.

12 The fourth, on the other hand, is without constituent phonemes; beyond the reach of ordinary transaction; the cessation of the visible world; auspicious; and unique.

Accordingly, the very self (atman) is Om. Anyone who knows this enters the self (atman) by himself (atman)" (288-289).

Work Cited:

by Patrick Olivelle (Translator)
Oxford: The U. Press, 1996
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"The clear introduction gives a comprehensive background of the Vedas. The history of Indian social structure when the Upanisads were written, their authorship, chronology, geography, etc. give the reader a comfortable feel as they go forth with their reading. The reader is also provided with a table dividing the Upanisads into the four Vedas." - Jasleen Matharu

Other titles of interest:

"Pancatantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom"
by Patrick Olivelle (Translator)
Oxford: The U. Press 1996
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