On the Tradition

(With the Mandukya Upanishad in inserted in bold italics) 

[1] Om — this entire world is this syllable. To explain further: the past, present, and future — all that is simply Om. And whatever is beyond the three times is also simply Om.

[2] Truly, everything that is, is Brahman. Brahman is this Self.

Brahman is the Self consisting of four quarters.

[3] The first quarter of the Self is Vaishvanara. It is the one common to all. It is stationed in the waking state and perceives outwardly. It has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and enjoys the manifestly material.

[4] The second quarter is Taijasa, the brilliant one. It is stationed in dream sleep and perceives inwardly. It possesses seven limbs and nineteen mouths and enjoys subtle (i.e., invisible) things. [5] The third quarter is Prajna, the cognitive one. It is stationed in deep sleep, i.e., when a sleeping person has no desires and sees no dreams whatsoever. Prajna is one and thus is truly a single mass of cognition. It consists of bliss and enjoying bliss. It has consciousness as its mouth. [6] This is the lord of all, the knower of all, the inner controller, and the womb of all things. It is truly the beginning and end of all beings.

[1] The first quarter — Vaishvanara — is the all-pervading knower of the entire external world. The second quarter — Taijasa, the brilliant one — is the knower of the internal world (i.e., dreams). The third quarter — Prajna, the cognitive one — is a mass of cognition. But it is the one Self alone that is known in these three states. [2] The opening for knowing the external world is in the right eye (a symbol for all the sense-organs). For the internal world, it is the mind. For the mass of cognition, it is space within the heart. Thus, the one Self is threefold in the body.

[3] The knower of the external world always experiences visible objects; the knower of the internal world always experiences invisible objects; and the cognitive one always experiences bliss. Thus, know that experience is threefold. [4] Visible objects satisfy the knower of the external world; subtle objects satisfy the knower of the internal world; and bliss likewise satisfies the cognitive one. Thus, know that satisfaction is threefold.

[5] Thus, the objects of experience and the experiencer are in these three states. One who knows both as described is not contaminated by enjoying experiences.

Theories of Creation

[6] It is well-accepted (among the unenlightened) that all existing entities must have an origin. Life-breath manifests the objective universe, and the cosmic person creates separately the rays of consciousness (i.e., the individual phenomenal beings) in their manifold forms.

[7] Some who consider the idea of the “creation” of the universe think it is the expansion of the Self by its power. Others imagine creation as having the same form as a dream or a magical illusion. [8] Others have a firm conviction that the reality of the manifested objects is merely the desire of the Lord. Those who regard time as real declare time to the creator of all beings. [9] Some say creation is for the purpose of the Self’s enjoyment. Others say it is merely the Self’s play.

But creation must be from the very nature of the radiant Self — for what desire can there be for the one has accomplished everything?

[7] (The fourth quarter is Turiya.) People say that the fourth quarter neither perceives outwardly nor inwardly nor both. It is not a mass of cognition — it is neither cognitive nor noncognitive. It is unseen, not open to interaction, ungraspable, without a defining mark, inconceivable, indescribable, the cessation of material proliferation, tranquil, auspicious, and without a second (advaita). The essence of its certainty is the one Self. That is the Self. That is what is to be known.

[10] The fourth state of the Self brings about the cessation of all suffering. It is known as the changeless, all-pervading, nondual radiant Lord of all entities. [11] The first and second quarters are conditioned by cause and effect. The third quarter is conditioned by cause alone. But in the fourth quarter, neither cause nor effect is established.

[12] The third state (Prajna, the cognitive one) does not apprehend anything of the Self or non-self, of truth/reality or untruth/reality. But the fourth is eternally existent and sees all (and hence is omniscient). [13] Both the third and fourth quarters do not cognize any duality. But the cognitive one is associated with dreamless sleep which is a causal state (i.e., a seed for dreams). Such sleep does not exist in the fourth.

[14] The first and second quarters are associated with dreaming and dreamless sleep. The third is associated with dreamless sleep. Knowers of Brahman see neither sleep nor dreams in the fourth state. [15] Dreaming is a misapprehension of how Reality truly is, and sleep is a total nonapprehension of Reality as it truly is. When the errors in these two states disappear, one realizes the fourth state.

[16] The phenomenal individual is asleep due to the influence of the beginningless illusion of the manifest world (of Brahman’s projection). When it is awakens, it realizes (in the fourth state) the unborn, sleepless, and dreamless nonduality (that is the Self). [17] If the projected phenomenal world of multiplicity truly existed, it would no doubt cease to exist (as would any second reality upon awaking to the nondual Self). But this duality is only an illusion — from the point of view of reality, there is only nonduality. [18] If the imagined conceptions of a “teacher,” a “doctrine,” and “scripture” truly existed, then they too would disappear (upon awaking). These dualistic conceptions are only a way of speaking for the purpose of instruction. When Truth/Reality is realized, no duality is seen.

[8] Om (“aum”) is this very self, as shown by its phonemes, “a-um.” The constituent phonemes are the four quarters of the Self, and the four quarters are the constituents, “a,” “u,” “m,” (and the fourth that has no phoneme).

[9] The first phoneme “a” is Vaishvanara (the first quarter of the Self), stationed in the waking state. It is from “apti (‘obtaining’)” or “adimattva (‘being the first’).” One who knows thus indeed truly obtains all desires and becomes the first.

[10] The second phoneme “u” is Taijasa (the second quarter), stationed in dream sleep. It is from “utkarsha (‘exaltation’)” or “ubhayatva (‘in the middle’).” He who knows thus indeed exalts the continuity of knowledge and becomes the same. In the family of one who knows thus, no one not knowing Brahman is born.

[11] The third phoneme “m” is Prajna (the third quarter), stationed in deep sleep. It is from “miti (‘constructing’)” or “minati (‘destructing’).” He who knows thus constructs all that is in the world and becomes its destruction.

[19] When the identity of the first quarter (the all-pervading knower of the entire external world) with the letter “a” is described, the principal reason given is the common feature that both are the first. Another reason for the identify is that each is all-pervasive. [20] The clear reason for realizing that the identity of the second quarter (the knower of the internal world) and the letter “u” is the common feature that both are superior (to the first part). Another clear reason for their identity is that each is in the middle. [21] The clear reason for the identity of the third quarter (the cognitive one) with the letter “m” is the common feature that both are the measure (by which the other two parts are measured). Another clear reason for their identity is that everything becomes one in them.

[22] He who knows with certainty the common features of the three states (of the Self) is worthy of worship and adoration by all beings. He is a great sage. [23] (Meditation on) the sound “a” leads to the first quarter, on “u” to the second quarter, and on “m” to the third quarter. (But when attempting to meditate on) what is free of sound, there is no attainment (for there is no object to meditate upon).

[12] The fourth is without a phoneme. It is not open to interaction. It is the cessation of material proliferation. It is auspicious and without a second. Thus, Om truly is the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by himself.

[24] The syllable Om should be known quarter by quarter. There is no doubt that the quarters (of the Self) are the same as the sounds/letters of Om. Having grasped Om quarter by quarter, one should not reflect upon anything else whatsoever. [25] One should fix one’s mind on Om. Om is the free-from fear Brahman. He who is continually fixed on Om knows no fear anywhere. [26] Om indeed is the lower Brahman. It is also declared to be the higher Brahman. Om is without a cause and unique. There is nothing outside of it. It is unrelated to any effect. It is changeless.

[27] The syllable Om is indeed the beginning, the middle, and also the end of everything. Knowing Om in this way, one indeed immediately realizes (the nondual Self). [28] Know that Om is the Lord Ishvara, eternally present in the hearts of all. Having contemplated the all-pervading syllable Om, the wise do not grieve (but achieve bliss). [29] Om is both without measure and of infinite measures. It is auspicious and the cessation of duality. One who knows Om is a sage and no other.