Teaching, a certain sage, Gaudapada by name, has written a poem. This poem is now translated, prefaced by the Mandukya Upanishad itself. Gaudapada. Gaudapada, grand Guru of Shankara, is the author of Mandukya Karika, a commentary on Mandukya Upanishad. It was written in 8th century, and is the earliest. : Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika eBook: Gaudapada, Charles Johnston: Kindle Store.

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The Muktikopanishad says that the Mandukya Upanishad alone is enough for salvation. May we hear through our ears what is auspicious; Ye, fit to be worshipped! May we see with our eyes what is auspicious; May we, endowed with body strong with limbs, offering praise, complete the full span of life bestowed upon us by the divine beings; May Indra, of enhanced fame, be auspicious unto us; May Pushan, who is all-knowing, be auspicious unto us; May Tarkshya, who is the destroyer of all evils, be auspicious unto us; May Brihaspati bestow upon us auspiciousness!

This Imperishable Word is the whole of this visible universe. Its explanation is as follows: All this, verily, is Reality [Brahman]. The Self is Reality. This Self has four quarters. The first quarter is vaisvanara.

Its field is the waking state. Its consciousness is outward-turned. It is seven-limbed and nineteen-mouthed.

It enjoys gross objects. The second quarter is taijasa. Its field is the dream state. Its consciousness is inward-turned. It enjoys subtle objects. The third quarter is prajna, where one asleep neither desires anything nor gaudapava any dream: In this field of dreamless sleep, one becomes undivided, an undifferentiated mass of consciousness, consisting of bliss and feeding on bliss.

His mouth is consciousness. This is the beginning and end of all beings. That is known as the Fourth quarter: This identical Atman, or Self, in the realm of sound is the syllable OM, the above described four maneukya of the Self being identical with the components of the syllable, and the components of the syllable being identical with the four quarters of the Self.

The components of the syllable are A, U, M. Vaisvanara, whose field is the waking state, is the gaudapzda sound, A, because this encompasses all, and because it is the first. He who knows thus, encompasses all desirable objects; he becomes the first. Taijasa, whose field is the dream state, is the second sound, U, because this is an excellence, and contains the qualities of the other two. He who knows thus, exalts he flow of knowledge and becomes equalised; in his family there will be born no one ignorant of Reality.

Prajna, whose field is deep sleep, is the third sound, M, because this is the measure, and that into which all enters. He who knows thus, measures all and becomes all. The Fourth is soundless: Thus, OM is the Self, verily. It was written in 8th century, and is the earliest available systematic treatise on Advaita.

Mandukya Upanishad,Gaudapada Karika

Gaudapada deals with perception, idealism, causality, Truth, and Reality. The Fourth state [Turiya] corresponds to silence as the other three correspond to OM. It is the substratum of the other three states and is referred to as absolute Emptiness. In the Fourth state of consciousness, the mind is not simply withdrawn from the objects, but becomes one with Reality [Brahman]. In both deep sleep and “Transcendental Awareness” there is no consciousness of objects but the objective consciousness is present in an unmanifested “seed” form in deep sleep, while it is transcended in Turiya.


Specifically, if one identifies the wordless state with Turiya and meditates, one realises the true Self and “there is no return to the sphere of empirical life”. I bow to that Reality who pervades the entire world by a diffusion of the rays of knowledge that pervade all things that mahdukya moving and unmoving, who after having enjoyed [in the waking state] all objects of enjoyment that are gross, and who again, after having drunk [in the dream state] all objects born of desire and illumined by the intellect, reposes while experiencing bliss Himself and making us all enjoy by His own illusory creation [maya], and who, through an attribution of maya, is the Fourth in number, and is Supreme, Immortal and Unborn.

May He, the Self of the universe, dwelling in the Fourth state, protect us, who, gaudaoada having enjoyed [in the waking state] the gross enjoyments resulting from virtue and vice, enjoys again [in the dream karioa the other subtle objects which are created by His own intelligence and illumined by His own light, and who, after having absorbed all of them gradually into Himself and having abandoned all distinctions, becomes devoid of attributes.

Visva having exterior consciousness mzndukya all-pervading, whereas taijasa has interior consciousness, and prajna, similarly is dense with consciousness. Thus, the One alone is regarded in three ways. Visva is seen in the right eye which is its seat of experience, whereas taijasa is inside the mind and prajna is in mandukay space inside the heart.

In these three ways he dwells in the body. Visva is ever the enjoyer of the gross, taijasa of the subtle, and, similarly, prajna of bliss.

Know therefore the enjoyment in three ways. The gross satisfies visva, the subtle satisfies taijasa and, similarly, gladness satisfies prajna.

Know therefore the satisfaction in three ways. He who knows these two, [viz. It is a settled fact that coming into being can be said only of positive entities that exist. Prana creates all; and the Supreme Self [Purusha] creates the conscious beings separately.

Those who think of creation hold it as the manifestation of God’s power; while others regard creation as the same as dream and illusion.

Creation is the mere will of the Lord, say those who thought out well the [process of] creation, but those who rely upon time hold that the birth karikaa beings is from time. Some others hold that creation is for the enjoyment of God, yet others gxudapada that it is for His sport. But it is the very nature of the resplendent Being, for what desire can He have whose desires are all fulfilled? Turiya, the Lord powerful to bring about the cessation of all sorrows, is imperishable, is regarded as the non-dual Lord of all entities, and is all-pervading.

Visva and taijasa are regarded as conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is conditioned by cause. But these two [viz. Prajna knows neither himself nor others, neither truth nor untruth. But that Turiya is ever the all seer. The non-cognition of duality is karoka to both prajna and Turiya. Prajna is possessed of sleep of the nature of cause, whereas that sleep does not exist in Turiya.


The first two [viz. The knowers of Reality do not see either sleep or dream in Turiya. Dream belongs to him who perceives wrongly and sleep to him who mandukyx not Reality. When the false notion of these two comes to an end, the state of Turiya is attained.

When the individual self [jiva], sleeping under the influence of the illusion [maya] that is beginningless, is awakened, then he realises Turiya that is Unborn, sleepless, dreamless gaudappada non-dual. If a mandumya world were to exist, it should, no doubt, cease to be. This duality is but an mandukyz in reality it is non-dual. The notion [such as the teacher, the taught and the scripture] will disappear, if mmandukya had imagined it.

This notion is for the purpose of instruction. When the Truth is realised, duality does not exist. When the identity of visva with the letter A is meant, [i.

Gaudapada’s Karika on the Mandukya Upanishad

In the event of taijasa being apprehended as identical with Gaudalada, [i. In the even of prajna being apprehended as identical with M, [ i. He who knows conclusively the common similarities in the three states, becomes worthy of worship and adoration by all beings, and is also a great sage. The letter A leads to visva and the letter U to taijasa. Again, the letter M leads to p rajna.

For the one who is kaarika from letters, there is no attainment.

OM should be mandukys, quarter by quarter. It is beyond doubt that the quarters of the Self are the letters of OM. Having known OM, quarter by quarter, one should not think of anything else.

GAUDAPADA | mandukya karika

For him who is ever fixed on OM, there is no fear anywhere. OM is without a cause, without interior and exterior, without effect, and is undecaying. OM is indeed the beginning, middle and end of everything. Having known OM thus, one attains immediately the identity with the Self. One should know OM to be the Lord dwelling in the hearts of all. Having known the all-pervasive OM, the intelligent one does not grieve. He by whom is known OM, which is without measure and possessed of infinite magnitude and which is auspicious, since all duality ceases in it, is a sage and none else.

The wise declare the unreality of all objects in a dream because they are located within [the body] and also because they are confined within a limited space. Since the period is short, one does not go to the place and see.

Also, every dreamer, when awakened, does not exist in that place of a dream. The non-existence of the chariot etc.

The knowers of Reality say that the unreality thus arrived at through reasoning is revealed [by the sruti] in the context of a dream.

There is the unreality of the objects even in the waking state. Just as they are unreal in a dream, so also are they unreal in the waking state. The objects [in a gaydapada differ owing to the location within the body owing to the spatial limitation.