Wednesday 12 June 2024

Yogopanishads – Mahavakyopanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

Mahavakya Upanishad - basically, the Upanishad name comes from the Mahavakyas of the Sanatana Dharma Vedanta literature, the Arsha Vamayam. The Vedas, the Upanishads, and the entire Indian philosophy have been put into four great sentences, Mahavakyas:
Ahaṁ Brahmāsmi, Prajñānaṁ Brahma, Tat Tvam Asi, and Ayam Ātmā Brahma each one taken from one particular Vedic literature. So, Mahavakya Upanishad is the essence of all these Mahavakyas, attainment, establishment, and experience of the teachings of the four Mahavakyas. The Upanishad forms part of the Atharva Veda and has twelve mantras.

The Mahavakya Upanishad opens with who is eligible, who is fit for the practice or for the effective practice to gain the required result. What are the needed qualities? The eligibility has two dimensions. One is an eligibility criterion, which means one has to attain those qualities, or what are the requirements for the highest, subtle, deep, and important practices. So Mahavakya Upanishad presents it:

guhyādguhyatara meṣā na prākṛtāyopadeṣṭavyā sāttvikāyāntarmukhāya pariśuśrūṣave

It means the Upanishad mentions that the requirement is a person has to be having a sattvic nature. The practitioner should be an antarmukhi and gain the instruction from a Guru. A Guru-sishya parampara, a guidance is needed, and then antarmukhi, a natural liking to be a positive introvert. Then all the activities and the mental makeup has to be in a sattvic nature. That's how the Upanishad lays down the requirement. "sāttvikāyāntarmukhāya pariśuśrūṣave॥" So with these qualities the practice of Mahavakya Upanishad teaching becomes very easier.

And the next few mantras talk about the vidya and avidya svarupam. What is avidya and what is vidya? The Upanishad explains beautifully:

tamo hi śārīraprapañcamābrahmasthāvarāntamanantākhilājāṇḍabhūtam

"śārīraprapañcam" - All our attachments, all our desires, all our wants and needs, all what we see in this prapancha, all the requirements of the body, all the needs and wants of the body, the entire relationships and communications and transactions in this 'pra-pancha' made of the five, and this is all connected to the world. And the cause for this, 'why it is?', is called tamohi, tamas. Tamas is the cause, tamoguna is the cause for avidya, for ignorance.

Why we are not able to understand the truth, the real nature of the things? Why? For that question the Upanishad answers it, that tamoguna is responsible for it. And all the shades and expressions, manifestations of the tamoguna are the responsible for the entire worldly nature and the worldly transactions. Predominantly becoming sattvic, sattvaguna, makes us to be free from all these prapanchah; makes us free from all the entire worldly affairs. Videhamuktihi - and that Videhamuktihi possible by the vidya, the real knowledge, which is sattva predominant. Tamo predominant is the avidya, adharmaha. And sattva predominant is the vidya, and the dharma. How beautifully the Mahavakya Upanishad is giving practical suggestions. A person has to be a dharmic and a sattvic person to overcome entire worldly engagements. To overcome the entire worldly attachments. Whatever meaning we give to the word, that stands as it is. But the freedom is possible only with dharmic and sattvic life.

"Vidya avidyayah svarupam karyachah."

That is how the Upanishad explicitly presents it. Then to raise from this adharmic and the tamoguna to the dharmic and sattvaguna. 

What is the practice suggested? The practice suggested is The Mahavakya Upanishad again repeats this beautiful technique called practicing the Hamsavidya. Always remember, whenever it is said Hamsavidya in the yoga, it is concerned with the pranayama. Ham is inhalation, Saha is exhalation. Ham is the puraka, Saha is the rechaka. Ham is pranaha, Saha is apanaha. So practicing of inhalation and exhalation. And Hamsavidya, that knowledge, the technique that Mahavakya Upanishad puts is Hamsa Gayatri, the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra:

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat saviturvareṇyaṃ

bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt


The 24 matras, the 24 aksharas of the Gayatri Mantra. And each akshara is a Viya Mantra. A lot is spoken about the Gayatri Mantra. But Chanting the Gayatri Mantra, while inhalation and exhalation, and aligning the chanting with the inhalation and exhalation, and aligning the inhalation and exhalation with the chanting i.e. the chanting and inhalation and exhalation are parallel together, combined as a single unit, where the speed, the time, the length are equated as a single unit. And Hamsa Gayatri is this particular practice: the length of the Gayatri Mantra, the speed of chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, and aligning it with the inhalation and exhalation process, and slowly.

The Mahavakya Upanishad presents and prescribes a deeper practice of Hamsa Gayatri as Ajapa Gayatri. Ajapa Gayatri means not only just practicing Hamsa Gayatri silently, but also feeling an experience, Anubhava. No chanting at the Vaikari level, no chanting even at the Upamshu level, not even chanting at the Pashyanti level, just an experience and a feeling at the Para level of the Gayatri. And that Para level of the Gayatri is also felt with the Para level of the inhalations and exhalations. Hamsa: it is. And that is the Ajapa Gayatri practice, a beautiful technique wonderfully presented by the Mahavakya Upanishad.

And Mahavakya Upanishad uses a wonderful imagery: that Tamas, the Andhakaraha, is not just darkness. Darkness is not Andhakaraha. In Andhakaraha, in darkness, what activities do we prefer to do? They are all Tamasic in nature. Those activities and thoughts which we prefer to do in darkness, those activities and thoughts which we ponder over in darkness, means which cannot be expressed outside. All such things are Tamasic in nature. That is why generally Tamas is equated with the Andhakaraha. It is not Andhakaraha is Tamas or Tamas is Andhakaraha.

When it comes back into the actual practice and behavior and activities, what activities do we prefer, like to do, and we are habituated to do in the Andhakaraha, in the darkness? All those activities are out of the nature of Tamas, Tamasic in nature. If Tamas is predominant in one's qualities, Tamoguna is predominant in a person, he or she will be preferring those activities which are done in dark, in dark to others, which are not known to others. This suffices the explanation for the relationship between darkness and Tamas. But once Hamsa Gayatri is done, Ajapa Gayatri is done, when this avidya is gone, vidya radiates.

That is where the Mahavakya Upanishad gives another imagery. It is called as the Chidaditya, Chidarka, Chid-arka, Chidaditya. It is like a blazing sun. What is that? The blazing sun dispels darkness. The Vidya dispels darkness. The activities and the behavior and the thoughts and the ideas we ponder over and chat in darkness. If we analyze what is the purpose, why do we do that? What is the necessity of it? Why do we enjoy that? Why do we keep on pondering those things? If these thoughts will come, then the real realization comes. This is the reason. When that reason is identified, the real Vidya, the real knowledge, comes to us. The cause for that. And by knowing the cause, the darkness is dispelled, Tamas is dispelled, and the radiance comes. That is the Chidarka, Chidakashaha, and Chidadityaha. Chidadityaha, Chidarkaha, in Chidakashaha it is. That is how the Mahavakya Upanishad puts it. Pranava Hamsa Jyotir Dhyanam it is called, that Hamsa Gayatri, Hamsa Jyotihi, and Ajapa Gayatri. And coming back into the beautiful dimension into it. That is where the Upanishad enters into higher dimensions. If it is not dark, what is that state of the brightened radiance?

ādityavarṇaṃ tamasastu pāre sarvāṇi rūpāṇi vicitya dhīraḥ nāmāni kṛtvā'bhivadanyadāste

dhātā purastādyamudājahāra śakraḥ pravidvānpradiśaścatastraḥ tamevaṃ vidvānamṛta iha bhavati nānyaḥ panthā ayanāya vidyate

yajñena yajñamayajanta devāḥ tāni dharmāṇi prathamānyāsan te ha nākaṃ mahimānaḥ sacante yatra pūrve sādhyāḥ santi devāḥ

A very popularly well-known Vedic lines, Vedic chanting has been presented and then the Upanishad goes still Further into the dimension of the Pranava Hamsa Jyotir Dhyanam that "Tatwagyaana vritti svaroopam" which has been that radiance and the brightness is expressed in the 'ādityavarṇaṃ tamasastu pāre', from that bright, brilliance level, the Hamsa Vidyaabhyasena, paramātmā-virbha:, from that Paramatma, that brilliancy, quietness, balance state that is expressed. And for that, the Upanishad suggested,

prāṇāpānābhyāṃ pratilomānulomābhyāṃ samupalabhyaivaṃ sā ciraṃ labdhvā

So for dispelling the darkness and the tamasic nature of our Self, the practice of the Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, Hamsa Gayatri, Hamsa Pranavaha is the technique suggested in the Mahavakya Upanishad. And finally, the Upanishad concludes beautifully by the final Hamsa Jyotir Vidya Phalam: what is the result out of it, what will be the outcome out of it, what will be the effect on us. 'ya etadatharvaśiro'dhīte ।' that is the conclusion. The conclusion and the result is the, Atharva Shiraha Adhithihi, it calls it,

prātaradhīyāno rātrikṛtaṃ pāpaṃ nāśayati sāyamadhīyāno divasakṛtaṃ pāpaṃ nāśayati tatsāyaṃ prātaḥ prayuñjānaḥ pāpo'pāpo bhavati 

This practice, if it is done in the evening, removes all the papas done in the daytime. What does it mean? All the tamasic activities, tamasic samskaras, tamasic imprints, and tamasic behaviors which were done throughout the day are set at rest, in modern language, or deleted by the practice of Hamsa Gayatri, Ajapa Gayatri. If the practice is done in the morning, all the things which happened in the night will be removed, deleted. And if it is done in both the morning and the evening, whatever tamasic activities, tamasic nature were done and happened throughout the cycle of the day are purified. In one sense, the regular practice of the Mahavakya Upanishad teachings establishes us, puts us, and exposes us to a state of the result of the Mahavakyas. And that is an important teaching of the Mahavakya Upanishad, containing ten mantras belonging to the Atharva Veda. Let us see further other Upanishadic meanings. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti:

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Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra :
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Monday 10 June 2024

Yogopanishads – Hamsopanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

Hamsopanishad (
haṃsopaniṣad), this Upanishad is from the Shukla Yajurveda. It belongs to the Shukla Yajurveda and a very profound Upanishad giving Hamsa Vidya which leads into the Brahma Vidya. Hamsa Vidya leading into the Brahma Vidya. That is the profundity of this wonderful Upanishad. Very subtly, very easily and very wonderfully presents within the 21 mantras from the Shukla Yajurveda.

The Upanishad opens with a discussion between the Gautama and Sanatkumara. In fact, Gautama raises, Gautama Muni raises the question, puts the question and Sanatkumara answers it. Gautama Uvacha, it begins with that. The question raised was,

"bhagavansarvadharmajña sarvaśāstraviśārada brahmavidyāprabodho hi kenopāyena jāyate ॥"

Very beautifully he puts it. How this awakening, the first rising happens in the Brahma in the sense, if everything is quiet, calm serene, without any activity how the first bubble rises? How the first seed rises? An entire teaching is based on this answer.

vicārya sarvadharmeṣu mataṃ jñātvā pinākinaḥ

pārvatyā kathitaṃ tattvaṃ śṛṇu gautama tanmama

And Sanatkumara keeps replying

anākhyeyamidaṃ guhyaṃ yogine kośasaṃnibham

haṃsasyākṛtivistāraṃ bhuktimuktiphalapradam

He says that the teaching is very secret, very deep. We should also remember in yoga, whenever it is said like secret, guhyam it doesn't mean it is really secret. It means it needs a very correct, real, true understanding. The correct, true purport out of it. And it needs some guidance from somebody. It requires a guidance. It doesn't mean it is secret. Secret means it needs somebody's guidance.  The Sanatkumara says that "haṃsasyākṛtivistāraṃ bhuktimuktiphalapradam॥" And this needs to be understood carefully. And by understanding it, Bhukti and Mukti, both will be available, both will be there to you.  Material and spiritual benefits. This is the answer given by the Sanatkumara.

He begins to explain further. "Hamsa vidyaatikari svaroopam" Who is fit for it? To practice. And he says wonderfully, excellently. Who is fit for it? A person who is self-controlled, Brahmachari and who has sincere devotion to the Guru. "brahmacāriṇe śāntāya dāntāya gurubhaktāya haṃsahaṃseti sadā dhyāyan॥". 'brahmacāriṇe' means a person who is a Brahmachari; 'Dāntāya' means who has a control over the senses; and gurubhaktāya, who has Guru Bhakti. So any person with these qualities, with the practice of Brahmacharya and a sense control and then Guru Bhakti will understand this knowledge. So without this you cannot understand means there is a secret there. The secrecy is without this you cannot understand it. And if you have this, it is no more a secret. And the Upanishad puts it very nicely that

"sarveṣu deheṣu vyāpto vartate yathā hyagniḥ kāṣṭheṣu tileṣu tailamiva taṃ viditvā mṛtyumatyeti "

Hamsa Swaroopaha it is called. The fifth mantra of the Hamsa Upanishad is a very clear expression that the Hamsa is inhalation and exhalation and it is based, dependent on the breathing. That is what is dependent on Puraka and Rechaka and that dependent nature, that dependent being is the Hamsaha, is the object, and is the power which is the Jiva. So Jiva is dependent, Jiva travels, Jiva moves, Jiva uses inhalations and exhalations. And this Jiva is the Hamsaha. Beautiful imagery it is, a beautiful suggestion is given, an excellent thought for pondering over.

An imagery given is like fire stands pervading the fuel, the oil stands pervading in the Tila - Taila in Tila, Agni in the kaashta as it is there, Hamsaha is there everywhere. And as the Tila and the Kaashta are the medium - oil and fire - inhalation and exhalation is the medium for the Jiva, Hamsaha. A very nice object for meditation. Like fire is seen or innervated and pervaded in the wood, like oil is pervaded inherent in the seed (Tila seed), similarly, Hamsa, the Jiva is pervaded in the inhalations and exhalations. There is inseparable relationship; it is interconnected interrelated, interdependent and inter transactions will be going on.

Then how to practice? Hamsa Jnana Upaya Yoga, Upaya Yoga, Upa Yoga it is. And what is the technique given? Pressing the anus with the left heel:

gudamavaṣṭabhyādhārādvāyumutthāpya svādhiṣṭhānaṃ triḥ pradakṣiṇīkṛtya maṇipūrakaṃ gatvā anāhatamatikramya viśuddhau prāṇānnirudhyājñāmanudhyāyanbrahmarandhaṃ dhyāyan trimātro'hamityeva sarvadā paśyatyanākāraśca bhavati

The beautiful description is given. Press the left heel against the anus and sit in that position, sitting position, and fill the prana through the nostrils or through the mouth, both suggestions are there. Even through the mouth or through the nostrils and hold the breath. Constrict your anus, it is something like an Ashwini Mudra, practiced in Antara Kumbhaka, in a sitting posture. Then, it is not imagination, allow your prana to move upwards which can be done with our willpower, or you can even feel that, and experience it, recognize it when it is happening, moving from the Muladhara then entering into the Swadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata Vishuddha, Ajna and the Hamsa Upanishad gives wonderful imagery, objects of meditation. And these are all commonly known as the Chakras but actually they are the energy points where various Nadis come to a junction, and the prana flows, and in that various lotus petals have been presented, the number of petals and then the movement of the prana through that. A nice thought and object for meditation.

And then the Hamsa Upanishad keeps on describing what will happen in the Hridaya, where there are eight petaled lotus is there. These eight petals are directed towards the eight directions. Ashta Dala to Ashta Dik - eight petals directing towards the eight directions. And the prana moves in that, what are the effects will be happening what will be the behavioural pattern. How wonderful it is! The normal common behavioural pattern of ourselves is being related to the movement of the prana, into these petals. The external is linked to the internal; and the external is linked to the internal through the prana.

The Upanishad keeps describing excellently that the Hamsa, the Jiva if it moves towards the eastern petal, east side of the petal, eastern direction a person will be interested in the religious dharmics, religious activities. If the Hamsa and the prana enters into the south-eastern pattern that is the Agni, the behaviour will be mostly sleepy, docile, laziness; and if it is in the southern petal of the Yama then it will be a cruel nature, all cruelty, kroora bhavas; when the Jiva, when the Hamsa enters into the south-western petal that is the Nirutti, he will be prone for intellectual but for the sinful actions, intellect for the sinful actions.

When the Hamsa, Jiva enters into the western petal of the Varuna the disposition is pastime, just passing time wasting the time. When the entry is in the north-western petal of the Vayu, the intellect is towards the goodness. When the entry is in the northern petal of the moon, the Chandra it comes in the gratification, resulting from intense application. When entry is in the north-eastern petal, the Ishanaha the productivity is to acquire material wealth.

And if the entry, the Hamsaha, the Pranaha is into the filaments of the lotus, the state of waking, awakening, that is the result. When the entry is in the Perikarp, the state of the dreaming that is the beautiful explanation is given into it. Perikarp means Karnika. Karnika of the lotus. And if the Prana, Jiva enters into the interior tubes of the lotus the state of sleep comes. And finally when the Prana rises above these, it enters into the state of the Turiya.

What does all this imagery all these explanations of the Upanishads suggest simply is that as long as the Prana is, as long as the breathing is confined only to the physical levels and the nature, and if the Prana Shakti is used only for the physical and the sensual activities, and if the Pranic energy is allowed to be wasted in activities of the psycho-physiological and the breathing activities, we are rooted to our senses and rooted to the Tamo level. Then the Jiva, the Hamsaha has to cross these lotuses then the site of the Turiya comes.

And that is the level of the Nadaha it is. That is the Turiyatitaha is beyond that. And thereafter from the Muladhara into the Sushumnaha, the Paramatmaha level is exposed. This is how the Hamsa Upanishad presents an excellent imagery, a technique, very subtle methods whenever our behaviour and activities are in a particular direction, in a particularly centred, the suggestion given in the Upanishad is that particular focusing and centering activities and the behaviour and the thinking is because of this particular region that the Prana and the Jiva are focused in this particular direction of the lotus petals. Changing it is the important dimension.

And how do we change it? Hamsa Upanishad presents again Ajapa Hamsa Mantra, Japa Prakaraha. Practice Japa Prakaraha, the method of the Japa practicing of Ajapa Hamsa Mantra, Ajapa Hamsa Mantra technique:

atha haṃsa ṛṣiḥ avyaktagāyatrī chandaḥ paramahaṃso devatā

hamiti bījam sa iti śaktiḥ so'miti kīlakam


ṣaṭsaṃkhyayā ahorātrayorekaviṃśatisahastrāṇi ṣaṭśatānyadhikāni bhavantisūryāya somāya nirañjanāya nirābhāsāyātanusūkṣma pracodayāditi ॥ 

agnīṣomābhyāṃ vauṣad hṛdayāhyaṅganyāsakaranyāsau bhavataḥ

evaṃ kṛtvā hṛdaye'ṣṭadale haṃsātmānaṃ dhyāyet

Beautiful suggestion has been given for the practice of the Ajapa Hamsa Mantra Japa method. It is just a feeling and experience of whole mind is focused and concentrated and meditated just on these happenings. The most subtlest sensations in the body, Samvedana. And these sensations and samvedana are at the cell level, not just at physical, gross, muscular level. And that is the level of the practice of the Ajapa Hamsa Mantra. Ajapa Hamsa Mantra is the sensations of inhalation and exhalation and the pranic movements and exchanges deep at the kana, cell level it is.

And that is the highest practice of the Ajapa Hamsa Sadhana it is called. And that is how the Upanishad further goes on talking.

"Ajapa Japena dashanadanubhavah:"

 It says that by the practice of the Ajapa Sadhana and the Hamsaha, of course utilizing of the Akara, Ukara, Makara is given, and then the Upanishad gives an extensive extension of the aspect of the imagery that Akara, Ukara, Makara is the.. and the Bindu, the dot which is there. The Rudraha is the face. Rudrani, the Ganga forms the two feet of it, on account of the qualified and the non-qualified aspects. The Hamsaha by means emanates from the throat. Means the as a human personality for meditation, for the contemplation and as a human personality pervaded with the Omkara. That is the imagery given. Hamsaha the attained state of the Virajaha. Fire and the moon are the two arms. Omkara is the head. The three eyes are the Akara, Ukara, Makara. And the Bindu the dot. Rudra is the face. Rudrani the two feet. And this is how the picturization is presented. With this Ajapa Upasandhara and Ajapa of the Hamsa is practiced. These are all various suggestions and methods of techniques and the practices given by the Yoga Upanishads. And this is the Hamsa Upanishad method is given in that. And then it gives the Nadaha it is.

Then another technique is given as the Nada. And the Nada is given as the Hamsa Nadaha, Anahata Chakraha. And that Nada is produced in ten different ways. The third imagery presented by the Hamsa Upanishad: Hamsa Nadaha. Hamsa Gayatri, Hamsa Omkara, Hamsa Purushaha, and now it is the Hamsa Nadaha.

And it says that there are ten different ways. At the right ear of the seeker, the various types of sounds are heard. The first is the character of the Chini sound. The second is the character of the Chinchini. The third is the sound of a bell, Khanta Nada. The fourth is like a blast of a Shankha Nada. And the fifth is the Veena Nada. The sixth is the cymbals. The seventh is the flute, Venu Nada. And the eighth is the Dunduhi. And the ninth is the sound of a Mridanga. And the last the tenth is Megha Nada. It is called the thunderbolt. Again, very beautiful suggestion. From Megha if you come down slowly, retrace the path, it comes down to the Chin. Chin sound. That is the smallest, subtlest narrowest sound within the body to the thunder sound. Tracing, listening, following, extending the hearing capacity or expanding the mind stepwise from the smallest, slowest sound to the booming sound. And from the booming Megha Nada sound, to the smallest sound. This is another technique is given.

The results are given for that. What is the result? The result is as the Upanishads keep on presenting, the state of the Mano Layaha it is called i.e. the mind merges in the Brahma; Atma Tattva Prakashaha it is:

tasminmano vilīyate manasi saṃkalpavikalpe dagdhaṃ puṇyapāpe sadāśivaḥ śaktyātmā sarvatrāvasthitaḥ svayaṃjyotiḥ śuddho buddho nityo nirañjanaḥ śāntaḥ prakāśata iti vedānuvacanaṃ bhavatītyupaniṣat

The Mano Layaha attained. Mano Layaha, the mind gets dissolved. Hamsa Upanishad gives practice of these techniques. The Phalam is given. What is the Phalam?

"tasminmano vilīyate manasi saṃkalpavikalpe dagdhaṃ" Sankalpha and Vikalpa are burnt. Punya and Papa are lost. And it is always in the Sadashivaha. In the state of absolute quietness. 'śaktyātmā sarvatrāvasthitaḥ' – it is a powerful potential.svayaṃjyotiḥ - Self brilliancy and radiance. And what are the Gunas it is?

śuddho buddho nityo nirañjanaḥ śāntaḥ prakāśata iti vedānuvacanaṃ

As expressed in the Vedas. It is shuddhaha, it is buddhaha, it is nityaha and niranjanaha -it will never get defiled. This is the result, attainment, and the final experience of the techniques presented in the Hamsa Upanishad. Let us conclude here. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti:

कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra :
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Sunday 9 June 2024

Yogopanishads – Amritanado Upanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

The Amritanadopanishad (Amṛtanādopaniṣad) belongs to the Krishna Yajurveda, and the traditional Shanti pat or the prayer before the study of the Upanishad is the well-known mantra:

Oṃ saha nāvavatu। saha nau bhunaktu

saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai ।  tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ।।

The Amritanadopanishad talks about purity, śuddhā, svacchā, pavitratā. Many times we use this word:  pure mind, pure emotions, pure heart, and pure intentions. Amritanadopanishad once for all settles, defines what is purity, or in the language, in the world of the yoga, what do we refer, what do we say, what do we mean when we say 'purity'. The Upanishad also talks about śrāvaṇa, manana, nidhi and dhyāsa. In fact the Upanishad opens up with śrāvaṇa upāyaḥ the techniques, the methods, śrāvaṇa and others.

Amritanadopanishad has 38 powerful mantras explaining the various techniques for the practice of yoga and the first mantra itself begins with śrāvaṇam:

śāstrāṇyadhītya medhāvī abhyasya ca punaḥ punaḥ

paramaṃ brahma vijñāya ulkāvattānyathotsṛjet।।

By repeatedly studying and understanding the śāstrā, the texts and the techniques one should keep on meditating again and again on the import, the meaning, the purpose of the text. Just reading, going through, just studying, it has no meaning, unless one contemplates, meditates, understands and puts into practice, the śāstrā vākyam is brought into the anuṣṭhānaḥ level. So it is not a mere learning or an intellectual jugglery. What is read, what is studied, what is understood, what is to be understood and that what was understood is to be brought into practice. This is the importance of  śrāvaṇam and  śāstrā  śrāvaṇam; not just keep on repeating and listening. That may be useful for focusing of the mind. But it doesn't serve any other purpose, if what is studied and heard, śāstrā Vakyam is not brought into the practice.

Then the Upanishad goes into the praṇava  upasanā:

oṃkārarathamārūhya viṣṇuṃ kṛtvātha sārathim। 

brahmalokapadānveṣī rūdrārādhanatatparaḥ।।

The praṇava upasanā is beautifully explained. The Upanishad wonderfully explains to the sādhakā. An imagery has been created, a method has been created, a technique has been handed over, a methodology is proposed in the Amritanada Upanishad which is praṇava  upasanā, the worship of the  praṇava. It says that "oṃkārarathamārūhya", mounting on the chariot of Oṃ and who is the charioteer of this Oṃ? Vishnu and where the chariot will go? Brahmalokaḥ and what happens there? Worship of the Rudra and how to drive this chariot? and the chariot is to be driven in one single direction and the most important thing of the Upanishad is "sthātvā rathapatisthānaṃ rathamutsṛjya gacchati।।" once you reach the destination, once you attain the state once the place of destination has been reached, the Ratha, the vehicle has to be given up. We should not continue to be inside the vehicle. What a wonderful suggestion it is! even though the Oṃkārā upasanā, Oṃkārā chanting Oṃkārā meditation is taken up, but once the goal, the destiny, the target the expected experience has attained the Ratha should be given up; not to be continued to hold on; and this is an important suggestion. Otherwise many times we keep on holding on to the practices even after getting experiences. We continue to hold on to the practice, sometimes maybe out of the fear. But beautiful suggestion, beautiful imagery was given by Amritanadopanishad that you take a vehicle travel to your destination and after reaching the destination you give up the vehicle, you come out of the vehicle. Exactly the same is Oṃkārā upasanā also. How can that be done? How it will be done? How it should be done?

Then the Upanishad gives a wonderful technique of the well-known method of Pratyāhāra:

śabdādi viṣayānpañca manaścaivāticañcalam

The Chanchalata of the Pancha Indriyas have been stopped, the Achanchalatvam of the Indriyas have attained, the wobbling the wavering the moving capacity, the wobbling nature of the Indriyas have been mastered. The Indriyas no more move, no more waver, no more wobble; the Indriyas have lost its capacity of movement. The Indriyas have lost its capacity of Chanchalata. That is Pratyāhāram.

Then the Upanishad suggests beautifully the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga, the six methods the six techniques that is the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga the components of the Ṣaḍaṅga are the Pratyāhāra, Dhyāna, Prāṇāyāma, Dhāraṇā, Tarka and Samādhi:

pratyāhārastathā dhyānaṃ prāṇāyāmo'tha dhāraṇā

tarkaścaiva samādhiśca ṣaḍaṅgo yoga ucyate ।।

This is the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga of the Amrita Nada Upanishad. Then it talks about what is Prāṇāyāma, what are the results of the Prāṇāyāma. The result of the Prāṇāyāma is to remove the impurities of the mind, impurities of the misdeeds of the Indriyas by holding the breath. It is when the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā is done all the results of the activities of the mind when the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā is done all the results of the activities of the mind have been erased means Karmaphala of the mind, Karmaphala of the Indriyas Karmaphala of the body and the mind are lost, or given up or removed by Prāṇa Dhāraṇā. That is the fruit and benefit of the Prāṇāyāma and that is the importance of the practice. and Upanishad beautifully describes that this destruction of the Phala comes by the practice of Rucirā it is called. Rucirā is the Kumbhaka that is Prāṇa Dhāraṇā, the highest ultimate aim of the Prāṇāyāma, the Kevala Kumbhaka it is so. The experience of the Kevala Kumbhaka, practice of the Kevala Kumbhaka eliminates erases deletes physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, physical, mental, bodily and the mental activities; the results of that are eliminated. What a great benefit of the Prāṇāyāma is presented in the Amritanadopanishad!

Then the Upanishads talks about the threefold Prāṇāyāma the three types of Prāṇāyāma Trividha Prāṇāyāma it is calls it

rūciraṃ recakaṃ caiva vāyorākarṣaṇaṃ tathā

prāṇāyāmāstrayaḥ proktā recapūrakakumbhakāḥ।।

It calls it Recakaṃ Pūrakaṃ and Kumbhaka are the three methods Prāṇāyāma Lakṣanam, it talks about it. Then the Upanishad describes about the Prāṇāyāma and gives a suggestion that while practicing Prāṇāyāma you chant mentally Gayatri Mantram:

"savyāhṛtiṃ sapraṇavāṃ gāyatrīṃ śirasā saha "

Along with the Gayatri practice Prāṇāyāma. What a wonderful method this is! A common suggestion for all of us as sādhakās is that any particular mantra chanting in the mind while practicing Prāṇāyāma i.e. while inhalations and exhalations, while doing slow deep relaxed long elongated inhalations and exhalations, engaging the mind deeply in a manasika japa of a particular mantra is very much helpful for the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā. So like Recakalakṣanam similarly Pūrakalakṣanam is given, then Kumbhakalakṣanam is given. Though the Lakshanas have been named differently, the ultimate is Prāṇa Dhāraṇām. While inhalation, while exhalation, while the Kevala kumbhaka, the whole gap between the inhalation and the exhalation, while the process of slow inhalation and the slow exhalation is going on the speed is so slow and so steady the Kevalakumbhaka is experienced. Because the mind is engaged in a very deep subtle level in the Gayatri or any other particular mantra and the Upanishad beautifully describes the Kumbhaka level

andhavatpaśya rūpāṇi śabdaṃ badhiravacchṛṇu

kāṣṭhavatpaśya vai dehaṃ praśāntasyeti lakṣaṇam।।

It beautifully describes Praśāntaḥ Mind Praśānta Mind. A very quiet mind śānta mind Achanchala Mana. What is it? It is like a blind man who cannot see; it is like a deaf man who cannot hear; and it is like a body of wood and that is the state of the Kumbhaka Lakṣanam. It means the body cannot feel the mind, will not move and no senses are working. But you are in a state of stable and a deep sense of Praśāntaḥ

"praśāntasyeti lakṣaṇam।।"

The quality of praśāntatvam is given; I am Praśāntaḥ. A mind is very quiet. What does it mean? It should suit these three qualities. How beautiful it is given!

Then the Dhāraṇā Lakṣanam is given. The quality and description of Dhāraṇā. Then the description of Tarka is given. Tarakam means arguments inference in the conformity with the scriptures. That is called Tarkam.

āgamasyāvirodhena ūhanaṃ tarka ucyate

samaṃ manyeta yallabdhvā sa samādhiḥ prakīrtitaḥ

"āgamasyāt avirodhena" means the arguments should not be against the scripture. Then it is called as Taraka. If the arguments are against the scripture, then it is not the Tarakam. So the understanding arguments and the intellectual capabilities should be in conformity with the scripture.

Then Samādhi Lakṣanam describes about the dimensions of Samādhi. Then the Upanishad also beautifully describes the constant practice of Yoga. It talks about the various dimensions of Yoga and it talks about the Sapta Dvarani it calls. While talking about the Dhāraṇā the Upanishad beautifully gives the duration of Dhāraṇā. When we say when can we say I am in a state of Dhāraṇā, when can we say? The Upanishad says it 8 or 7 mātrās. Mātrā is a unit of time. If 7 or 8 mātrās the mind is not wavering, we can say it is in the Dhāraṇā state. And that Dhāraṇā can be achieved by Pashyanti, Para, Vaikhari, Upanshu chanting of the Japa. So Dhāraṇā can be attained by chanting or by experience of the Oṃ in its 4 stages Vaikhari is the sound we can hear, Upanshu not heard but only lip movements, Pashyanti not even the lips are moving no sound but within the mind you are chanting that is Pashyanti, Para not even chanting in the mind but only just awareness of the Oṃkārā. These are the 4 levels of practice of the Dhāraṇā.

Then Amrita Nada Upanishad talks about the Sapta Svaprāpti Dvārani, the the 7 doors it talks about it. And one of the doors is one should be fearless Abhayatvam then Abhyasam. Abhayatvam and Abhyasam - fearlessness and practice. Yoga Chintiyam - constantly meditating, involving in the Yoga Stithi. Then Chintana Prakaraha how many types of thinking are there, the Upanishad talks about the varieties of thinking: in thoughts involved outside, thoughts involved on ourselves, thoughts involved in our own minds, particular points and objects, and finally the thoughts engaged in meditation, this all called Chintana Prakaraha. Then Svāsa pramāṇam, the Upanishad talks about the limitations of breath. It is surprising and very informative to see that the breaths as reckoned for a day and night are from eighty thousand, and a hundred and thirteen thousands to 1 lakh. That means how many times we breathe per day it varies from 13 thousands to 1 lakh.

aśītiśca śataṃ caiva sahastrāṇi trayodaśa

lakṣaścaiko viniśvāsa ahorātrapramāṇataḥ

80 thousand, 100 thousand, 13 thousand - that's how the.. means when somebody is breathing slow, faster, fastest like that. So in a day our breathing keeps on changing. This is the Svāsa pramāṇam, the Upanishad talks about this Amrita Nadopanishad: 'Prāṇa Dheenam Shantanani', the seeds of Prāṇā, talks about the seeds of Prāṇā, where are all the Prāṇa stays the points of Prāṇa, and where the Prāṇā, Apāṇā, Vyāṇā, Udāṇā, Samāṇā stays what are the seeds what are the reasons of these pañcaprāṇās, their activities, their controlling capacity, this pañcaprāṇās have been talked about in the Amrita Nadopanishad.

Finally the Upanishad concludes with the Paramaphalam the final result of the practice of this Yoga, the chanting of  praṇava, the chanting of Gayatri Mantra during Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā then the Kumbhakas, then the contemplation on the Panchaprana activities, then describing the length of the breathing the length of the time of Dhāraṇā.

And finally the Upanishad gives the importance of the practice of the Yoga Abhyasa talking about the Nada that is how it is mentioned as Amritanada Upanishad. By nada, by Oṃ, by mantra, how to chant the mantras, the length of the mantra, how to align the chanting of mantra with the breathing, aligning breathing with the mantra, and pūraka, recakā, khumbaka and finally you attain the state of the amrita. So Amritanada Upanishad it is and finally the Amritanada Upanishad is one of the most powerful Upanishad which hands over a detailed practice methodology and a technique to all of us. So let us practice this method aligning Mantra Japa with inhalation exhalation and holding of the breath Pūraka, Recakā, Kumbhaka, of course Kumbhaka is the Kevala Kumbhaka an experience by slowing down the breathing process. So this is the Amritanada Upanishad and let us see the other Upanishad also in continuation. Oṃ Shanti Shanti Shanti: 

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26