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माण्डूक्योपनिषत्: Mandukya Upanishad with Five Commentaries of The Ramanuja School


Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote is an internationally repute organization devoted to undertaking Original and Interdisciplinary Research in Vedas, Agamas and Philosophy in addition to collecting rare and old manuscripts and undertaking research works in Sanskritic and Allied Scientific Studies with focus on Visistadvaita School of thoughts and publish useful works. In this direction in its tenure of existence for over two decades has already published more that 50 Books in Sanskrit, English and Kannada Languages.

However for over a decade now the Books Publication related to the critical editions of Upanisads in Sanskrit with notable commentaries could not be published. But, now for the benefit of Scholars, Students pursuing higher studies in Sanskrit and interested Readers, the present Director of the Academy, Prof. Bhashyam Swamy in a very short period of his taking over of the charges of the O/o the Director has prioritized to release critical editions of 3 more works on Upanisads-viz. Mundaka, Mandukya and Taittiriya along with valuable commentaries in accordance with the Visistadvaita School of Philosophy.

I deem it a great honour to pen this Preface to this publication of Academy of Sanskrit Research titled “Mandukyopanisad” in Sanskrit with five Valuable commentaries (i.e. The Pratipadarthadipika by Sri. Bharadvaja Ramanujacharya of 19th century; The Prakasika by Sriranga Ramanujamuni belonging to the 17th & 18th Century; the Kuranarayanabhasyam of Kuranarayanamuni The Anandabhasya by Sri Ramanandamuni, Probably belonging to the 14th or 15th Century and The Subodhini by Gopalanandayaogi of 17th & 18th Century) to be dedicated to the benefit of Humanity interested in the development and propagation of the Indian Philosophy through Sanskrit.

If this publication can add to the awareness of the corpus of interpretations of Sri Ramanujacarya and his followers point of view on the Upanisads, we feel that Academy has contributed its might in line with the primary objectives of the Organization to the readers.

The Indian Philosophy for ages has inherited under the umbrella of Vedas. Upanisads in a way has depicts the essence of the Vedas and thus are also called as Vedanta. Every human being seeks the ultimate Salvation and the reading of Vedanta/Upanisads helps him to try to attain the salvation.

The Upanisads that are available to us is vast (about 108 as per certain quarters. Of these, it is accepted by all that the ten principal Upanisads-viz. Isa, Kena Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya and Brhadaranyaka- are the most authoritative and ancient Upanisads. Of these ten, the Academy has already brought out Isa, Kena, and Aitareya, in Sanskrit. Now Mandukya is being published.

The Mandukyopanisad has a dubious status among the Upanisads. The Brahma Sutra does not allude to it according to any of the commentators. Only from the Karikas of Gaudapada, Supposed to be an elaboration of the Upanisad, quotations are found in the works of Sankara and Suresvara. A commentary attributed to Kuranarayana Muni appears to accept part of Karikas as included in the text of the Upanisad and he takes some verses of the Karikas as forming part of the Upanisad. This Upanisad belonging to Atharvana Veda’s Manduka branch. This Upanisad though diminutive in terms of size is very deep through its compendium. Thus this is a very impressive Upanisad works. Hope the readers will benefit from this humble contribution of the Academy.

I wish to salute to all the eminent Scholars, Associates and at the same time congratulate of Staff of ASR and those who have contributed their might directly or indirectly in enabling the Academy to bring out his publication.



UPANISADS are the essence of VEDAS. They are also known as VEDANTA as they are known as a treasure house of Spiritual knowledge.

Even though, the Upanisads are composed in an orderly poetry manner, they are difficult to digest by even Scholarly Community. Perhaps keeping this in mind our Great Acaryas have with their intellectual and spiritual power of fore thought have in fact delivered these poetic works in a understandable way by giving their commentaries known as Bhasyas. These Bhasyas form part as a valuable value addition of our heritage.

In an attempt to reach the Upanisads in original form along with the various commentaries related to each of the different Upanisads, to the hands of the interested Scholarly and other Interested Community, the Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote, has embarked upon a “Upanisad Project” to critically edit and release them as its publication in Kannada, Sanskrit and English. Already the Publication of some of the Upanisads has been released.

In this endeavor of the Academy, the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, (A Deemed University) New Delhi, has kindly been extending a valuable support through part funding the Project. Thus I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the University in General and to its Vice Chancellor, Dr. Kutumba Shastri, in particular.

It may be interesting to note that the commentaries presented here in our MelKote Series belong to the School of Visistadvaita Philosophy propounded by the Great Acarya Ramanuja.

I now take pride in presenting this edition of “MANDUKYOPANISAD” with five commentaries (i.e. Pratipadarthadipika by Sri Bharadwaja Ramanujacarya; Prakasika by Sri Rangaramanujamuni; Kuranarayanabhasyam of Kuranarayamuni, Anadabhasya by Ramanandamuni and Subodhini by Gopalanandayogi-all belonging to the period from 14th to 18th Century AD.). Further, it may be noted that for the benefit of the readers, we have incorporated the entire relevant Upanisad text at the beginning itself.

In fact for more details of the glimpse of the edition you may please refer to the INTRODUCTION penned by me in the following pages.

The Academy has strived hard to collect and collate as many commentaries as feasible related to each of the Upanisads being critically edited and published by it. It is the fervent hope that this will be well received by the Scholarly community as an important VALUE ADDITION.

Vidvan S. Narayana, Sri Embar Varadacharya, Sri S. Krishnan in particular and other in –house Scholars have painstakingly edited this edition. I am grateful to them.

The team lead by Mr. Javare Gowda and including Mrs. M.R. Nagamma, Mr.Bettaswamy Gowda (in particular) and others have given technical support ably. I wish to congratulate their team effort.

But for the thrust and encouragement given by the Deputy Commissioner, Mandya Dist., Mandya and our respected Secretary cum Treasurer (who is also holding the additional charge of the President of the Academy as of date) Sri C.N. Seetharam, I. A.S. these works kept pending for finalization and release for quite a long time (by the previous management) would not have come to the light even now. Hence I wish to express our gratitude to him. Our thanks are also due to him for his ready acceptance to pen the Preface for this Edition as the General editor of the Series.

Apart from the above I also to express our gratitude to one and all, both in-house employees as well as out-sourced support for their deep involvement in our efforts to present this publication.



Upanisad constitute the nucleus of thoughts of overwhelming religious experience of the sages. Though it is an insight into the eternal truth but wears a hue of mysticism. Upon the degree of inquisitiveness of a seeker of the knowledge, the enlightenment occurs thus leading him to absolution.

According to the majority of erudite class Ten Upanisads have been considered to be authentic. There are hundreds bearing the name Upanisad, some genuine and some spurious. These ten Upanisads which have been considered to be principal and authentic, have commentaries written upon them by various Bhasyakaras.

The present presentation in the series of Upanisads deals with Mandukyopanisd. This upanisad belong to Atharvana veda’s Manduka branch. Upanisads belonging to Atharvana veda are numerically far more than the Upanisads of other Vedas. Majority of the Upansiads of other Vedas are part of Bramhans’ where as the Upansiads of Atharvana veda are not. The former, because of their association with the Brahmanas, get named after them. But the latter gets the name derived mostly from their contents.

Mandukyopanisad though dimunitive in terms of size but runs very deep through its compendium. An exaltation about the magnitude of this Upanisad in Muktikopanisad suggests thus. The Mandukyopanisad seems to have earned its name after Mandukya son of Manduka Maharsi, has a dubious distinction among the Upanisads. The Bramhasutra does not allude to it according to any of the commentators. The more surprising thing about this Upanisad is that even Sankaracarya not quoting from this, in his course of commentaries on the sutras, the Gita and the other Upanisads.

Only from the karikas of Goudapada, supposed to be an elaboration of the Upanisad, quotations are found in the works of Sankara and Sureswara.

The Mandukya Upanisad as such contains only twelve mantras. Because of its brevity, it becomes very difficult for the students to understand its entire import without sufficient explanation.

Karikas as an acumen helps to have an understanding of the original work here, upanisads, are memorial verses written with a view to expounding in a metrical form an aspect of subject or a particular doctrine, so that it may be easily memorized by a student.

The karikas of Goudapada upon this Upanisad has become the beacon-light for the learners. Upanisad Brahma yogi a great commentator who has commentated on all the one hundred & eight upanisads has claimed magnanimously about this Upanisad to be. Sankara in his commentary on Mandukyopanisad extolled this as. The number of Karikas available on this Upanisad has been twenty nine no exposition is available from Sri Rangaramanuja, a commentator of Upanisads in the light of Visistadavita Philosophy, considering these to be the karikas of Gowdapada, who is an apostle of Advaitha. Whereas Kuranarayana muni, has accepted and considered the Karikas themselves as Upanisad and expounded on the Karikas. As Bharadwaja Ramanuja puts this is an explanation to upanisad, whereas Sri Ramanuja quotes only one portion of one karika in Sribhasya. Sri Madhwacharya going further quotes these as exemplifying from Garudapurana.

‘Oh Sage, whence there is an evidence, corroborated by another, the former becomes stronger.

Sri Madhwacharya in his commentary on Mandukya, professes on the significance of the word Mandukya.

Varuna in the form of a frog eulogizing Srimannarayana with the mantras of upanisad. The frog embodiment of Varuna being impassionate, meditating upon the imperishable supreme-being Narayana, begins to commend him with pranava chant of upanisad. This upanisad belonging to Atharvaveda perceived by Varuna in the form of a frog earned its eponym Mandukyopanisad.

The theme and the significance of pranavamantra is an analysis of the three states of consciousness waking, dream, and deepsleep. The three constituents of om, namely ‘a’ ‘u’ and ‘m’ signifies the self-transcending of the three states and regards the purport of ‘om’ in its integral wholeness.

The sanctity of the pranava is a persistent of the themes of all Upanisads and inquiry into the three states of consciousness is also a recurrent concern. That the proper manners of construing of pranvava makes it signify the transcendent beyond the empirical self. The special points of this Upanisad is its adjustment of the three states as meanings of the three sound elements of ‘om’ in their severality and the idea that the integral import of ‘om’ is the stateless absolute spirit.

All the upanisadic literature imbued with the magnitude of the pranava chant ‘om’ kara, is a claimer to suggest that all the attributes of the supreme being dissolves into ‘omkara’. The pranava chant regarded as endearing to the supreme-being, and perceived as the expression and the expressed, in oneness, which has been concluded in. This Upanisad extols the pranava. This Upanisad contributed by the sage Manduka has been transcendental in its purport and supposed to be incomprehensible to ordinary perception.

According to this Upanisad the ‘om’ is the whole world, its four parts correspond to the four states of Brahman. It narrates the first three states of consciousness-waking, dreaming and the deepsleep that are scrutable to human perception to an extent but the fourth state of consciousness being inexplicable, calls for a self-transcendence. This indefinable state has been regarded as ‘Turiya’.

There are quiet a handful of expositions are available on the intrinsic value of pranava. But the treatment met by the pranava mantra in mandukyopanisad had been regarded to be dynamic and sufficient hence there is a conspicuous absence of treatment in Bramhamimamasa.

In trying to quench the thirst for knowledge of a seeker, the absolute truth had to be pointed out in and through the various manifestations. To establish the absolute truth syllogism f logic had also been employed, and hence the absolute truth could have been set forth by virtue of unambiguous logic, but the supreme reality or the absolute truth does not restrict itself to mere logic.

The perception of supreme reality happens through the experience of the self-transcendence and this transcendental state being considered to be beyond the bound of logic, and mere signification of words would be rendered ineffectual at this stage. An aphorism is called in here of the suggestion from Bramha-sutra. The perception based on the above idea is well exposed in Mandukyopanisad and Kenopanisad, thus purporting the theme of experience of the self.

“The compendium of Mandukyopanisad”. The first chapter of Mandukyopanisad portrays two mantras of pranava and its three elemental ‘A’ ‘U’ and ‘M’ worship through representations of Vaiswanara. Taijasa, and Prajna respectively. The eternal sound ‘AUM’ is here denoting wholeness, transcending across past-present and the future threads of time. The import of its demonstration has been expressed as. This augmentation of three elements of pranava implicitly pervading unto the visible objects of life, the four quarters of Atman, and also the attributes of Bramhan.

The second chapter consisting of five mantras, narrates the four quarters of the supreme-being. The depiction of four quarters are by way of Vaishwanara being the first quarter, depicting the waking state, Taijasa the second depicting dream state, and prajna the third depicting deep-sleep state, and ‘Turiya’ being the fourth state. Each state or condition is accomplished through manifestation of images or forms. These forms are phenomena behind the threads of creation, and stability, excepting the fourth form depictive of the fourth state that always remains imperturbed, portrayed as Atman that which should be realized. The glossators of upanisad thus delineating four quarters of vaishwanara, Taijasa, prajna and Turiya depicted in the forms of Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarsana and Vasudeva of the supreme being respectively.

Third chapter gives details about the eternal sound ‘Aum’ kara pranava’s elements depicting different manifestations of the supreme being. The three elements of pranava ‘A’ ‘u’ and ‘m’ indicating Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Sankarsana in its wholeness. Also there is a mention about the fruits bestowed after meditating pranava.

Fourth chapter going further concludes on ‘Turiya’. Among four forms of the supreme-being the fourth natural form being Vyuha-Vasudeva, sound-manifested, becomes coalescent with paramapurusa to form oneness with him.

This elemental portion of the pranava chant denoting Vyuha-vasudeva who is said to be independent and immeasurable. Whereas Viswa and Taijasa have become the subject of meditation being dependent on the elements of pranava.

Exception to this is turiya not dependent on any elements, but meditatable by virtue of the wholeness of pranava, into which the universe is dissolved. This state being invisible considered as eternally auspicious, non-dual. Infinite and whole thus becoming incomparable. The eternal sound ‘Aum’ also being turiya and since vyuha-vasudeva the sound-manifested possess all the ingredients of ‘Aum’ kara, dissolves into it. Thus this chapter emphasizing on the meditation of pranava in its integrity. The meditator bereft of egotism, self-conceit, and with purity of thought could possibly be the recipient of blessings of the omnipotent, auspiciousness-incarnated paravasudeva.

Academy of Sanskrit Research having published critical editions of Isa, Katha, Prasna and Mundaka upanisads, subsequently bringing out in that series ‘Mandukyopanisad’.

This edition includes five commentaries on Mandukyopanisad

1. ‘Pratipadartha dipika’ by Bharadwajaramanujacarya
2. ‘Prakasika’ by Rangaramanuja
3. ‘Anandabhasyam’ by Ramananda
4. ‘Subodhini’ by Gopalananda and
5. ‘Kuranarayana bhasyam’ by Kuranarayanamuni and also the Appendix.

I take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to all the scholars and staff of the Academy and others who have directly or indirectly contributed to bringing out the edition.


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