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MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swamy Paramarthanandaji

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Mundaka Upanishad, as taught by swAmy paramArthAnanda ji
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MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji  (Notes prepared by Dr. Vijaya Rao by listening to the tapes) Introduction  There is a Sanskrit verse which runs as follows. Ahara Nidra Bhaya Maithunam Cha Samanam Etat Pashubhir Naranam l Buddhir Hi Tesham Adhiko Visheshaha Buddhya Vihinaha Pashubhirsamanaha ll When we compare human beings with all other animals, we find many things common to both. First in ‘  Aahara’ i.e., food, ‘Nidra’, which means sleep and rest, ‘B hayam’ means the feeling of threat from outside world and consequently the 1
  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    (Notes prepared by Dr. Vijaya Rao by listening to the tapes)


    There is a Sanskrit verse which runs as follows.

    Ahara Nidra Bhaya Maithunam ChaSamanam Etat Pashubhir Naranam l

    Buddhir Hi Tesham Adhiko VisheshahaBuddhya Vihinaha Pashubhirsamanaha ll

    When we compare human beings with all other animals, we find many things common to both. First in Aahara i.e., food, Nidra, which means sleep and rest, Bhayam means the feeling of threat from outside world and consequently the


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    urge to protect oneself from threats, Maithunan means propogation of species. Considering these common characters what is it that makes a human being the Crown of Creation? That is the faculty of Buddhi, the capacity to think, to know. Because of this unique faculty, a human being can study his life, learn from lifes experiences, project the future and thereby he can set goals for himself and consistently and carefully work for those goals. Animals on the other hand are programmed by nature and can function by instinct alone.

    So only a human being can have goals in life, otherwise called Purusharthas in Sanskrit (Purusha means human being, Artha means goal). How many goals are possible? Apparently, a single person can have many goals. I said apparently because, really does a human being have so many goals or is it really one? On analysis, we find, though superficially, there are many goals, in fact, deep down, he is seeking through money, position, fame and all the gadgets only one thing, that is happiness. We give logic in support of this. For example, let us say a person buys something; say a car or a new type of phone or something similar. He buys it with the hope that it will be useful and give him happiness (Ananda). Once he starts using it, after a while it starts giving trouble. He thinks I bought it thinking this will give me Ananda; but now it has become a source of trouble. So


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    let me sell it off even if I lose in the deal, it is ok! If he is fed up with it, he may even give it free to an Ashram!

    So we want all things only as long as they give Ananda. The moment trouble starts, we want to be rid of it. So the only real goal is Ananda. All of us including scientists are working in this direction alone. Every invention is ultimately connected with human happiness.

    Our scriptures too help us in this endeavour. Our original scriptures, the Vedas are a source of knowledge. They are supposed to be revelations to our Rishis in their meditations and have been handed down to us. As they were heard, they are called Shruthis. They are like the May I help you counters in the railway stations.

    The Vedas talk about the ultimate goal called Parama Purushartha which is nothing but Ananda.

    Ananda can be classified into two types depending on the source.

    1. Ananda coming from external sources either from objects, people, situations or a combination of these. Scriptures call it Vishayananda. Majority of people work in this field alone. The spend most of their energy


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    and time to identify, acquire and enjoy happiness from external sources.

    2. Ananda from internal sorce. This source is called Atma, the essence of me/you. This belongs to you and this inner source gives Ananda called Atmananda.

    If we have an inner source, how come, the majority does not know about it and hanker after external sources?

    Scriptures point out that the inner source is hidden (Hiranya Nidhim, Goodham, Guhyam)

    So how to get this? It is exactly like a person who has a treasure buried in his land but is ignorant of it and thinks he is poor. Somebody who knows will have to come and tell him that he has a treasure in his property only and that he is in fact rich. Knowing is not enough. One has to remove the mud and rock above, own up the treasure and enjoy it. Similar is the case with Atmananda. Here mud and rock are the obstacles at the level of mind and intellect. So identifying the treasure is Shravanam, removing doubts is Mananam, owning up the ananda is Nidhidhyasanam.

    Between Vishayananda and Atmananda, which is better? Shastra presents the pros and cons of both and it is for you to choose.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Vishayananda: The main plus point is that it is easier to acquire and that is why majority go for it. Even if it is hell, if there are a few friends, I feel at home!

    The main minus point is, Vishayananda is coming from external world, it depends on many external factors which are invariably changing in a dynamic system that the world is. So there is a constant fear and anxiety about the set up remaining the same.

    Secondly, whatever is borrowed and not my own, is subject to loss. What has come will certainly go away. For example, let us take the case of a vessel on a fire. There is water in the vessel and vegetables in the water. In this system, the vessel, water and vegetables get heated up because of the fire. Here fire is always hot, heat being its intrinsic property where as all other things like vessel, water and vegetables borrow heat from the fire and get hot. When there is no longer any fire, they get cooled indicating that heat is only a borrowed character in them. Similarly Vishayananda can never be permanent because it is borrowed.

    Atmananda: As it does not come from outside, it is unconditional. Outside fluctuations cannot disturb it. So it is


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    not subject to loss. The world cannot blackmail me, there is no anxiety.

    Total dependence on Vishayananda makes life miserable. When life is based on inner Ananda, one is independent.

    Scriptures objectively present the methods of acquiring both the Anandas.The portion dealing with getting Vishayananda is called Veda Purva and the portion dealing with Atmananda is Veda Antaha. This Vedanta (Veda +anta = Vedanta) is known as Self Knowledge or Upanishad, which means that which destroys dependence. (Upani = atma vidya, Shadu = destroyer of dependence)

    As Veda Purva deals with Vishayananda, it talks about action and rituals and urges one to work hard to procure all objects and therefore promotes dependence on external factors either persons, objects or situations.

    Atmananda which is the subject of Vedanta promotes independence and therefore the stress of Vedanta is on renunciation which means dropping all dependencies. It is mainly knowledge based.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Having pointed out the differences, Vedas give us the freedom to pursue either of them depending on what I want.

    If Vishayananda is dependence promoting and subject to loss, then why does a part of Veda advocate it at all? Is there any relevance to it at all?

    Yes. Veda Purva has one important role. Let us say a ritualistic person performs a lot of rituals and gets lots of things. Though there is constant anxiety of losing whatever is acquired, lot of people wont mind that. However, a few people will realize the futility of these exercises and the limitation of Vishayananda and develop a desire for Atmananda. Even after a person develops a desire for Atmananda, he cannot directly go to it. Desire alone is not enough. One requires qualification to enter Vedanta. So he should continue in Veda Purva, make some modifications in his Karmas. This modified Karma (also mentioned in Veda Purva) will help him come to Vedanta.

    So the two benefits of Veda Purva are:1. helps to get Vishayananda,2. Provides required qualification to enter Vedanta.

    So Veda Purva itself can be of two steps.First step is Karma (action, rituals), and


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Second step is Karma Yoga. Karma gives Vishayananda and Karma Yoga polishes me to go to Vedanta.


    Now we will focus on Vedanta. It is called Vedanta because of two reasons. One is because it is in the end portion of Vedas. The other reason is because; it is here that the ultimate meaning of the whole Vedas is revealed (Thathparyaha).There are many synonyms:Veda ShirahaShruthi ShirahaVeda Shiro Matruka Sapta SwarahaThe other name is Jnana Kandam because the emphasis is on Self discovery. Another name is Atma Vidya as here we are enquiring into ourselves.Another important name is Upanishad. This is a significant word with three portions: Upa, Ni, Shad.

    Upa means that Self knowledge which is to be acquired from a Guru alone (Guru Upasadanam). Self study is a NO NO. With self study there is a ninety percent chance that he wont understand and a ten percent chance he will misunderstand which is worse. Shankaracharya says


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Shastragnopi Swatantrena Brahmanveshanam Na Kuryat. So Guru Upasadanam is very important.

    Ni means Nishchaya Jnanam, a knowledge that has to be acquired thoroughly and comprehensively. Half knowledge is dangerous. This knowledge cannot be gained by casually hearing something here and there. Just like a feeble flame cannot ignite a log of wood, but a bright fire well kindled and nurtured can destroy any wood into ashes, knowledge has to be systematically acquired and nurtured until it is thoroughly internalized for ignorance to be burnt down.

    Sad/Shad means destroyer. That is destroyer of all types of psychological dependences. One with this knowledge is ready to have anything and prepared to lose anything. So that knowledge to be gained from a Guru thoroughly, which will destroy Samsara (bondage) is Upanishad.

    Upanishads occur at the end of all Vedas. Just like books, Vedas have many sub-divisions and each one is called a Shaka which means a branch. Originally Vedas had 1180 branches. Now many have been lost. That is why one section of people, the Brahmanas job was only to study and teach Vedas in order to preserve and protect them. In fact in Shankaras commentary, we find Vedic Quotations which we are unable to find in available Vedic Mantras. So it means


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    many Mantras have been lost between Shankaras time and now. Each Shaka of Veda has an Upanishad. So originally there were 1180. Now 108 Upanishads are available.Out of these, the most popular and famous are ten Upanishads to which Shankaracharya has written commentaries. Thse are Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittereya, Aithareya, Chndogya and Brihadaranyaka.

    Why were these ten chosen for commentaries? Shankara says is it because in Brahma Sutras, these ten Upanishads are prominently commented upon. The Brahma Sutras lend logical support to Vedantic teaching. In Upanishads, there is not that much logic. The Bhagavad Gita is Upanishad in diluted form. All the three, the Brahma Sutra, Upanishad and Bhagawad Gita together are the Prasthana Traya and form the foundation of Vedantic thought.


    This Upanishad belongs to the Atharvana Veda. It derives this name from a ritual mentioned towards the end of this Upanishad. It was a ritual called Mundaka Vratham or Shirovratham in which fire in a container was carried on the head to the accompaniment of Mantra chanting by the prospective student of Vedas. Any ritual is meant for


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    qualification, so that religious life will give the necessary mental make up to study the Upanishad.

    This Upanishad has more than sixty Mantras and three Chapters. Each chapter is divided into two sections. Each chapter is called a Mundaka and each section is called a Shaka.

    Why is Mundaka chosen to be taught first, though Isa is mentioned as the first in the list? It is because it is relatively smaller and comprehensive. That is, all the important aspects of Vedanta are dealt with in that. In others, all ideas are not there. For example, in Kena, Srishti Vichara is not there.

    All Upanishads begin with a prayer called Shanthi Patha. This prayer differs depending on the Veda of origin of the Upanishad.

    Purpose of the Shanthi Patha

    Shanthi means removal of obstacles. Just like we do Ganesha Pooja before every endeavor, Shanthi Patha is chanted before Upanishad study.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Pataha means recitation. So the prayer is recited by both student and teacher.

    For any endeavor to succeed, individual effort and the Lords grace have to go hand in hand. But then even grace is not freely distributed. We have to make ourselves deserving of grace with sincere effort on our part and prayer to the Lord for grace. It is like solar energy. Though solar energy is free, I need to use my effort to tap it. Similarly we need prayer to tap Ishwara Anugraha.

    So let us chant the Shanthi Mantra.

    Om ! Bhadram Karnebhih: Shrunuyaama Devaah:Bhadram Pashyemaakshabhir Yajathraah: |

    Sthirairangai Sthushthuvaagum Sastanoobhih:Yashema Devahitham Yadhaayuh: |


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Svasthi Na Indhro Vriddhashravaah:Svasthi Nah Pooshaa Vishva Vedaah: |Svasthi Nasthaakshyo Arishtanemih:

    Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihi

    This prayer can be chanted by Vedantic students and others as well. It is addressed to various Devatas who preside over our organs. One Lord controls the creation through various cosmic forces. They derive their strength and authority from Ishwara.

    The first prayer is with regard to our ears. Let me hear what is being said well. Secondly let me hear good things from the world. It is only when I dont hear bad things that my mind is reasonably peaceful and receptive to Vedantic teaching. In Vedantic context good things also can mean Upanishad, which of course is the best thing one can happen to hear. Let me hear this again and again. The one ultimate Mangalam is Atmatattvam and let me hear that alone.

    The next prayer is with regard to eyes. First let me see well. Secondly let me see auspicious things (Bhadram). In case of Vedantic student, the most auspicious thing is Sarvatra Brahma Darshanam.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    He yajathraha O protectors of worshippers.

    Stirairangaihi Stushtuvagam Sasthanoobhihi This is a general prayer which says Let us all be endowed with firm limbs in order to be able to worship you (Sthyavanam Kurvathaha) which means to serve the Universe.

    Many times we do not even know how to pray properly. Scriptures therefore teach us through such beautiful prayers which are called Sooktas.

    Tanuhu here means Vedic prayers or Sooktas.

    Devahitam Yadhayuhu Vyashema : Let us enjoy the full life allotted to us by the Lord. Let me be fit enough till my last breath. Let me not have Apamruthyu

    Indraha Naha Swasthi : Indra represents strength (Balam). So let him bless me with strength both physical and mental. This is very important as I will have to face the ups and downs of life and still be able to study Scriptures. If all my limited strength is gone in caring about family problems alone, where is the question of study? So I need time and strength to withstand the onslaughts of life and still be able to set aside all that for the purpose of study.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Vruddha Shravaha means the most famous one or Brihat Keerthihi.

    Poosha means Sun. Pushnati iti Poosha, one who energises and nourishes the whole creation here.

    Poosha Naha Swasthi : Let Surya shower his grace. Let him give me Pranic energy in addition to physical and mental energy. This is invoked in the Gayathri Mantra also (Dheeyo Yonaha Prachodayat). This Surya is Vishwa Veda , the Omniscient one or Sarvajnaha.

    Tarkshya Naha Swasthi : Tarakshya means Garuda Deva. Naha means to us. He is Arishtanemihi.

    Arishta means unobstructed, Nemihi means flight. He whose flight is unobstructed, let him bless me with a similar quality in my spiritual journey. Swami Dayanandaji used to say, Garuda being Vishnus vahana is like a presidents car which is not obstructed by any traffic lights, jams etc! So even if you want to be a driver, be the driver of the presidents car!

    Next is the prayer to Brihaspati, Lord of speech. Let him bless me with proper speech. Speech involves both my speaking and proper understanding of others speech as well. After all Vedanta is a series of dialogues.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    The prayer is concluded with Shanthihi repeated three times. This repetition three times is significant because all obstacles can be said to come from three sources.

    1. Adhyatmika those that originate from myself like aches, pains, unnecessary worries and thoughts can disturb me during Shravanam. So I pray for the Adhyatmic Shanthi.

    2. Adhiboutika disturbances from my surroundings like loud noise, insects, mosquitos, TV nearby can be obstacles to my study. So the prayer for Adhiboutika Shanthi.

    3. Adhidaivika the forces of nature over which I have no control like rain, earthquake etc. can also disturb my pursuit. So let all these obstacles be removed.

    So with this prayer, now let us get into the text proper.

    I Chapter, I Section

    The first section has three topics.1. The glorification of Atma Vidya (Vidya Mahima), Guru Lakshanam (qualifications of a Guru) and Shishya Lakshanam (qualification of a student).


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    1. brahm devnm prathama sambabhva vivasya kart bhuvanasya gopt, sa brahma-vidy sarva-vidy-pratiham arthavya jyeha-putrya prha.

    This teaching is coming in the form of Guru Shishya Parampara. So it is an ancient teaching coming from time immemorial.

    Brahma himself was the first Guru. He was the first being born from Vishnu and all Vedic knowledge was given to him.

    Vivasya Kart Bhuvanasya Gopt Brahma created the whole world and not only that protects it too (gopayathi). He is not a mere creator but the initiator of the greatest Vidya (Brahma Vidya) Parampara. He taught this Vidya to his son Atharva. This method, studying Vedas from ones own father is called Niyamadhyayanam and is said to be most auspicious.

    Pratiham here means Parisamapthi or culmination of. This is another glory of Brahma Vidya. It is the culmination of all other branches of science. Physics should lead a person to metaphysics. Otherwise those sciences are worthless. All the other sciences get validated only when they help you understand Vedantic teachings. This applies not only to modern sciences; even traditional sciences like Tarka, Mimansa, Grammar also find their fulfillment only when used as stepping stones to study Vedanta.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    2. artharvae ym pravadeta brahmtharv tm purovcgire brahma-vidyam, sa bhradvjaya satyavhya prha bhradvjongirase parvarm.

    Atharva gave this knowledge to the next generation Angir. This happened long long ago. Angir taught this to Bharadwaja, also called Satyavaha or Satyvaaha which means a person who speaks truth alone. So here we also know about a qualification of the student being truthful. The famous statement Sathyamevajayathe is from Mundaka alone. Bharadwaja taught this to Angira (in Sanskrit Angiras).

    Every generation was truthful to the teachings. Every student has a debt to the teacher. That is to share this knowledge with at least one disciple. Otherwise they said, you will become a Brahma Rakshasa. All these methods were used to preserve the teaching. That is why we are still able to study it today.

    The first three Mantras are an introduction which extol the glory of the Brahma Vidya as the most ancient, time tested, used by our forefathers who derived benefit. The Guru Shishya Parampara of six generations is given.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    This teaching is called Paravara, that which has come down through Guru Shishya Parampara. Para = Guru, Avara = Shishya.

    Parasmath Parasmath Guroho Avarena Avarena Prapthya Ya Vidha Sa paravara Isyuchyathe

    It is that teaching flowing from a higher level (Guru) to a lower lever (Shishya) just like Ganga Devi flows down from the head of Shiva to bless humanity. That is why in our culture Ganga Devi is compared to Self knowledge (Gnana Ganga). Both Ganga and Brahma Vidya originate from the Lords head and flow down. Ganga is perennial, so also is Self knowledge. Ganga purifies and elevates a person, so does Self knowledge.

    3. aunako ha vai mahalogirasa vidhivad upasanna papraccha, kasmin nu bhagavo vijte sarvam ida vijtam bhavati iti.

    Now the sixth generation from Angiras to Shounaka is introduced. The way Shounaka approached Angiras is


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    described. Shounaka was a Mahashala which means he was a Grihasta with a huge Yagashala and a huge Pakashala. This indirectly indicates that he had performed lots of Yagas and Yajnas, i.e., rituals. No ritual is complete without feeding people; he had a huge Pakashala, so he had done lot of Annadanam also.

    He was a person who led a religious life of Karmayoga. Because of this alone, he developed interest in Vedanta. The indirect lesson here is that before a person comes to Vedanta, he should have led a life of religion and made his mind mature. Without religion, Vedanta is a big zero; an irreligious philosophy has no role in our culture. So Shraddha, Bhakthi and Ishwara Vishwasa are all a must before one goes to Vedanta. So Shounaka was a religious person who had also done a lot of Annadanam/charities (Yajnam and Danam purify the mind. In Gita also it is there Yajna Dana Tapa Karyam, No Thyajyam). The word Mahashala indicates all this. So they were Grihastas who had done all this and brought up many children thereby getting Vairagyam.

    Guru Upasadanam he approached the Guru (student should approach the Guru).

    Ha and Vai suggest that it is an ancient incident but still happened and not fiction.


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    Vidhivat according to Shastric rules/injunctions.

    Rikthapanena Nagachethu Raja Guru Devam one should not go to see the Guru with empty hands. Atleast we must take some fruits, flowers or Thulasi leaves. Having given the offering, should do Sashtanga Namaskaram. Namaskara is the physical expression of humility. So Shounaka followed all these Shastric protocol.

    Main qualification of the Guru is that he should have been a student first. Without being a Shishya, a person cannot be a Guru. Such a one is called Sampradayavit Guruhu.

    Now Upanishad enters into the topic. The Shishya requests the Guru and questions him. They also indicate that one should not teach Vedanta without being asked. Naprushtaha Kasyachid Bruyat Never force this teaching on an uninterested person.

    Hey Bhagavaha Oh glorious one. This indicates reverence for the teacher. Shishya should show respect. Guru should not demand it.

    Kasmin Nu Bhagavo Vijte sarvam Ida Vijtam Bhavati Iti

    I want to know the basic substance of this creation (Truth, reality of the creation) by knowing which everything becomes known essentially. The principle behind this is, in this creation


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    we experience many products born out of one particular cause, just like many ornaments out of one material that is gold, different types of furniture from one wood. If you anlayse ornaments and gold, the words bangle, chain, ring are names but there is no new substance other than gold in them. When we say bangle is created, there is no increase in the weight of gold as nothing new has been added.

    Then what has happened?

    Creation is only a word; the gold which is already there has been given a form and a name. Gold alone has weight.

    In Sanskrit, it is called Nama Rupa addition. Chain = gold + Nama Rupa.

    Vedanta says, similarly all the products we see are names and forms alone; and the substance is one cause alone. By knowing that one cause, you have indirectly known all the effects which are nothing but the cause itself in different Vesham (guises). Eka Karana Jnanena Aneka Karyajnanam Bhavathi

    Student wants to know the basic cause (or stuff) of the whole creation. Let us call it Mula Karanam. The advantage of that is, he can easily say, everything in creation is that Karanam alone in different names and forms. Space, air, fire, water, earth everything in God alone in names and forms. This principle alone is highlighted in the Puranic story. Narada conducts a


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    competition for Ganesha and Muruga. Whoever goes round the whole creation and comes back first will get a special mango. Muruga goes off on his peacock fast. Ganesha being chubby, is slow to move but quick to think! He does Pradakshina to his parents and wins! Here Shiva & Parvathi symbolize the whole creation (Ekam Karanam). Subramanya approached by exploring every product (Karyam), Vinayaka instead went to the root of everything.

    If you know the one God, you have understood everything essentially.

    In Vedanta this Karanam is called Brahman. The entire Mundaka Upanishad is an answer to this question. All sciences are also aiming at this same basic truth of creation from their own sides. With the third Mantra the introduction is over.

    So Guru Angiras now gives the teaching.

    He introduces two branches of knowledge. One called Para Vidya or higher knowledge and the other Apara Vidya, a lower knowledge.

    Brahma Vidya is the superior knowledge and all other material sciences are inferior knowledge.

    Why is it so?


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    The first reason is Apara Vidya is a study of effects and by knowing the effect of one product, another one is not known.

    Para Vidya on the other hand is study of cause and by knowing the cuase, all effects are known. All other sciences are effects of one cause only.

    4. tasami sa hovca: dve vidye veditavye iti ha sma yad brahmavido vadanti, par caivpar ca.

    Dve Vidye Veditavye: here note that Angiras does not take any credit to himself, but attributes it all to his Purva Acharyas and Brahma Jnanis.

    Brahman, the cause, even though one pervades all the effects, therefore it is everywhere. Atheists wrote God is nowhere. A person made a slight change and wrote God is now here! Keeping the effect, how can we negate the cause?

    A brief commentary on Aparavidya: traditionally ten branches are there, four Vedas and six Vedangas. In Apara Vidya, the word Veda means Veda Purva.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    5. tatrpar g-vedo yajur-veda sma-vedotharva-veda ik kalpo vykaraa nirukta chando jyotiamiti. atha par yay tad akaram adhigamyate

    Vedangas mean auxiliary sciences. They are Anga because by studying them Vedas are understood better (just like physics, maths and chemistry). They are the six steps to be crossed over to reach Vedantha.

    Shiksha means science of prononciation how to pronounce the Veda Mantras. This is important as

    1.Vedas were never written but learnt by heart and taught orally. So pronunciation was very important as mistakes could increase exponentially over generations. This subject analyses which letter originates from which part of body, which is the Devatha and all such details. That is why, even after ten thousand years Vedas are preserved.

    2.Mimamsa is analysis of meanings of Vedic words. The meanings of Vedic words differ depending on where the word is placed (beginning, middle, and end) in the Veda.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Upakramana Nyaya, Upasamhara Nyaya and Abhyasa Nyaya are all the rules to decipher the meaning of words in Vedas. If I should know the position of Mantras, it is possible only if I know the whole thing by heart. So immediately after Upanayanam, Vedadhyayana and Swadhyaya were compulsory for Vaidikas. Even now in North India, if you want to study either logic or grammer, they are asked to get the whole text by heart before actual teaching starts.

    3.Veda Mantras have Swaras and the meanings are determined not only by letters but by Swara also. So a science of pronounciation is very necessary. Eg., in the Shanthi Mantra (Krishna Yajurveda)

    Aum saha naavavatu, saha nau bhunaktu,saha viryang karavaavahai,

    tejasvina vadhiitamastu,maa vidvishaavahaii,

    Aum shaanti, shaanti, shaantihi ends on a lower note. Shiksha Shastra deals with these.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Kalpa: Book on rituals (codifying the rituals). Vedas have Mantras strewn all over. We should know which Mantra to chant when. All priests should make use of Kalpa.

    Vyakaranam: (Grammar) it can be a problem if it is not understood. For example, in Tat Tvam Asi, Asi is in present tense. If I dont understand this point, I think I am doing Sadhana to become Brahman in future! Whole Upanishad presents Moksha as present tense.

    Niruktham: This is the science of etymology or derivation of the word. In Sanskrit every word is derived form a root. For example, the word Brahman is derived from the root Bhruhu which means big, this plus suffix Manu = Brahman.

    Similarly Atma is derived from four different roots. Based on which root, the meaning differs. Where there is a controversy with respect to meaning this reasoning (as to from which Dhatu it is derived) will also have to be adopted to arrive at the correct meaning. For example, in Taittareya Upanishad, Shankara says, the word Jnanam is derived from four different ways.

    Jna means to know (Karana Vyutpathi, Bhava Vyutpathi). Our tradition is so rigorous with each science having its own authoritative texts (Paninis Shiksha and Vyakarana, Yaskas Nirukta)


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Chandas: Metre in which Mantras are written. For example, Gayathri Mantra is in Nishrud Gayathri Chandaha. Gayathri Chandas has three lines with eight letters (begins with Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Astakshara Tripada Gayathri). Tasvavithurvarenyam becomes 23 letters, that is why it is Nishrad Gayathri Chandaha. Tasyavithurvarenyam 24 letters

    The science of metres is called Chandas Shastra. Pingala Rishi has written a book.

    Jyothisham is Astrology. As Vedanga, it is used to determine appropriate time to perform rituals. Veda does not encourage predictive astrology. Let us learn to accept whatever comes. Jyothisha should be used to perform noble Karmas alone. Literally it means study of the luminaries like the Sun, Moon and Stars. Jyothihi means luminous body. All these Vedangas come under Apara Vidya.

    Para Vidya: Yaya Aksharamadhigamyathe, that by which the imperishable is known.

    Etymology of Aksharam: Na Ksharathi Ithi Aksharam, that which does not perish. The word Aksharam can also be understood as Karanam or cause. Just like in the case of clay and pots or gold and ornaments, the cause is imperishable. It exists before the effect comes (i.e. pot/ornaments), while the


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    effect exists and after the effect perishes also. General Law is therefore cause (Karanam) is imperishable whereas effect (Karyam) perishes. So Karanam is called Aksharam. The creation comes from the Karanam, remains in Karanam and resolves in Karanam.

    Adhigamyathe: known. Alphabet in Sanskrit is called Aksharamala. So this next Mantra six gives the definition of Brahman.

    6. yat tad adreyam, agrhyam, agotram, avaram, acaku-rotra tad api-padam, nityam vibhum sarva-gata suskma tad avyayam yad bhta-yonim paripayanti dhr.

    The truth alone is called Bhagawan in Puranas. In the beginning, the mind is not evolved enough to appreciate the formless Bhagawan. So the infinite truth is itself worshipped as God in different names, Krishna, Rama, Shiva etc. So all these are symbols of this imperishable truth. The real Aksharam is formless, because whatever has form is subject to deformation also. Therefore no formed thing is eternal and therefore


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Aksharam Aroopam. Forms are all at LKG level! Abstract ideas are concretized in the symbols.

    Adreshyam: invisible.


    Because it is formless as formless alone can be eternal. Shankara says if it is not available to eyes, you can extrapolate it to other senses too Sarva Indriya Agocharam and Sarva Jnanendriya Agocharam.

    Agrahyam: it cannot be grasped. Apply to all Karemndriyas. So it is Pancha Karanendriya Agocharam.

    Agothram: one who has no family. Only one who is born has parentage and therefore Gothram. Brahman is not born, therefore has no Gothram.

    Avarnam: the word Varna has three meanings.

    1. Caste

    2. Colour3. Property

    in the sense of physical or chemical etc of a substance.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Shankara has taken it in this third sense when he says Avarnammeans it has no properties or attributes. However it is also time that Brahman has no caste or colour.

    Jathi Neethi Kula Gotra Duragam

    Nama Rupa Guna Dosha Varjitham

    Desha Kala Vishayathi Vathiryata

    Brahmatatvamasi Bhavayatmani

    Achakshu Shrotram: free from all sense organs of knowledge, free from all Karmendriyas or organs of action.

    Brahman is Niravayavam: organs give a shape to the individual. So Brahman has no shape.

    Nityam: Brahman is eternal, has no destruction being the Karanam of everything. Puranas talk about Pralayam where Krishna on a leaf floating in water. This is a symbolic representation of the Parabrahma Tatvam which survives when the whole creation is resolved; the leaf represents the Maya, a mysterious principle on which Parabrahma is floating.

    Vibhum (Vividham Bhavathi Iti Vibhuhu). Brahman, the Karanam alone becomes the creation with Nama and Rupa. It is all pervading. The effect is because of the cause alone. Will there be a chain without wood or ornament without gold?


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Similarly without Brahman, creation cannot be there. The very existence is lent by Brahman.

    When some body asked what is God?

    The answer as, what is, is God. The very is ness in every product is God alone.

    Susukshman: extremely subtle means difficult to comprehend, Pranena Agocharam, because we cannot see or perceive in any way. How to conceive Brahman in that case? Dont conceive it because if you conceive, you will have to deliver it later!! Brahman is not an object of conception. It is beyond comprehension, it is to be known only.

    Tat Avyayam: without decay, declention, disintegration without old age. This is very important. Otherwise I will be afraid of old age, I am the decayless Brahman.

    Bhutayonim: most important word in this context. Bhuta means all things and beings. Yoni: the direct meaning is womb of mother. But here it means cause of everything (similar to concept of Big Bang from a singularity).

    Why is this most important? In third Mantra, it was said, once you know the root cause of anything, you know generally all effects. Root cause alone appears as effects. One Brahman


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    alone appears as the Manifold Universe. Therefore Brahma Jnanena Sarva Jnanam Bhavathi

    Scientists are also hunting for Advaitham only. Matter is manifestation of energy. Now there are four types of energies (nuclear force, strong force, weak force and gravitation). They are trying to find one thing explaining everything TOE (theory of everything). Once that is found, everything macro and micro can be explained.

    Who can know this Brahman?

    Very very few because it is very very subtle.

    Dheeraha: qualified, prepared people, Adhikari.

    Tatvabodha gives qualifications:

    Viveka: value for Brahma Jnanam,

    Vyragya: all other things are secondary,

    Shamadi Shatka Sampathi: a well integrated personality with a disciplined and well aligned body, speech, Indriyas, mind and senses complex.

    Mumukshatvam: desire for Moksha or freedom. There is a practical benefit for the wisdom i.e. freedom from mental turmoil. I enjoy a light mind. Otherwise the mind is a weight we bear. Such people who have all these qualifications clearly


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    recognize this, Samantat pashyanthi, means they perceive Brahman everywhere (they see gold alone, not ornaments).

    This sixth Mantra is the most important Mantra in this section.

    7. yathora-nbhi sjate ghate ca, yath pthivaym oadhayas sambhavanti, yath sata purut kealomni tathkart sambhavatha vivam.

    The 7th, 8th and 9th Verses are a commentary on the 6th Mantra. This is elaborated through three examples to show the relationship of cause and effect.

    1. Spider spinning the web

    2. Varieties of plants growing from the earth3. Hairs growing from the body

    1. Here the beauty is, the spider initially very intelligently selects the appropriate spot and visualizes its web. So it is the intelligent cause of the web. Raw material is also produced by the spider itself (normally any raw material is different from the maker).

    So here spider is the intelligent as well as the material cause of the web. In many cases like furniture, ornaments etc, the


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    carpenter is different from wood, goldsmith is different from gold. Intelligent cause is called Nimitha Karanam. Material cause is called Upadhana Karanam. So spider is Abhinna Nimitha Upadhana Karanam. So is Brahman. He alone visualizes the creation; he alone is also the material. So he is the cosmic architect. Other than him there is nothing; no time, no space, so there is no question of searching for material cause.

    2. Earth produces varieties of plants. Though earth is one, it is capable of producing different varieties. So is Brahman who is one but can produce many effects Eka Karanath Aneka Vidha Karyani

    3. Our body is live and sensient. But hair and nails are insensient. So the body which is of Chetana nature produces something of a different nature (Vilakshana Srishti which means cause producing an effect of a different nature). Normally we experience Salakshana Srishti like mangoes in mango tree, humans begetting humans. But in Brahman, this Vilakshana Srishti is possible.

    Brahman Creation

    Adreshyam (invisible) Drishyam


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Agrahyam (cannot grasp) Grahyam

    Avarnam (no properties) Properties

    Avyayam (indestructible) Vyayam

    So it shows Brahman can produce creation of totally different nature.

    In spider example, the spider not only designs and creates the web by itself but is its Laya Karanam also (it swallows/resolves its web into itself), whereas a pot maker does not swallow the pot!

    Brahman also creates and resolves the creation into himself/itself (Srujate, Gruhnate)

    Kesha Loma Kesha is scalp hair, Loma is body hair.

    Sat Purushat from live body

    Like these three examples Brahman also creates the whole cosmos and

    finally resolves in himself.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    8. tapas cyate brahma, tatonnam abhijyate, annt pro mana satya lok karmasu cmtam.

    How does creation originate from Brahman? This is Vedic Cosmology! The world has evolved from Brahman gradually in three stages. Shankara gives the example of a seed which is sowed.

    1. It is swollen just before sprouting.

    2. Plant just emerges from the seed but is not fully grown, neither totally unmanifest nor totally manifest.

    3. Fully grown tree stage.

    Brahman also goes through three stages.

    In Vedanta, there are two important Laws.

    1. Nothing can be created out of nothing,

    2. Matter can never be created or destroyed

    (This is so both in science and Vedanta).

    Then what is creation?


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    There is no creation. It is a myth. That is why we can never find answers to basic questions about the universe, like why is the creation there?

    Creation is just a figurative expression. If so, what is the meaning of creation?

    When we create a desk what happens?

    Before and after creation of desk, some amount of matter exists.

    Even before creation of desk, it is already there in the wood potentially. It has been only conversion of form of raw material from one to another and we rename it as desk.

    So every product exists in the cause in potential form. So creation is only from the unmanifest to the manifest from. So universe was never created at any time according to the Law of Conservation of Matter. But it might have been there in potential form like the tree in a seed. That is why a tree can come from a seed but nothing comes out of a stone though both a seed and a small stone may look similar outwardly.

    So everything exists in Brahman in potential form which we may call Shakthi and Brahman can be called Shiva.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Brahman containing unmanifest universe is itself expressed as Shiva Shakthi principle. It is also called Maya (potential).

    So before creation, Brahman + Maya was there, but they were inseparable like my walking principle or talking principle cannot be there without me.

    The unmanifest universe goes through various stages of manifestations. Long before creation, the unmanifest creation is in passive form.

    Just before creation, it is in activated form, just like a seed is swollen with water just before it sprouts. We can also compare it with the preparedness of athletes just before the start of a race.

    Maya has two Avasthas passive and activated just like activated carbon (four jumping electrons ready for chemical reaction). This prepared stage is called activated Brahman (stage 2).

    3. Potentiality has become partially manifest, similar to a young plant. In Sanskrit, it is called Suskhma Prapancha. It is there, but cannot be seen.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    4. This subtle universe or Sukshma Prapancha is transformed into gross universe. Sukshma Prapanch to Sthoola Prapancha.

    Brahma Tapasa Cheeyathe stage one to two. Brahman expands as it were because real expansion is not possible as Brahman is Sarvagatam (fills everything) or is infinite. So where can it expand? This is through Tapas which means by preparedness.

    Tatah Annam Abhijayathe Annam here means Brahman in prepared condition. In this Mantra, everything has a peculiar meaning. That is why Upanishads are called mystic literature.

    Annat Pranaha, Manaha, Pranaha. Manaha mean cosmic mind. So cosmic mind evolves from prepared condition of Brahman (Ichha Shakthi, Jnana Shakthi, Kriya Shakthi).

    Satyam Lokaha represent the final stage of visible universe. Here Satyam means five Sthoola Pancha Bhootas. All these meanings are explained with rational and logical support in Brahma Sutras by Shankaracharya. Lokaha means fourteen Lokas. Once all these are created, the other things come into being like Karmas, human beings etc.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Amritham once actions are done, Karma Phalas either Punyam or Papam are bound to be there. Here Amritham means Karma Phala. Brahma alone has become all this (it is like I create the whole world in my dream myself).

    The same idea is continued in the next Shlokam.

    9. ya sarvaja sarva-vid yasya jnamaya tapa; tasmd etad brahma nma-rpam anna ca jyate.

    Sarvajnaha means omniscient in Para Vidya.

    Sarvavit means omniscient in Apara Vidya.

    It is omniscient with Maya Shakthi (Icha, Jnana and Kriya Shakthi).

    Yasya Jnamaya Tapaa visualize the whole creation before actually it is created.

    The whole creation must fulfil the Karmaphala of all the beings. So everything is based on cosmic law of creation. This Srishti is based on Karmaphala of previous Srushti. It is a cyclic process, so there is no beginning or end.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Here Tapas means visualization with the help of Maya. From that Tapas is born. Brahma here means Suskshma Prapancha, not Karma Brahman.

    Then names, form, food etc are born which means Brahman has become all this.

    The first section of Mundaka is introductory in nature. Student and teacher are introduced the branches of knowledge, namely Apara and Para Vidya are mentioned briefly. Brahman is also briefly introduced as the root cause of the Universe. The rest of the five sections will be elaboration of two Vidyas.

    The second section has a magnified version of Apara Vidya.

    Now we will enter into the second section.

    First Mundaka: Second Khanda

    1. tad etat satyam: mantreu karmi kavayo yny apayams tni trety bahudh santatni, tny caratha niyatam, satyakm, ea va panth suktasya loke.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Apara Vidya literally means lower branch of knowledge. All the secular sciences come under this category including the Poorva Bhaga of Vedas. Only Vedanta comes under Para Vidya. Here we are not going to deal with secular sciences like physics etc but only Veda Purva. The Veda Purva itself has two portions.

    1. Ritualistic portion, and

    2. Meditations

    Ritualistic portion is Karma Pradhana and Meditation is Upasana Pradhana.

    Ritualistic portion: These are again of two types.

    1. Artha Kama Pradhana Karma meant for material well being including money and sense pleasures. They are also called Kamya Karmas or Rajasa Karmani.

    2. Moksha Pradhana Karma they are Nishkama or Satvika Karmas which take me towards the Lord.

    What should be the life style of a human being?

    Initially people are naturally interested in wealth and entertainment. So Artha, Kama Karmas are done mostly with a bit of Nishkama Karma like Sandhya Vandanam which is supposed to be the best Nishkama Karma.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Gradually our priorities should shift. Karmas meant for Chittashuddhi should be more and more and Kamya Karmas less and less. Temple visit need not be dropped, but ask for Jnana and Vairagya and a desire for Moksha. Even after we get a desire for Moksha, ask for Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampathi, a proper Guru, opportunity to study Scriptures and remove obstacles in that direction. So Apara Vidya has this important role.

    Kamya Karmas are talked about initially as that is what people are inclined towards first. When Krishna talks about four types of Bhaktas in Gita, Jignasu comes only after Aartha and Artharthi.

    Satyakama: The word Satyam has four or five meanings. In the first section it meant Pancha Bhootas.

    In this Mantra, in the third line, it means Karma Phalam, various benefits of Karma.

    Kamaha means seekers. So it means, oh people, interested in worldly things.

    Mantreshu Karmani: in the Mantras of Veda Purva, Kamya Karmas are mentioned.

    Kavayaha: Vedic Rishis have discovered these Mantras. They havent invented them. They are already there


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    created by the Lord. These ritualistic Mantras are mainly contained in Rig, Yaju and Sama Vedas.

    Thani Niyatam Acharata: take to them and fulfil your desires. Here one important thing is to be noted. Veda does not condemn worldly desires. It knows that we are still children in spiritual sense. So desires are not a sin. If a man wants name, fame, money, children etc, Veda allows them and infact has Mantras for their fulfillment. Illegitimate fulfillment alone is wrong. But we should gradually grow and grow out of them eventually.

    All kamya Karmas have to be performed strictly according to the rules to get the appropriate results. Just like in growing a plant, so many preconditions like soil, light, water and manure have to be applied appropriately to make it grow well; Karmas have to be properly done. This is meant by Niyatam: Niyama Anusarena Kartavyam.

    Sukrutasya Loke means for accomplishing various karma Phalas.

    How do we know weather the rituals will produce results or not?

    In science, the mechanism of action in any process is explained, but in Vedas, between rituals and their results, the explanation is not given, but Veda gives guarantee


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    that the results will come if Karma is performed properly. There is only Shraddha. Here again the word Satyam is used Tad Etat Satyam: here it means, it is valid, trustworthy, Avitatham.

    2 yath lelyate hy arcis samiddhe havya-vhane, tad jya-bhvv antarehuti pratipdayec chraddhay-hutam.

    Here Upanishad wants to present the plus and minus points of rituals. So you can decide either to use them or not. On the plus side, results are guaranteed if done properly. On the minus side, you have to fulfil so many conditions; if not, it will not produce results and may even be counterproductive.

    Ahutih Pratipadayet: here the ritual Agnihotram is taken as a standard example of a Karma. It is supposed to be done by Grihastas twice daily. Here oblations with the fire are offered. Where? Within the Homa Kunda, person facing the east, the oblation should be offered between north and south. This is called Ajya Bhaga.

    Havyavahane Samiddhe: means the fire in the Homa Kunda should be burning brightly when the oblations are offered. It should not be a smoldering fire but a well kindled one with


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    flames shooting up. Flames are considered tongues of fire. Agni serves as a courier reaching the oblations to the respective Devathas.

    Yada Lelayathe Hyarehihi: means when fire is well kindled and flames are shooting up and they lap up the oblations as it were.

    3. yasygnihotram adaram apauramsam acturmsyam angrayaam atithivarjitam ca ahutam avaivadevam avidhin hutam -saptams tasya lokn hinasti.

    Any ritual has many supportive or Anga Karmani. Agnihotra must be supported by these rituals.

    Darsham: to be done the day after Amavasya (Padya).

    Pournamasa: to be done the day after Pournima (Padya).

    Chaturmasyam: to be done once in four months (different from Chaturmasyam of Sanyasis).

    Agrayanam: ritual done with freshly harvested grains.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Atithi Pooja: feeding at least one person other than family every day.

    Vysvadevam: offering food to animals everyday. Agnihotram has to be supported by all these without which its results will not come.

    Ahutam: done at an improper time (will not give results). So proper timing of ritual is highlighted.

    Avidhinahutam: done without observing rules. For example, in Sandhyavandanam, morning Devatas should be invoked in the morning and evening Devatas should be invoked in the evening. The order of invoking should be followed too.

    Karma involves physical body and mind whereas Upasana is a purely mental occupation.

    Karmas are of two types.

    1. meant for material ends (Sakama) and

    2. those meant for purity of mind or spiritual preparation.

    The Upanishad first deals with Sakama Karma. They are valid and reliable if done properly and results are bound to come. The catch is: they have to be done properly which means all preconditions should be fulfilled. So the ritual Agnihotra is efficacious only if accompanied by the six


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Anga Karmas already delineated. If not, it will destroy all positive results. Here it is to be noted that Agnihotra is taken as a representative of all Sakama Karmas and the positive results are the attainments of higher Lokas (Bhuvarloka, Suvarloka, Maharloka, etc till Brahmaloka). Shankara says, it should be taken as; it will not produce any results. (Ayasa Matram Nishprayojanam Bhavathi)

    4. kl karal ca mano-jav ca sulhoit y ca sudhmravar, sphuligin viva-rpi ca dev lelyamn iti sapta-jiv.

    Agni has seven types of flames delineated in the abolve Shloka and is therefore also called Sapta Jihva (one with seven tongues). An utterly useless ritual is called Bhasma Ahuti in Vedic parlance because if Ahuti is offered when there is only smoke and there are no flames, it is useless.

    In Homa/Yagas, one should not blow air directly to the fire to kindle it as saliva should not fall on fire as fire is sacred and considered a Devata. Why should there be flames? Because they are considered tongues of Agni Devata and they lap up the offerings that are offered in the fire.

    Here varieties of flames are described.

    Kali: is a black or dark coloured flame.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Karali: fierce, extremely hot, scorching flame.

    Manojava: fast moving flame like the speed of mind.

    Sulohita: deep red flame (described in labs when testing for calcium).

    Sudhumravarna: dark grey coloured smoky flame.

    Sphulingini: with many sparkles.

    Devi Vishvaruchi: bright and multicoloured flame.

    Lelayamanaha: all these move about in the Homa Kunda.

    5. eteu ya carate bhrjamneu yath-kla c hutayo hy dadyan, ta nayanty ets sryasya ramayo yatra devnm patir ekodhivsa.

    This Mantra describes the results that one gets when rituals (Sakama) are performed properly. There are Ihaloka Phalas like prosperity, health, wealth etc.

    Paraloka Phalas one enjoys Swargaloka, where all comforts are provided. Swarga Prapti was considered a great thing. Many religions still consider heaven going as the ultimate goal. Even within the Vedic fold, some branches consider a


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    higher Loka as the highest destination. Only in Advaita, going to a Loka is not ultimate but gaining Moksha here and now is considered ultimate.

    Here how one is taken to higher Lokas is described. When a person offers oblations into the fire observing all the dos and donts, then the very oblation will lead him to higher Lokas. Oblations represent various Devatas, who are invoked, and they guide him in the form of rays of Sun as it were, not exactly, but the example is given to show that the Devatas are so bright and they very warmly welcome and lead the ritualist. In heaven the Lord of Devatas (Indra) presides (he is the most powerful (unrivalled) ruler of Devas).

    6. ehy ehti tam hutayas suvarcasa sryasya ramibhir yajamna vahanti, priy vcam abhivadantyorcayantya, ea va puyas sukto brahma-loka.

    How will he be treated in heaven? Will be he treated as a second class citizen? No, he will be a first class citizen. Oblations invoke bright Devatas who welcome him with pleasant words like Achi, Achi, means please come.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Archayantaha: he is worshipped. Here Brahmaloka means heaven. All this is the result of Karma Rupa (Sakama) Apara Vidya!

    Until now positive aspects of Sakama Karma were talked about. Next, Upanishads point out the negative aspects.

    1. Most important is, that the result is finite (Anityam, Ashashvatam, perishable, fleeting). Everyday in Swarga is a count down! Just like every birthday, we move closer and closer to Yamaraja coming down is anything but happy. Pain will be proportional to pleasure. So Veda says, if you are prepared to face that also, then persist with Sakama Karmas. Be prepared mentally for the limitations. The whole topic is presented by the Upanishads in three stages. Any Karma can be performed only with the help of all accessories which include things and human beings. Rituals involve priests. Wife is required especially when Dakshina is to be offered (symbolic of husband requiring permission from wife to give anything). In a medium sized ritual, sixteen priests are required: four for each Veda.

    Hotruganaha (Rig),

    Adhvaryu (Yajur),


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Udgatru (Sama), and

    Brahmagaha (Atharvana).

    This is what is described in the following Mantra.

    7. plav hy ete adh yaja-rp adaoktam avaram yeu karm: etac chreyo yebhinandanti mh jar-mtyu te punar evpiyanti.

    Yajnarupa means all these eighteen accessories (sixteen priests, Yajamana and wife) (Ashtadasha).

    Avaram means Karma. On these accessories is dependent the whole ritual.

    Rituals are of two types. Those which do not involve any Upasana or meditation, called Upasanarahita Karma and those that include Upasana is Upasanasahita Karma.

    For example, chanting Vishnu Sahasranama by heart without meditation becomes just a Karma.

    If supported by Dhyanam (visualize the meaning of the verses) becomes Karma + Upasana.

    The ephemeral nature of both Karma and its Phalas are being discussed.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    For this, we need to know that any action is born out of important accessories called Karakam in Sanskrit. It means, for action to take place, some essential factors are necessary.

    1. Karta: performer of the action or subject of action (nominative case).

    2. Object of action (what is eaten for example. Accusative case).

    3. With what instrument do you perform (instrumental case) (Karana Karakam).

    4. For whose/what benefit (dative case) (Sampradana Karana)

    5. Location of action (ablative case) (Adhikarana Karakam).

    6. Place from where resources are got (locative case) (Apadhana Karakam).

    Even if one Karakam is not there, action cannot take place. So all these together cause action.

    Karaka Janya: kriya. Next once action is produced, it invariably produces a result. Kriya Janyam is Phala.

    Karaka > Kriya > Phala. This law is applicable to all actions in life. As the cause is, so the effect is. Any action has proportional result. If cause is finite, result is also finite. This


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    is a Law too. Therefore, if all the Karakas are finite like all people are finite, all oblations are finite, Homas are finite, the results will necessarily have to be finite.

    Karakani Anitya: Karaka Janya Kriya Anityaha

    Kriya Janya Phalam Api Anityam

    Plavaha means fragile boats like catamaran on the Pacific Ocean. As these are fragile and perishable, so are the results of all Punya Karmas (Anityam).

    Avaram Karma: Karma which is Dhyana Rahitam, considered to be slightly of lower quality. So with such Karmas, no one can hope for eternal security.

    Mudaha Etat Shreyaha Abhinandanti: only fools think they can get eternal security out of them. Naturally they will lose the perishable benefits in time and go from one death to another. Even Swarga is not eternal. One may say he is not afraid of death, but what about old age which is inevitable too?

    7. avidyym antare vartamn svaya dhr paitam manyamn, janghanyamn pariyanti mh, andhenaiva nyamn yathndh.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    So even the most sacred Karma cannot give Moksha. Whoever holds on to Karma are therefore to be criticized strongly. They are steeped in ignorance of two kinds.

    One is self ignorance and the second is the misconception that Moksha is got through Karmas (the widely held opinions that Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, Rajayoga and social service), all paths to Moksha are wrong. Unfortunately the people who say these also say that Vedas teach this. No! Vedas are very specific about this Na Karmana, Na Prajaya, Na Dhanena, Thyage Nike Amrutatvamanashuhu. They are all misconceptions.

    He who knows not and does not know that he does not know is a fool; shun him.

    He who knows not, knows he knows not, he is ignorant, teach him. He will be humble.

    He who knows, knows not, he knows (like Anjaneya) he is asleep, wake him and learn from him.

    He who knows, knows he knows, he is wise. Follow him.

    Here Upanishad talks of a fifth type.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    He who does not know, but claims that he is wise and knows (Swayam Dheeraha, Panditham Manyamanaha).

    Unfortunately most of the Vedic translations are non-traditional and misleading. Wherever four paths to Moksha are mentioned, take it as Avaidika Margaha.

    Janghanya Manaha: afflicted by varieties of problems in life because they are misguided due to unintelligent expectations in life.

    Pariyanti: ramble about and not reaching anywhere. Such people when they face problem in one aspect, they leave that and do something else, replace one Anityam with another and hence do not reach anywhere. They are Nitya Anitya Vastu Viveka Rahitaha. Such people seek advice from similar ones. So the whole world is like this.

    9. avidyym bahudh vartamn vaya ktrth ity abhi-manyanti blh: yat karmio na pravedayanti rgt tentur kalok cyavante.

    Avidyayam Bahuda Vartamanahavayam Kritharthaha Upanishad continues criticism of rituals. Here we should be


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    careful. Here note that only Sakama Karmas are criticized, not Nishkama Karmas as they produce Chitta Shuddhi and therby lead to Jnana and Moksha. So do your Karmas, only change your Sankalpa.

    Samastha Duritha Kshaya Dvara Shree Parameshwara Preethyartham Jnana Vairagya Sampadanartham Vedanta Shravna Manana Nidhidhyasanartham

    Rituals are important, but motive should be for Shreyas.

    People are confused. Truth is one but misconceptions can be many. For example, a rope (truth) can be mistaken for snake, garland, pipeline etc. So here Bahuda Avidhyam means with regard to Jeeva, (misconceptions like I am a finite, mortal), world (world will make me happy if I make some adjustments here and there), we have been thinking like this from our childhood days. The same is true with our concept of God (he is sitting in Vaikunta or Kailasa and after death; I have to travel and travel to reach him).

    So going to reach Bhagawan is an error (Bahuda Varthamanaha).

    Vayam Krithartha Iti Manyante: in the midst of this Anityam world, we think we are happy which is most surprising. So people of the world think they are happy and not in need of Vedanta. We cannot push Vedanta down their throats, until


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    they discover the necessity. So dont impose it on them. In that sense, they are Balaha, childish people, they still have not discovered the goal of life and the problem of Samsara. So only bless them and wish them all the best. The day they discover the problem of Samsara and they come, then welcome and teach them. Why is this so?

    Karminaha: because of their excessive attachment to worldly things and beings, their mind is always pre-occupied with yoga (acquiring something which I do not have now) and Kshema (safeguarding what I have already acquired); there is no time to think the fundamental question of life. What did I achieve out of this life?

    Dukhaturaha: because of attachment, they are always miserable being always under the hold of one of the Arishadvargas. If I do not make use of this wonderful human birth, once my Punya is exhausted, my next birth may not be human.

    Upanishad continues criticism of Sakama Karmas. However the same rituals if done with a Sankalpa, praying the Lord for Chitta Shuddhi become Nishkama Karmas and lead one to Moksha Marga. So one who does Nishkama Karma is intelligent.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Tena Aturaha: unintelligent people aspiring for heaven etc which are lesser goals.

    Chyavante means they fall. Once Punyas are exhausted, they fall from heaven and again return to either human or even lower births.

    10. iaprtam manyamn variha nnyac chreyo vedayante pramh, nksaya phe te suktenubhtvema loka hnatara v vianti.

    This conveys almost the same idea as the previous Mantra.

    Pramudhaha: extremely foolish people.

    Ishta: are Vedic rituals done in presence of Agni also called Shroutha Karmas.

    Purta: these are also called Smartha Karmas and involves help to society like digging wells, temple building, Annadanam, constructing rest houses for people etc.

    All these again can be done with two motives.

    1. Material motive: limited benefit.

    2. Spiritual motive: gives Chitta Shuddhi.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    The word Ishtam can be derived from two roots and two meanings.

    1. Ichhati: to desire (priyam)

    2. from Yaj, Yajati: religious worship.

    Better continue with your religious practices even if you have started study of Vedanta, as they help you to grasp Vedanta better. Only do Sankalpa properly. Even a purified person cannot drop religious rituals unless he takes formal Sanyasa. He has to serve as a model to younger generation.

    Anyat Shreyaha Na Vedayante: many people do not know about Moksha Sadhanam at all. For them, all religious practices are only for material benefit. They are unaware about Shreyas. According to Scriptures, Scriptural study is most important among all religious practices. The others can be abbreviated but not study. Religious people however accumulate Punyam and go to higher Lokas.

    Nakam: Akam means pain, Nakam means no pain. Therefore Nakam means heaven i.e. painless pleasure (this is relative too as it ends). Bhuvarloka, Suvarloka, Maharloka, Tapoloka, Satyaloka and Brahmaloka are the higher Lokas.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Anubhutva means they enjoy a gala time. However it is a count down every minute. So here the Anityatvam of all Sakama Karmas and their Phalams is emphasized.

    11. tapa raddhe ye hy upavasanty araye nt vidvso bhaikcarya caranta, srya-dvrea te viraj praynti yatrmta sa puruo hy avyaytm.

    Till the tenth Mantra, Upanishad talked about rituals and their Phalams. Rituals are mainly Kayika (body, physical) Pradhanam.

    Now we came to Upasana Pradhana (Manah) Apara Vidya. They are also called meditations or Saguna Ishwara Dhyana. These are also Karmas only, but only mind is involved.

    Devathayaha Ape Sameepe Aasanam means dwelling near God mentally. The word Upavas also has the same meaning, Ishwar Sameep Varthanam, Upavas.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Fasting is only incidental, to save time from the routine cooking etc, in order to spend more time to meditate upon God.

    In the four Ashramas described, one Sadhana is highlighted in each Ashrama.

    1. Brahmachari: Veda Adhyayana is important, rituals and Upasana are minimal with only Sandhyavandanam.

    2. Grihasta: Karma Pradhana, social and family responsibilities to be shouldered.

    3. Vanaprastha: Upasana Pradhanam. Other things are subsidiary. Try to live a secluded life and give importance to Saguna Ishwara Dhyanam.

    4. Sanyasa: both Karma and Upasanas are minimal. Whole Apara vidya is subsidiary. It is entirely devoted to Vedanta Chintana.

    Chinthana Aasupthehe Aamruthehe Kalam Nayed Vedanta Chinthaya

    Even to take that concentrated dose of Vedanta one has to get that mental maturity. Not all can take it.

    Vidwansaha means Upasakaha. Karmas involve a certain extrovertedness of mind in order to organize everything required to perform the Karma. So meditation/Upasana is


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    for withdrawing the mind inside. In Vanaprasthashrama, gradually hand over the responsibility to the next generation.

    Bhykshacharyam Charantaha: life style of Bhiksha.

    Shanthaha: due to reduction of Karmas, restlessness is less.

    Aranye Upavasanthi: they live in forest, in secluded place.

    Tapaha, Upasanaha: practice meditation with minimum Karmas.

    In Grihastashrama also both Karma and Upasana are there, but proportion is different (more Karma, less Upasanas)

    Shraddha here means Upasana predominantly.

    In Upasanas also two types, Sakama and Nishkama distinguished.

    Te Virajaha: means Sakama Upasana. The practitioners of this become Punyavanthaha, their Papas are neutralized, and after death,

    Surya Dwarena Prayanti: they travel by a special route called Shukla Gati which is an unseen route traveled by the Jeevatma (Sukshma Karana Sharira Complex). By this


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    route, he reaches Brahmaloka presided over by Chaturmukha Brahma with a relatively eternal life span (2000 Chaturyugas are Brahmas one year and his life span is 100 such years).

    Avyayatma: free from old age. There are also pleasures. There are also Vedanta classes conducted by Brahmaji. Those who attend classes there get Krama Mukthi. If there also they dont attend classes and watch TV, they will come back! So Anityam is there too.

    The 11th Mantra hinted at Upasana Kanda. It is to be noted that the Upasana referred to here is Saguna Brahma Dhyanam and not Atma Dhyanam. Both positive and negative aspects of Karmas and Upasanas were delineated. The most important negative aspect is that Karma and Upasanas cannot produce knowledge/Moksha. So Karma keeps a person within the hold of Samsara. Same is true with Upasana too. Even miraculours powers or Siddhis which are Upasana Phalas also are material ends. Upasanas are more powerful than Karmas. On the positive side, Upasanas can integrate, organize the minds, remove extrovertedness, increase the focusing power of mind but can never produce Jnana/Moksha. Therefore it also comes under Apara Vidya. So what produces Moksha? It is only Para Vidya or Jnana. So what should one do? Not totally reject Apara Vidya, follow it, purify and integrate


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    the mind. Then intelligently graduate to Para Vidya. How does the shift take place? This is indicated in this next Mantra. It is the most important Mantra of Mundaka and whole Upanishad literature.

    12. parkya lokn karmancitn brhmao nirvedam yn nsty aktah ktena, tad vijnrtha sa gurum evbhigacchet samit-pi rotriyam brahma-niham.

    The entire Vedic life design is beautifully given here.

    Brahmanaha Karmachitan Lokan Parikshya Every person, in the beginning is interested in Artha and Kama only. Dharma comes only later as it is invisible. When this is so, what to talk of Moksha? So initially only Sakama Karma will appeal to people. Vedas say, doesnt matter, acquire everything, only as and when you enjoy, also learn (Parikshya). Once in a while do introspection (having acquired all this, am I secure?). Without this introspection, we repeat the same mistakes. Intelligence is not avoiding


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    mistakes, but by learning from them, not repeat them. So learn from life.

    Lokan means achievements, accomplishments here. We generally are very objective about others, but not with ourselves. This is futile as we cannot change others. So what is needed is to be objective about myself and change myself. This is called Karma Phala Pariksha.

    Brahmanaha here means one who wants to follow Vedic teaching, not Brahmana by birth. Only if he follows Vedic life style (Vaidika Achara Sampannaha), can he learn from life.

    We generally dont learn because, when there are problems in life, our mind is disturbed, a disturbed mind is unable to learn. In pleasant experiences we do not learn at all. In unpleasant ones, mind is not available for learning. So I need a technique by which I can keep my mind calm.

    Veda prescribes Samatvam. How?

    1. Devotion to God. Take unpleasant experiences as a gift from God to teach me lessons in life. This is prasada Buddhi. God brings us under water often as it were to purify us just like Ganga Snana. Brahmana is one who has this appropriate attitude.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Brahmanaha Karmayogi Ishwararpana Budhiman. So he will study thoroughly all the Artha, Kama Phalani. We can also learn from others experience if we are sensitive enough. Shankara says Pratyaksha, Anumana and Agama Pramana can teach us; that money does not promise happiness. At most it can make life more comfortable (Amruthathvam Nashasti Vittena in Brihadaranyaka) not peaceful. They are not synonymous.

    What is the lesson learnt? All Karma Phalas have intrinsic defects.

    1. Dukha Mishritatvam: this is because there is effort required in acquiring, preserving and losing is painful. This is so with money, power and relationships and situations.

    2. Athrupthikaratvam: There is no contentment. Always look to next higher one. I am always aware of what I dont have.

    3. Bhandakatvam: I become a slave of things, situations and relationships I have acquired. So I lean on them and when the support is removed, it is painful. So they are dependence causing and the struggle continues.

    So the three Purusharthas namely, Artha, Kama and Dharma make Samsara continue.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Moksha is the only goal free from these defects. It puts an end to this struggle. Here this Brahmanaha discovers the Anitya of Samsara and that Moksha alone is Nitya. He gets Nitya Anitya Vastu Viveka.

    Disappointments come to a person who has appointments with the future.

    Nirveda Mayat develops Vairagyam towards all Karmaphalaha and Upasana Phalaha. Vairagyam does not mean hatred. It is neither attachment nor hatred but transcending both.

    Example: there is nicely decorated card board chair. It can be used for decoration, ie. To see and enjoy, can be displayed in an exhibition etc. but cannot be used to sit! Similarly dont lean on external factors but use them when they are available. This attitude is Nirvedanam. For real support lean on Bhagawan alone.

    Kritena Akritaha Nasti: Kritam means Karma and Upasana (literally doing). Akritaha means Moksha. Through Kritaha, Akritaha cannot be accomplished as Krithaha can only produce defective results.

    Krithaha is useful for purification, for Jnana Yogyatha and are important there. After getting purification and


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    integration, they become useless for me just like after any degree, college is no longer useful to me.

    At that time Jnana Kanda calls me and asks what do you want? If the person says I am not interested in finite goals, then Vedanta says, there is a defectless goal Brahma, Moksha, if you are interested. If a person is addicted to material goals and is willing to pay the price, there is nothing Vedanta can do for him. Vedanta is useful only if someone does not want to have the acquire, lose cycle.

    So how to acquire Brahman?

    If it is acquired by any way, then it becomes a Karma Phala and therefore limited and it will go away. So there is no Karma/Upasana to acquire Brahman.

    A person will have to come to Para Vidya to get Moksha. However, to acquire the necessary qualifications to get Moksha one has to follow Apara Vidya initially. He needs to live a Dharmic life, do certain compulsory duties (Pancha Yagnas). The advantage of these Nikshkama Karmas is, the person will have a Satvic mind; because of this bent of mind he will learn from the experiences of life and know their limitations. This is what is meant by Parikshya Lokan Karmachitan. All the Sadhyams (Phalas) accomplished are limited in time.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    The goal of Moksha can never be accomplished in time through effort. So Moksha is not an event. If so, it becomes the end product of a process.

    So the very question how to accomplish Moksha/defectless goal? is wrong.

    Here Veda says, you have to come to Jnana Kanda. This is only for a person who wants a defectless goal. If someone does not want this and is happy with worldly things, Veda says wish you all the best, but know that whatever you achieve is all going to end. If you gain, you will lose also, and then dont complain. So be ready for shocks and problems.

    Vedanta is relevant only for those who want a defectless goal. Veda says this Brahman or defectless goal you are. So what should I do now? If it is me alone, I need not do anything to accomplish it. When Veda says you are Brahman, it is in the present tense. So it is not something to become by effort. At least should I do something to know Brahman? It is not an object of knowledge, an object of discovery or object of experience.

    Brahman is you who is ever known to you always. Knowing is only with respect to unknown. So what is the


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    problem? Veda is talking about the most familiar thing to me.

    Problem is Veda says I am defect free goal, i.e. no Dukha Mishritatvam, no Atriptikaratvam, etc. Brahma means pure Ananda, total satisfaction, infinite and Veda says I am that.

    But before coming to Veda, I have an opinion about myself that I am finite.

    So which opinion about myself is correct?

    So what is required is self enquiry to see if Vedic revelation about myself is correct. The whole Sadhana is geared towards this.

    I am finite is a wrong conclusion because I have never seriously enquired about this. So now I have to make a proper conclusion (Atmanaha Brahmatva Vicharaha).

    Example: In Mahabharata, Karna had a self conclusion that he was an Akshatriya. Kunti told him that she had six children. So he asks, who is the sixth child and he would like to meet him. So what will Kunti say?

    Saha Tvam Asi! So that is a Mahavakyam!


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Now does Karna have to travel to reach the sixth child? Should he do any Sadhana and have any experience to know that? No. He only needs to own up the truth, that is all.

    So in the important 12th Mantra Upanishad talks about transition from Karma Kanda to Janana Kanda. When Upanishad says you are Brahman which is present tense and not imperative mood or future tense, I need not experience it, as it is not anything new but most familiar to me. My problem is whether I am able to accept this. Upanishad says I am Brahman, but I had thought that I am mortal, perishable, limited and Samsari. So there are two opinions about me.

    1. I am Samsari

    2. I am Asamsari

    I am located in my conclusion, locationless as per Upanishad. So I require an enquiry into myself to find the truth. As all our senses are outward looking, to look at myself I need a mirror. So Shastra is the mirror to know my real nature. Shastrajnanam (Vedanta) is itself Brahmajnanam. The two are not separate. Brahman is not a theory, not an idea, not a hypothesis. Language has the problem of objectification. So it needs to be


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    communicated by an expert. Upanishad uses a special methodology. Therefore independent study is not recommended. Shankara in Mundaka Bhashya says Shastragnapi Swatantrena Brahmanveshanam Na Kuryanthu

    The one who systematically communicates the truth of the listener is a Guru. This is different from Mantra Diksha. There the Guru just gives the Mantra after a short ritual and the process is over. There is no question of enquiry. No thinking is involved. It is meant for repetition, so that my mind becomes pure; there is no question of knowledge.

    In enquiry, it is a consistent, painstaking long standing Shravanam. Many questions arise, so the teaching has to go on until all doubts are gone. So one has to go to a teacher, a preceptor (Sa Gurumeva Abhigachhet) means only one who has definitely got Sadhana Chatushtaya Samapathi. Secondly, he must necessarily go to a Guru. There is no question of whether Guru is necessary etc.

    World and Atma being Guru is all incorrect

    World cannot teach me because I will interpret the world along my own preconceived notions. If at all a few people have gained Jnana without a Guru, it is only an exception.

    What sort of Guru should I approach? Who is a Guru?


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    Upanishad answers this.

    Shrotriyam: one who knows to handle the scriptures through which he has to communicate to a disciple; one who has the methodology of communication (Sampradayaha).

    So he is also called Sampradayavit: one who has the key to open the scriptures and give me the teaching! How did the Guru get the key? Guru was previously a Shishya! Who was the first Guru? Sadashiva Samarambham Shankaracharya Madhyamam. So Lord is the first Guru. How did he get the key? He did not get, he ever has the key. How do you know? He is a Guruless Guru. So the most important thing to know about a Guru is whether he was a Shishya first!

    Brahmanishtam: one who is spontaneously established in his true nature.

    Shastras talk about three types of Gurus.

    1. The best one.

    2. The so so one.3. The worst one.

    1. Uttama Guru: He is both a Shrotriya and Brahmanishta. He has both received and assimilataed the teaching and owned up the teaching.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    2. Madhyama Guru : one who was a Shishya, has received the teaching, but due to some lack in his qualification, defective Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampathi, the teaching could not be assimilated. Here, teaching remains purely academic information just like oil in water. There is a disparity between his life and his teaching; there is a split in his personality. He is Kevala Shrotriyaha. However, he will never mislead, but tell whatever his Guru told him. His teaching will not be defective but it may not be very effective! He may not be very bold in declaring Tat Tvam Asi.

    3. Adhama Guru: he is Kevala Brahmanishta somehow he has gained Brahma Jnana; he is a spiritual genious who got knowledge without scriptures and without Guru. So he is a Jnani, a great person, but he can never be an ideal Guru. This is because he himself has not tread the path in this life, so he cannot show the path properly to others. Such people can be called mystics. They are Jnanis, their statements are punchy, but they are not understood by people. If you ask what do you mean? he cannot explain because he himself never came that way. He is adorable, can be worshipped, his blessings sought. But if you see his teachings, they are full of discrepancies between then and the Shastras.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    This Mantra talks about the first type of Guru. Approach him with Shraddha and Bhakthi. Krishna emphasizes Shraddha very much in Bhagavad Gita. Shraddha means if I cannot understand the teaching, I only question my understanding but not the teaching or the teacher. I gently ask the Guru to teach again as I have not understood properly. In clear understanding, there is no logical contradiction i.e. no Shruthi Virodha, no Yukti Virodha, no Anubhava Virodha. The most scientific and rational intellect will be totally satisfied if it studies the scriptures properly. Even the present century science cannot shake Vedantic teaching. Questions are not meant to test the teacher. Be humble; express your humility physically to the teacher. This is indicated by Namaskara in our culture. An arrogant person will be stiff backed, stiff necked. The expression Samitpanihi means, take some offering to the Guru to show your humility.

    Agnihotram, Griha Kshetram (temple), Garbhini, Bala, Vrudha, Raja, Guru, Daivam Rithamhastena Na Peyathu dont go with empty hand.

    Samit: dry twigs. They symbolize readiness of mind as they catch fire readily. Wet twigs never burn! So Samit indicates Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampannaha. So upto this is transition from Apara to Para Vidya.


  • MUNDAKA UPANISHAD by Swami Paramarthanandaji

    13. tasmai sa vidvn upasannya samyak pranta-cittya amnvitya, yenkaram purua veda satyam provca t tattvato brahma-vidyam.

    Iti Mundakopanishad prathama Mundako Dwithiyaha Khandaha

    An ideal student and ideal teacher have come together.

    Prashanthachittaya: One with mastery over the mind, Manonigrahaha

    Shamanvithaya: in this context, it means Dama or Indriya Nigrahaha.

    These two describe all qualities like discrimination, dispassion, disciplined, desire for Moksha. So he is an Adhikari.

    Samyak Upasannaya: has approached the teacher in the proper way with Shraddha and Bhakthi and also asks for knowledge. This is important because, without asking, it is never to be given.