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Mandukya Upanishad

The Mandukya Upanishad expounds the four aspects of Consciousness in ancient poetry: wakefulness, dream, slumber, and a fourth state called 'turiya'. It depicts in great detail the channels through which the self experiences the existential illusions. Verse 22-25:-

He who knows for certain the similarity of the three states and the three letters of Om, based upon their common features, is worshipped and adored by all beings and also is a great sage. Meditation on the “soundless” brings no attainment. Om should be known quarter by quarter. There is no doubt that the quarters are the same as the letters. Having understood Om quarter by quarter, one should not think of anything else. The mind should be concentrated on Om. Om is the fearless Brahman. He who is always absorbed in Om knows no fear whatever.


Q1. What does the Mandukya Upanishad talk about?


Originating from the Atharvaveda, the Mundaka Upanishad talks about the difference between intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge. It emphasises the superiority of the higher knowledge that comes from self-realisation.


Q2. How many mantras are there in Mandukya Upanishad?


The Mandukya Upanishad, which is the shortest Upanishad with only 12 mantras, is part of the Atharva Veda, and is considered to be the most profound of all the Upanishads.


Q3. When was Mandukya Upanishad written?


Mandukya Upanishad probably emerged in the late fifth and early fourth centuries BCE, along with Prashna and Maitri Upanishads.


Q4. What are the stages of consciousness described in Mandukya Upanishad?


In verses 3 to 6, the Mandukya Upanishad enumerates four states of consciousness: wakeful, dream, deep sleep and the state of ekatma (being one with self, the oneness of self).