Meditation On "OM"
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Mandukya Upnishad

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The first quarter is Vaisvanara whose sphere is the state of waking, who is conscious of the external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who enjoys the gross objects.

The text now begins to explain how Om is made up of four quarters. Through the force of Avidya or ignorance, the Visva, the individual soul in the waking state enjoys the gross objects of the external visible world.

The seven limbs are members:
1. Heaven is the head of Vaisvanara or Visva.
2. The sun and the moon are His eyes.

3. Air is His breath.
4. Fire (Ahavaniya fire, one of the three fires of the
Agnihotra sacrifice) is His mouth.
5. Sky is His middle or body.
6. Water is His urinary organ (kidney or bladder).
7. Earth is His feet.

The nineteen mouths are:
1. The five Jnana lndriyas, organs of knowledge (sensory organs) are ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose. Sound, touch, form, taste and smell are experienced by these five organs respectively.
2.fhe five Karma lndriyas, organs of actions (motor organs) are mouth (organ of speech), hands, feet, generative organ and anus, the excretory organ.
3. The five Pranas or vital airs are prana, apana,samana, vyana and udana.
4. The fourfold Antahkarana consists of Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (subconscious mind or the faculty by which things are remembered) and Ahamkara (egoism or self-arrogating principle).

These nineteen are called mouths because through these the Jivatma enjoys the external gross things of the objective universe. These are the avenues of knowledge and experience. The text gives here a description of Vaisvanara or Visva and not the Virat. Virat is the universal or the macrocosmic aspect of lsvara and Visva is the individual or microcosmic aspect. The sum totalof all Visva is Virat. Jiva is a microcosm of the great macrocosm. The meaning of the common saying, "Joi pinde soi brahmande" is "whatever exists in one's own body also exists in the universe." Physical body of the Jiva is also the body of the Virat. The whole world is the body of the Virat-purusha. The sum total of the physical bodies is Virat. The totality of the gross universe is Virat. The human body is a miniature universe. The astral body (Linga Deha, Sukshma Deha) of the Jiva or the individual soul is also the astral body of Hiranyagarbha. The causal body (Karana Sarira) of the Jiva is also the Karana Sarira of lsvara. Jiva is not separate from Virat, Hiranyagarbha and lsvara. The sum total of all subtle bodies is Hiranyagarbha. The sum total of all causal bodies is lsvara.

The members and organs of the individual souls are also the members and organs of the universal soul.

Vaisvanara: Nara means leads; it leads all Visva in the same direction, viz., enjoyment of the gross external objects; or it means all beings, Nara means a collective name for all beings on the objective plane. Jagrat is that state during which the individual soul enjoys the gross objects of senses through the nineteen organs, having the sun and the rest as their presiding deities. The Jagrat Avastha, the wakeful state is the last state in the evolution of the universe, but it is the first state in the order of involution. The dreaming state and the state of deep sleep follow the wakeful state, which quarter is called first with reference to experience but not with reference to the order of evolution or creation. This is called the first because all the other quarters or conditions are approached or realized through this, and because from the waking state only the dream state and the deep sleep state are known.

From a study of the waking state, you will have to proceed to the study of dream and deep sleep states. When you begin to analyze this universe for the sake of realizing the Atman, you will have to deal with the wakeful state first. Therefore, this is called the first quarter or the first condition. To begin with, you will have to understand the nature of the gross objects. Then you can gradually go to the subtle and causal nature of things.

You will have to render the mind sharp and subtle through meditation and discipline it in order to comprehend the subtle and causal nature of things. Vaisvanara is one with Virat on the physical plane. Taijasa is one with Hiranyagarbha on the astral or subtle plane. Prajna is one with lsvara on the causal plane. When the illusion of duality vanishes you will very easily realise the unity of the Atman and Brahman. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma-all indeed is Brahman. There is no such thing as diversity. You willfully realise the truth of the Upanishadic texts, 'The Atman is one in all,''All is in the one'and 'He who be holds all in the Self.'This unity or oneness is described in the Madhu-brahmana of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad also. The Tejomaya (resplendent or self-effulgent) Purusha in this earth and the Amritamaya (immortal) Purusha in this body are both the same.


Virat, under the orders of lsvara, having entered this microcosmic body and having the intellect as his vehicle, reaches the state of Visva. Then he goes by the several names of Vijnanatma, Chidabhasa, Visva, Vyavaharic Jiva, the one presiding over the waking gross body and the one generated by Karma.

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