This Upanishad has been named after the sage Maandookya and belongs to the
Atharv Ved group of Upanishad.
Among all the Upanishads,
Maandookya Upanishad is supposed to be the shortest and at the same time
the most difficult and the most important of all the 108 Upanishad for the reason that within the
short compass of 12 Mantra, it speaks of the entire range of human
consciousness beginning from the waking state and ending with the supreme
absolute state of super-consciousness where all objective relations and
perceptions of duality are completely negated. Some consider it as an
epitome of all the 108 Upanishad. Even though it contains lesser number
of Mantra, the Upanishad asserts unequivocally, that the Absolute Reality
is non-dual (A-Dwiteeya or A-Dwait) and attributeless (Nir-Gun). This is
meant to be given by Varun Dev (Rain God) in the form of Mandook (frog). It
has one of the 4 Mahaavaakya of A-Dwait - "Ayaam Aatmaa Brahmah
- my Aatmaa is Brahm". In fact Mukti Upanishad says about it that it
alone is sufficient for Mukti (salvation).
The Upanishad spells out a method of approach to Truth. It consists the
analysis of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, which are
common to all men. Through a study of these three states, a way is
suggested to form the necessary intellectual background for cultivating
the higher life.
Though it describes the first 4 stages of
Consciousness, viz. Jaagrat Avasthaa - Wakeful State, Swapn Avasthaa -
Dream State, Sushupt Avasthaa - Deep Sleep State and Tureeya Avasthaa -
4th State. In the wakeful state the mind thinks of what is perceived by
the 5 Gyaan Indriya (Organs) - Eye, Nose, Ear, Throat and Skin. In Dream
State, the mind creates its own hallucinations in the form of a dream. In
the Deep Sleep State, the mind goes to rest and it is found that even the
heart beat becomes very low and feeble. In the 4th State of Consciousness,
even the mind becomes non-existent and only the Aatmaa is awake. It also
describes about Aapti, Utkarsham, Mukti and a pause - This denotes Omkaar.
Thus it is to be recited only by the Sanyaasee - who have taken the way of
But Raaj Yog of Sanaatan Dharm also gives a 5th State of Consciousness -
Tureeyaateet Avasthaa - The 5th State during which even the mind becomes
Dead. This is not mentioned in the Maandukya Upanishad. This is verily
found in Raaj Yog.
Arising out of its terseness, the philosophic implications are just hinted
in the text. Subsequently, these were elaborated in the famous Kaarikaa on
this Upanishad by Gaudaapaad, who is considered as the as the grand-preceptor
Shankar. One can not get an insight into the unique system of thought
forming the background of this Upanishad, without the study of the Kaarikaa.
considers that this Upanishad is Vedaantaarth Saar Sangraha Bhootam.
Its specialty lies in its analysis of the three states -Jaagrit, Swapn and
Sushupti. Through these dstates, the fourth one, Tureeya Avasthaa is explained.
a little explanatory story in which the great sage Raajarishi Janak had a
dream in which he was a beggar going around in rags with a begging bowl,
suffering a lot of misery and hunger. Then he wakes up and realizes he is in
his palace, lying in his bed. He is confused. He has a question to ask the
great sage, Yaagyavalkya, who is his Guru. He asks him - "Sir, please answer
this question, "Am I a beggar or am I a king? Because, being a beggar was a
very real experience. Suppose my dream had stretched on for long and I did
not wake up from that state, then I would have continued in that beggar's
existence. Now that I have woken up I can say that it is a dream. So please
tell me, what am I in reality? Where do I anchor myself?' So this is the
dream state; it is real and it is an experience of the subtle world, the
inner world of imagination and thoughts. Many a time, what is not fulfilled
in our waking state may be fulfilled in the dream state. Sometimes, bottled-up
emotions and desires, long forgotten or suppressed, may surface in the form of
dreams. His Taijas, or dream state, has a way of inventing its own world which
is similar to day-dreaming. Sometimes, in the waking state, we sit down and
imagine various things. At that time, most of our mind is in the Jaagrit place
and so we are able to recognize this activity as an imagination or visualization,
but in Swapn, What happens is that the Jaagrit or the waking state is held in
abeyance, it is `closed' . So the Swapn becomes real.
END OF MAANDOOKYA UPANISHAD