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Mandala Brahmana Upanishad

Girl meditating in Padmasana
Dhyana. Courtesy:

#Mandala-Brahmana-Upanishad is the one of the twenty Yoga Upanishads and belongs to Sukla Yajur Veda. It is the forty-eighth Upanishad of 108 Muktika order. Mandala means sphere. This Upanishad speaks about the meeting of Yajnavalkya, the great sage, with Lord Aditya, the Sun God at Aditya Mandala (Sphere of Sun or the world of Sun). Hence this Upanishad is called by this name.

Part 1

The Sage Yajnavalkya went to Aditya Loka and asked the Sun God to explain the nature of Atman.

Lord Aditya replied:-

The means to attain this knowledge is #Astanga-Yoga that starts with Yama (Yoga of eight limbs) along with the Jnana (the realisation of the truth).


     The four-fold Yamas are

  1.  The mastery of overheat, cold, food and Sleep,
  2.  Permanent Quietude without reaction under all circumstances,
  3.  Undisturbed mind and
  4.  Control of senses over the objects.


     The Niyamas are ninefold:

  1.  Devotion to Guru,
  2.  Involvement in the path of truth,
  3.  Experience of the real blissful stuff (Brahman),
  4.  Satisfaction over such experience,
  5.  Keeping away from the group or any community,
  6.   Residing in a secluded place,
  7.  Controlling of the mind,
  8.   Not interested in the result of anything and
  9.   Stubbornness in dispassion


A pose that is comfortable and suitable for long duration is the Asana.


Pranayama consists of #Puraka (Inspiration) of 16 Matras, #Kumbhaka (Retention) of 64 Matras and #Rechaka (Expiration) of 32 Matras.


Pratyahara is the controlling of senses that indulge in objects of pleasure.


Fixing the mind stuff on Brahman preventing it from the objects of desire gaining control over is Dharana.


Meditating on Brahman transcending all is Dhyana.


The state of being lost in Dhyana is Samadhi.
The eight subtle elements of yoga are explained as such.

Pancha Dosha

Lust, Anger, Inhaled Vayu, Fear and Sleep are the five imperfections exist in the body. They can be overcome by cessation of all desires, exhibiting tolerance, moderate food, elimination of dual motion and devotion to search after the truth respectively.

Samsara Sahara

Having experienced fear, sleep, greed, lust, violence and the like qualities over and over in the cycle of the ocean of the worldly affairs by repeated births and deaths. Brahman seen at the middle of eye-brows as a radiance of supreme consciousness, existence and bliss, is the only boat available for crossing this vicious cycle of the ocean of life. The tool to be employed for attaining this is the seeing through three kinds of looks.

Internal Look

Sushumna Nadi is radiating like the sun from Muladhara to Brahmarandhra. At the core of it, Kundalini as thin as a straw of a lotus stalk is shining like the myriads of lightning flashes dispelling all the darkness. On seeing it, all sins are expiated. When the two ear-holes blocked by the two forefingers, there will manifest a sound resembling ‘Phoo’. If the mind is merged in that sound, the yogi can see a blue radiance in between the eyebrows.

External Look

External look is seeing the ethereal space through the tip of the nose. From four, six, eight, ten and twelve Angulas in succession from the tip of the nose, the Yogi sees first a blue colour, then dark blue, blood red, bright yellow and lastly orange colour. If he sees the ethereal space with moving eyes, the flash of radiance is seen at the edge of eyes. His glance becomes steady. If he sees radiance at twelve Angulas over his head, he is immortal.

Intermediate Look

In an intermediate look, he sees a variety of colours, the radiance of Sun, Moon, Flame and the mid ethereal place. He attains those aspects that he assumes. By constant practice, he becomes fixed in character and ether which is dark and transcendent. He becomes the great ether of radiance, ether of truth which is brilliant, peerless and transcendent. He becomes the ether of sun, with the radiance of crores of suns. By constant practice, he becomes completely made-up of ether.

That yoga which is explained is of two kinds. The first one is Taraka and the second one is called Amanaska (that which is mindless).

Taraka is of two kinds. The first one is Murti Taraka and the second is Amurti Taraka. That which is in the range of senses is Murti Taraka and that which is beyond Ajna is Amurti Taraka. One should practice both Tarakas with the merger of the mind. Look and merging the mind are the required for the application of Tarkas.

Murti Taraka is the manifestation of light in the hollow place between the eyebrows. In the cavity at the root of the upper palate, there is great radiance. By seeing that radiance, one gets the powers like Anima siddhi. #Shambhavi mudra is assumed by the look and the stoppage of the movement of eyes. It is a great technique worthy of being kept as a secret by all Tantras. With this knowledge, one attains freedom from worldly existence and its practice makes one liberated.

The liquid radiance that only great sages can comprehend and that which is beyond the reach of internal and external senses is the ultimate aim of internal Look.

The ultimate aim of internal look differs under different faiths.
The ultimate aim of the internal look is the liquid radiance found in thousand-petalled lotus. (Yogi’s account).

The form of Purusa alluringly beautiful all over his limbs in the cavity of Mind is the ultimate aim. (Account of Vaishnava).

The form of Siva with a serene blue neck with five faces with Uma in the cavity of radiance in the head is the ultimate object of internal look. (Account of Saiva).
The form of Purusa of a size of a thumb is the ultimate aim. (Account of Augusta matra vidya by Kathopanishad)

All variants spoken above are Atman only. He who sees like this is simple and pure and he alone is fixed himself in Brahman.

The Jiva which is the twenty-fifth tattva (verity), after getting rid of the self-made twenty four verities (5 Jnanendriyas, 5 Karmendriyas, 5 Tanmatras, 5 Mahabhutas, Budhi, Manas, Aham, Prakriti are 24 tattvas in Sankhya Philosophy), having realised that I am the transcending Atman or Brahman, becomes #Jivan-mukta.

By internal look, having become the ultimate aim of his own internal look, being in the state of Jivan-mukta, he becomes the indivisible region of transcending ether.

Part 2

Now Yajnavalkya asked the Sun God to explain the object of internal look. The Sun God answers:

Atman which is the prime cause of Pancha Bhutas (five elements) and which is in form of radiant flashes of lightning has four states (Jagrat, Swapna, Susupti and Turya). At the core of the Atman, the radiant Purusa shows its presence with shining effulgence surrounding it. That is the great secret. That should be known. That is the ultimate aim of both internal and external look. The universe rests in the middle of it. That indivisible region is beyond the range of Nada, Bindu and Kala. That takes form (identifiable external characters) and become formless. One who knows like this gets liberated.

Shambhavi Mudra

Agni Mandala (region of fire) is the first. Next is the Surya Mandala (Solar region). At the centre is Chandra Mandala (Lunar region). At the core of it, a radiant region of indivisible Brahman is found. It shines like a white streak of lightning. That only is the definition of #Shambhavi. To see it, there are three kinds of look: Ama (new moon), Pratipat (first phase) and Poornima (full moon). Ama is the look with closed eyes. Pratipat is the look with slightly opened eyes. Poornima is the look with widely opened eyes. Among the looks, Poornima should be selected. The target of the look is the top of the nose. A great field of darkness is seen at the root of the palate. By constant practice, the indivisible region is seen with full of radiance. That alone is the ever-blissful consciousness, the Brahman. If the mind seeks to rest on the blissful state to have the peace, that alone is #Sambhavi. They call this #Kechari. By practising it, mental composure and intellectual audacity will result. First, a star-like object is seen. Then a sparkling diamond, a bright mirror, disc like a moon, circular radiance of gems, a disc of Sun at noon and circle of flame, are seen in the order mentioned.

The brightness of crystal, the colour of smoke, Bindu, nada, Kala, the radiance of a star, Firefly, lamp, eye, gold and nine precious gems are seen. Finally, the internal radiance is experienced. That alone is the form of Pranava.

Shanmukhi Mudra

By uniting the Prana and Apana and establishing Kumbhaka, the yogi should look the top of the nose by performing #Shanmukhi Mudra with the two forefingers and hear the sound of Pranava and others. Finally, the mind takes the rest in Brahman.

For the Yogi, there is no responsibility to perform religious rites. Normally ritual rites are performed at the dawn and the twilight. For a yogi, there is no rising and setting of the sun of consciousness. For him, there is the absence of activity of any kind. In the absence of the perception of sound and the concept of time, the Yogi is completely absorbed in the #Unmani state wherein he acquired all the knowledge of things and merged with Brahman. By the state of Unmani, a state of non-mindedness will result. Mindless is the Meditation. Riddance of all activities is the invocation. Wisdom is the Asana. The state of Unmani is the Pathya (the worship of a deity the water offered for cleaning the feet). Consistent non-mindedness is the Arkya (water offered in the worship). The proliferation of nectar is the water offered for the bath. Ideation of Omni-presence of Brahman is the Kantha (sandal paste offered in worship). Brahman in the form of knowledge is the akshada (the mixture of rice and turmeric offered in the worship). Consciousness is the flower offered. The form Agni (fire) in the consciousness is dhoop (incense burnt during worship). The form Sun (fire) in the consciousness is the Deepa (lamp light offered in worship). The ocean of nectar flown from the rays of the moon is the Nivedya (food offered in worship). Undisturbedness is the Pradakshina (circumambulating the deity during worship). The ideation of Soham (He is I) is the Namaskar (Salutation). Silence is the praise. All happiness is the Visarjana (the act of sending back the deity invoked for worship).  


Tri-puti is the variations of Mediator, Meditation and Meditated. When the yogi sees no differences among tri-puti, he is in the state of radiant Kaivalya. It is the state which is motionless, full and devoid of the concept of existence and non-existence.  It is a state like the stagnant wave-less ocean. It is resembling a steady flame of a lamp in a windless spot.

During the waking state, one attains the knowledge of Brahman. Though Susupti (the state of sleep) resembles with Samadhi, Vast differences exist in between them. In both Susupti and Samadhi, the mind is dissolved. Sleep reposes in darkness and liberation cannot be attained through it. In Samadhi, the phenomenal world is dissolved and transformed into the concentration of the indivisible enlargement of Brahman. In the absence of differences, though he is drawn outward rarely by the false perception of the mind, the knower of Brahman, continuously seeking his ultimate aim, experiencing the bliss manifested as a flash, becomes that bliss.

Because of the reason that he has got rid of all the desires, the liberation is at his reach. Meditating on Paramatman as Aham Brahmasmi (I am the Brahman), giving up the ideas of existence and non-existence, Yogi get liberated. Renouncing completely again and again and in all the states (Jagrat, Swapna, Susupti and Turya), with the pairs of knowledge to be known: meditation and object to be meditated, primary aim and secondary aim, what is visible and what is invisible, reasoning and the reasoning against, he becomes liberated.

Five States

Jagrat, Swapna, Susupti, Turya and Turyatita are the five states of Jiva. Jagrat is the waking state, wherein the Jiva attached to the worldly life. Jiva desires like: Let there is no hell for my sins and Let there be heaven for my noble deeds.  At a stage the same Jiva in the desire of detachment seeks inactivity and desires like: I have had enough births for the fruits of my action. It is enough to have bondage of the cycle of births and deaths.

The Jiva seeks a Guru for liberation giving up lust and other sinful passions, discharging the duties, performing four Sadhanas and reaches the form of Brahman. Jiva, remaining as absolute existence in the heart chakra, capable of being seen only through internal look, gets the remembrance of the bliss of Brahman experienced in the Susupti state and realize “ I am all alone and no second.” “In spite of the occasional ignorance due to the recurrence of impressions formed in the waking state, I am Taijasa (Atman) now, with receding background of those two (Visva and Taijasa), I am Prajna. I am one alone behind states. Nothing else behind me. I am the non-dual Brahman. In this way, abolishing the impression of differences, he should meditate in the solar region in the body. By the force of such meditation and its assumption which also is the assumption of transcendent Brahman, he becomes ripe for liberation, taking the wise path of liberation.

The mind is the cause of all desires and hence is the cause of bondage. The same mind helps to bring liberation. The mind, depriving of its impressions, relate the organ of senses to Atman assuming the external world as Atman by giving up the Egoism and attuning the mind to the attitude: I am the Brahman.

By becoming the Turyatita Brahman, he becomes Brahman himself. All the knowers of Brahman celebrate him as Brahman. He deserves to be praised by the world. He attains the capability of travelling all the worlds. By dropping the Bindu in the ether of Supreme Consciousness and by experiencing the state of indivisible bliss incessantly through Yoga Nidra of non-dualistic state inherent in non-mindedness known as Nir Vikalpa Samadhi, he becomes Jivan-Mukta.

The Yogi absorbed in the waveless ocean of bliss becomes Brahman. Lord Indra and others are lesser blissful than him. He is the Parama Yogi.

Part 3

Yajnavalkya asked Lord Aditya to explain again the concept of Mindlessness (Non-mindedness). He explained:

Non-mindedness is the great secret. By the knowledge of this secret, one is assumed to have discharged all his duties. It is associated with Shambhavi Mudra. Seeking the experiences for the knowledge of Paramatman, seeing in his own Atman the Brahman who is the lord of all, immeasurable, originless, support less, the common goal of Brahman (the deity), Vishnu and Rudra and prime cause of everything, having attained the knowledge of the activity of travelling in the cavity of intellect, attaining a stage beyond the knowledge of pairs like existence and non-existence, having understood the Unmani state and having controlled all the senses the yogi attains the Brahman which is transcendent and motionless like a flame of lamp in the windless spot. It is the form of the confluence of the river of mind with the ocean of Bliss of Brahman. It is the form of happiness of non-mindedness. Then like a dried-up tree, having lost the inclination to the relative knowledge, in consequence of the loss of lethargy and sleep, in the absence of inhalation and exhalation, having attained peacefulness, his mind rests in Paramatman.

This is what Non-mindedness is. When all the groups of senses are destroyed, Non-mindedness takes place, like the udder of a Cow when all the milk has been flowed out in its entirety. Thereafter when the mind takes form, it is not totally destroyed. Realising Paramatma ahamevahi (I am Paramatman), Tat Tvamasi (Thou art that), Tveme aham Ahame tvam (Thou art I and I am Thou), he is filled with the indivisible vastness of bliss and becomes the one who has discharged his duty.

The mind being engrossed in the transcendent ether, having dropped all the groups of senses and attained the fruit of liberation with the accumulation of virtues of previous incarnations, having driven away all the sins and sufferings by indivisible vastness of Bliss and realising Brahmam Aham (I am Brahman), he becomes one who has discharged his duty.

Lord Aditya Said to Yajnavalkya “Thou art I. There is no difference due to the omnipresence of Paramatman. Then he embraced Yajnavalkya and led to the perfect knowledge.

Part 4

Then Yajnavalkya asked Lord Aditya to explain about the five-type of ether. He replied:

There are five kinds of Akasa.

  1.          Akasa
  2.          Parakasa
  3.          Mahakasa
  4.          Suryakasa
  5.          Paramakasa

Akasa is both externally and internally full of darkness.

Parakasa is both exterior and interior like the fire of deluge.

Mahakasa is the radiance beyond measure both in interior and exterior.

Suryakasa is both inwardly and outwardly resembles like the Sun.

Pramakasa is the radiance transcends everywhere, the radiance that cannot be described and the nature of great Bliss. By internal look, the yogi sees.

One who does not know the nine Chakras, the six Adharas, the three looks and the five kinds of ethers, is a mere yogi by name.

Part 5

The mind that functions leads to the bondage and the mind that does not function leads to liberation. Hence anything is within the range of Mind. The same Chitta (mind) when depends on nothing will be fit for dissolution. That dissolution should be practised on me who am full. I am the only cause of the dissolution of mind. The sound generated in Anahata ether (Heart Chakra) echoes. In the echo, a radiance is generated. The mind penetrates into that radiation. That mind is the doer of creation, sustenance and annihilation of the three worlds. When that mind meets with the dissolution that is the supreme state of Vishnu.

By dissolution of the mind, the difference between Paramatman and Atman comes to end and results in the pure non-dual state. This is only the great truth. A person who has achieved this state will behave like child, madman, evil spirit and idiot. By the power of practice of Amanaska alone (absolute non-mindedness or Nir Vikalpa Samadhi), passing of little urine and faeces, eating little food, bestowed with a great strength without lethargy and sleep, and non-movement of eyes and Vayus are achieved. He attains the knowledge of the form of bliss arising out of the sight of Brahman.

A yogi who practices the Nir Vikalpa Samadhi by the intent of drinking the nectar of Brahman becomes a Paramahamsa otherwise known as Avadutha. Mere look on makes the world blessed. Even an ignorant person who is in service to him becomes liberated. He makes one hundred and one of his generations including father, mother, wife and progeny cross the ocean of Samsara and liberated.

Ref: Sanskrit Text Reference


  1. Mandalabrahmanopanisad, is one of the minor Upanishads of Hinduism and a Sanskrit text. It is attached to the Shukla Yajurveda and is classified as one of the 20 Yoga Upanishads.The text describes Yoga as a means to self-knowledge, the highest wisdom. Its text is structured as a teaching from Narayana (Purusha in Sun, Vishnu) to sage Yajnavalkya. The text is notable for teaching eight step Yoga but with somewhat different conceptual framework than most other texts.The teachings of the text combine different types of Yoga with non-dual Vedanta philosophy. Panseva


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