The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika and Shankara’s Commentary
Kārikā, verse 1.23
अकारो नयते विश्वमुकारश्चापि तैजसम् ।
मकारश्च पुनः प्राज्ञं नामात्रे विद्यते गतिः ॥ २३ ॥
akāro nayate viśvamukāraścāpi taijasam |
makāraśca punaḥ prājñaṃ nāmātre vidyate gatiḥ || 23 ||
23. The sound (letter) A helps its worshipper to attain to Viśva, U to Taijasa, and M to Prājña. In the “Soundless” there is no attainment.
Having identified the quarters of Ātman with the sounds (letters) of Aum, on account of the common features stated above, he who realises the nature of the sound Aum, described above, and meditates upon it, attains to Viśva through the help of A. The meaning is that he who meditates on Aum having1 for his support A becomes Vaiśvānara.2 Similarly the meditator of U becomes Taijasa.3 Again the sound M leads its meditator to Prājña.4 But when M too disappears, causality5 itself is negated. Therefore about such Aum, which thus becomes soundless,6 no7 attainment can be predicated.
Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):
1 Having, etc.—i.e., one who meditates on Aum laying emphasis upon A or the waking experiences, realises the entire universe experienced in the waking state as comprehended in the sound A.
2 Vaiśvānara—Vaiśvānara is the macrocosmic aspect of Viśva and the same as Virāt.
3 Taijasa—i.e., the Hiraṇyagarbha. One who meditates upon Aumkāra laying emphasis upon U, realises the world as forms of thought like the world experienced in dream. Such worshipper attains to Hiraṇyagarbha who is the cosmic mind.
4 Prājña—That is, Īśvara. Prājña is the cause of the experiences of the waking and dream states as well as it is that wherein all these finally disappear. Īśvara is also he who is the cause of the Universe as well as that of its final disappearance. The meditator on M merges A in U and U in M. That is, he merges the gross universe of the waking state in the world of ideas experienced in dream and finally realises the dream as one with the state of deep sleep.
5 Causality—It is the idea of causality that makes a man think that he realises the same world after Suṣupti which he had seen before going to sleep.
6 Soundless—i.e., it cannot be identified with any of the sounds or their corresponding states.
7 No, etc.—Because soundless Aum is the same as Turīya Brahman.