Muktika Upanishad of Shukla-Yajurveda

by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1914 | 3,920 words | ISBN-10: 8120815653

This is the English translation of the Muktika Upanishad (belonging to the Krishna-Yajurveda): a minor treatise selected amongst a collection 108 extant upanishads, dating to at least the 1st millennium BC. The Muktika-upanishad forms a dialogue between Rama and Hanuman, the former instructing the latter in Vedanta: an important branch of Hindu ph...

Chapter I (first adhyāya)

Addressing with devotion and obedience Śrī-Rāma—the Lord Hari, at the end of His Samādhi, who being Himself changeless is the witness of the thousands of changes of Buddhi, and who ever rests in Svarūpa-Dhyāna (the meditation on Reality) while seated under the bejevelled dome of the palace in the lovely city of Ayodhyā, in the midst of Sītā, Bharata and Soumitri (Lakṣmaṇa) Śatrughna and others, eulogised day and night by Sanaka and other hosts of Munis, as well as by Vasiṣṭha, Śuka, and other devotees of Viṣṇu

Hanūmān, after praising them, asked:

"O Rāma, Thou art Paramātmā of the nature of Saccidānanda. O foremost of the family of Raghu, I make prostrations to Thee again and again. O Rāma, I wish to know for the sake of emancipation, Thy nature as it really is. O Rāma, be Thou gracious enough to tell me that by which I shall be easily released from the bondage of mundane existence and by which I shall attain salvation."

Śrī-Rāma replied:

"O mighty-armed one, well asked: hearken then to the truth uttered by Me. I am well established in Vedānta (or the end of Vedas or knowledge). Have thou recourse to Vedānta well."

Hanūmān again asked:

"O foremost of Raghus, what are Vedāntas? where do they abide? Pray enlighten me." (Śrī-Rama replied:) "O Hanūmān, listen to Me. I shall truly describe to you the nature of Vedānta. Through the expiratory breath of Myself—Viṣṇu, the Vedas were generated as many. Like the oil in the sesamum seeds, Vedānta is well established (or latent) in the Vedas."

Hanūmān asked again:

"O Rāma, how many are the Vedas and their branches? O Rāghava, what are the Upaniṣads? Please, through Thy grace, tell me truly."

Śrī-Rāma said:

"Through the divisions of Ṛgveda and others, the Vedas are said to be four in number. Their branches are many. So also the Upaniṣads. In Ṛgveda, there are branches, 21 in number. O son of Vāyu, there are 109 branches in Yajurveda. O conqueror of enemies, there are 1,000 branches in Sāmaveda. O best of Monkeys, there are 50 branches in Atharvaṇaveda. In each branch, there is one Upaniṣad. Whoever with devotion to Me studies even one of the Ṛks (hymns) in these, attains the state of absorption, rare for the Munis to attain."

Hanūmān asked:

"O Rāma, some excellent Munis have said there is one kind of salvation only, while others [stated that salvation is attained] through the uttering of Thy name or the initiation into Tāraka (Om) at Kāśī (Benares); others through Sāṅkhya-Yoga, others through the Yoga of Devotion; other Mahāṛṣis through the meditation upon the meaning of Mahāvākyas (the sacred sentences of the Vedas). Salvation is stated to be of four kinds through the divisions of Sālokya and others."

Śrī-Rāma replied:

"There is only one true emancipation. O Kapi (Monkey), even a person addicted to evil practices attains the salvation of Sālokya (My world) through the uttering of My name, but not of other worlds. Should one die in Brahma-nā.la (the lotus-stalk—also street) in Kāśī{GL_NOTE::}, he attains My Tāraka (Mantra). Such a person attains salvation without any rebirth; wherever he may die in Kāśī, Maheśvara initiates him by whispering My Tāraka (Mantra) into his right ear. Such person, freed from all sins, attains My Svarūpa (Form). It is this that is termed Sālokya-Sārūpya salvation. The tvice-born who is of virtuous conduct and who, without diverting his intelligence on any other, meditates upon Me, the All-Ātmā, attains Sāmīpya (nearness) to Me.

"It is this that is termed Sālokya-Sārūpya-Sāmīpya salvation. The tvice-born who according to the path opened by the teacher, meditates upon My immutable Reality attains Sāyujya (absorption) into Me, like the caterpillar into the wasp. This is the Sāyujya salvation which is productive of Brāhmic bliss and auspicious. Thus these kinds of salvation arise through the Upāsanā (worship) of Me.

"The only means by which the final emancipation is attained is through Māṇḍūkya-Upaniṣad alone, which is enough for the salvation of all aspirants. If Jñāna is not attained thereby, study the 10 Upaniṣads; thou shalt soon attain Jñāna , and then My Seat. O son of Añjanā, if thy Jñāna is not made firm, practise (study) well the 32 Upaniṣads. Thou shalt get release. If thou longest after Videhamukti (or disembodied salvation), study the 108 Upaniṣads. I will truly state in order the (names of the) Upaniṣads with their Śānti (purificatory Mantras). Hearken to them. (They are:) Īśa, Kena, Katha, Praśna, Muṇḍa, Māṇḍūkya, Tittiri, Aitareya, Chāndogya, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Brahma, Kaivalya, Jābāla, Śvetāśvatara, Haṃsa, Āruṇi, Garbha, Nārāyaṇa, (Parama)-Haṃsa, (Amṛta)-Bindu, (Amṛta)-Nāda, (Atharva)-Śira, (Atharva)-Śikhā, Maitrāyaṇī, Kauṣītaki, (Bṛhat)-Jābāla, (Narasiṃha)-Tāpanī, Kālāgnirudra, Maitreyī, Subāla, Kṣurikā, Mantrikā, Sarvasāra, Nirālamba, (Śuka)-Rahasya, Vajrasūcikā, Tejo-(Bindu), Nāda-(Bindu), Dhyāna-(Bindu), (Brahma)-Vidyā, Yoga-Tattva, Ātmabodhaka, Parivrāt (Nārada-Parivrājaka), (Tri)-Śikhī, Sītā, (Yoga)-Cūdā-(Maṇi) Nirvāṇa, Maṇḍala-(Brāhmaṇa), Dakṣiṇā-(Mūrti), Śarabha, Skanda, (Tripādvibhūti)-Mahā-Nārāyaṇa, Advaya-(Tāraka), (Rāma)-Rahasya, (Rāma)-Tāpanī, Vāsudeva, Mudgala, Śāṇḍilya, Paiṅgala, Bhikṣu, Mahat-Śāriraka, (Yoga)-Śikhā, Turīyātīta, Sannyāsa, (Paramahaṃsa)-Parivrājaka, Akṣamālikā, Avyakta, Ekākṣara, (Anna)-Pūrṇā, Sūrya, Akṣi, Adhyātma, Kuṇḍikā, Sāvitrī, Ātmā, Pāśupata, Parabrahma, Avadhūta, Tripuratāpanī, Devī, Tripurā, Kara, Bhāvanā, (Rudra)-Hṛdaya, (Yoga)-Kuṇḍalinī, Bhasma-(Jābāla) Rudrākṣa, Gaṇapati, Darśana, Tārasāra, Mahāvākya, Pañcabrahma, (Prāṇa)-Agnihotra, Gopāla-Tāpanī, Kṛṣṇa, Yājñavalkya, Varāha, Śātyāyanī, Hayagrīva, Dattātreya, Gāruda, Kali-(Santāraṇa), Jābāla, Soubhāgya, Sarasvatīrahasya, Bahvrica, and Muktika. These 108 (Upaniṣads) are able to do avay with the three Bhāvanās [of doubt, vain thought, and false thought], conferring Jñāna and Vairāgya, and destroying the three Vāsanās [of book-lore, world and body].

"The tvice-born—after learning the 108 Upaniṣads, together with the Śānti as prescribed both before and after from the mouth of a Guru well versed in the observances of Vedic knowledge and study—become Jīvanmuktas till the destruction of their Prārabdha; in course of time as Prārabdha is destroyed, they attain My disembodied salvation. There is no doubt of it. O son of Vāyu, these 108 Upaniṣads, which are the essence of all the Upaniṣads, and are capable of destroying all sins through their mere study, have been imparted by Me to you as a disciple. This science of the 108 Upaniṣads taught by Me, is an occult one, and will free persons from bondage, whether they read them with or without knowledge. To gratify the desire of a supplicant, a kingdom may be given or wealth, but never shall the 108 Upaniṣads be imparted to an atheist, an ungrateful person, one intent on vicious actions, one having no devotion tovards Me, or one who loses his path in the cave of books. On no account shall they be given to one devoid of devotion. O Māruti, it is only after a thorough examination that they should be imparted to a disciple doing service (to a Guru), to a well-disposed son, or to one devoted to Me, following good observances, belonging to a good family, and being of good intelligence. Whoever studies or hears the 108 Upaniṣads attains Me. There is no doubt of this. This is stated in the Ṛk (verse) thus—Vidyā (Sarasvatī) went to a Brāhmaṇa (and addressed him) thus: 'Protect me. I shall be thy treasure. Do not confide me to the envious, to one not treading the right path, or to the rogue. Then I shall be potent.' Impart this Ātmaniṣṭha-Vidyā relating to Viṣṇu to one after well examining him, who had studied much, is alert, intelligent, observant of the vov of celibacy, and serving [the Guru]."

Then Hanūmān asked Śrī-Rāmacandra to relate the Śānti of each Upaniṣad according to the divisions of Ṛgveda and others to which they belong.

To which Śrī-Rāma replied:

"Aitareya, Kauṣītaki, Nāda-(Bindu), Ātmā-Bodha, Nirvāṇa, Mudgala, Akṣamālikā, Tripurā, Soubhāgya and Bahvrica—these 10 Upaniṣads are of Ṛgveda and have the Śānti beginning with 'Vāṅme-Manasi, etc'. Īśa, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Jābāla, Haṃsa, (Parama)-Haṃsa, Subāla, Mantrikā, Nirālamba, Triśikhī-Brāhmaṇa, Maṇḍala-Brāhmaṇa, Advaya-Tāraka, Paiṅgala, Bhikṣu, Turīyātīta, Adhyātma, Tārasāra, Yājñavalkya, Śātyāyanī, and Muktika—these 19 Upaniṣads are of Śukla Yajurveda and have the Śānti beginning with 'Pūrṇamada, etc'.

"Katha, Tittiri, Brahma, Kaivalya, Śvetāśvatara, Garbha, Nārāyaṇa, (Amṛta)-Bindu, (Amṛta)-Nāda, Kālāgnirudra, Kṣurikā, Sarvasāra, Śukarahasya, Tejo-(Bindu), Dhyāna-(Bindu), (Brahma)-Vidyā, Yoga-Tattva, Dakṣiṇā-(Mūrti), Skanda, Śāriraka, (Yoga)-Śikhā, Ekākṣara, Akṣi, Avadhūta, Kara, (Rudra)-Hṛdaya, (Yoga)-Kuṇḍalinī, Pañcabrahma, (Prāṇa)-Agnihotra, Varāha, Kali-(Santāraṇa), and Sarasvatīrahasya,—these 32 Upaniṣads are of Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda and have the Śānti beginning with 'Sahanāvavatu, etc'.

"Kena, Chāndogya, Āruṇi, Maitrāyaṇī, Maitreyī, Vajrasūcikā, (Yoga)-Cūdā-(Mani), Vasudeva, Mahat-Sannyāsa, Avyakta, Kuṇḍikā, Sāvitrī, Rudrākṣa, Jābāla, Darśana, and Jābāli,—these 16 Upaniṣads are of Sāmaveda and have the Śānti beginning with 'Āpyāyantu, etc'.

"Praśna, Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍūkya, (Atharva)-Śira, (Atharva)-Śikhā, (Bṛhat)-Jābāla, (Nṛsihma)-Tāpanī, (Nārada-Parivrājaka), Sītā, Śarabha, Mahā-Nārāyaṇa, (Rāma)-Rahasya, (Rāma)-Tāpanī, Śāndilya, (Paramahaṃsa)-Parivrājaka, (Anna)-Pūrṇā, Sūrya, Ātmā, Pāśupata, Parabrahma, Tripuratāpanī, Devī, Bhāvanā, Bhasma-(Jābāla), Gaṇapati, Mahāvākya, Gopāla-Tāpanī, Kṛṣṇa, Hayagrīva, Dattātreya, and Gāruda,—these 31 Upaniṣads of Atharvaṇa-Veda have the Śānti commencing with 'Bhadram-Karṇebhiḥ, etc'.

"Persons desirous of emancipation and having developed the four means of salvation should, with presents in their hands, approach a Guru full of faith, of good family, proficient in Vedas, scripture-loving, of good qualities, straightforward, intent upon the welfare of all beings, and an ocean of compassion; and after studying under him, according to the rules, the 108 Upaniṣads, he should ever be going through the process of studying, thinking and reflecting upon them. With the cessation of the three bodies through the destruction of Prārabdha, they attain the state of Plenum without any Upādhis like the ether in the pot (after the pot is broken). This is the embodied salvation, this is the final emancipation. Therefore even those in Brahmaloka through the studying of Vedānta from the mouth of Brahmā attain with Him the final emancipation. Hence to all these is stated the final emancipation through the Jñāna path, and not through Karma, Sāṅkhya-Yoga, and other Upāsanās. Thus is the Upaniṣad."