Mundaka Upanishad (Madhva commentary)

by Srisa Chandra Vasu | 1909 | 25,279 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165

The English translation of the Mundaka Upanishad (Mundakopanishad) including the commentary of Madhva called the Bhasya. It is associated with the Atharva Veda and contains three parts having two section each. The text discusses the science of knowledge, the knowledge of Brahman, the self and the soul. The Mundaka Upanishad is also known as: Muṇḍa...

Chapter 4 - Second Mundaka, Second Khanda

Mantra 2.2.1.

1. He is manifest, near, yea even moving in the hearts of all beings. He is the well-kown Highest goal. Know that all this whatever, waking, dreaming or sleeping, which moves, breathes or blinks, is founded on Him. He is higher than Being and Non-being: higher than the Wisdom, He is the best object of adoration for all creatures.—33.

[Note.—Ejat, Moving, (but not having motion of the highest kind). Inanimate moving objects, like trees and lower animals. The ejat or moving describes the jāgrata or the waking state. Or it refers to all the activities of the organs of action, Karmendriyas.]

[Note.—Prāṇat, Breathing (like animals, &c.) This describes the dreaming state (svapna) when there is mere breathing, but no movement.]

[Note.—Nimiṣat, The closed eyes. This refers to the suṣupti state, the dreamless sleep, the third state. Or it refers to the activities of the organs of sensation like eyes, etc.]

Mantra 2.2.2.

2. He who is brilliant, who is smaller than the smallest, in whom the worlds are founded and the Rulers thereof, He is this Imperishable Brahman. He is the Creator (Life), the Revealer of Sacred knowledge (Speech) and Omniscient (or cosmic Mind). This is the (third) Truth. He is Immortal, O Somya! Know that He is the target to be hit.—34.

[Note.—Satyam, Truth. Independent: not subject to any one else. Or sata=Jīva, yam=Controller; satyam=the controller of the Jīvas, whether they be Muktas or bound. Or sata=Immortal, ti=Mortal, ya=Ruler, satyam=the Ruler of the Mortals and the Immortals.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The words ‘higher than Wisdom’ mean ‘higher than Brahmā’ (Brahmā is the highest of all Jīvas—higher than Brahmā means higher than all creatures. The word Vijñāna denotes Brahmā as we find in the following speech of Brahmā in the Bhāgavat Purāṇa)—“I the Wisdom Energy (Vijñāna-śakti) was born from the navel of this Being resting on the waters and possessed of Infinite powers.”

Viṣṇu is called “Prāṇa” because He is the leader of all, (Prāṇayetṛ). He is called Vāk, because He is the Teacher of all (Vaktṛ) Viṣṇu is called Manas because He is the adviser of all (Mantṛ). He is the controller of all Jīvas.” The above we read in the Śabda-Nirṇaya.

The second verse lays down that Brahman is to be meditated upon: or that manana should be performed; as the first verse taught that śravaṇa should be done. The next verse teaches that dhyāna or concentration also is necessary^

Mantra 2.2.3.

3. Take hold of the Mystic Name as the bow, and know that the Brahman is the aim to be hit. Put on this the great weapon (Om), the arrow (of the mind), sharpened by meditation. Withdraw thyself from all objects, and with the mind absorbed in the idea of that Brahman, hit the aim—for know, O Somya! That Imperishable alone to be the mark.—35.

[Note.—Upāsā, by meditation, devotion. The upāsā is of two sorts, 1st the study of scriptures and secondly, concentration.]

[Note.—Niśitam, sharpened, upāsā niśitam means sharpened by devotion or upāsanā. The devotion is of two sorts, first the constant study of Śastras [Śāstras?] and secondly, concentration. The latter is the higher. The first kind of upāsā is meant here and not dhyāna, the second kind.]

Mantra 2.2.4.

4. The Great name is the bow, the mind is the arrow, and the Brahman is said to be the mark. It is to be hit by a man whose thoughts are concentrated, for then he enters the target.—36.

Note.—Thus śravana [śravaṇa?], manana and dhyāna of Brahman have been taught. This is the method of Brahma-upāsana.

Mantra 2.2.5.

5. In Him are woven the heaven, and the interspace, and the mind also with all the senses. Know Him to be the one support of all, the Ātman. Leave off all other words (as well as worship of other deities). This (Ātman) is the refuge of the immortals.—37.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

“He is the bridge of the immortal”—the word amṛta or immortal means the mukta jīvas. In the Vedānta Sūtra I. 3. 2, it has been taught that the Lord is the refuge of the muktas. So also that “He is the Highest goal of the muktas” (Viṣṇu Sahasranāma.)

Mantra 2.2.6.

6. In him the life-webs (nāḍis) are fastened, as the spokes to the nave of a chariot, He is this (Ātman) that pervades the heart, and by his own free will manifests Himself in diverse ways (as Viśva, Taijasa, etc., in waking, sleeping, etc., states); and also as One as Prājña in the dreamless state. Meditate on the Ātman as Om (full of all auspicious qualities and who is the chief aim of the Vedas), in order to acquire knowledge of the Paramātman, who is beyond the Prakṛti and the Śrī Tattva. Your welfare consists in such knowledge.—38.

[Note.—Eṣaḥ, this, wish. The word eṣaḥ is derived from the √iṣ “to wish” with the affix ghañ. It is equivalent to eṣaṇa “wishing.” It is in the nominative case here, but has the force of the instrumental case, “By mere willing.”]

[Note.—Antaścarate, moves within the antar or body or heart. Pervades the body Antar also means space. He moves within all organs like eyes, ears, &c.]

[Note.—Bahudhā; in many ways; such as Viśva, Taijasa, etc. The word “ekadha” also should be read here. He is not only bahudhā, but ekadhā also.]

[Note.—Pārāya, in order to cross; in order to obtain knowledge of the Supreme who is beyond Prakṛti and Śrī. Another reading is “parāya” for the sake of the Highest.”]

[Note.—Parastāt, beyond parā or Śrītattva. That is having a non-prakritic body. Or beyond death, deathless.]

Note.—This shows that the Brahman is the Antaryāmin Puruṣa. He resides in the heart where all the 72,000 nāḍis meet, as the spokes meet in the navel of the wheel. He moves within the organs, not for His own pleasure, but to give life and energy to them all. The Om with all its attributes must be constantly meditated upon. He manifests Himself in manifold ways in the waking and dreaming states as Viśva, and Taijasa; while He manifests as one in the state of Suṣupti or Dreamless Sleep as Prājña. He is beyond Darkness: has no mortal body. Meditate on such Viṣṇu in the heart in order to get the Supreme Brahman, with the help of the Mantra Om. The result of such meditation is that there is welfare of yours—all evils will cease, and you will get the bliss of the manifestation of the Divinity—your Ṛeal Self.

Mantra 2.2.7.

7.He who is all-wise, and all-knowing, whose greatness is thus manifested in the world, is to be meditated upon as the Ātman residing in the ether, in the shining city of Brahman (the heart).—39.

Mantra 2.2.7 (continued)

[Note.—Manomayaḥ, full of knowledge; where knowledge abounds. Or manomaya may mean he who controls (mayati) the manas so he who controls the mind is manomaya.]

[Note.—Vijñānena, through knowledge or intuition or aparokṣa through the illumination produced when the heart is purified by meditation, concentration and free from desires. Through purity of heart. Through meditation on the appropriate form of Viṣṇu, according to the class of the adhikārī.]

7. He is the controller of the mind and the guide of the senses and the body: He abides in the dense body, controlling the heart. He, the Atman, when manifesting himself as Blissful and Immortal is seen by the wise through the purity of heart.—39.


He who corrects the mind and guides the senses and the body is the Lord dwelling in the Mortal man in the ether of the heart. The wise see by meditation the Lord as having a form which consists of bliss, which does not perish and which is self-luminous.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The Lord Viṣṇu always residing in the heart, manifests Himself as One and as Manifold. He moves within all, out of His own free will: and thus He controls all living beings.

Note.—This shows that the Divine Vision is possible. God is seen in the Heart when it is purified. The shape in which He appears is full of bliss and an unchanging Immortal form.

Mantra 2.2.8.

8. The fetters of the Jīva are cut asunder, the ties of Liṅgadeha and Prakṛti are removed, (the effects of all) his works perish, when He is seen who is Supremely High: (or when the Supremely High looks at the Jīva).—40.

[Note.—Hṛdaya, the heart. Or hṛdaya may mean the Jīva or the Lord: being compounded of the words brid “heart,” and aya “moving dwelling”—he whose seat is the heart, namely, the Jīva or the Lord Viṣṇu.]

[Note.—Granthiḥ, Knot, bond, fetter, which consists of ignorance, love and hatred. The fetter of the heart: or the fetter of the Jīva and of the Lord.]

[Note.—Sarva, all; namely, the remaining three bonds of liṅga-deha, kāma-krodha and prakṛti-bandhas, as described below.]

[Note.—Saṃśayāḥ, doubts. Bonds. The word saṃśaya etymologically can mean “bonds” also. For “doubts” had already been destroyed in the first degree The bonds are many, such as avidyā-bond, the liṅga-deha-bond, the prakṛti-bond, kāma-krodha-bond and the karma-bond. The destruction of avidyā-bond and karma-bond are specially mentioned in this verse; the remaining three are meant here.]

[Note.—Karmāṇi, works The Sañcita and the Āgāmin karmas: as well as the Prārabdhas. Some say the Prārabdha is not destroyed: these karmas produce their effects but the Jīva does not suffer them so keenly.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

Viṣṇu is called Parāvara, because Parā or High Beings like Ramā, Brahmā, etc., are Avara or inferior in His comparison.

Note.—This shows the result of Divine Vision mentioned in the last verse. The avidyā covers both Īśvara and Jīva. It prevents Īśvara being seen by Jīva, and Jīva seeing Īśvara. It is a direct bondage of Jīva, and a metaphorical fetter of Īśvara. Avidyā is the name given to Prakṛti in her active state: when her three qualities Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, are actively manifest. Destruction of Avidyā means putting these guṅas in their latent state. There is a great difference between the destruction of the Avidyā—fetters as taught in this verse, and the unloosening of them as previously described in verse 1. There Avidyā still remained, for it was merely a Parokṣa or intellectual apprehension of Truth. Here Avidyā itself is destroyed by aparokṣa or Intuitive knowledge of Brahman.

The bonds or bandhas are five: the lowest is Avidyā-bond, then the Liṅga-deha bond, then the Paramāchādaka Prakṛti bond, the Kāma-bond and the Karma-bond. When all these bonds are destroyed, then the Jñānī goes by the Path of Light to the Sāntānika Loka. Before proceeding further all have to salute Śiśumāra—the Dweller on the threshold,—the hub of the universe.

The Śiśu-māra literally means the Infant-killer and means the porpoise and is the name of a constellation, in the north, near the Pole. It corresponds perhaps, with the Draco or the Ursa Minor. For a fuller description of it, see Bhāgavad Purāṇa, Book 5, Chapter 23. Here it has a mystical reference to a Being of an exalted order, which every Jñāni passes by, in his way beyond this universe. It may correspond with the ring-pass-not of the “Secret Doctrine.” It is the name of Hari also, as we find in the following verse: “The Supreme Hari, the support of infinity of worlds and who is called Śiśumāra is saluted by all knowers of Brahman on their way to the Supreme God.”

Mantra. 2.2.9

[Note.—Viduḥ, know. Because the past knowers of Self knew this Śiṃsumāra [Śiṃśumāra/Śiśumāra?], therefore the present-day knowers must also do the same.

9. The Brahman (called Śisumāra [Śiśumāra?]) free from all passions and parts, (manifests in the external world) in the highest golden sheath (the Cosmic Egg). That is pure, that is the highest of lights, it is that which the knowers of Ātman know.—41.

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

“He is in the Centre of the Cosmos (as Śiśumāra, the light of all cosmic suns). He is even in the centre of our sun and illumining all planets.”

In the first aspect He is meditated upon as Śiśumāra, and in the second as Gāyatrī.

Note.—In man, the Brahman manifests in the heart or the Auric egg called the city of Brahman. In the universe, He manifests Himself in the Cosmic Egg called the “Golden sheath.” These are the two places where Brahman may be meditated upon.

This verse has been explained in two different ways: first, as applying to Śiśumāra and secondly, as teaching how to meditate on Nārāyaṇa in the sun. The “golden sheath” would then mean the Solar sphere. The Supremely High Brahman resides in the excellent golden sheath. He is Pure and without parts.

Mantra 2.2.10.

10. The sun does not shine there in His Presence nor the moon and the stars (for His Light is greater than theirs, they appear as if dark in that effulgence, like the candlelight in the Sun). Nor do these lightnings, and much less this fire shines there. When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light all this becomes manifest.—42.


Him. the Sun does not illumine nor the moon and the stars. Nor do these lightnings much less this Fire illumine Him. When He illumines all (.the Sun, etc.), then they shine after (Him with His light). This whole universe reveals His Light (is His light and its light is His).

[Note.—Bhāti, Illumines. The Sun can not reveal that Brahman. It is to be taken in a causative sense, meaning “illumines,” and and not shines. So, also in “bhānti” later on. Literally the words mean, “The Sun does not shine there nor the moon and stars, etc.”.]

[Note.—Anubhāti, shine after. The force of anu “after” is to denote dependence. The light of the Sun, etc., depends upon that of the Lord.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

The Sun, etc., do not illumine Him, i.e., can not make Him manifest.

Mantra 2.2.11.

11. The Eternally Eree is verily this Brahman only. He is in the East and in the West, in the North and the South, in the zenith and the nadir. The Brahman alone is it who pervades all directions. This Brahman alone is the Full (that exists in all time—the Eternity). This Brahman is the best:—43.

[Note.—Idam, This (Brahman). “idam brahman eva viśvam”: This Brahman alone is the Plenum. The word “idam” does not qualify viśvam, but “Brahma.” “This universe is Brahman” would be wrong meaning. The word “idam” occurs thrice in this verse, in the other two places it clearly refers to Brahman, why should it not refer to it here also. The word Viśvam does also not mean the “universe” here but the “Full”—the all-pervading in space, time and qualities.]

[Note.—Viśvam, Universe, all. Full (pūṛna [pūṛnam]), All-pervading (viśpati sarvam, viśvam). Plenum: the Eternity.]

Madhva’s commentary called the Bhāṣya:

This (idam) Brahman is alone the Viśva [viśvam] or Infinity or Full (pur-ṇam). This alone is the Best, the Highest of all. As the word ‘idam’ is used several times in this verse it qualifies the word Brahman and not ‘viśvam.’

Note.—The Brahman was taught to be meditated upon as in the heart and the hiraṇyamaya kośa. But lest one should mistake that He is thus limited in those two places only, this verse declares that hHe is everywhere: though for the purposes of meditation those two places are selected as the best.

Brahman is said to be the best (variṣṭha [variṣṭham]); but how can that be when the Jīva and Brahman are identical? The next verse shows that the Jīva and Brahman are not identical.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: