Mandukya Upanishad

Last Updated: February 5, 2018

Definition - What does Mandukya Upanishad mean?

The "Mandukya Upanishad" is the shortest of the ancient Hindu texts known as the Upanishads, which are the concluding portions of the Vedas, the scriptures sacred to Hinduism. The "Mandukya Upanishad" is composed of just 12 verses, all of which focus on the meaning and concepts of the primordial sound, Om (also spelled Aum) and the symbol that represents it.

The name comes from the Sanskrit, manduka, which is a Vedic school and also means “teacher.” Upanishad is sometimes translated as “sitting at the feet of,” which refers to sitting humbly at the feet of a guru: upa means “by,” ni means “nether” and shat means “sitting.”

Yogapedia explains Mandukya Upanishad

Written about 800-500 B.C.E., the "Mandukya Upanishad" mentions four states of consciousness and the nature of the Self, in addition to Om. According to the "Muktika Upanishad," the knowledge gained from the "Mandukya Upanishad" is, by itself, enough for the yogi to gain moksha, or liberation from the recurring cycle of life, death and rebirth. It is also listed as one of the 11 key Upanishads and as a tool for self-realization.

In the first verse, the "Mandukya Upanishad" equates Om with Brahman, the Absolute Reality and divine source of the universe. It is the sound vibration of all that exists, both in the external world and inner existence.

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