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Hardcover: xvi+574 pages
Book Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 690 grams

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Sanskrit Text, English Translation And Commentary

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

Preface v
Introduction vii


Santi Mantra 1


Section i Asvamedha-Brahmana
Meditation on the Sacrificial Horse as the Cosmic Person, Hiranyagarbha

Section ii

Creation and Evolution of the Universe—The Concepts of Death and Sacrifice

Section iii

Meditation on the Vital Force—Allegory of the Warfare between the Celestials and the Demons

Section iv

The Saga of Creation
Section v Saptanna-Brahmana
Meditation on the Seven Forms of Food, the Objects of Desires, Manifestations of the Supreme
Section vi Uktha-Brahmana
Meditation on the Names, Forms and Actions as the Manifestations of Hiranyagarbha


Section i Ajatasatru-Brahmana
Meditation on the Lower and Higher Levels of Consciousness

Section ii

Meditation on Prana—Analogy of the New-born Calf

Section iii

Meditation on the Gross and Subtle Manifestations of Reality

Section iv

Instruction on the Supreme by Sage Yajnavalkya to his Wife Maitreyi—All Love rooted in the Self—The Universe is Non-different from the Self before its Manifestation, during its Existence and after its Disappearance
Section v Madhu-Brahmana
Mutual Relationship of Everything with Everything Else—Story of Sage Dadhyang Atharvan
Section vi Vamsa-Brahmana
Line of Teachers and Disciples of this Knowledge contained in the First Two Chapters


Section i Asvala-Brahmana
How to overcome the Defects in the Sacrificial Rites and their Results—Meditation combined with Rituals, the Means

Section ii

The Senses and Their Objects—The Supreme Being as Death of Death


Section iii

The Goal of Performing the Horse Sacrifice—Some Hints on Cosmic Geography

Section iv

Brahman, The Supreme—Direct and Immediate—Unknowable through the Individual Intellect
Section v Kahola-Brahmana
Renunciation, the Means of Liberation—The Three Kinds of Desires—Balya, Panditya and Mauna
Section vi Gargi-Brahmana
Meditation on the Conditioned Brahman
Section vii Antaryami-Brahmana
Meditation on the Inner Controller
Section viii Akshara-Brahmana
Meditation on the Supreme Unconditioned Brahman
Section ix Sakalya-Brahmana
The Number of Gods—Meditation on the Eight Persons and Their Corresponding Deities—Meditation on the Five Directions with Their Deities and Supports—Meditation on the Essence of the Vital Force—Comparison of Man with a Tree—Source of Rebirth or Creation Established as the Supreme Brahman


Section i Shadacharya-Brahmana
Defects of the Meditation on Parts—Instruction on the Meditation on the Whole

Section ii

A Short Analytical Study of the Three States of Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep

Section iii

Meditation on The Supreme as The Light of Lights—Further Detailed Analysis of the States of Waking, Dream and Deep Sleep

Section iv

What becomes of the Ignorant Jiva, and of the Knower of Brahman, after the Fall of the Body.
Section v Maitreyi-Brahmana
A Restatement of Section iv of Chapter II
Section vi Vamsa-Brahmana
Line of Teachers and Disciples for the Knowledge in, Chapters III and IV


Section i Om Kham Brahma-Brahmana
Meditation on Brahman as The Whole, The Plenum


Section ii

Prajapati’s Instruction to Celestials, Demons and Men—Three Main Virtues of Self-control, Compassion and Charity

Section iii

Meditation on the Heart as Brahman


Section iv

Meditation on Truth as Brahman
Section v Satya-Brahma-Samsthana-Brahmana
Meditation on the Three Syllables of the Word ‘Satya’—Meditation on the Sun and on the Right Eye
Section vi Manomaya-Brahmana
Meditation on the Cosmic Mind and the Individual Mind as Brahman
Section vii Vidyut-Brahmana
Meditation on the Lightning as Brahman
Section viii Vagdhenu-Brahmana
Meditation with the help of the Symbol of Cow for the Veda
Section ix Vaisvanaragni-Brahmana
Meditation on the Universal Prana in the Meditator
Section x

The Course of the Soul After Death—The Gradual Ascent of the Soul in Krama-Mukti, Gradual Liberation

Section xi Vyahita-Brahmana
Meditation on Illness, Death etc., as Supreme Austerities
Section xii Pratrida-Brahmana
Meditation based on the Correlation Between Matter and Energy
Section xiii Uktha-Brahmana
Meditation on the Identity of Prana with Uktha, Yajus, Saman and Kshatra
Section xiv Gayatri-Brahmana
Meditation on the Four Feet of the Gayatri Mantra
Section xv Suryagni Prarthana-Brahmana
Prayer to the Sun God and Fire God at the Time of Death


Section i Prana Samvada-Brahmana
Meditation on the Vital Force—Story of the Conversation between the Organs and the Chief Vital Force

Section ii

Meditation on the Five Fires—Story of Svetaketu and King Pravahana

Section iii

Ritual-cum-Meditation for Attaining Prosperity

Section iv

Ritual-cum-Meditation for Attaining Progeny
Section v Vamsa-Brahmana
The Line of Teachers and Disciples for the Knowledge contained in Chapters V and VI, and the Whole Upanishad


The Upanishads 568

Santi Mantra



Worshipful H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj could see through the publication of his translation and commentary on the eight Upanishads,—Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna,, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya,—during his physical presence in this world. But as an ardent and devout follower of ancient tradition, he was also aware and was particular that the major Upanishads, which form the philosophical foundation of spiritual culture, ten in number, should all be presented and brought out for the benefit of seekers of Truth. For various reasons, it did not become possible to bring out the remaining two Upanishads, viz., the Brihadaranyaka and the Chhandogya, the largest ones among the whole group; and Sri Gurudev did, once or twice, hint at the Management of the Divine Life Society about the necessity to bring out the Commentaries on the remaining two Upanishads also. The circumstances at that time were somehow such that this publication did not see the light of day during his lifetime. But his disciples and devotees were acutely conscious of the wish of the great Master, which they were eager to fulfil at the earliest available opportunity.

Thus, we release this pleasant and stimulating surprise to the public, this large edition of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,–may we call it a magnum opus—with the original Sanskrit text and an English translation of the same, together with an elaborate expository commentary. The first edition of this book was published in the year 1985. As there is consistent demand from the reading public, we are bringing out this edition.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is the most detailed and magnificent revelation of the ancient philosopher-seers, which, in its six chapters packed with thought and revelation, provides to the students a practically exhaustive and concentrated teaching on every aspect of life, making it an indispensable guidebook to the student of literature as well as the philosopher, the religious devotee, and the mystical and spiritual seeker engaged in meditation for divine realisation.



The holy corpus of the Veda, which is the repository of eternal knowledge and wisdom, is divided into four Books, known as Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. In each of the four Vedas a distinction, has been made according to content and form: (1) Samhita; (2) Brahmana; (3) Aranyaka; (4) Upanishad.

The Samhita is a collection of hymns or prayers, to God in various Manifestations, containing also formulae necessary in the sacrificial use of these hymns, known as Mantras. On a practical basis, the Samhita is to be considered as the chief Veda, and it is the Samhita that people have in their minds mostly when they refer to the Vedas, the study of the Vedas, the greatness of the Vedas, or holding the Vedas as the foundation of India’s spiritual and religious outlook of life. The Mantras are addressed to divinities, Devas, as the infinite forms of the Supreme Being, these forms of divinities being regarded as the gradational accessible approaches to the Creator by the corresponding levels of evolution and comprehension of the worshipper, the devotee, or the seeker.

The word ‘Samhita’ means a collection of the Mantras belonging to a particular section of the Veda, which are either in metrical verses (Rik) or sentences in prose (Yajus) or chants (Sama). The Rigveda Samhita consists of 10580 Mantras or metrical verses; the Samaveda Samhita contains 1549 verses (with certain repetitions the number is 1810) many of which are culled from the Rigveda Samhita. The Sama hymns are modulated in numerous ways for the purpose of singing during either prayer or sacrifice. The Yajurveda Samhita consists of two recensions known as the Krishna (black) and the Shukla (white), and consists of prose sentences and long verses. The Atharvaveda Samhita, while it is included among the four sections of the Veda, is generally not studied as a prayer book and is used only during certain specific forms of sacrifice and also for incantations of different kinds to receive benefits to the reciter, both material and spiritual.

The Brahmanas teach the practical use of the verses and the chants presented in the Samhitas. However, the Brahmanas, though they are supposed to be only sacrificial injunctions for purpose of ritualistic utilisation of the Mantras of the Samhita, go beyond this restricted definition and contain much more material, such as Vidhi (a directive precept), Arthavada (laudatory or eulogising explanation), and Upanishad, (the philosophical or mystical import of the chant or the performance).

The Aranyakas are esoteric considerations of the practical ritual, which is otherwise the main subject of the Brahmana. The opening passage of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in which the horse-sacrifice is treated as a symbol, would serve as an example of how a ritualistic symbol and material is used as a cosmological concept for purpose of religious contemplation and philosophic meditation. The Panchagni-Vidya of the Chhandogya Upanishad may also be cited as an illustration of a cosmological or astronomical and physical event being taken as a spiritualised symbol for mystical contemplation.

The Upanishads, except the Isavasya, which occurs in the Samhita portion of the Yajurveda, occur as the concluding mystical import and philosophical suggestiveness of some Brahmana or the other. The philosophical sections of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas are usually detached for the purpose of study, and go by the name of Upanishads, brought together from the different Vedas to form a single whole, though it appears that originally each school of the Veda had its own specialised ritual textbook with an exegesis or practical manual. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad belongs to the Shukla-Yajurveda group and is the most elaborate of them all, touching on almost every issue relevant to human life, and rising to such heights of philosophic genius as may rightly be considered as the greatest achievement of the human mind in history.

There is also a tradition that the Brahmacharin, or the celibate student (which is the first part of the dedication of human life) occupies himself with a study of the Samhita; the Grihastha, or the householder (which is the second part of the dedication of life) is expected to diligently perform the rituals detailed in the Brahmanas in relation to their corresponding Mantras from the Samhitas. The Vanaprastha, or the recluse, the hermit (the third part of the dedication of life) rises above prayer as a chant and performance as a ritual, and busies himself with pure inward contemplation of the more philosophical and abstract realities hidden behind the outward concepts of divinity and the external performances of ritual. The Sannyasin, or the spiritually illumined renunciate (the fourth and concluding part of the dedicated life) occupies himself with direct meditations as prescribed in the Upanishads, whose outlook of life transcends all-empirical forms, outward relations, nay, space and time itself.

Among the ten Upanishads, the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna and Mundaka may be regarded as more introductory, providing preliminary details of a more or less preparatory nature in the understanding of the great truths of the universe. The Kathopanishad, with its musical tone, literary excellence and homely message of the value spiritual, should, indeed, form a fitting text for the beginner in the study of the Upanishads. It is sometimes held that the Brihadaranyaka is a vast commentary on the suggestions made in the Isa Upanishad, while the Brihadaranyaka has a certain internal connection with the precise adoration of the Almighty sung in the Purusha-Sukta of the Samhita. The Mundaka also serves as a good introduction.

But it is the Brihadaranyaka, Chhandogya, Aitareya, Taittiriya and Mandukya, that rise above the level of ordinary instruction and stand as most exalted specimens of a direct encounter with Reality. The Brihadaranyaka is like an omnibus, where anything can be found anywhere. The Chhandogya is more realistic form, and, while it covers a very wide range of subjects like the Brihadaranyaka itself, is characteristically different in make, and presents itself as being more intimate with the hearth and the home and the more concrete values capable of easy comprehension. The Aitareya is the story of creation, cosmology. The Taittiriya is many-sided, but its main issues are psychological, explaining the composition of the individual, thus forming, together with the Aitareya, a practical text on the story of creation. The Mandukya Upanishad is very brief and seems to sum up the intentions of all the Upanishads in just twelve Mantras, dealing, as it does, with the structure of levels of reality as indicated in the stages of consciousness, namely, waking, dream and sleep, suggesting thereby the presence of a Transcendent Universal, timeless and eternal.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a veritable research reservoir and may be taken up for intensive study by those who are pure in heart, sincere in their aspirations, and wholly devoted to a Godly life.




According to the Muktikopanishad of Sukla Yajur-veda, there are as mentioned therein the Rigveda with 21 Sakhas (Branches), the Yajurveda with 109, the Samaveda with 1000 and the Atharvanaveda with 50, and each Branch has one Upanishad. Muktikopanishad further states that emancipation may be attained through Mandukya Upanishad alone, and failing which, through the ten Upanishads, then the thirty-two Upanishads. Through the study of the 108 Upanishads one is certain to attain final emancipation. The 108 Upanishads are:

l. Isa, 2. Kena, 3. Katha-(valli), 4. Prasna, 5. Mundaka, 6. Mandukya, 7. Taittiriya, 8. Aitareya, 9. Chhandogya and 10. Brihadaranyaka. (These are the ten Upanishads referred to above).

11. Brahma, 12. Kaivalya, 13. Jabala, 14. Svetasvatara, 15. Hamsa, 16. Aruni (ka), 17. Garbha, 18. Narayana, 19. (Parama)-Hamsa, 20. (Amrita)-Bindu, 21. (Amrita)-Nada, 22. (Atharva)-Sira, 23. (Atharva)-Sikha, 24. Maitrayani, 25. Kaushitaki, 26. Brihaj-jabala, 27. (Nrisimha) Tapini, 28. Kalagnirudra, 29. Maitreyi, 30. Subala, 31. Kshuri (ka), and 32. Mantrika. (These are the thirty-two Upanishads referred to).

33. Sarvasara, 34. Niralamba, 35. Suka-Rahasya, 35. Vajrasuchika, 37. Tejo-(Bindu), 38. Nada-(Bindu), 39. Dhyana-(Bindu), 40. (Brahma) Vidya, 41. Yogatattva, 42. Atmabodhaka, 43. (Narada)-Parivrajaka, 44. Trisikhi (Brahmana), 45. Sita, 46. (Yoga)-Chuda-(Mani), 47. Nirvana. 48. Mandala-(Brahmana), 49. Dakshina (Murti), 50. Sarabha, 51. Skanda, 52. Mahanarayana, 53. Advaya-(Taraka), 54. (Rama)-Rahasya, 55. Ramatapana, 56. Vasudeva, 57. Mudgala, 58. Sandilya, 59. Paingala, 60. Bikshu (ka), 61. Maha, 62. Sariraka, 63. (Yoga)-Sikha, 64. Turiyatita, 65. Sannyasa, 66. (Paramahamsa)-Parivrajaka, 67. Akshamalika, 68. Avyaktha-(Nrisimha), 69. Ekakshara, 70. (Anna)-Purna, 71. Surya, 72. Akshi-(ka), 73. Adhyatma, 74. Kundika-(khya), 75. Savitri, 76. Atma, 77. Pasupata, 78. Parabrahma, 79. Avadhutaka, 80. Tripuratapana, 81. Devi, 82. Tripura, 83. Katha, 84. Bhavana, 85. (Rudra)-Hridaya, 86. (Yoga)-Kundali, 87. Bhasma-(Jabala), 88. Rudraksha, 89. Gana-(pati), 90. Darsana, 91. Tarasara, 92. Mahavakya, 93. Panchabrahma, 94. (Prana)-Agnihotra, 95. Gopalatapini, 96. Krishna, 97. Yajnavalkya, 98. Varahaka, 99. Satyayana, 100. Hayagriva, 101. Dattatreya, 102. Garuda, 103. Kali (santarana), 104. Jabala, 105. Saubhagya-(Lakshmi), 106. (Saraswati)-Rahasya, 107. (Bahv) Richa and 108. Muktika.

Grouping of the Upanishads according to the Vedas:

The 10 Rigveda Upanishads: 8, 25, 38, 42, 47, 57, 67, 82, 105, 107.

The 19 Suklayajurveda Upanishads: 1, 10, 13, 15, 19, 30, 32, 34, 44, 48, 53, 59, 60, 64, 73, 91, 97, 99, 108.

The 32 Krishnayajurveda Upanishads: 3, 7, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 28, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 49, 51, 62, 63, 69, 72, 79, 83, 85, 86, 93, 94, 98, 103, 106.

The 16 Samaveda Upanishads: 2, 9, 16, 24, 29, 36, 46, 56, 61, 65, 68, 74, 75, 88, 90, 104.

The 31 Atharvanaveda Upanishads: 4, 5, 6, 22, 23, 26, 27, 43, 45, 50, 52, 54, 55, 58, 66, 70, 71, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 84, 87, 89, 92, 95, 96, 100, 101, 102.

The 10 Major Upanishads: 1 to 10.

The 14 Vaishnava Upanishads: 18, 27, 52, 54, 55, 56, 68, 91, 95, 96, 100, 101, 102, 103.

The 15 Saiva Upanishads: 12, 14, 22, 23, 26, 28, 49, 50, 67, 85, 87, 88, 89, 93, 104.

The 8 Sakta Upanishads: 45, 80, 81, 82, 84, 105, 106, 107.

The 20 Yoga Upanishads: 15 ,20, 21, 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 46, 48, 53, 58, 63, 77, 86, 90, 92, 98.

The 17 Sannyasa Upanishads: 11, 16, 19, 25, 29, 43, 47, 60, 64, 65, 66, 74, 78, 79, 83, 97, 99.

The 24 Samanya Vedanta Upanishads: 13, 17, 24, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 42, 51, 57, 59, 61, 62, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 94, 108.



For the Rigveda Upanishads:

ॐ वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता। मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम्। आविरावीर्म एधि वेदस्य म आणीस्थः। श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान्संदधाम्यृतं वदिष्यामि। सत्यं वदिष्यामि। तन्मामवतु। तद्वक्तामवतु। अवतु माम्। अवतु वक्तारम्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥१॥ॐ वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता। मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम्। आविरावीर्म एधि वेदस्य म आणीस्थः। श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान्संदधाम्यृतं वदिष्यामि। सत्यं वदिष्यामि। तन्मामवतु। तद्वक्तामवतु। अवतु माम्। अवतु वक्तारम्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥१॥

Let my speech be rooted in my mind. Let my mind be rooted in my speech. Let Brahman reveal Himself to me. Let my mind and speech enable me to grasp the Truth of the Vedas. Let not what I heard forsake me. Let both day and night be continuously spent by me in study. I think Truth. I speak Truth. May that Truth protect me. May that protect the teacher, protect me, protect the teacher. Let peace prevail against Adhi Daivic, Adhi Bhautic and Adhi Asuric disturbances. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

For the Krishnayajurveda Upanishads:

ॐ सह नाववतु। सह नौ भुनक्तु। सह वीर्यं करवावहै। तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥२॥ॐ सह नाववतु। सह नौ भुनक्तु। सह वीर्यं करवावहै। तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥२॥

Om. May He protect us both (teacher and taught.) May He cause us both to enjoy the bliss of Mukti. May we both exert to find out the true meaning of the Scriptures. May our studies be fruitful. May we never quarrel with each other. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

For the Suklayajurveda Upanishads:

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥३॥ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥३॥

That is whole. This is whole. From the whole, the whole becomes manifest. From the whole when the whole is negated what remains is again the whole. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

For the Samaveda Upanishads:

ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वक् प्राणश्चक्षुः श्रोत्रमथ बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि। सर्वं ब्रह्मौपनिषदं माहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म निराकरोदनिराकरणमस्त्वनिराकरणं मे अस्तु। तदात्मनि निरते य उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥४॥ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वक् प्राणश्चक्षुः श्रोत्रमथ बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि। सर्वं ब्रह्मौपनिषदं माहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म निराकरोदनिराकरणमस्त्वनिराकरणं मे अस्तु। तदात्मनि निरते य उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥४॥

May my limbs, speech, Prana, eye, ear and power of all my senses grow vigorous. All is the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny the Brahman. May the Brahman never desert me. Let that relationship endure. Let the virtues recited in the Upanishad be rooted in me. May they repose in me. Om Peace, Peace, and Peace.

For the Atharvaveda Upanishads:

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवा भद्रं पक्श्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः। स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः। स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः। स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥५॥ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवा भद्रं पक्श्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः। स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः। स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः। स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥५॥

Om. O Worshipful ones, may our ears hear what is auspicious. May we see what is auspicious. May we sing your praise, live our allotted span of life in perfect health and strength. May Indra extolled in the scriptures, Pushan the all-knowing, Tarkshya who saves from all harm, and Brihaspati who protects our spiritual lustre, vouchsafe prosperity in our study of the scriptures and the practice of the truths contained therein. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Other Santi Mantras:

ॐ यश्छन्दसामृषभो विश्वरूपः। छन्दोभ्योऽध्यमृतात्सभ्बभूव। स मेन्द्रो मेधया स्पृणोतु। अमृतस्य देवधारणो भूयासम्। शरीरं मे विचर्षणम्। जिह्वा मे मधुमत्तमा। कर्णोभ्यां भूरि विश्रुवम्। ब्रह्मणः कोशोऽसि मेधयाऽपिहितः। श्रुतं मे गोपाय॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥६॥

May He, the Lord of all, pre-eminent among the Vedas and superior to the nectar contained in them, bless me with wisdom. May I be adorned with knowledge of Brahman that leads to Immortality. May my body become strong and vigorous (for practising meditation on Brahman). May my tongue always utter delightful words. May I hear a lot with my ears. Thou art the scabbard of Brahman hidden by worldly taints (and not revealed by puny intellects). May I never forget that which I have learnt. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

ॐ भ्द्रं नो अपिवातय मनः॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥७॥

Salutations. May my mind and all these (body, Indriyas, Pranas etc.) be good and well. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

ॐ अहं वृक्षस्य रेरिव। किर्तिः पृष्ठं गिरेरिव। ऊर्ध्वपवित्रो वाजिनीव स्वमृतमस्मि। द्रविणं सवर्चसम्। सुमेधा अमृतोऽक्षितः। इति त्रिशङ्कोर्वेदानुवचनम्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥८॥

I am the destroyer of the tree (of Samsara). My reputation is as high as the top of the hill. I am, in essence, as pure as the Sun. I am the highest treasure. I am All-wise, Immortal and Indestructible. This is Trisanku’s realisation. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

ॐ यो ब्रह्माणं विदधाति पूर्वं। यो वै वेदांश्च प्रहिणोति तस्मै। तं ह देवमात्मबुद्धिप्रकाशं मुमुक्षुर्वै सरणमहं प्रपद्ये॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥९॥

He who creates this universe in the beginning and He whom the Vedas gloriously praise and sing about, in Him I take refuge in the firm faith and belief that my intellect may shine with knowledge of Brahman. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

ॐ शं नो मित्रः शं वरुणः। शं नो भवत्वर्यमा। शं न इन्द्रो बृहस्पतिः। शं नो विष्णुरुरुक्रमः। नमो ब्रह्मणे। नमस्ते वायो। त्वमेव प्रत्यक्षं ब्रह्मासि। त्वमेव प्रत्यक्षं ब्रह्म वदिष्यामि। ऋतं वदिष्यामि। सत्यं वदिष्यामि। तन्मामवतु। तद्‌वक्तारमवतु। अवतु माम्। अवतु वक्तारम्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥१०॥

May the Sun (Mitra) be good to us! May the Varuna be good to us! May the Sun (Aryama) be good to us! May Indra and Brihaspati be good to us! May Vishnu of great strides be good to us! Prostrations to Brahman! Prostrations to Thee, O Vayu, Thou indeed art the visible Brahman! I shall proclaim Thee visible Brahman; I shall call Thee the Just! I shall call Thee the True! May He protect me! May He protect the teacher! May He protect me! May He protect the teacher! Om Peace, Peace. Peace.


The Mahavakyas are cryptic aphorisms of profound ideas enshrined in the Vedas. Secret meanings are revealed in terse sayings regarding the relationship between the individual soul and the Supreme Self. These maxims are to be personally taught by the Guru to his disciples and they are the subjects of contemplation both by ascetics and others. There are four such Vakyas one pertaining to each Veda.

1. RIG-VEDA:-Aitareya Upanishad. "Prajnanam Brahma—Pure Consciousness or Knowledge is Brahman." Knowledge or rather Intelligence is that by which one sees, hears, feels or separates and knows taste or distaste. This one Intelligence which is found in all beings including gods, men and animals is Brahman alone. This Vakya explains the purpose of initiation and pertains to experience. It explains the nature of Brahman. Atman is Prajnana or Pure Consciousness, the essential Self of man. The Vakya is variously called as Anubhava Vakya, Prayojanapara, Svarupabodha or Lakshana Vakya.

2. YAJUR-VEDA:-Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: "Aham Brahma Asmi—I am Brahman". The aim of the aspirant is noted here. The term ‘I’ refers to the All-full Paramatman who resides in this body as the medium of knowledge and as the witness of Buddhi. The word ‘Brahman’ refers to the Supreme Atman. The term ‘am’ denotes their identity. This Vakya is variously called Abhyasa, Vishayapara or Anubhava Vakya.

3. SAMA-VEDA:-Chhandogya Upanishad: "Tat Tvam Asi—Thou art That." This explains the relation between the part and the whole. That Existence which is one only without a second and which is devoid of name and form is denoted by the term ‘That’. The substance or the reality which is at the back of the body and the Indriyas of the hearer (disciple) is denoted by the term ‘Thou’. The term ‘art’ denotes their identity. That identity ought to be experienced. This Vakya is variously called Upadesa or Sambandhapara Vakya.

4. ATHARVA-VEDA:- Mandukya Upanishad: "Ayam Atma Brahma—This Atman is Brahman." Direct cognisance of the Self-effulgent is denoted by the term ‘This’. That which is at the back of all from Ahankara down to the body is called ‘Atman’. The term ‘Brahman’ denotes that Great Truth which is at the back of the whole Universe and is Svayamprakasa. This Sakshatkara Vakya confers Brahma-Jnana. This Anubhavabodha Vakya gives expression to the inner intuitive experience or direct perception of the innermost self, through meditation. This Vakya is variously called Darsana or Vidhivakya, Adhikaripara or Aparoksha Anubhuti Vakya.

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Last Updated: Saturday, 07-Nov-2009 17:36:25 EST
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