The Mandukya Upanisad and Karika, with the English translation of the commentary of Sri Sañkaracärya, is the third in the series to be published by us, after the Aitareya Upanisad and the Mundaka Upanisad. This is to be followed very soon by the Prasna Upanisad. These four Upanisads together constitute Volume Two of Eight Upanisads by the same author.
In the translation of the commentary, the words quoted from the text by Sañkarãcarya are given in italics. These are followed by commas and the English equivalents. Informative explanatory footnotes have been added wherever necessary.
This Upanisad derives its name after its seer Manduka, and belongs to the Atharva- Veda. Though it is the shortest of the principal Upanisads, having only twelve passages, it presents the quintessence of the entire Upanisadic teaching. It analyses the whole gamut of human consciousness, in the three states of waking (jãgrat), dream (svapna), and dreamless sleep (susupti). It asserts unequivocally that the ultimate Reality is non-dual (advaita) by adopting a unique method of investigating the three states of human consciousness, and proclaims the Mahavakya (sacred dictum): ayamatma brahma (this self is Brahman).
This Upanisad provides a symbol for the meditation on, and the realization of; the supreme Reality; and that symbol is the mono-syllable AUM, the word of all words, comprising three sounds A, U, M, whose philosophical implications are elaborated in the text.
The Language of this upanisad is compact and concise. Hence the need of a karika (expository treatise) by no less a person than sri Gaudapada the Paramaguru (Spiritual teacher’s teacher) of Sri Sankaracarya. The Acarya considered it necessary to write a bhasya (commentary) on the Karika also because of its lucid exposition of the text apart from a commentary on the Upanisad proper. It can be said that the Karika is one of the earliest attempts of systematize the teachings of the Upanisads on rational lines. As such it is looked upon as an authentic treatise on the Advaita Vedanta.
We earnestly hope that with the publication of the present separate edition of this very important Upanisad it will reach a wider circle of readers and arouse in them a genuine interest in the subject matter and help them to have correct idea of the advaita Vedanta philosophy which presents truth without any consideration for creed sect, color, race, sex or belief.
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