The Four Steps of the Self.
The syllable OM is all; its expansion is what has been, what is, what shall be; all is OM. And whatever is beyond the three times, is also OM. (1)
All that, is the Eternal, and this Self is the Eternal; and this, the Self, has four steps. (2)
Waking life, which perceives outwardly, which has seven limbs, which, being one, has nineteen mouths, an eater of gross things, like fire, is the first step. (3)
Dreaming life, which perceives inwardly, which has seven limbs, which, being one, has nineteen mouths, an eater of subtle things, astral, is the second step. (4)
Where, asleep, he desires no desire, beholds no dream, that is dreamless life. Dreamless life, become one, collectively perceiving, blissful, an eater of bliss, dominantly conscious, intuitional, is the third step. (5)
This is the all-lord; this is the all-knower; this is the inner guide; this is the womb of all; the coming and going of all beings. (6)
Nor perceiving inwardly, nor perceiving outwardly, nor both, nor collectively perceiving, nor perceiving nor not perceiving, unseen, intractable, ungraspable, unmarked, unthinkable, unindicable, the residual essence of the one Self, in which the expanses have ceased, who is at rest, benign, and secondless, this they think is the fourth, this is the Self, the knowable. (7)
The Meaning of Om.
The Self depends on the Unchanging; Om depends on its measures. The measures of Om are as the steps of the Self, and the steps of the Self are as the measures, which are a, u, and m. (8)
Waking life, as earthly fire, agni, corresponds to a the first measure, from its acquisitiveness, and from arriving first. He indeed acquires all desires, and arrives first, who understands thus. (9)
Dream life, the astral, corresponds to u, the second measure, from being upward, and a uniter. He reaches upward, and is united, nor is born among those that know not the Eternal, who understands thus. (10)
Dreamless life, the intuitional, corresponds to m, the third measure, from its being a measurer and a mediator. He indeed measures all this world, and mediates, who understands thus. (11)
Corresponding to no measure indeed, and ungraspable, is the fourth step, in which the expanses have ceased, which is benign and secondless, and is as the Om.
The self, self-led, enters the Self, when it understands thus, when it understands thus. (12)
(The end of the Mândûkya Upanishad.)