[Adhyātma-Upanishad]1

The One Aja (unborn) is ever located in the cave (of the heart) within the body. (Pṛthivī) the earth is His body; though He pervades the earth, it does not know Him. The waters are His body; though He pervades the waters, they do not know Him. Agni is His body; though He pervades agni, it does not know Him. Vāyu is His body; though He pervades vāyu, it does not know Him. Ākāś is His body; though He pervades ākāś, it does not know Him. Manas is His body; though He pervades manas, it does not know Him. Buddhi is His body; though He pervades buddhi, it does not know Him. Ahaṅkāra is His body; though He pervades ahaṅkāra, it does not know Him. Chitta is His body; though He pervades chitta, it does not know Him. Avyakta is His body; though He pervades avyakta, it does not know Him. Akshara is His body; though He pervades akshara, it does not know Him. Mṛtyu is His body; though He pervades mṛtyu, it does not know Him. He who is the inner soul of all creatures and the purifier of sins, is the one divine Lord Nārāyana.

The wise should through the practice of deep meditation of Brahman leave off the (recurrent) conception of “I” and mine” in the body and the senses which are other than Ātmā. Having known himself as Pratyagātmā, the witness of buddhi and its actions, one should ever think “So’ham” (“I am That”) and leave off the idea of Ātmā in all others. Shunning the pursuits of the world, the body and the Śāstras, set about removing the false attribution of self. In the case of a Yogin staying always in his own Ātmā, his mind parishes having known his Ātmā as the Ātmā of all, through inference, Vedas and self-experience. Never giving the slightest scope to sleep, worldly talk, sounds, etc., think of Ātmā, (in yourself) to be the (supreme) Ātmā. Shun at a distance like a chaṅdāla (the thought of) the body, which is generated out of the impurities of parents and is composed of excreta and flesh. Then you will become Brahman and be (in a) blessed (state). O Sage, having dissolved (Jīva-) Ātmā into Paramātmā with the thought of its being partless, like the ether of a jar in the universal ether, be ever in a state of taciturnity. Having become that which is the seat of all Ātmās and the self-resplendent, give up the macrocosm and microcosm like an impure vessel. Having merged into Chidātmā, which is ever blissful, the conception of “I” which is rooted in the body, and having removed the (conception of) Liṅga (here the sign of separateness), become ever the Kevala (alone). Having known “I am that Brahman” in which alone the universe appears like a town in a mirror, become one that has performed (all) his duty, O sinless one. The ever-blissful and the self-effulgent One being freed from the grip of ahaṅkāra attains its own state, like the spotless moon becoming full (after eclipse).

With the extinction of actions, there arises the extinction of chintā. From it arises the decay of vāsanās; and from the latter, arises moksha; and this is called Jīvanmukti. Looking upon everything in all places and times as Brahman brings about the destruction of vāsanās through the force of vāsanās of sāttvic nature. Carelessness in Brahmanishthā by (or meditation of Brahman) should not in the least be allowed (to creep in). Knowers of Brahman style (this) carelessness, in Brāhmic science, as death (itself). Just as the moss (momentarily) displaced (in a tank) again resumes its original position, in a minute, so Māyā envelops even the wise, should they be careless (even for a moment). He who attains the Kaivalya state during life becomes a Kevala even after death of his body. Ever devoted to samādhi, become a nirvikalpa (or the changeless one), O sinless. one. The granthi (or knot) of the heart, full of ajñāna, is broken completely only when one sees his Ātmā as secondless through nirvikalpa samādhi.

Now, having strengthened the conception of Ātmā and well given up that of “I” in the body, one should be indifferent as he would be towards jars, cloth, etc. From Brahma down to a pillar, all the upādhis are only unreal. Hence one should see (or cognize) his Ātmā as all-full and existing by itself (alone). Brahma is Swayam (Ātmā); Vishnu is Ātmā; Rudra is: Ātma; Indra is Ātmā; all this universe is Ātmā and there is nothing but Ātmā. By expelling (from the mind) without any remainder all objects which are superimposed on one’s Ātmā, one becomes himself Parabrahman the full, the secondless and the actionless. How can there be the heterogeneity of the universe of saṅkalpa and vikalpa in that One Principle which is immutable, formless and homogeneous? When there is no difference between the seer, the seen, and sight, there being the decayless and Chidātmā, full like the ocean at the end of a Kalpa and effulgent, all darkness, the cause of false perception, merges in it. How can there be heterogeneity in that one supreme Principle which is alike? How can there be heterogeneity in the highest Tattva which is One? Who has observed any heterogeneity in sushupti (the dreamless sleep), where there is happiness only? This vikalpa has its root in chitta only. When chitta is not, there is nothing. Therefore unite the chitta with Paramātman in its Pratyāgātmic state. If one knows Ātmā as unbroken bliss in itself, then he drinks always the juice (or essence) of bliss in his Ātmā, whether internally or externally.

The fruit of vairāgya is bodha (spiritual wisdom); the fruit of bodha is uparati (renunciation); śānti (sweet patience) is attained out of the enjoyment of the bliss of one’s Ming, and this śānti is the fruit of uparati. If the latter in each of these is absent, the former is useless. Nivṛtti (or the return path) leads to the highest contentment and (spiritual) bliss is said to be beyond all analogy. That which has Māyā as its upādhi is the womb of the world; that true one which has the attribute of omniscience, etc., and has the variegated mystery is denoted by the word “Tat” (that). That is called Apara (the other or inferior) which shines through meditation upon the idea and the world asmat2 and the consciousness of which is developed by antaḥkarana. By separating the upādhis Māyā and avidyā from Para and Jīva (cosmic and human Ātmās respectively), one realises Parabrahman which is partless and Sachchidānanda. Making the mind dwell upon such sentences (or ideas) as the above constitutes śravana (hearing). It becomes manana (contemplation) when such ideas are quieted (in one) through logical reasoning. When (their) meaning is confirmed through these (two processes), the concentration of the mind on it alone constitutes nididhyāsana. That is called samādhi in which the chitta, rising above the conception of the contemplator and contemplation, merges gradually into the contemplated, like a light undisturbed by the wind. Even the mental states are not known (at the time when one is within the scope of Ātmā). But they are only inferred from the recollection which takes place after samādhi. Through this samādhi are destroyed crores of karmas which have accumulated during cycles of births without beginning and pure dharma is developed. Knowers of Yoga call this samādhi, dharma-megha (cloud), inasmuch as it showers nectarine drops of karma in great quantities, when all the hosts of vāsanās are destroyed entirely through this, and when the accumulated karmas, virtuous and sinful, are rooted out. Then that in which speech was hidden till now, appears no longer so, and shines as Sat; and direct cognition reveals itself, like the myrobalan in the palm of the hand. Vairāgya begins from where the vāsanās cease to arise towards objects of enjoyment. The cessation of the rising of the idea of “I” is the highest limit of buddhi; uparati begins from where the mental states once destroyed do not again arise. That ascetic is said to possess Sthitaprajñā who enjoys bliss always and whose mind is absorbed in Brahman that is formless and actionless. That state of mind is termed prajñā that realises the oneness of Brahman and Ātmā after deep inquiry, and that has the vṛtti of nirvikalpa and chinmātra. He who possesses this always is a Jivanmukta. He is a Jivanmukta who has, neither the conception of “I” in the body and the senses, nor the conception of another (different from himself) in everything else. He is a Jivanmukta who sees through his prajñā no difference between his own Ātmā and Brahman as well as between Brahman and the universe. He is a Jivanmukta who preserves equanimity of mind, either when revered by the good or reviled by the vicious. One who has cognized the true nature of Brahman is not subject to rebirth as before. But were he so subjected, then he is not a true knower, the knowing of Brahman being external only. A man is subject to prārabdha3 so long as he is affected by pleasure, etc. The attainment of a result is always preceded by action; and nowhere is it without karma. Through the cognition “I am Brahman” are destroyed the karmas accumulated during hundreds of crores of previous births, like the actions in the dreaming state (that are destroyed) during the waking state.

An ascetic having known himself as associateless and indifferent like ether, is not at all affected by any of his karmas at any time. Just as the ether is not affected by the alcoholic smell through its contact with a pot, so Ātmā is not affected by the gunas produced by its upādhi. The prārabdha karma that has begun to act before the dawn of jñāna is not checked by it; and one should reap its fruit, as in the case of an arrow discharged at a target. An arrow that is discharged towards an object with the idea that it is a tiger, does not stop when it (the tiger) is found to be a cow; but it (even) pierces the mark through its speed, without stopping. When one realises his Ātmā as free from old age and death, then how will prārabdha affect him? Prārabdha accomplishes (its work) only when one considers his body as At ma. This conception of Ātmā as body is not at all a desirable one; so it should be given up along with prārabdha, since it is simply a delusion to attribute prārabdha to this body. How can there be reality to that which is superimposed upon another? How can there be birth to that which is not real? How can there be death to that which is not born? How can there be prārabdha to that which is unreal? The Veda speaks of prārabdha in an external sense only, to satisfy those foolish persons that doubt, saying: “If jñāna can destroy all the results of ajñāna (such as body, etc.), then whence is the existence of this body to such a one?” but not to inculcate to the wise the existence of the body.

Ātmā is all-full, beginningless, endless, immeasurable, unchangeable, replete with Sat, Chit, and Ānanda, decayless, the one essence, the eternal, the differentiated, the plenum, the endless, having its face everywhere, the one that can neither be given up nor taken up, the one that can neither be supported nor be made to support, the gunaless, the actionless, the subtle, the changeless, the stainless, the indescribable, the true nature of one’s Ātmā, above the reach of speech and mind, the one full of Sat, the self-existent, the immaculate, the enlightened, and the incomparable; such is Brahman, one only without a second. There are not in the least many. He who knows his Ātmā himself through his own cognition, as the one who is not restricted by any, is a Siddha (one that has accomplished his object), who has identified his Ātmā with the one changeless Ātmā. Whither is this world gone, then? How did it appear? Where is it absorbed? It was seen by me just now, but now it is gone. What a great miracle! What is fit to be taken in? and what to be rejected? What is other (than Ātmā)? And what is different (from It)? In this mighty ocean of Brahman full of the nectar of undivided bliss, I do not see, hear, or know anything. I remain in my Ātmā only and in my own nature of Sat, Ānandarūpa. I am an asaṅga (or the associateless). I am an asaṅga. I am without any attributes. I am Hari (the Lord taking away sin). I am the quiescent, the endless, the all-full and the ancient. I am neither the agent nor the enjoyer.

I am the changeless and the decayless. I am of the nature of pure enlightenment. I am the one and the perpetual bliss.

This science was imparted to Apāntaratama who gave it to Brahma,. Brahma gave it to Ghora-Aṅgiras. Ghora-Aṅgiras gave it to Raikva, who gave it to Rāma. And Rāma gave it to all beings. This is the teaching of Nirvāna; and this is the teaching of the Vedas; yea, this is the teaching of the Vedas. Thus ends the Upanishad.


1. This Upanishad is also called Turīyātīta Avadhūta Upanishad.

2. I and its inflexions.

3. The result of past karma now enjoyed.