Mandukya Karika, verse 1.2


दक्षिणाक्षिमुखे विश्वो मनस्यन्तस्तु तैजसः ।
आकाशे च ह्य्दि प्राज्ञस्त्रिधा देहे व्यवस्थितः ॥ २ ॥

dakṣiṇākṣimukhe viśvo manasyantastu taijasaḥ |
ākāśe ca hydi prājñastridhā dehe vyavasthitaḥ ||

2. Viśva is he who cognizes in the right eye, Taijasa is he who cognizes in the mind within and Prājña is he who constitutes the Ākāśa in the heart. Thus the one Ātman is (conceived as) threefold in the (one) body.

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

This verse is intended to show that the threefold experience of Viśva, etc. (Taijasa and Prājña) is realised in the waking1 state alone. Dakṣinākṣi: the means of perception (of gross objects) is the right eye. The presence of Viśva, the cognizer of gross objects, is chiefly felt there. The Śruti also says, “The person that is in the right eye is known as Indha—the Luminou s One” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad). Indha, which means the effulgent one, who is the Vaiśvānara and also known as the Virāt Ātman (the totality of gross bodies), the perceiver in the sun, is the same2 as the perceiver in the eye. (Objection)—The Hiraṇyagarbha is distinct from the knower of the body (Kṣetra) who is the cognizer, the controller of the right eye, who is also the general experiencer and who is the Lord of the body. (Reply)—No, for, in reality, such a distinction is3 not admitted. The Śrutí says, “One effulgent being alone is hidden in all beings.” The Smṛti also says: “Me do thou also know, O Arjuna, to be the Kṣetrajña (the knower of the body) in all Kṣetras (bodies)” (Gītā, 13. 2). “indivisible, yet it exists as if divided in beings” (Gītā, 13. 16). Though the presence of Viśva is equally felt in all sense-organs without distinction yet the right eye is particularly singled4 out (as the chief instrument for its perception), because he (Viśva) makes a greater use of the right eye in perceiving objects. (The right eye is made here to represent all the sense-organs). The one, who has his abode in the right eye, having perceived (external) forms, closes the eye; and then recollecting them within the mind sees5 the very same (external objects) as in a dream, as the manifestation of the (subtle) impressions (of memory). As6 is the case here (waking), so also is the case with dream. Therefore, Taijasa, the perceiver in the mind.within, is verily the same as Viśva. With the cessation of the activity known as memory,7 the perceiver (in the waking and dream states) is unified8 with Prājña in the Ākāśa of the heart and becomes9 verily a mass10 of consciousness, because there is, then, a cessation of mental activities. Both perception and memory are forms of thought, in the absence of which the seer remains indistinguiṣably11 in the form of Prāṇa in the heart alone. For, the Śruti12 also says, “Prāṇa alone withdraws all these within.” Taijasa is identical13 with Hiraṇyagarbha on account of its existence being realised in mind. Mind is the characteristic indication14 (of both). This is supported by such scriptural passages as “This Puruṣa (Hiraṇyagarbha) is all mind,” etc. (Objection)—The Prāṇa (vital breath) of a deep sleeper is manifested.15 The sense-organs (at the time of deep sleep) are merged in it. How, then, can it (Prāṇa) be said to be unmanifested? (Reply)—This is no mistake, for the unmanifested16 (Avyākritā) is characterised by the absence (of the knowledge) of time and space. Though Prāṇa, in the case of a person who identifies himself with (particular) Prāṇa, appears to be manifested (during the time of waking and dream), yet even in the case of those who (thus) identify themselves with individualized Prāṇa, the Prāṇa, during deep sleep, loses (such) particular identification, which is due to its limitation by the body, and is verily the same as the unmanifested. As in the case of those who identify themselves with individualized Prāṇas, the Prāṇa, at17 the time of death, ceases to be the manifested, so also in the case of those who think of themselves as identified with the individualized Prāṇas, the Prāṇa attains to the condition like the unmanifested, in the state of deep sleep. This Prāṇa (of deep sleep) further contains the seed (cause) of (future) creation18 (as is the case with the Avyākritā). The cognizer of the two states—deep sleep and Avyākritā—is also one19 (viz., the Pure Consciousness). It (one in deep sleep) is identical20 with the (apparently) different cognizers identifying themselves with the conditioned (in the states.of waking and dream), and therefore such attributes as “unified,” “mass of all consciousness,” etc., as described above, are reasonably applicable to it (one in deep sleep). Other21 reason, already stated, supports it. How does, indeed, the word Prāṇa22 apply to the Avyākrita (unmanifested)? It is supported by the Śruti passage, “Oh, good one, the mind is tied to the Prāṇa.” (Objection)—In that Śruti passage, the word Prāṇa indicates Sat (Existence,) i.e., the Brahman, (not the Avyākrita) which is the subject-matter under discussion, as the text commences with the passage, “All this was Sat in the beginning.” (Reply)—This is no mistake, for (in that passage) the Sat is admitted to be that which contains within it the seed23 or cause (of creation). Though Sat, i.e., Brahman, is indicated in that passage by the word ‘Prāṇa’, yet the Brahman that is indicated by the words Sat and Prāṇa (in that connection) is not the one who is free from its attribute of being the seed or cause that creates all24 beings. For if in that Śruti passage, Brahman, devoid of the causal relation (i.e., the Absolute) were sought to be described, then the Śruti would have used such expressions as “Not this, Not this,” “Wherefrom speech turns back”, “That is something other than both the known and the unknown”, etc. The Smṛti also declares, “It is neither Sat (existence) nor Asat (non-existence)” (Gītā). If by the text were meant the (Absolute) devoid of causal relation then the coming back, to the relative plane of consciousness, of those who were in deep sleep and unified with Sat at the time of Praḷaya (cosmic dissolution), could25 not happen. Further, (in that case) the liberated souls would again come back to the relative plane of consciousness; for the absence of seed or cause (capable of giving birth to the world of names and forms) would be the common26 feature of both. Further, in the absence of the seed27 (cause, i.e., at the time of Suṣupti and Praḷaya) which can be destroyed by Knowledge (alone), Knowledge itself becomes futile. Therefore the word Sat (the text of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the passage under discussion) in that aspect in which causality is attributed to it, is indicated by Prāṇa, and accordingly has been described in all the Śrutis as the cause.28 It is for this reason also that the Absolute Brahman, dissociated from its causal attribute, has been indicated in such Śruti passages as “It is beyond the unmanifested which is higher than the manifested”, “He is causeless and is the substratum of the external (effect) and the internal (cause),” “Wherefrom words come back….”, “Not this, not this”, etc. That which is designated as Prājña (when it is viewed as the cause of the phenomenal world) will be described as Turīya separately when it is not viewed as the cause, and when it is free from all phenomenal relationship (such as that of the body, etc.), i.e., in its absolutely Real aspect. The causal condition is also verily experienced in this body from such29 cognition of the man who is awakened from the deep sleep, as “I did not know anything (at the time of deep sleep).” Therefore it is said that (one) Ātman is perceived as threefold30 in the (one) body.