Mandukya Upanishad, verse 3


जागरितस्थानो बहिष्प्रज्ञः सप्ताङ्ग एकोनविंशतिमुखः स्थूलभुग्वैश्वानरः प्रथमः पादः ॥ ३ ॥

Jāgaritasthāno bahiṣprajñaḥ saptāṅga ekonaviṃśatimukhaḥ sthūlabhugvaiśvānaraḥ prathamaḥ pādaḥ || 3 ||

3. The first quarter (Pāda) is Vaiśvānara whose sphere (of activity) is the waking state, who is conscious of external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and whose experience consists of gross (material) objects.

सर्वभूतस्थमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि ।
संपश्यन्नात्मयाजी वै स्वाराज्यमधिगच्छति ॥

sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani |
saṃpaśyannātmayājī vai svārājyamadhigacchati ||

Shankara Bhashya (commentary)

Jāgaritasthāna, i.e., his sphere3 (of activity) is the waking state. Bahiṣprajña, i.e., who4 is aware of objects other than himself. The meaning is that consciousness appears, as it were, related to outward objects on account of Avidyā. Similarly Saptāṅga, i.e., he has seven5 limbs. The Śruti says, “Of that Vaiśvānara Self, the effulgent6 region is his head, the sun his eye, the air his vital breath, the ether (Ākāśa) the (middle part of his) body, the water7 his kidney and the earth his feet.” The Āhavanīya fire (one of the three fires of the Agnihotra sacrifice) has been described as his mouth in order to complete the imagery of the Agnihotra sacrifice. He is called Saptāṅga because these are the seven limbs of his body. Similarly he has nineteen mouths. These are the five8 organs of perception (Buddhindriyas); the five9 organs of action (Karmendriyas); the five10 aspects of vital breath (Prāṇa, etc.); the mind (Manas); the intellect (Buddhi); egoity (Ahaṃkāra); mind-stuff (Chitta). These are, as it were, the mouths, i.e., the instruments by means of which he (Vaiśvānara) experiences (objects). He, the Vaiśvānara, thus constituted, experiences through the instruments enumerated above, gross objects, such as sound, etc. He is called Vaiśvānara because he leads all creatures of the universe in diverse ways (to11 the enjoyment of various objects); or because he comprises all beings. Following the grammatical rules regarding the compound which gives the latter meaning, the word that is formed is Viśvānara, which is the same as Vaiśvānara. He is the first quarter because he is non-different from the totality of gross bodies (known as Virāt). He is called first12 (quarter) because the subsequent quarters are realized through him (Vaiśvānara). (Objection)—while the subject-matter under discussion treats of the innermost Self (Pratyak Ātmā) as having four quarters—in the text, “This Ātman is Brahman”—how is it that (the external universe consisting of) the effulgent regions, etc., have been described as its limbs such as head, etc.? (Reply)—This, however, is no13 mistake; because the object is to describe the entire phenomena, including those of gods (Adhidaiva) as having four quarters from14 the standpoint of this Ātman known as the Virāt (i.e., the totality of the gross universe). And in15 this way alone is non-duality established by the removal of (the illusion of) the entire16 phenomena. Further, the one Ātman is realized as existing in all beings and all17 beings are seen as existing in Ātman. And, thus alone, the meaning of such Śruti passages as “Who sees all beings in the Self, etc.” can be said to be established. Otherwise,18 the subjective world will, verily, be, as in the case of such philosophers as the Sāmkhyas,19 limited by its (one’s) own body. And if that be the case, no room would be left for the Advaita which is the special feature of the Śruti. For, in the case of duality, there would be no difference between the Advaita and the Sāmkhya and other systems. The establishment of the identity of all with Ātman is sought by all the Upaniṣads. It is, therefore, quite reasonable to speak of the effulgent regions, etc., as seven limbs in connection with the subjective (individual self, Adhyātma) associated with the gross body, because of its identity with the Adhidaiva (comprising the super-physical regions) universe from the standpoint of the Virāt (the totality of the gross physical universe). This is further known from such characteristic indication (of the Śrutí), as “Thy20 head shall fall”, etc. The identity (of Adhyātma and Adhidaiva) from the standpoint of the Virāt indicates similar identity21 of the selves known as the Hiraṇyagarbha and the Taijasa 22 as well as of the Unmanifested23 (Īśvara) and the Prājña. It is also stated in the Madhu Brāhmaṇa, “This bright immortal person in this earth and that bright immortal person in the body (both are Madhu).” It is an established fact that the Self in deep sleep (Prājña) is identical with the Unmanifested (Īśvara) because24 of the absence of any distinction between them. Such being the case, it is clearly established that non-duality is realized by the disappearance (of the illusion) of all duality.