[Advaita-l] Does praNava upAsanA leads to brahmaloka?

Sujal Upadhyay sujal.u at gmail.com
Sun Sep 18 11:02:33 CDT 2016


I re-read prashNa Up 1-5 questions and their answers. Thought only chapter
5 was needed, but 1-5 prashNa-s talked about prANa, the topic of my
interest, so I re-read them too. I also re-read mANdukya Up, AgamaprakaraNa
and gItA chap 8 relevant verses like 8.3 and 8.13, 8.14, etc.

Here is my understanding:

prashNa Up. talks about three mAtrA-s of OM - A-U-M. It talks about fruits
of contemplating on A, U and M separately or chanting OM by focusing only
on one mAtrA. Then it talks about meditating on OM by keeping in mind all
three mAtrA-s and contemplation on supreme purusha. One doing so attains
brahmaloka and does not return to mrityu loka.

If one meditates on only one mAtrA and dies without knowing the full
meaning of all 3 mAtrA-s and does not contemplate on supreme purusha, then

By concentrating on mAtrA A, one comes back to this world (earth)
By Concentrating on mAtrA U,one does to chandraloka, enjoys the merits and
is reborn on earth

By understanding all 3 mAtrA-s A-U-M, and meditating on who meditates upon
the supreme Purusha within the sun, one goes to sUrya loka, and does not
return back
By understanding all 3 mAtrA-s A-U-M and contemplating supreme purusha, one
goes to brahma loka and does not return back. He attain higher brahman in

Here 3 states (waking, etc) are called as representing lower Brahman or
purusha. The combined purusha of all states is called as hiraNyagharbha or
supreme purusha. Here the combined purusha is the knowledge that the same
purusha exists in waking, dream and deep sleep. The underlying principle
(lower Brahman) is the same. This is explained in prashNa Upanishad in
earlier prashNa-s which talk about prANa as lower Brahman / Atman and how
it spreads in the entire body. One prANa manifests as different
prANA-vAyu-s and then carries out their functions.

All prANa-s and 5 senses, merge in mind and then mind merges in Atman,
which is in heart. Thus one becomes many and many re-unites to becomes one

In this sense, OM is pratika of lower Brahman and is helpful to realise
both higher and lower Brahman. By contemplating on OM in above mentioned
ways, one can reach brahmaloka, from where one can gain knowledge of higher
Brahman. Hence OM is a higher Brahman, as it shows way to reach Higher
Brahman without returning to earth.

prashNa does not talk about turiyA avasthA. In all types of mediation on
OM, there is subject and object relationship. prashna upanishad does not
ask one to meditate on Brahman as your very Self, the Self beyond time and
space, beyond duality.

mANDukya Upanishad talks about the fourth mAtrA i.e. amAtra (अमात्र) which
prashNa upanishad skips. In mANdukya Up. 3, AchArya says, By removal of
duality, advaita is naturally established.

If ignorance is removed, knowledge shines by itself. If one meditates on
the fourth turiyA state, then one attains higher Brahman. Here by
meditating one means Brahma jiGYAsA. To eagerness to know turiya Siva
(nirguNa Brahman). Meditating on 3 states leads to lower Brahman, but
meditating on turiyA, i.e. with (higher, nirguNa) Brahman as goal, one
destroys all duality. One naturally & spontaneously enters into the fourth
state. Since all three mAtrA-s of OM are absent, the a-mAtra or silence
part of OM is present. This is the state of non-duality, where there is
none other than Brahman.

gItA chapter 8, while talking on OM also talks while meditating on OM, one
should keep his mind fixed on 'Me'. the Brahman. 8.13-14 talks about
leaving body while chanting OM with mind fixed on Brahman.


>From the above, what I have understood is that, by contemplating on various
mAtrA-s, one does not attain supreme Brahman directly, but by contemplating
on combined form of all mAtrA-s as supreme purusha, one attains Brahma
loka, from where one does not return to this world (mrityu loka). One
attains knowledge of higher Brahman in Brahma loka.

But if one meditates on OM, by fixing mind on nirguNa Brahman (higher
Brahman), one by-passes all three mAtrA-s (an hence loka-s connected to
them), ends in the a-mAtra state, which is silence, represented by non-dual
nirguNa Brahman. Hence with burning desire to know nirguNa Brahman (brahma
jiGYAsA), which is beyond, time and space, beyond mAyA, beyond 3 states of
consciousness, beyond hiraNyagharbha, one has to keep one's mind fixed on
nirguNa Brahman while chanting on OM. The origin of OM is nirguNa Brahman.

How one reaches higher Brahman? By focusing on a-mAtra, the silence. In
silence, there is no duality. Beyond three mAtrA-s, which represents 3
states - waking, dream and deep sleep, there is no other state within mAyA.
The fourth is turiyA. Here, since there is no duality, the knowledge of
Brahman sines by itself. When one focuses on turiyA, one does not do any
kriyA, not even of chanting OM. OM chanting happens by itself (due to
constant practice). Mind focuses on origin of OM, which is nirguNa Brhaman.
Though this state is not reachable, since everything originates from it,
one can reach it by focusing on source of OM. Just like one reaches ocean
by following the sound of waves, one can attain Brahman, where senses does
not reach.

GYAna happens in lower Brahman only. One say say I am one with Brahman only
in the realm of mind, not in turiyA. Brahma jiGYAsA too happens within mAyA
only, inside mind. All techniques, whether neti-neti or OM chanting, or
prANa upAsanA, aid in knowing Brhaman. They cannot make you realize
Brahman, as limited efforts cannot bring limitless results. Hence finally
even the Brahma-jiGYAsA, OM chanting, Self Enquiry (Who am I), etc also has
to be dropped. They all dissolve in Brahman. Sri Ramana Maharshi says, just
like fire, after burning corpse, does not continue, but extinguishes,
similarly, Self Enquiry also dissolves into oneness. Sri Ramakrisha says,
"Once a doll made of salt wanted to measure the depth of ocean. By putting
first step in ocean, she melted. Now how is going to tell the depth of

All the mental process of knowing Brahman are to be finally dropped. But
for beginners, who are under the influence of mAyA, their importance is
highlighted. The path is eulogized so that the seeker gets encouragement to
follow that path. If in the beginning, the final truth is expounded, then
it may have negative consequences. That is why certain truths, certain
texts like Ashtavakra Gita are not to be discussed in Public.

In simple words, the ultimate purpose of all methods as described in
shAstra-s is to eliminate duality, uproot ignorance, and destroy ego.
Knowledge shines by itself.


This is my understanding. Please let me know if I have wrongly understood.


There are times when guru fills disciple's mind with dosha-dasrhan of
samsAra. For some time, disciple does not contemplate on Brahman and does
not practice neti-neti or Self Enquiry, but only thinks of samsAra
negatively. This does not mean guru will stop here. In appropriate time,
after fire of vishAda, which burns one from within, destroying old
impression about the world, the rain of sAnkhya (knowledge) makes the mind
calm and new impressions, new sprouts (of knowledge) arise.  Now the
disciple will remove any negative thoughts about relatives and his mid will
become neutral. At the same time, disciple will not get emotionally
attached to his relatives. At a proper time, he begins to contemplate on

When one is passing through vishAda or to karma kANDin, the teachings of
Ashtavakra Gita should not be given. One should not also downplay the
importance of the method, as it is more harmful then of help. After one
matures, and time comes to drop karma kANda and saguNa upAsanA, one should
then talk about Brahma-jiGYAsA.

In simple words, negate the lower upadesha-s and glorifications of methods
only when the time is ripe and disciple is ready to move ahead. Everything
should be done gradually, not all of a sudden. One is not capable to
reounce everything in a moment. It takes time. We have a method of
chandrAya fasting.


In pure advaita, yoga, saguNa upAsanA, prANa control is done only to an
extend to attain sufficient focus. But there are others who continue the
sAdhanA and after reaching the final state that their sAdhanA can take
them, now shift to advaita. They destroy duality and attain advaita
savasthA. These greats seekers are already sAdhana sampanna and so does not
need to practice advaita from the beginning. Unlike advaitins, bhakta-s
attain bhakti and GYAna, yogi-s attain yoga and GYAna. Though there is no
difference in GYAna, in dual plane, they keep enjoying bhakti or yoga or



Sujal Upadhyay

"To disconnect from the self and to become Aware of anything else is
nothing but unhappiness" - Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi

He who has faith has all
He who lacks faith, lacks all
It is the faith int he name of lord that works wonders

On Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 10:18 PM, Sujal Upadhyay <sujal.u at gmail.com> wrote:

> praNAms,
> Thank you All those who have contributed. I am more interested in the
> fourth - turiyA state, which is the origin of Om. Here Om does not exist. I
> am not talking on meditation on Om itself, but be aware of origin of Om.
> For me Om continues by itself, and I just have to be aware of it's origin.
> After mind calms down, even Om vanishes. After I cannot explain what it is
> like, but it is so peaceful, it brings a smile on my face after I wake up.
> As said in intro of mANdukya, Om is a-para brahman.  It is also said that
> all that when [existence of] drashya prapancha (world) is destroyed [in
> mind], then GYAna happens by itself.
> I will re-read mANDukya bhAshya on 12 verses and other verses related to
> the verses quoted here. I will have to understand the right context in
> which it is said. Without re-reading patiently, I do not want to ask or
> comment on anything.
> If anyone has anything to share, please share your thoughts for educative
> purpose.
> Thank you once again.
> Hari OM
> Sujal

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