Atmabodha Upanishad



Atmabodha Upanishad is one among the 108 Upanishads and is a lesser known Upanishad. As the name indicates, Atmabodha Upanishad gives us the realization of Brahman. It tries to find answer to who am I? A question, which is constantly inquired upon by ancient Hindu seekers. This question is also the cornerstone of Santana Dharma or Hinduism. This Upanishad is part of the Rig Veda. The entire theme of the Upanishad revolves around Brahman.

Atmabodha Upanishad Text

The Opening Prayer

Om! May my speech be based on (i.e. accord with) the mind;
May my mind be based on speech.
O Self-effulgent One, reveal Thyself to me.
May you both (speech and mind) be the carriers of the Veda to me.
May not all that I have heard depart from me.
I shall join together (i.e. obliterate the difference of) day and night through this study.
I shall utter what is verbally true; I shall utter what is mentally true.
May that (Brahman) protect me;
May That protect the speaker (i.e. the teacher), may That protect me;
May that protect the speaker – may That protect the speaker.
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

I-1. The innermost Brahman is A, U, M – saying this a Yogi becomes free from the cycle of birth. Om, I bow to Narayana, having Sankha, Chakra and Gada. The upasaka will go to Vaikuntha.

I-2-4. The Brahmapura is a lotus, shining like lightning and lamp. The son of Devaki is Brahmanya (a Brahmana with 44 sacraments); so are Madhusudana, Pundarikaksha, Vishnu and Achyuta. Narayana is the one, existing in all creatures, the causal person without a cause.

I-5. One does not suffer meditating upon Vishnu without misery and illusion – there is no fear; one who sees many here goes from death to death.

I-6-8. In the middle of the heart-lotus It (Brahman) exists with knowledge as the eye; the world, knowledge are established in Brahman. He, the seeker, departs from this world with this knowledge, getting all desires in the other world becomes immortal. Where there is always light and value, there the person attains immortality – Om Namah.

II-1-10. The Maya has gone away from me, I am the pure vision; my ego has gone down, so has the difference between world, god and soul. I am the inner-self, without positive and negative rules; I am the expansive Bliss; I am the witness, independent, exerting in my greatness; without old age and decay, opposing sides, pure knowledge, the ocean of liberation; I am subtle without any attributes.

I am without three qualities, all worlds exists in my belly; the changeless consciousness, beyond reason and action, I have no parts, unborn, pure reality.

I am endless knowledge, auspicious, indivisible, faultless, reality unbounded. I am to be known by Agamas, attractive to all the worlds. I am pure joy; purity, sole, ever shining, beginningless; I have ascertained the highest Truth.

I know myself without a second, with discrimination. Even then Bondage and Liberation are experienced. The world has gone away that appears to be real like serpent and rope; only Brahman exists as the basis of the world; therefore the world does not exist; like sugar pervaded by the taste of the sugarcane, I am pervaded by Bliss. All the three worlds, from Brahma to the smallest worm are imagined in me.

In the ocean there are many things, from the bubble to the wave; but the ocean does not desire these – So also, I have no desire for things of the world; I am like a rich-man not desiring poverty. A wise person abandons poison favoring Amrita. The sun which makes the pot shine is not destroyed along with the pot; so also the spirit is not destroyed with the body.

I have no bondage nor liberation, no Shastra, no Guru. I have gone beyond Maya – let life go away or let the mind be attacked – I have no misery as I am filled with joy, I know myself; Ignorance has run away somewhere – I have no doership nor duty, kula and gotra. These belong to the gross body, not to me different from it. Hunger, thirst, blindness, etc., belong to the Linga-deha only. Dullness, desire etc., belong only to the Karana-deha.

Just as to an owl the sun is dark, so also for an ignorant person there is darkness in Brahman. When vision is blocked by clouds he thinks there is no sun. Just as Amrita, different from poison is not affected by its defects; I do not touch the defects of Inertia. Even a small lamp can remove big darkness; so even a little knowledge destroys big ignorance.

Just as there is no serpent in the rope at any time, there is no world in me.
Even practicing this for a muhurta (a short time) one does not return (to this world).

Om! May my speech be based on (i.e. accord with) the mind;
May my mind be based on speech.
O Self-effulgent One, reveal Thyself to me.
May you both (speech and mind) be the carriers of the Veda to me.
May not all that I have heard depart from me.
I shall join together (i.e. obliterate the difference of) day and night through this study.
I shall utter what is verbally true; I shall utter what is mentally true.
May that (Brahman) protect me;
May That protect the speaker (i.e. the teacher), may That protect me;
May that protect the speaker – may That protect the speaker.
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

Here ends the Atmabodha Upanishad, as contained in the Rig Veda.

Source: Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai