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Muktika Upanishad – Contents – Subject Matter

Muktika Upanishad is one of the minor Upanishads dealing with mukti or liberation as the central theme. It is the last of the 108 Upanishads and belongs to the Shukla Yajur Veda. Here is a look at the contents and subject matter of the Muktika Upanishad.

The Upanishad is the in the form of a discourse between Hanuman and Sri Rama and seems to have drawn its inspiration from Yoga Vasistha attributed to Sage Valmiki. The central theme of Muktika Upanishad is liberation.

The text, after enumerating the Shakhas of the four Vedas, narrates the Shani Mantras (invocations of peace) to be said at the time of recitations. Then it goes on to describe the four types of liberation and the means to attain them. It elaborately deals with the four requisites of seekers – nitya – anitya – vastu – viveka (the capacity to discriminate between eternal and perishable), vairagya (an absolute sense of detachment), indriya niyantran (control over sense organs and opposing feelings like love-hatred, profit loss, pain pleasure, cold heat) and tivramumuksha (an earnest desire to get away from bondage).

Muktika Upanishad also touches upon mind-control. Then two kinds of human effort are described. The first type is performing actions in accordance with the texts that will lead to the Supreme. The second is performing actions contrary to the scriptures, leading to misery. A detailed account of the nature of vasanas and the necessity for their destruction is also given. Finally, emphasis is laid again on mind-control and the necessity of keeping the mind fixed on Brahman, thereby achieving the state of Samadhi (absorption within the self). This Upanishad concludes with an exposition of videhamukti (liberation after the body dies).