Prasna Upanishad

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Power of Aum

Then Satyakama, the son of Sibi, asked Pippalada: Sir, if among men someone should here meditate on the syllable Aum until death, which world, verily, would he win thereby?

He replied: O Satyakama, the syllable Aum is the Supreme Brahman and also the other Brahman. Therefore he who knows it attains, with its support, the one or the other. (5.1-2)

Again, who meditate on the Highest Person through this syllable Aum consisting of three letters, becomes united with the effulgent sun. As snake is freed from its skin, even so he is freed from sin. He is led up by the sama [letter M] verses to the World of Brahma. From this, which is the aggregate of all lives, he beholds the Supreme Purusha, higher than the High and pervading all bodies. (5.5)

[The verses of the Sama-Veda, of which M is the symbol.]

The three letters of Aum [if employed separately] are mortal; but when joined together in meditation on the total Reality and used properly on the activities of the external, internal, and intermediate states, the knower trembles not. (5.6)

The wise man, meditating on Aum, attains this world by means of the rik verses; the intermediate world by means of the yajur verses; and that which is known to the seers [Brahmaloka] by means of the sama verses. And also through the syllable Aum he realizes that which is tranquil, free from decay, death, and fear, and which is the Highest. (5.7)

[* rik verses = the letter A in the syllable AUM is the very soul of the Rig-Veda and of the earth. The three Vedas: Rik, Sama, Yajur]

As these flowing rivers, bound for the ocean, disappear into the ocean after having reached it, their names and forms being destroyed, and are called simply the ocean—even so, these sixteen parts of the seer, whose goal is the Purusha, disappear into the Purusha after having reached Him, their names and forms being destroyed, and are called simply the Purusha. He becomes free of parts and immortal. (6.5)

Know Him, the Purusha, who alone is to be known and in whom the parts rest firm, like the spokes in the nave of a wheel, that death may not affect you. (6.6)

Pippalada said to them: Thus far, indeed, I know the Supreme Brahman; there is nothing higher than this. (6.7)

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* Excerpts translated by Swami Nikhilananda