The Mandukya Upanishad is one of the shortest but most profound texts in the Upanishads, the ancient scriptures of Hinduism. It is considered to be one of the primary texts on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, which is focused on non-dualism and the ultimate reality of the universe. The Upanishad consists of only 12 mantras, but these mantras provide deep insights into the nature of reality and consciousness. The Mandukya Upanishad stands out for its unique focus on the nature of consciousness and the exploration of the self. Interestingly, there exists a powerful and transformative practice known as Yoga Nidra, which draws inspiration from the principles elucidated in the Mandukya Upanishad.
The Mandukya Upanishad begins by stating that all reality is made up of four aspects or states of consciousness: waking (jagrat), dreaming (svapna), deep sleep (sushupti), and a fourth state beyond these three, known as turiya. The first three states are familiar, but the fourth can only be experienced through deep meditation and spiritual practice.
The text goes on to describe turiya as pure consciousness or awareness, which is beyond all dualities such as good and evil, pleasure and pain, and even existence and non-existence. This state of consciousness is often referred to as the “self” or the “atman” in Hinduism, and it is believed to be the ultimate reality of the universe.
The Upanishad also introduces the concept of “neti neti,” which means “not this, not that.” This phrase is used to negate all concepts and descriptions of the self and the universe, as they are all limited and conditioned by the mind and senses. By negating all concepts, one can arrive at the pure consciousness of turiya.
The Mandukya Upanishad also describes the relationship between the self and the universe. It states that the self is not separate from the universe, but rather the universe is a projection of the self. The self is the ultimate reality, and the universe is merely a manifestation of its own consciousness.
Furthermore, the Upanishad explains that the self is not limited to any particular individual or body but is present in all beings and things. This concept is known as “tat tvam asi,” which means “that thou art.” It implies that the universe’s ultimate reality is present within every one of us.
The combination of the philosophical teachings of The Mandukya Upanishad and the practice of Yoga Nidra offers an experience that can go beyond mere intellectual understanding. It provides a direct experiential approach to exploring the layers of consciousness and unveiling the true nature of the self. Through regular practice, one can develop a heightened sense of self-awareness, clarity, and inner peace.
Balanced Planet Yoga will host its first Yoga Nidra Immersion + Training on June 23-25th, 2023. Interested in learning more? Contact us via email. This training will be held in the studio’s newly expanded space in their Marlton, NJ location with co-owner Cheryl Van Sciver.