Knowledge alone frees the soul with the Mundaka Upanishad

Prayer and gifts to deities are vain and do nothing to alleviate suffering

Mundaka Upanishad
  • Mundaka Upanishad
  • Mundaka Upanishad
  • Manifest, [yet] hidden; called “Moving-in-secret”: The great abode!
  • Therein is placed that Which moves and breathes and winks.
  • What that is, know as Being (sad) and Non-being (a-sad),
  • As the object of desire, higher than understanding,
  • As what is the best of creatures!
  • That which is flaming, which is subtler than the subtle,
  • On which the worlds are set, and their inhabitants
  • That is the imperishable Brahma. It is life (pradna) and It is speech and mind.
  • That is the real. It is immortal. It is [a mark] to be penetrated.
  • Penetrate It, my friend! Taking as a bow the great weapon of the Upanishad,
  • One should put upon it an arrow sharpened by meditation.
  • Stretching it with a thought directed to the essence of That, penetrate that Imperishable as the mark, my friend.
  • The mystic syllable Om (pranava) is the bow.
  • The arrow is the soul (aimari).
  • Brahma is said to be the mark (laksya).
  • By the undistracted man is It to be penetrated. One should come to be in It, as the arrow [in the mark].
  • – from the Mundaka Upanishad

The Mundaka Upanishad, one of the sacred Sanskrit texts of Hinduism and Buddhism was written in 64 verses in the form of mantras for teaching and meditation purposes. This particular scripture attempts to explain the “Higher Knowledge” and the “Lower Knowledge,” noting that knowledge alone frees the soul, while prayer and gifts to deities are vain and do nothing to alleviate suffering in this life or the next. As the above text indicates, the Mundaka Upanishad declares Brahma the first of gods, the creator of the universe and the embodiment of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledge as ultimate reality, eternal principle, and cosmic soul.

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