Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upanishad | Section 14-22



ādityo vā eṣa etanmaṇḍalaṁ tapati tatra tā ṛcastadṛcā
maṇḍalaɱ sa ṛcāṁ loko'tha ya eṣa etasminmaṇḍale'rcirdīpyate
tāni sāmāni sa sāmnāṁ loko'tha ya eṣa etasminmaṇḍale'rciṣi
puruṣastāni yajūɱṣi sa yajuṣā maṇḍalaɱ sa yajuṣāṁ lokaḥ
saiṣā trayyeva vidyā tapati ya eṣo'ntarāditye hiraṇmayaḥ puruṣaḥ .. 1..

1. Verily, Āditya is He, This orb of His gives light and heat, The well-known Ṛig verses are there, Therefore the orb is the collection of Ṛig; He is the abode of the Ṛig verses.

Now this flame which is shining in the orb of the sun is the collection of Sāman chants, That is the abode of Sāman chants.

Now He who is the Person in the flame within the orb of the sun (is to be meditated as) the collection of Yajus; that part of the orb is the collection of Yajus; That is the abode of Yajus.

Thus by these three, the threefold knowledge alone shines. He who is within the sun is the Golden Person.


This passage lays down a meditation of the Supreme in the sun.

The Chāṇḍogya Upaniṣad (1 6 5-6) states:

The white shining of the sun is the Ṛig, the dark, the ultra-black, is the Sāman, there is the Golden Person, exceedingly brilliant and above all evils, within the sun.

The same Upaniṣad (III 1 4, III 2. 3, and III 3 3) asserts that the red appearance in the sun is the essence of the Rigveda, the white appearance is that of the Yajurveda, the dark appearance is that of the Sāmavēda and the exceedingly dark appearance is that of the Atharvaveda.

That the Vedas are to be associated with meditation upon the sun is an idea found in many passages of the scriptures.

According to Sāyana, Parameśvara, praised as Nārāyaṇa in the previous Section, is described here as the sun.

The scriptural view is that every object in the world has three aspects: Adhyātma, Adhidaiva and Adhibhuta. The last of these terms implies the physical aspect of the object, the second one denotes the Divine Power as residing in all the objects, and the first one represents the essence of everything viewed from within as the subject.

On this theory Ṛig, Yajus and Sāman (hymns, formulas and chants) have their own devatās or regents.

According to Sāyana, the regents of the body of each Veda dwell respectively in the orb of the sun, the flame in it and the Person visible in the orb, in the order of the Vedas.

The phrases ṛcāṁ lokaḥ, sāmnāṁ lokaḥ and yajuṣāṁ lokaḥ are explained in the above light as the abode of the regents of the Vedas. All these three are in the orb of the sun and therefore the splendour of the sun is visualised as the glory of the triple knowledge, trayī vidyā.

Further, the regent of the sun is declared to be the Golden Person. He is identified with the threefold Vedas being the subject-matter taught by them.

According to Bhaṭṭabhāskara the Golden Person is the Supreme Lord who has favoured man with the three Vedas shining in the sun. He explains Āditya as ādau bhāvāḥ—the Lord who was in the beginning. The universe is illumined by His light as coming from the sun. The Upaniṣads state that the splendour of the Sun really belongs to the Supreme.

The passage extolls the three Vedas, whose purpose is to magnify the Supreme Being in order that we might worship Him.


ādityo vai teja ojo balaṁ yaśaścakṣuḥ śrotramātmā mano
manyurmanurmṛtyuḥ satyo mitro vāyurākāśaḥ prāṇo lokapālaḥ
kaḥ kiṁ kaṁ tatsatyamannamamṛto jīvo viśvaḥ katamaḥ svayambhu
brahmaitadamṛta eṣa puruṣa eṣa bhūtānāmadhipatirbrahmaṇaḥ sāyujyaɱ
salokatāmāpnotyetāsāmeva devatānāɱ sāyujyaɱ sārṣṭitāɱ
samānalokatāmāpnoti ya evaṁ vedetyupaniṣat .. 1..

1. The sun alone is verily all these:

—energy, splendour, strength, renown, sight, hearing, body, mind, anger, Seer, the Deities Death, Satya, Mitra, Wind, Ether and Breath, the Rulers of the world, Prajāpati, the Indeterminable One, happiness, that which transcends the senses, truth, food, (span of life,) liberation or Immortality, individual Soul, the Universe, the acme of bliss and the self-born Brahman.

This Person in the sun is eternal. He is the Lord of all creatures.

He who meditates thus upon Him attains union with Brahman and lives in the same region of enjoyment with Him; he attains union, co-residence and like-enjoyment with these gods in their worlds.

The secret knowledge is thus imparted.


This Section lists various attributes, powers and qualities of the Supreme Person identified with the all-encompassing sun for the purpose of worship and meditation.

One may worship Hiraṇyagarbha—the World-Soul here identified with the sun—or the Deities who form His parts, powers and attributes as enumerated here.

A worshipper may be a superior aspirant who possesses greater concentration, stronger feeling and better capacity for continuous effort, another may be weak and possessing only an inferior capacity for worship.

If the worshipper is of superior calibre he attains identity with the object of his worship, if he is of poor capacity he gets a place in the region of the object of his worship, which entitles him to enjoyments similar to those possessed by the God whom he worships.

In the Haṁsa mantra previously explained it has been pointed out that the sun is fit to be worshipped as Brahman.

Bhaṭṭabhāskara points out that the Supreme Person has not only revealed the three Vedas through the sun, but also has given all that is necessary for the well-being and liberation of creatures.

This Section is reminiscent of the Gītā chapters 9 and 10 where the attributes of the Supreme are described for contemplation.

ghṛṇiḥ sūrya ādityomarcayanti tapaḥ satyaṁ madhu kṣaranti
tadbrahma tadāpa āpo jyotī raso'mṛtaṁ brahma bhūrbhuvaḥ suvarom .. 2..

2. Āditya, the supreme cause of the universe, is the giver of light and water and is the source of all energy. He is denoted by the syllable Om.

Gods worship Him as Tapas and Truth. (Being worshipped thus) He grants bliss to the worshippers (Or the worshippers offer honey and sweet offerings to Him).

That form of the sun is Brahman. That is the pervading cause of all. That is water, fire, flavour and ambrosia. The three Vyāhṛtis representing the three worlds and the Prāṇava representing the cause of the universe denote that Brahman.


Both Bhaṭṭabhāskara and Sāyana consider this passage as a formula to be employed for japa by those who are incapable of performing the meditation given in the previous Section.


nidhanapataye namaḥ . nidhanapatāntikāya namaḥ .
ūrdhvāya namaḥ . ūrdhvaliṅgāya namaḥ .
hiraṇyāya namaḥ . hiraṇyaliṅgāya namaḥ .
suvarṇāya namaḥ . suvarṇaliṅgāya namaḥ .
divyāya namaḥ . divyaliṅgāya namaḥ .
bhavāya namaḥ. bhavaliṅgāya namaḥ .
śarvāya namaḥ . śarvaliṅgāya namaḥ .
śivāya namaḥ . śivaliṅgāya namaḥ .
jvalāya namaḥ . jvalaliṅgāya namaḥ .
ātmāya namaḥ . ātmaliṅgāya namaḥ .
paramāya namaḥ . paramaliṅgāya namaḥ .
etatsomasya sūryasya sarvaliṅgaɱ sthāpayati pāṇimantraṁ pavitram .. 1..

1. By these twenty-two names ending with salutations they consecrate the Śivaliṅga for all— the Liṅga which is representative of soma and sūrya, and holding which in the hand holy formulas are repeated and which purifies all.


Here there are twenty-two salutations suffixed to the twenty-two Divine Names uttered at the time of the consecration of the emblem of Śivaliṅga in a public temple, or at home for private worship, or on the body of a devotee of Śiva.

In the serial order of the text here are given an English version of the Names above:

1. The Lord of the dissolution of the universe—Śiva is here considered as the aspect of the Supreme responsible for the final dissolution of the universe.

2. The end-maker or Nidhanapati is Yama, who is responsible for the death of all creatures. At the time of universal absorption Śiva alone remains, the whole pantheon of gods including Yama being retracted into Him.

3. The Most High, standing at the head of the categories, which evolve into the universe, namely Śiva who is the unity of Power and Power-holder

4. The principle of Sadāśiva embodying the power of Intelligence.

5. He who is beneficial and charming to creatures.

6. He who is visualized as the Liṅga made of gold.

7. He who is endowed with attractive splendour.

8. He who is of the form of Liṅga made of silver.

9. He who is the source of bliss in heaven.

10. He who is worshipped in the paradise as the Liṅga, established there by the devotees—or He who is worshipped as the divine emblem.

11. He who is the source of the cycle of birth and death.

12. He who is worshipped as the Liṅga by human beings.

13. He who is the suppresser of the universe at the time of final dissolution.

14. He who has the shape of the Liṅga emblem of Śarva, who gives bliss.

15. He who is most auspicious.

16. He who has the form of Śiva Liṅga.

17. He who has the form of a flaming splendour.

18. He who has the form of the brilliant Liṅga.

19. He who is the Spirit (Ātman) dwelling in all creatures.

20. He who is concealed in the heart of all creatures being their inmost Self.

21. He who is unsurpassed.

22. He who is the Supreme Lord of bliss and liberation indicated by the Liṅga emblem.

The term Liṅga in Sanskrit means an indicatory mark or emblem which symbolically represents that for which it stands. Śiva Liṅga represents the Supreme Being denoted by the word Rudra Mahādeva.

The Chāṇḍogya III 19 1 describes that the whole universe was hatched out of a golden egg, which lay a complete year before it brought forth offspring.

The spherical dome of the heavens above, appearing to us capping the earth on which we live, may be likened to an enormous semi-section of an egg containing the world.

Perhaps this golden egg landed itself to be fancied as the visible symbol of the limitless all-inclusive Divine Reality into which the manifold universe was believed to be reabsorbed at the end.

The Liṅga which is worshipped by the devotee of Śiva is but a handy replica or a convenient diminutive form of the universal semi-spherical emblem of the Unlimited.

Śiva Liṅga may be carved out of stone, naturally found as stalagmite, or shaped out of gold, metal and the like. The Liṅga, therefore, is a symbol concealing a truth behind. This word occurring in various compound names above are to be interpreted in the light of the tradition behind the word. For further details about Śiva Liṅga and its worship the Purāṇas and Āgamas may be consulted.


sadyojātaṁ prapadyāmi sadyojātāya vai namo namaḥ .
bhave bhave nātibhave bhavasva mām . bhavodbhavāya namaḥ .. 1..

1. I take refuge in Sadyojāta. Verily I salute Sadyojāta again and again! O Sadyojāta, do not consign me to repeated birth; lead me beyond birth, into the state of bliss and liberation. I bow down to Him who is the source of transmigratory existence.


These and the succeeding 4 formulas of salutation and prayer are called Pañca-brahma-mantras, employed in the worship and meditation of Mahādeva visualized as having five faces turned towards the four quarters and up.

These are also prescribed for japa by a person who desires divine illumination.

The term Sadyojāta literally means “he who is born today”. The Lord described here is the embodiment of all knowledge. His westward face is supposed to be responsible for the evolution of the universe from the unevolved condition.

When this face is pratyag-vṛtti (out-turned), the cycle of birth and death begins to turn and sustains creation. When it is prāg-vṛtti (in-turned) Mahādeva grants Release.

That aspect of Mahādeva, which is responsible for Saṁsāra is called Sadyojāta. The worshipper who has realised the limitations and miseries of the world, therefore, prays to Sadyojāta:

May He not consign me any more to the round of birth and death, but lift me out of it and set me on the path of Release. He who binds the jīva with His delusive power alone can give him Release, and the helpless bound Soul has nothing with him to buy his release except humility, self-surrender, self-abnegation and continuous aspiration implied in the word namaḥ.


vāmadevāya namo jyeṣṭhāya namaḥ śreṣṭhāya namo rudrāya
namaḥ kālāya namaḥ kalavikaraṇāya namo balavikaraṇāya namo
balāya namo balapramathāya namaḥ sarvabhūtadamanāya namo
manonmanāya namaḥ .. 1..

1. Salutation to Vāma deva! Salutation to Jyeṣṭhā! Salutation to Śreṣṭha! Salutation to Rudra! Salutation to Kāla! Salutation to Kala- vikaraṇa! Salutation to Balavikarana! Salutation to Bala! Salutation to Balapramathana! Salutation to Sarvabhūtadamana! Salutation to Manon- mana!


These eleven salutations are subjoined to eleven Divine Names describing the northward face of Mahādeva.

The Names in their numerical older of occurrence are now interpreted:

1. The beautiful and shining One or (taking the sense of generous for Vāma) the generous God.

2. The Eldest, existing before creation.

3. The most worthy and excellent.

4. He who causes creatures to weep at the time of dissolution.

5. He who is the Power of time responsible for the evolution of Nature.

6. He who causes changes in the evolution of the universe beginning with Prakṛti.

7. He who is the producer of varieties and degrees of strength.

8. He who is the source of all strength.

9. He who suppresses all power at the time of retraction.

10 The Ruler of all the created beings.

11. He who is the kindler of the light of the soul.


aghorebhyo'tha ghorebhyo ghoraghoratarebhyaḥ .
sarvataḥ sarva sarvebhyo namaste astu rudrarūpebhyaḥ .. 1..

1. Now, O Sarva, my salutations be at all times and all places to Thy Rudra forms, benign, terrific, more terrific and destructive.


Uttering this mantra one salutes Mahādeva’s southward face and the aspect called Aghora Śiva or Dakṣiṇāmūrti.

Rudra is the Supreme Lord dwelling in all created beings. He is endowed with many forms that are either Sāttvika, Rājasa or Tāmasa called here respectively as Aghora, ghora and ghoratara.


tatpuruṣāya vidmahe mahādevāya dhīmahi . tanno rudraḥ
pracodayāt .. 1..

May we know or realize the Supreme Person. For that, may we meditate upon Mahādeva and to that meditation may Rudra impel us. /Śiva Gāyatrī/


For meaning and translation of this stanza see section I stanza 23. Here this Gāyatrī is reproduced to worship and meditate upon the eastward face of Mahādeva.


īśānaḥ sarva vidyānām īśvaraḥ sarva bhūtānāṁ brahmādhipatir-
brahmaṇo'dhipatirbrahmā śivo me astu sadāśivom .. 1..

1 May the Supreme who is the lustre of all knowledge, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiraṇyagarbha, be benign to me! I am the Sadāśiva described thus and denoted by Prāṇava.


This is the mantra prescribed for the worship and meditation of Mahādeva as ūrdhva-vaktraṃ, i. e., with upturned face. The expression sadāśivom stands for Sadāśiva Om.


namo hiraṇyabāhave hiraṇyavarṇāya hiraṇyarūpāya hiraṇyapataye.
ambikāpataya umāpataye paśupataye namo namaḥ .. 1..

1. Salutations again and again to Hiraṇya- bahu, Hiraṇyavarṇā, Hiraṇya rūpa, Hiraṇya pati, Ambikā pati, Umāpati, Paśupati.


This is again another mantra employed in the worship and meditation of Mahādeva and for salutation to Him.

It contains 7 epithets of Śiva. Each one of them is traditionally explained in the following order of occurrence in the formula:

1. One who has ornaments of gold on the arms, or possessing a form having the golden hue.

2. He who is the source of the syllables of the Vedas which are as precious as gold.

3. He who is shining in splendour.

4. The Lord of riches wholesome and charming.

5. The consort of Ambikā, the Mother of the universe.

6. The master of Uma, Brahma- vidyā personified as such.

7. The Lord of all created beings.

According to Bhaṭṭabhāskara, Parāśaktī when She projects Herself as the universe, is called Ambikā and when She retracts the universe into Herself at the end of a cosmic cycle She is called Umā.

The Vedas, according to the meaning given above, are supposed to be precious and dear not only because of their intrinsic value as divine revelation, but also because of the great difficulty in acquiring them after long and exacting service in the preceptor’s residence.