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Advayataraka Upanishad

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Advayataraka Upanishad

Devanagari अद्वयतारक
IAST Advayatāraka
Meaning of name "non-dual deliverer"[1]
Type of Upanishad Sannyasa
Associated Veda Shukla Yajurveda
Number of chapters 1
Number of verses 19

Advayataraka Upanishad, also spelled Advaya Taraka Upanishad and known as Advayatarakopanishad, is one of 108 Upanishadic Hindu scriptures, written in Sanskrit. It is one of the 19 Upanishads under the Shukla Yajurveda or White Yajurveda.[2] It is classified as a Sannyasa Upanishad.[3] The Upanishad advocates focusing of the mind's eye within one's heart where the divine light shines. The ultimate brightness of Universal Consciousness, which is the Reality, is perceived between the middle of the eyebrows by either closing one's eyes or keeping them partially open.[4] The Upanishad talks about awakening the kundalini and thus realizing Brahman, the Absolute Reality. Its verses on the importance of the guru (teacher) are often quoted.


  • Contents 1
  • Importance of a guru 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External Links 5


Kundalini chakra diagram

In the invocation, the omnipotent and infinite Brahman in the universe is extolled to usher peace in the world.[5]

The text declares that one must look inward and realize the Supreme Brahman, the Satcitananda (being, consciousness, bliss).[6] The Adhvayataaraka Upanishad‍‍ '​‍s teachings enunciated as Tarakayoga enjoins an ascetic person to attain realization of the Brahman, the Absolute Reality, without getting entrapped in the life cycle of reincarnation.[7][5] Its advocacy is to control one’s senses which embodies the six qualities of quietude, self-control, control of aspirations, having a state of endurance, and achieving cognitive control.[7]

The Taraka-yoga ("deliverer-yoga") is defined as comprising three visions – namely, the "internal sign", "external sign", and "intermediate sign", which are part of a Tantric practice that will enable a person to achieve the state called the "taraka-state"; to realise this state, it is essential to have a guru.[7]

The internal signs are first explained. In middle of the body (along the spinal cord) is the Sushumna nadi (Sushumna, the middle channel).[6] Through such practice one realizes the one and only Advaya (non-dual) Brahman; at this stage Kundalini is aroused,[8] which originates in the Muladhara chakra and rises via the Sushumna to Brahmarandhra (hole of Brahman, where the soul is said to dwell) located centrally on the skull,[5] which shines like millions of suns when the state of transcendence is felt. This luster is thin like a lotus string, rising through the middle channel called the Sushumna Nadi, and this light is also perceived between the eyebrows, and above the head.[9] The fact is that Advaya Brahman, which is a single form only, is the reality in this universe. An awareness of Kundalini in one's mind is certain to help one to get rid of all sins and to achieve salvation.[5]

As part of external signs, a person becomes proficient in yoga when he perceives brightness on top of his head, in front of the nose and also in the centre of his forehead. A shining light if seen on a person above his head then he is called a Yogi. As intermediate signs, he becomes one with akasha (space) without qualities.[6] The taraka-yoga is practised in two ways known as "tharaka" (prior to yoga) and "amanaska", the later part that is practised beyond mind.[5]

One should realize that "Macrocosm and microcosm are mirror images" of each other and they are one and same via introspection through the senses. What is realized between the pupils is termed as formless. The taraka is also told to be of two types: with and without form. One would be blessed with anima, the power of reducing one's body even to the size of an atom.[5][6]

The Upanishad makes a mention of the Shambhavi Mudra (literally "Eyebrow centre gazing") which is mudra, a gesture, adopted without batting the eyelids, and a person who can achieve this is considered a holy person.[5]

This Upanishad gives an insight in to the aspect of distorted state of the senses and demarcates the living self from God. It enables appreciation of the "negative aspect of Neti, Neti (Not this, not this)" thus confirming the existence of the unique form of Advaya Brahman.[10]

To reach an understanding of the Turiya state of consciousness, it is essential to have a guru, a teacher. One appreciates the concealed state of Sahasrara chakra (at the top of the head) and becomes one with Consciousness in the cave of buddhi (intelligence).[5][6] The greatness of a guru is further expounded. In the tradition of Upanishads, the text ends its advantages. One who recites the Advayataraka Upanishad is said to be absolved of all sin and pains of samsara (cycle of birth-death-rebirth). All his wishes come true and he attains supreme knowledge.[6]

Importance of a guru

Adi Shankara as a guru with his students.

Four often-cited verses (14–18) from the Advayataraka Upanishad narrate the greatness of a guru or teacher. The qualities of a guru are listed. The true teacher is well-informed of the Vedic scriptures, is a devotee of the god Vishnu, is free from envy. He knows yoga and is intent upon it, and always has "the nature of yoga". A person who is equipped with devotion to the teacher, has knowledge of the Self and possesses the above characteristics may be designated as a guru.[6]

The etymology of the word "guru" is defined as:[11]

The syllable gu means shadows (darkness)
The syllable ru, he who disperses them
Because of his power to disperse darkness
The guru is thus named.
— Advayataraka Upanishad, verse 16

Thus, the role of a guru is one of eliminating ignorance by dispensing knowledge, which is spiritual illumination. In ancient Vedic scriptures, the word "guru" is an adjective meaning "heavy". It is sourced to a Sanskrit root whose cognates are barus in Greek and gravis in Latin. This establishes the linkage of the word guru to "gravity" or "gravitas", that is, a person "who is both grave and heavy with knowledge".[12]

Further, the guru is glorified as Brahman (Absolute Reality), the "supreme path", the "supreme knowledge", the "supreme resort", the "supreme wealth", the "supreme limit", and, as a teacher, is regarded to all.[13][6]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Prasoon 2008, p. 82-83.
  3. ^ Farquhar, John Nicol (1920), An outline of the religious literature of India, H. Milford, Oxford university press, p. 364,  
  4. ^ Hersey 2013, p. 155.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Ramachander. "Advaya Taraka Upanishad". 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h  
  7. ^ a b c Dhavamony 1999, p. 85.
  8. ^ Dalal 2014.
  9. ^ Dalal 2014, p. 429.
  10. ^ Nair 2008, p. 575.
  11. ^ Rosen 2007, pp. 49–50.
  12. ^ Rosen 2007, p. 50.
  13. ^ Barba & Savarese 2011, p. 28.


  • Barba, Eugenio; Savarese, Nicola (18 March 2011). A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer. Taylor & Francis.  
  • Dalal, Roshen (18 April 2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books Limited.  
  • Dhavamony, Mariasusai (1 January 1999). Hindu Spirituality. Gregorian Biblical BookShop.  
  • Hersey, Baird (17 December 2013). The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co.  
  • Nair, Shantha N. (1 January 2008). Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom. Pustak Mahal.  
  • Prasoon, Prof.S.K. (1 January 2008). Indian Scriptures. Pustak Mahal.  
  • Rosen, Steven (2007). Krishna's Song: A New Look at the Bhagavad Gita. Greenwood Publishing Group.  

External Links

  • Advayataraka Upanishad in Sanskrit with Sanskrit Commentary
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