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Chapter 1: This Is the Bridge to That

Mandukyopanishad santi-pathah
Om bhadram karnebhih srnuyama devah
Sthirair angais tustuvamsas tanubhir vyasema
Deva-hitam yad ayuh
Svasti na indro vriddhasravah
Svasti nah pusa visvavedah
Svasti nastakrsyo aristanemih
Svasti no vrhaspatirdadhatu
Om santih santih santih
Om ityetad aksaram, idam sarvam
Tasyopavyakhyanam, bhutam
Bhavad bhavisyad iti, sarvam onkara eva.
Yac canyat trikalatitam
Tad apyomkara eva.

Sarvam hyetad
Brahma, ayam atma Brahma

The imperishable sound,
Is the seed of all that exists.
The past, the present, the future,
- All are but the unfolding of aum.
And whatever transcends
The three realms of time,
That indeed is the flowing of aum.
This whole creation is ultimately brahman.
And the self,
This also is Brahman.

Purnat purnamudachyate
Purnasya purnamadaya
Purnameva vashisyate.

That is the whole.
This is the whole.
From wholeness emerges wholeness.
Wholeness coming from wholeness,
Wholeness still remains.

This is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life. This small sutra contains the essence of the Upanishadic vision. Neither before nor afterwards has the vision been transcended; it still remains the Everest of human consciousness. And there seems to be no possibility of going beyond it.

The Upanishadic vision is that the universe is a totality, indivisible; it is an organic whole. The parts are not separate, we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear - don’t be deceived by the appearance - they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass is connected to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the greatest sun.

Nothing is insignificant, nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole just as the seed contains the whole. The seed contains the past - because all the trees that may happen through it are potentially there. And of course the seed contains the present. The seed looks so small, but it is not as small as it looks. If you dissect it you will not find the flowers and the colors and the fragrance, and then you may decide that the seed is empty, but in fact your method was wrong.

That’s what science has been doing with reality - dissecting it, analyzing it. Analysis is destructive. What is needed is a unifying vision, a synthesis. And that is the Upanishadic approach: the part becomes the whole, the whole becomes the part. There is no hierarchy in the Upanishadic vision of life. Nothing is lower, nothing is higher, nothing is mundane and nothing is sacred - all is one.

This vision remained the vision of a few mystics. It never became part of human consciousness. that’s why there is so much misery in the world, so much ugliness, insensitivity. People are not flowering; their hidden splendor, their imprisoned splendor is not freed. People are living imprisoned lives, chained. They contain infinity in them but they are not even aware of it.

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