On Mundaka Upanishad: Into that which is smaller than the atoms

Acharya Prashant
29 min readFeb 22, 2022

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

यदर्चिमद्यदणुभ्योणु च यस्मिन्ल्लोकाऽनिहिता लोकिनश्च ।
तदेतदक्षरं ब्रह्म स प्राणस्तदु वाङ्मनः तदेतत्सत्यं तदमृतं तद्वेद्धव्यं सोम्य विद्धि ॥

yadarcimadyadaṇubhyoṇu ca yasmiɱllokā’nihitā lokinaśca
tadetadakṣaraṃ brahma sa prāṇastadu vāṅmanaḥ tadetatsatyaṃ tadamṛtaṃ tadveddhavyaṃ somya viddhi

That which is the Luminous, that which is smaller than the atoms, that in which are set the worlds and their peoples, That is This, Brahman immutable: life is That, it is speech and mind. That is This, the True and Real, it is That which is immortal: it is into That that thou must pierce, O son, into That penetrate.

~ Verse 2.2.2

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Acharya Prashant (AP): The Upanishads are very practical conversations. They do not merely present theories that the mind can accumulate and get fattened with. Instead, they guide the mind regarding the very meaning of life, the purpose of life, and the identity of the living one.

Visualize a bunch of young students sitting in front of the seer. In this one verse, the sage has given them a way to live. “It is into That that you must pierce, O son, into That penetrate. Only That will make life worth living. All else is not even worthy of mention.” What is it that the student, the mind, the ego must penetrate into, must approach, must know? “That which is the Luminous. Live in a way, O son, that you move from darkness to light. Tamaso mā jyotirgamaya. Keep everything else aside.”

Ask yourself this one question: The way I am living, is it reducing my inner darkness? This question, only this question, determines whether you are living rightly. It doesn’t matter how well-fed you are, how well clothed you are, how well monied you are, how…

Acharya Prashant