On Mundaka Upanishad: The conqueror of desire is the master of the worlds

Acharya Prashant
14 min readFeb 2, 2022

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

यं यं लोकं मनसा संविभाति विशुद्धसत्त्वः कामयते यांश्च कामान् ।
तं तं लोकं जयते तांश्च कामांस्तस्मादात्मज्ञं ह्यर्चयेत्भूतिकामः ॥

yaṃ yaṃ lokaṃ manasā saṃvibhāti viśuddhasattvaḥ kāmayate yāṃśca kāmān
taṃ taṃ lokaṃ jayate tāṃśca kāmāṃstasmādātmajñaṃ hyarcayetbhūtikāmaḥ

Whatever world the man whose inner being is purified sheds the light of his mind upon, and whatsoever desires he cherishes, that world he takes by conquest, and those desires. Then, let whosoever seeks success and well-being approach with homage a self-knower.

~ Verse 3.1.10

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Acharya Prashant (AP): Verse ten.

“Whatever world the man whose inner being is purified sheds the light of his mind upon, and whatsoever desires he cherishes, that world he takes by conquest, and those desires. Then, let whosoever seeks for success and well-being approach with homage a self-knower.”

Pretty intriguing and very interesting. What does the common man do when he desires something? He wants to win the object of his desire. “I desire that camera. Being a commoner, I would want to win that camera for myself. Now I have pocketed that camera, and I hope that my desire is fulfilled” — which of course it is not, but that’s for another day. The thing right now is that for the commoner, desire implies a conquest of the object of desire.

But for the self-knower, the verse asserts here, conquest implies a conquest of the desire itself. The object of desire may or may not be won, but what is certain is that the desire is won over.

The self-knower is not a slave to his desire; his desire is to conquer his desires.

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