On Mundaka Upanishad: The marks of the right seeking and the rewards of the right seeker

Acharya Prashant
13 min readFeb 21, 2022

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

नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लभ्यो न च प्रमादात्तपसो वाप्यलिङ्गात् ।
एतैरुपायैर्यतते यस्तु विद्वांस्तस्यैष आत्मा विशते ब्रह्मधाम ॥

nāyamātmā balahīnena labhyo na ca pramādāttapaso vāpyaliṅgāt
etairupāyairyatate yastu vidvāṃstasyaiṣa ātmā viśate brahmadhāma

This Self cannot be won by any who is without strength, nor with error in the seeking, nor by an askesis without the true mark: but when a man of knowledge strives by these means his self enters into Brahman, his abiding place.

~ Verse 3.2.4

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Acharya Prashant (AP): “This Self cannot be won by any who is without strength, nor with error in the seeking, nor by an askesis without the true mark: but when a man of knowledge strives by these means his self enters into Brahman.” Beautiful.

“The Self cannot be won by any who is without strength” — now, what does that mean?

Somebody said, “Only dead fish flow with the stream.” It requires no strength to go with the flow, right? Even if you are dead, you will be traveling with the speed of the stream. It requires strength to go against the stream. It requires strength to go upstream.

You would have guessed which flow is being referred to. The flow of our tendencies, the continuous flow of the mind, the continuous flow of the blood and the fluids and the hormones, all the biological chemicals within — all these are flows.

The ‘I’, the aham, the little self is a little thing in this massive flow. This speck of dust being carried away by great winds has no choice, no resistance. A dead leaf floating on the surface of a boisterous river — what option does it have? It is choiceless, as choiceless as the common man is in front of his biological tendencies and social…

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