The journey in the destination || On Mundaka Upanishad (2021)

Acharya Prashant
13 min readApr 27, 2024

प्रणवो धनुः शारो ह्यात्मा ब्रह्म तल्लक्ष्यमुच्यते । अप्रमत्तेन वेद्धव्यं शरवत्तन्मयो भवेत् ॥

praṇavo dhanuḥ śāro hyātmā brahma tallakṣyamucyate apramattena veddhavyaṃ śaravattanmayo bhavet

AUM is the bow and the soul is the arrow, and That, even the Brahman, is spoken of as the target. That must be pierced with an unfaltering aim; one must be absorbed into That as an arrow is lost in its target.

~ Verse 2.2.4

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Acharya Prashant (AP): The context in which ‘soul’ used here does not refer to Ātman or Truth; it refers to the mind, jīvātman . These are subtle things, and if you miss them, then there are possibilities of great misinterpretation. Because, you see, even the verse does not say jīvātman ; the verse says ātmā . At the same time, the verse, in the same breath, says the Brahman is the target.

Now, some pundit can come and argue that when the verse is saying that AUM is the bow and the ātmā is the arrow, why are you interpreting ātmā as jīvātman here? I have very important reasons.

The very central principle of the Upanishads is the identity of Ātman with Brahman . Ayam Ātmā Brahm (This Self is Brahman); that’s a Mahāvākya (lit. ‘great sentence’, axiomatic statement of Vedanta)…