The Pradhana Satakam is a work by the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Vedanta Desikan describing 100 important things. In verse 7 of the Pradhana Satakam, Vedanta Desikan says that the Pranava is the most important word in the Ashtakshari Mantra, an important Mantra for Sri Vaishnavas:

immantrattin pataṅkaḷ mūṉṟil 'girāmasmi ekam akṣaram', 'praṇavō hyakṣaram param' eṉkiṟa mūlamākiya oṟṟai eḻuttu pradhanam

Among the three words of the Ashtakshari Mantra, the single-lettered Pranava, which is described by the statements “among words I am the the one-lettered word” and “the Pranava is the highest letter”, and which is the root of all things, is the most important.

I’m interested in the scriptural quotes provided. The first one is from Bhagavad Gita verse 10.25:

maharṣīṇāṁ bhṛgur ahaṁ girāmasmi ekam akṣaram| yajñānāṁ japa-yajño’smi sthāvarāṇāṁ himālayaḥ ||

But my question is, what scripture is the second verse quoted, “praṇavō hyakṣaram param”, from? A Google search doesn’t turn up anything.

Do any commentaries on the Pradhana Satakam shed light on this? Note that I want this specific verse, not other verses that talk about the greatness of the Pranava.

  • @UdayKrishna That’s not the verse I’m looking for. Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 15:24
  • are you missing a leading 'h' in the second word of the quote? I suspect it is 'praṇavō hyakṣaram param'
    – hashable
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 7:20
  • i.vgy.me/JPST9B.png
    – user17858
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 9:32

2 Answers 2


I couldn't find the exact phrase you cited but in the Kathopanishad 1.2.16 Yama says to Nachiketa "etaddhyevākṣaraṃ param" (etad hi eva akṣaraṃ param). "etad" means "this" referring to the Pranava. This is likely the source for Desika's quote as it is virtually identical (just replace etad with praNavaH).

  • 1
    There are dozens of such lines in different scriptures.But I found none to be identical with what exactly is mentioned in the question.
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 8:09
  • @commonman i.vgy.me/JPST9B.png This verse is from Shiva Gita chapter 6. Are there any quotes saying Om is the highest letter? Because that would mean the same thing.
    – user17858
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 9:35
  • @ShashwatAsthana In Bhagavad-Gita also, Sri Krishna says the same thing.But the OP here wants the sloka containing the exact words he mentions.
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 10:25

The verse seems to be cited from a certain text called, 'śrīmad-aṣṭākṣara-brahmavidyā' by Devaṛṣi Nārada.

This can be found in another work attributed to Vedanta Desikan called śrī-pāñcarātra-rakṣā (श्रीपाञ्चरात्ररक्षा), where this verse is cited, the full version of which cited in the text is as follows:-

नारदीये श्रीमदष्टाक्षरब्रह्मविद्यायाम् -

"सर्व सप्रणवो जप्यो जपादप्रणवादपि ।
सहस्र इति विज्ञेय प्रणवो ह्यक्षरं परम्
असंख्याताच्च संख्यात सहस्रगुण उच्यते ।
संख्यातादपि साहस्र सोर्ध्वपुण्ड्रतनोर्जप"॥


nāradīye śrīmadaṣṭākṣarabrahmavidyāyām -

"sarva sapraṇavo japyo japādapraṇavādapi ।
sahasra iti vijñeya praṇavo hyakṣaraṃ param
asaṃkhyātācca saṃkhyāta sahasraguṇa ucyate ।
saṃkhyātādapi sāhasra sordhvapuṇḍratanorjapa"॥

One may access the work from here (book page 108/ file page 173).

However, what type of text is śrīmad-aṣṭākṣara-brahmavidyā, I cannot find. There seems almost no information available about that. As per some sources of dubious accuracy, it's also known as Naradiya Kalpa, but I have no idea what it entails.

In any case, praṇavo hyakṣaraṃ param maybe attributed to śrīmad-aṣṭākṣara-brahmavidyā by Nārada Muni, as cited by Vedanta Desikan in his work - śrīpāñcarātrarakṣā.

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