Here's the second verse of Mandukya Upanishad.

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I have looked at a number of translations and I'm still unclear as to what verse two is saying.

What is it that subsists in the four states?
Is it Atman, is it Brahman, or is it Atman/Brahman?

See the various translations of this verse two here:

Verse 2

Röer For this all (represented by “Om”) is Brahma; this soul is Brahma. This soul has four conditions.

Aurobindo All this Universe is the Eternal Brahman, this Self is the Eternal, and the Self is fourfold.

Hume For truly, everything here is Brahma; this self (ātman) is Brahma. This same self has four fourths.

Purohit Swami and Yeats There is nothing that is not Spirit. The personal self is the impersonal Spirit. It has four conditions.

Swami Nikhilananda All this is, indeed, Brahman. This Ātman is Brahman. This same Ātman has four quarters (pādas).

Radhakrishnan All this is, verily, Brahman. This self is Brahman. This same self has four quarters.

Swami Gambhirananda All this is surely Brahman. This Self is Brahman. The Self, such as It is, is possessed of four quarters.

Mascaró Brahman is all and Atman is Brahman. Atman, the Self, has four conditions.

Easwaran Brahman is all, and the Self is Brahman. This Self has four states of consciousness.

Olivelle — for this brahman is the Whole. Brahman is this self (ātman); that [brahman] is this self (ātman) consisting of four quarters.

  • Could you pls share the shloka and the few translations you've encountered as part of your question? Thank you.
    – sbharti
    Aug 25, 2021 at 11:12
  • 1
    I've added a reference to the OP.
    – WillyWonka
    Aug 25, 2021 at 11:50
  • Why the unecessary edit of the question title?
    – WillyWonka
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:16
  • Refer this, it may help google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://…
    – user22253
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:37
  • @WillyWonka please accept the edit
    – user22253
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


The Atman or the Self is being imagined to be in four states. In reality there is no differentiation in the Atman or Brahman. This division in to four states is simply to help the reader understand the Atman. The pupil knows about his own waking, dream and dreamless sleep state. The Upanishad is linking these familiar states with the Atman as if the Atman has these 3 states. There is of course a fourth state that is usually not experienced.

All this is indeed Brahman. This Atman is Brahman. The same Atman has four quarters (padas).

Mandukya II

The same Atman has four quarters:

The four quarters are imagined in Atman to help the pupil to understand it.

Three quarters (padas) are as follows: Visva, or the waking state; Taijasa or the dream state; Prajna, or the state of dreamless sleep; and Turiya, or the state of Pure Consciousness, the same as attributeless Brahman. .................

The four quarters are like the quarters of a coin used as a currency, and not like the four feet (padas) of a cow. A large coin, for instance a silver dollar, can be divided into four quarters. But these quarters are not essential or intrinsic characteristics of the dollar; they are designed to serve a practical purpose. That is not true of the four feet of a cow, which are essential part of it. Atman is partless. Therefore the four quarters mentioned in the text are superimposed upon Atman as the quarters are superimposed on the coin. Again the waking state merges into the dream state, the dream state in dreamless sleep, and dreamless sleep in Turiya. The three preceding states are the means of realizing the fourth or Turiya. The attainment of Turiya is the object of philosophical inquiry. Turiya is not a part of Atman.

The Upanishads, Commentary on Mandukya II by Swami Nikhilananda

  • 1
    As always, excellent answer
    – user22253
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:54
  • Thanks for that. Just to clarify, he is saying that turiya is the same as Nirguna Brahman, but not a part of Atman?
    – WillyWonka
    Aug 25, 2021 at 19:29
  • Turiya is the highest state attained by a spiritual aspirant. Srimad Bhagavata Purana says about Turiya the following: 'Thou liest in the Cosmic Waters in the state of Turiya, which is neither absorption in the oblivion of deep sleep, nor involvement in the objective movement of the waking and dream states.' My guess is that in the Turiya state one experiences Nirguna Brahman. Turiya state itself is not Nirguna Brahman or the Atman. Nor is it really a fourth part of the Atman. Aug 26, 2021 at 4:12
  • Do you see an equivalence between Turiya and the satcitananda?
    – WillyWonka
    Aug 26, 2021 at 5:12
  • Turiya= Brahman= Atman=Nirguna Brahman. See verse VII. The first 3 states describe the self...The 4th state should not be thought of as an equal part of the other three states. It encompasses all the parts. Aug 26, 2021 at 5:48

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