[Advaita-l] Does praNava upAsanA leads to brahmaloka?

Sujal Upadhyay sujal.u at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 13:08:10 CDT 2016

Praṇāms Sri Praveen ji,

In case of Om, many traditions restrict it to only sannyAsis; its
> the only mantra a sannyAsi is allowed/ required to utter. He doesn't have
> any specific prescribed ashrama karma and this Omkara alone can fill up his
> entire day in various ways.

This is true. Only in rare cases a guru will initiate a householder with

Praṇāms Sri Chandramouli ji

I read the Dhyāna Dīpa Prakaraṇa. It is chapter 6 written by Śrī Vidyāraṇya
In last few verses just before the upasaṁhāra sloka-s (concluding verses),
there is mention of praṇava upāsanā.

Verses 147-149 talk about praṇava upāsanā. According to Śrī Vidyāraṇya
Svāmī. praṇava upāsanā is of two types - saguṇa and nirguṇa. Out of two, in
most places it is nirguṇa that is described, however in few places, saguṇa
is described (Śrī Panchadaśī, Dhyāna Dīpa 6-147). Then Svāmī jī gives
example of Praśṇa Upanishad in next verse i.e. v148. The translator and
commentator Swami Śankarānanda of Chinmaya Mission (Translation and
commentary is in Hindi), says that next verse (v148) in Panchadaśī
describes saguṇa upāsanā. The verse 148 recalls answers given by  Pipplāda
to satyakāma by giving explanation of praṇavopāsanā. Here dhyāna on three
mātrā-s are explained.

So according to Vidyāraṇya Svāmī, the type of upāsanā mentioned in Praśṇa
Upanishad is saguṇa Upāsanā.

In next verse, v149, Svāmī jī cites kathopaniṣat, and says, one achieves
what one desires i.e. one achieves saguṇa or nirguṇa Brahman by chanting OM.

>From verse 150 upasaṁhāra begins. Here it is said, the destination depends
upon the way of sādhanā.

The commentator says (summarising various verses v150-158):

Nirguṇa upāsanā (ātma-vichāra) is the best and it results in Brahmajñāna.
sakāma upāsanā results in achieving the object desired. In case of sakāma
praṇavopāsanā, one goes to brahmaloka, where his desires are fulfilled and
then one attains Brahmajñāna and later merges at the end of kalpa.

Please note that praṇava upāsanā described in praśnopaniṣat is sakāma and
not niśkāma. Hence one ascends to brahmaloka. But if the upāsanā is
niśkāma, then one attains Brahman i.e. has brahmasākshātkāra in this life

My own understanding:

In earlier verses the validity of upāsanā is established. In later verses
it is said that nirguṇa upāsanā is the best. It is ātma vichāra - thinking
of oneself as Brahman. IF one is not capable of doing ātma-vichāra, then
one can do nirguṇa upāsanā by meditating on nature of Brahman i.e. it's
various qualities like completeness, infinite, etc.Then it is explained in
verses 147-149 that those who cannot practice nirguṇa upāsanā can do
praṇava upāsanā. japa is better than dāna, etc kriyā-s. praṇava is better
then japa, nirguṇa upāsanā is better then praṇava and neti-neti is the
best. Only Jñāna can result in mukti or mukti is only possible with (ātma)
Jñāna, not as a result of any kriyā.

Please correct if my understanding is wrong.


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