Verses for Introspection

Shloka 35 satyena labhyastapasaa

Ma Gurupriya

  • Shloka 35 satyena labhyastapasaa

    Ma Gurupriya

Means to Realize the Self

सत्येन लभ्यस्तपसा ह्येष आत्मा
सम्यग्ज्ञानेन ब्रह्मचर्येण नित्यम् ।
अन्तःशरीरे ज्योतिर्मयो हि शुभ्रो
यं पश्यन्ति यतयः क्षीणदोषाः ।।
– मुण्डकोपनिषद् ३.१.५

satyena labhyastapasā hyeṣa ātmā
samyagjnānena brahmacaryeṇa nityam |
antaḥśarīre jyotirmayo hi śubhro
yaṁ paśyanti yatayaḥ kṣīṇadoṣāḥ ||
– Muṇḍakopaniṣad 3.1.5


This Self is to be attained by constant truthfulness, austerity, proper knowledge, and steady continence. Ascetics, free of impurities, see (realize, perceive) this Self, which shines within oneself as the pure effulgent brilliance.

Points for Introspection:

The supreme purpose of this life is to realize the Self – the most brilliant and pure – in our own within where it is always there. The whole spiritual pursuit consists in realizing one’s own Self and identifying the Self as the Universal Self.

This śloka declares with great fervour and intensity who can realize the Self and how. It says, the Self or Ātmā is attained (लभ्य:, labhyaḥ) by those striving seekers in whom the impure tendencies of the mind (anger, intolerance, jealousy and the like) arising from desires have completely got attenuated; whose minds are pure and absolutely transparent.

How do the impurities of the mind get attenuated? By constant striving to hold on to Truth and to eliminate falsehood; by understanding that whatever is perishable is untruth, and the Imperishable alone is Truth. To understand this and bring it down to every moment of one’s life, to reject untruth and pursue truth alone, is the aim of the austerities. Have discrimination to distinguish between what is everlasting and what is short-lived. Without break, engage the mind to dwell on the eternal immortal nature of the Self, as opposed to the futile nature of the world.

This constant discrimination of the eternal from the transient is the real austerity (तपस्, tapas) a seeker should take up. Our sense organs are always focused outward. Allured by worldly objects we look for object-based immediate pleasures, not realizing that such pleasures are always short-lived and can never bestow permanent bliss. The mind becomes intensely agitated and restless when the senses are not able to get what we want. Only when the mind is rid of all agitations born of desires, it becomes restful and pure.

So, the austerity a seeker takes up is to constantly and effortlessly withdraw the senses and the mind from all worldly attractions and repulsions that make the mind distracted. He strives to converge the mind wholesomely on the thought of the Self. This process or practice of withdrawing the mind and senses from worldly allurements is austerity in itself, because the mind and senses refuse to be disciplined and be dwelling on the Self.

The śloka also says that the seeker should strive for comprehensive knowledge of the Self (सम्यक् ज्ञान, samyak-jñāna). It emphasizes not only the knowledge that “I am not the body-mind-intelligence; I am the birth-less, death-less, decay-less, taintless, motionless Self”, but also to be firmly established in that knowledge and to live it ceaselessly.

Also, the seeker must have “brahmacharya”. Brahmacharya means practising celibacy. It also means dwelling upon the thought of Brahman – the Universal Self. So, the seeker has to constantly practise brahmacharya, practise abidance in Truth, pursue the austerity of sublimation of desires, and focus on the Self. He must always try to be established in his own real nature.

By constant practice of these disciplines, which a serious and sincere seeker must take up, the seeker gets purified in the heart and is able to realize the Self within (अन्तः शरीरे, antaḥ-śarīre). That Self which reveals itself to the seeker is resplendent (ज्योतिर्मयः, jyotirmayaḥ), and taintless (शुभ्रः, śubhraḥ). When the seeker’s mind becomes purified (transparent) by these disciplines, then the Self is revealed clearly in the heart.

Chanting of this powerful śloka repeatedly brings about a liking for these disciplines and one is able to feel the Ātmā as a brilliant and transparent Presence within.

Word Meaning:

सत्येन (satyena) = through veracity; लभ्यः (labhyaḥ) = attainable; तपसा (tapasā) = by austerity; हि (hi) = indeed; एषः (eṣaḥ) = this; आत्मा (ātmā) = Self; सम्यक् ज्ञानेन (samyak jnānena) = through comprehensive knowledge of Truth; ब्रह्मचर्येण (brahmacaryeṇa) = by brahmacarya, continence; नित्यम् (nityam) = constantly; अन्तःशरीरे (antaḥśarīre) = within the body; ज्योतिर्मयः (jyotirmayaḥ) = brilliant, resplendent; हि (hi) = indeed; शुभ्रः (śubhraḥ) = pure; यं (yam) = whom; पश्यन्ति (paśyanti) = see; यतयः (yatayaḥ) = ascetics; क्षीणदोषाः(kṣīṇadoṣāḥ) = sinless, taintless.


एषः आत्मा सत्येन, सम्यक् ज्ञानेन, नित्यं ब्रह्मचर्येण तपसा हि लभ्यः। अन्तःशरीरे हि ज्योतिर्मयः शुभ्रः यं (तं आत्मानं) क्षीण-दोषाः यतयः पश्यन्ति ।

eṣaḥ ātmā satyena, samyak jnānena, nityaṁ brahmacaryeṇa tapasā hi labhyaḥ. antaḥ-śarīre hi jyotir-mayaḥ śubhraḥ yaṁ (taṁ ātmānaṃ) kṣīṇa-doṣāḥ yatayaḥ paśyanti.

Verses for Introspection

Shloka 35 satyena labhyastapasaa

Ma Gurupriya

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