Mundaka Upanishad

“Not through discourse, not through the intellect, not even through study of the scriptures can the Self be realized. The Self reveals Himself to the one who longs for the Self. Those who long for the Self with all their heart are chosen by the Self as his own… Those who know the Self become the Self. Freed from the fetters of separateness, they attain to immortality.”

Like all aspects of the Veda, this quote from Mundaka Upanishad cannot really be understood until after the Self is realized. The crux here lies in the phrase, “longs for the Self”. What does that really mean? Often, longing may be thought of as an emotional state. But ‘longing’ here means much more.

Everything manifests from Oneness and everything gravitates back to Oneness. As the iron filing gets closer to the magnet, the pull gets stronger and stronger… as one gets closer and closer, the ‘longing’ is ‘with all of their heart’. Such longing is all consuming. It is not just emotional… it is physiological on all levels of ones being… it comes not from the emotional heart, but from the heart (the depth) of ones being. This is the experience of gravity in the broadest sense of the word ‘gravity’. It is Longing. It is not fully understood, not clearly understood, until after the Self is truly known. Along the path gravity pulls you…. there you find discourse, intellectual understanding, scriptures, etc. The closer you get, the stronger the pull, the clearer the vision, the more ardent the quest. Yet water remains water until it crystallizes into ice. Similarly, the Veda is not understood until the Self is realized. And then the word ‘understood’ takes on new meaning as well.

Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay. Echoes of Truth, perceived as echoes, assist one along the path back to Oneness… neti, neti, neti… not that, not that, not that. Humility comes with wisdom. To know everything is to know nothing.

Like water tumbling down a mountain stream, the gravitational pull is experienced in many ways with varying degrees of choppy chaos, swirling distraction, pooling stagnation, and utter confusion… with varying degrees of clarity of purpose, commitment, and understanding. At some point, the pull becomes so great that you will settle for nothing less than Truth. Everything else you have learned is then questioned. The veils of all indoctrinations, dogmas, misinterpretations, temptations, and identities are reexamined, discerned, and pierced… experienced as hollow and unsatisfying.

As if from afar, it calls you. Truth, in its purest form, is the only true focus of longing… the only nectar to quench that seemingly eternal thirst… the only healing balm… the balm of Pure Knowledge.


© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful. The opportunity to have the depth of my being touched in this way has been with me for over 15 years now. How amazing is that! Thank you.

  2. Rarefied and exquisitely soul stirring…

  3. Just this morning I commented to my husband that for quite some time now I have the experience of waking up in the morning with the mantra given to me “playing” in my head. Not every day, but very often. Sometimes I join in, and even when I am ready to stop, the mantra continues. I have wondered if this is a kind of “pull”, as it happens without my intention.

    Beautiful blog… soul stirring, as Billy said.

  4. Beautiful beyond words…

  5. Dear anonymous,
    That experience with your mantra is very good… beautiful. Just continue… It will carry you beyond what can be imagined.

  6. Beautiful…

    I had a fun experience a few days ago, while walking down Mount Soma Boulevard. As I passed the Visitor Center on my left, I heard music coming from that direction. That’s odd, I thought. (It wasn’t Gandarvaved!) But when I passed a hill on my right, I discovered the music was actually coming from the opposite direction (construction workers building Marty’s house).

    It gave me an experiential illustration of your saying “Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay.” Echoes bounce off of other objects, like mirrors show illusion. If I had followed the echo to find the music, I would have headed in the opposite direction from what I sought! Imagine following echoes through canyons, much less the illusive quests we undertake through life…

    It was also interesting to me that I heard the echo as the source of music when the direct path between me and the true source was obstructed. Once I passed the block, I couldn’t even hear the echo, and the source became clear.

    I love this addition to the saying: “Echoes of Truth, perceived as echoes, assist one along the path back to Oneness…” Everything is an echo. Part of the quest is to learn to read the signs…(?)

  7. Joy Anna,
    Excellent comment. I am wondering if in “when the direct path between me and the true source was obstructed…” the word ‘obstructed’ was actually intended to be ‘UNobstructed’. There are really no obstacles to Truth… only distractions created by all the echoes.

  8. Brahmarshi, would you please say more about what is going on with my mantra?

    Thank you.

  9. I find this explanation of “longs for” very helpful.
    Its not about emotion.
    I understand it more as analogous to the pull of gravity
    Thank you for the clarification

    I also love the understanding of obstructions— distractions.
    It is probably more accurate and removes the emotional charge

  10. Dear anonymous,
    as the ice melts, that which underlies it is more readily perceived…

  11. …….my gratitude to you is beyond words. You know.

  12. This is the loveliest of blogs. Thank you Bramarishi.

    Seems like my life has been one great big fat longing…..seemed like a REAL “heart” ache…sometimes acute, sometimes just an ache but always there. I found it difficult to discern what was Me and what had been imposed on me. Now after being in and following your programs, the longing is there (thankfully) but has a different tone. More often than not.I would describe it as a sweetness and, if I dare use the word, a “knowing”. If one were to ask me what I mean by “knowing”, I would have to say “I don’t know”. And leave it at that.

  13. Beautiful blog. Thank you.