The Mahavakyas are short statements, usually taken from the
Upanishads. They have profound spiritual and religious significance
in Hinduism, especially in spiritual and yoga practices.
The Mahavakyas contain ageless wisdom and profound truths
regarding Brahman, Self and existence.
Therefore, they are used in meditation to train the mind
and the senses and develop an insight into the nature of Self,
existence and Brahman.
They serve us as reminders of eternal truths in our quest
for liberation. They reveal themselves and provide profound
insights to the extent we awaken them in our consciousness.
They are as relevant today as they were thousands of years
ago. Hence, they are as useful today as they were hundreds of
years ago. Truth does not change with time. The Mahavakyas are
a great example in this regard.
Regular contemplation upon them purifies our minds, promotes
introspection and insight, and leads to transcendental states
IIf you want to make use of them, just pick a Mahavakya from
the list and meditate upon it regularly until you are satisfied
that you have understood it completely or experienced its essence
or truth in some significant way in your own consciousness.
You can also use them as mental hooks to refocus your
mind upon the Self or God or to reengage yourself in spiritual
SSince they contain divine thoughts, you can also use them
as short mantras and chant them quietly in the silence of your
mind anytime during the day or night.
Some later day Upanishads explain the importance of the Mahavakyas
and how to meditate upon them. The following is an excerpt taken
from the Paingala Upanishad (3.2), reproduced from my book,
the Selected Upanishads, which contains translation of 14 Upanishads.
The verse declares that constant meditation upon the Mahavakyas
lead to the state of liberation even when a person is alive
(jivanmukta). This is one a large and continuous prose verse
and provides some challenges to a translator. For your convenience,
here I have broken it down into short paragraphs.
Enquiry into the meaning of "Tat Tvam Asi"
and "Aham Brahmasmi" constitute Sravana (hearing).
Reflecting in solitude upon the meaning of what is being heard
is called Mananam (reflection)."
"Fixing the thought with single-minded concentration
upon the object of what is being heard or reflected upon is
Nidhidhyasana (meditation). Without the distinction of the mediator
and the meditation, like a lamp (without flickering) in a windless
place, such is the state of Samadhi (self-absorption)."
"In that state, although the modifications
arise within oneself, they remain unknown. They are inferred
from memory only. Through them only all the accumulated karmas,
since the beginning of the cycle of births and deaths, become
"Then, through practice, a thousand streams
of nectar flows downs constantly. Therefore, the adepts in Yoga
calls this self-absorption with a cloud of virtue raining down
"When the past impressions are dis-solved
without any residue whatsoever, when the bag of good and bad
karmas are fully destroyed to the end, these statements, like
the Amalaka fruit in the palm of the hand, bring about the direct
and im-mediate vision of the ultimate reality, though it was
"Then he becomes a living being who
is liberated (Jivanmukta)"
TThe following 22 Mahavakyas are taken from the Siva
Purana where they are listed below. They are useful
to stabilize one's mind on Brahman or the absolute inner Self.
Two years ago, I made a video on the Mahavakyas. The same ins
included above. It is my intention to provide explanatory notes
to all these. However, I have no fixed schedule to work on this.
It may take time and I may keep adding a few more from other
1. Prajnanam Brahma -
Brahman is intelligence (Aitareya Upanishad)
2. Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahman
3. Tatvamasi - That you are
4. Ayamatma Brahma -This Self of mine is
Brahman (Mandukya Upanishd)
5. Isavasyam idam sarvam - All this is enveloped
by the Lord (Isa Upanishad)
6. Pranosmi - I am breath (Kausitaki Upanishad).
7. Prajnatma - I am the intelligent Self
8. Yadeveha tadamutra yadamutra tadanmiha -
What indeed is here that is there; what is there, that
is also here (Katha Upanishad).
99. Anyad eva tad viditad atho aviditada api
- It is other than the known and it also beyond the unknown.
10. Esa ta atmantaryamyamrtah - This is your
Self, inner controller and immortal. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)
11. Sayascayam puruse yascasa vaditye sa ekah
- He who is in this person, and who is in the sun above, one
and the same only. (Taittirya Upanishad).
12. Ahamasmi parambrahma param para-paratparam
- I am the Supreme Brahman who is higher than the highest.
13) Veda sastra gurutattu svaya-mananda-laksanam
- According to the Vedas, sastras and the teachings
of guru, the nature of my Self is pure bliss.
14) Sarva bhuthasthitham Brahma tad eva aham na samsayah
- Brahman in all being. Of that I have no doubt.
15) Tattvasya pranoham asmi prithivya pranoham asmi
- I am the breath of the tattvas. I am the breath (support)
of the earth.
16) Apanca pranoham asmi tejasca pranoham asmi
- I am the breath (support) of the waters; I am the breath (support)
of the light.
17) Vayosca pranoham asmi akasasya pranoham asmi
- I am the breath (support) of the air and I am the breath (support)
of the sky.
18) Trigunasya Pranoham asmi - I am the
breath of the triple gunas.
119) Sarvoham sarvatmakoham samsari yadbhutam yaccabhavyam
yadvartamanam sarvatmakatva dadvitiyoham - I am everywhere
and I am the Self of all. In the phenomenal world I am responsible
for what happened, what is going to happen and what is happening.
I am without a second.
20) sarvam khalv idam brahma- Truly, all
this here is Brahman. (Chandogya Upanishad).
21) Sarvoham vimuktoham - I am all. I am
22) Yasau soham hamsa soham asmi - That
which He is I am. I am He. He is I am indeed.