bhurbhuvah suvariti va etastisro vyahritayah
tasamu ha smaitam chaturthim.h . mahachamasyah pravedayate
maha iti . tat.h brahma . sa atma . a~nganyanya devatah
bhuriti va ayam lokah . bhuva ityantarixam.h
suvarityasau lokah .. 1..

maha ityadityah . adityena vava sarve loka mahiyante
bhuriti va agnih . bhuva iti vayuh . suvarityadityah
maha iti chandramah . chandramasa vava

sarvani jyoti{\m+} shi mahiyante . bhuriti va richah
bhuva iti samani
suvariti yaju{\m+} shi .. 2..

maha iti brahma . brahmana vava sarve veda mahiyante
bhuriti vai pranah . bhuva ityapanah . suvariti vyanah
maha ityannam.h . annena vava sarve prana mahiyante
ta va etashchatasrashchaturdha . chatasrashchatasro vyahritayah
ta yo veda
sa veda brahma . sarve.asmai deva balimavahanti .. 3..

Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah—these are, verily, the three utterances. Besides these there is a forth, called Mahah, which became known to the son of Mahachamasa. That is Brahman, that is the Self. The other gods are its limbs. Bhuh is, verily, this world; Bhuvah, the mid—region; Suvah, the world yonder; Mahah, the sun. Through the sun, indeed, do all the worlds become great. Bhuh is, verily, fire; Bhuvah, the air; Suvah, the sun; Mahah, the moon. By the moon, indeed, do all the heavenly lights become great. Bhuh is, verily, the Rik—verses; Bhuvah, the Saman; Suvah, the Yajus; Mahah, Brahman. By Brahman, indeed, do all the Vedas become great. Bhuh is, verily, the prana, Bhuvah, the apana; Suvah, the vyana; Mahah, food. By food, indeed, do all the breaths become great. They, these four, become fourfold. Four and four are the vyahritis. He who knows these knows Brahman. All the gods bring offerings to him.

The Upanishad first taught the contemplation of the conjunction of the Vedic Text followed by the mantras intended for seekers of wisdom and fortune. These mantras help in attaining wisdom indirectly.

Now in this section, the secret of meditation on the Vyahritis i.e. short sacred utterances is taught by virtue of  which one can attain supreme realization of Brahman as well as heavenly felicities. The four vyahritis –bhuh, bhuvah, suvah and mahah are enjoined to be contemplated upon in four different ways. So there are altogether four times four i.e. sixteen aspects of the vyahritis in keeping with the sixteen kalas or parts of the Purusha.

The fifth and sixth sections deal with this method of meditation on Brahman. The technique adopted has a direct bearing on things familiar to the students. The fifth section teaches of Brahman through meditation on subordinate divinities and the sixth section treats Brahman as the Supreme Deity.

The three vyahritis – Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvah – which are the short, sacred, mystical utterances are familiar to the disciples. Besides these, the fourth, the Mahah has been brought into prominence by the son of sage Mahachamasa. He realized that Mahah and Brahman were one and the same and that the three Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvah were all part of that Brahman (Mahah).They are manifestations of Brahman and should be thought of as such. The implication is if one understands vyahritis he will not have any difficulty in understanding Brahman. Hence it is said that all other gods (vyahritis) are  the limbs of Mahah or Brahman.

The teacher imparts this technique by telling the students to do certain types of superimpositions upon these terms for the purpose of meditation.  The scheme is to superimpose the mighty upon the meager i.e. to lay over the three mystic utterances several ideas which the students are already familiar with so that by this way they will be able to understand the fourth - Mahah - the Supreme Brahman.

The ideas of such overlaying are as follows:

• Bhuh is this world, Bhuvah is the sky, Suvah is the other world and Mahah is the sun, because by the sun all the worlds are nourished.

• Bhuh is the fire, Bhuvah the air, Suvah the sun and Mahah is the moon. Verily all the luminaries are maintained by the moon.

• Bhuh is the Rik, Bhuvah the Samas, Suvah the Yajus and Mahah is Brahman. Because by Brahman all the Vedas are glorified.

• Verily Bhuh is the Prana, Bhuvah the Apana, Suvah the Vyana and Mahah is the food. By food verily are all the Pranas fostered.

These four are fourfold i.e. in all there are sixteen descriptions of the four mystical utterances or vyahritis. This can be described as in the following table.


1.Meditate as

2.Meditate as

3.Meditate as

4.Meditate as












Next world







OM - Brahman


It is clear from the above table that the four vyahritis are each described in four different ways. This kind of symbolic meditation of the Pranava is commonly known as Pratika Upasana. The Mahah is to be meditated upon as Brahman, the all-pervasive and also as the Atman, the principle of consciousness in all. By Brahman, the sound OM is meant here since all the mantras begin and end with OM.

All these sixteen items constitute the total universe, manifest and unmanifest, the gross and the subtle, the matter and the energy, which is called as Hiranyagarbha. He who knows them, knows Brahman. To him all gods bring offerings i.e. he experiences at once all the joys of the world.

By this meditation, the mind and body of the meditator learn to recognize and appreciate that Brahman  indicated by the OM mantra, the word OM, the sound OM, includes the totality of all energies generated within one's body for its normal function, by virtue of the food one eats, and all of one's energies are like limbs to that Atma within, by whose power alone all of one's physiological functions are nourished, sustained and glorified to be as they are, and to function as they do.

The one who understands and appreciates this meditation as meditation on Hiranyagarbha - totality of the world of created existence - that person only ultimately gains an understanding and appreciation of Brahman.  For that person, all the devas - all organs of perception and action which convey the impulses from the external world to the mind and intellect bring homage, which means that person comes to experience all joys of life, all joys of one's sense organs. That person gains harmony with all that is in this creation.

It may be kept in mind that as per popular understanding there are seven vyahritis which are the symbols of the seven planes, namely, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahah, Jana, Tapah and Satya. But only the first four are dealt with in this Upanishad.

This completes the so-called vyahriti upasana. We must clearly understand that the meditation here is not on vyahriti mantras. The meditation here is on OM mantra, using the vyahriti mantras, as the medium for meditation on OM mantra, the Brahman, the manifested as Hiranyagarbha  - the totality of the world of created existence. 

iti pa~nchamo.anuvakah ..

End of Section 5