The Apaurusheya Bhashya

One of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s gifts to the world was a simple technique to go beyond the mind and transcend. This is pure Yoga. Another great gift was of understanding. He brought a vision to the ancient texts that shed immense light on their deeper meanings.

One aspect of the second was his early ’80’s cognition of the uncreated commentary of the Rig Veda. He found that the layout of the text also described the text. The structure was a commentary on itself and on the dynamics of creation. He called this The Apaurusheya Bhashya.

Apaurusheya means “not of a man” or uncreated and Bhashya means commentary. The Vedas themselves are considered Apaurusheya as they are cognized* rather than being conceptualized or man-made. Similarly, Brahman is uncreated and known only by itself.

However, the cognitions are “assigned” to be discovered by specific beings. Their name is later associated with the cognition and their descendants are expected to maintain that vision.

The Rig Veda itself is thought to be some 8-9,000 years old due to descriptions of astronomical configurations. That would be in the waning part of the last golden age. It was an oral tradition long before they were compiled by Vyasa in writing about 2,700 years ago. He assembled them and wrote them down in a successful effort to sustain them during the dark age.

The Apaurusheya Bhashya is a vision of the sequentially evolving structure of Nature. As I’ve described here before, expression begins with vibration, sound. Understanding what drives that impulse of sound helps understand how the self-referral nature of consciousness is right there in every detail.


Between every word and every letter we speak, between every impulse of vibration in creation is a space of silence, a sandhi or gap. In that silence is a referring back to the inherent intelligence of being. In nature or if we are tapped into that, the next sound will have the weight of Divine intelligence behind it.

To understand this, let’s look at the dynamics of sound. Each sound we hear has an “envelope” or shape. There is the initial attack or start or the sound. This has a slope up. After an initial spike, there is a drop or decay to a new level that is maintained, the sustain. Then there is the release or fading of the sound. Attack, decay, sustain, release or ADSR is very familiar to anyone who has used a synthesizer to design sound and music.

For example, the word “Bud.” “B” is the attack or opening sound, there is a short drop or decay as we shift to “U” which is briefly sustained, then “D” fades in a short release.

The mechanics of the gap are the reverse. It goes from release to attack. Maharishi described this 4-stage process:
1 – Dissolving (Pradhwamsa-Abhava). This is the release stage when the sound fades to silence.
2 – Silence (Atyanta-Abhava). The sound is in silence or Purusha.
3 – Nature (Anyonya-Abhava). The forward movement of the previous sound stirs the awake intelligence of Nature. It motivates a new sound.
4 – Intelligence (Prag-Abhava). The new sound arises. This becomes the attack of the next impulse.
That sound then goes through the usual envelope above, then decays back into the silence for the next step. Every letter structures the letter that follows it.

The Bhashya itself illustrates how the first word, the first pada (line), and the first richa (verse) of the Rig Veda all come out of the first sound. Each is a progressive commentary on the previous and on the structure of Nature itself.

The 24 gaps of the first syllables express the 24 padas of the next richas of the whole sukta and are also a commentary on the first richa. And so on for the entire text. The Rig Veda is a self-referral commentary on itself and its source (more information and detail).

The 10 books of the text are called Mandalas. Mandala means circle. If you place the sutras of the first mandala in a circle (a la I Ching), each sutra supports its opposite and suggests one unmanifest sutra. They’re also elaborated by the sutras in the 10th mandala, said to be a commentary on the first.

The lively silence describes the next iteration and is a commentary on its source. Because it’s founded in self-referral consciousness, all of life and nature is self-referral, everything a commentary on everything else.

* I explore the types of cognition in more detail in my book, Our Natural Potential.

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  1. Andreas Ullrich

    Namaste! Permanent meditation on space – space between and in objects (thoughts, emotions, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, smells) is the fastest way to enlightenment if there is a simultaneous awareness of the meditating awareness.

    1. Namaste, Andreas. Effortless mantra meditation brings you to the same place as space is the home of fine vibrations/ sound. However, the latter is also a vehicle to get you there.

      To be able sustain your attention on space or on awareness requires a degree of awareness or presence already established. If thats not there, it can just be mind games.

      Having your attention on space all the time is unhealthy and will not lead to balanced integration. You may be familiar with the dying the cloth analogy. Dip into the dye then bleach in the sun of activity, repeat to make fast.

      I would also not recommend trying to imitate enlightenment, like trying to maintain awareness of awareness all the time. Again, thats a mind manipulation and can strain the system or space you out. This will arise naturally when the physiology is ready.

      That certainty about having “the way” is the mind thinking it has the answer. Be very careful of that as the mind cannot get you there and in fact its certainty can be a way for the mind to distract you from it. The mind doesn’t want to relinquish control.

      I would also suggest that a single practice is unlikely to be “the way” as there are various things to culture and prepare the ground. Yoga itself recommends 8 approaches as the “royal” road.

      Certainly if you’ve found something that is effective, continue. But don’t let the mind tell you thats it. And don’t try to do it all the time. Enlightenment comes through letting go, not control.

  2. Andreas

    Namaste, David! This total presence I am speaking of acknowledges the objects mentioned as expressions of their respective spaces and – surely – it is not a mind-game as the mental field itself is floating in awareness. It is Dzogchen “nonmeditation”.

    The more, I follow Taoist alchemy.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Andreas
      My reply was to the larger audience. This may well be your established experience. But if that is not yet established and the person is still identified with the mind, then it is an imagination as there is not yet experiential reference points for what you refer to.

      There also needs to be a house-cleaning before theres the stability of attention needed for such a practice. This is why most people need a means to get there rather than something like this.

      Yes, the mind is a subset if awareness but theres a big difference between a concept of this and the direct experience. Only in the latter would such an approach be effective.

      Of course, this is just my take. I have a Vedic background and am less familiar with E. Asian approaches.

      1. Andreas Dr. Ullrich

        Hi Michael,

        first I started with books, then I was in the system of Xu Mingtang for some time. Currenty I pick those exercises which I think help me most in curing my problems with eyesight.


  3. Jim

    A good discussion. My take on any form of spiritual inquiry and technique is what does it get me? What am I trying to accomplish in this, the world?

    If I am to explore spiritually, then I am seeking two things: inner peace and outer satisfaction. These are the results of enlightenment; full integration with the inner and outer worlds. We can then work on the world’s behalf.

    The cleanest way to do this is practicing an effortless, mechanical means of transcending, balanced with vigorous activity. As much attention has to be given for the results as the meditation. If the meditation is a specific method that does not deviate and there is no thought of it during the day, this is best. No point in trying to engage silence in activity, or strategize activity during meditation.

    Of course the larger purpose of all of this is to become naturally and fully integrated with the entirety of life itself, and set about being a net positive influence for all.


    1. Hi Jim
      Yes, exactly. Practical.

      There are some teachers out there offering techniques to try to mimic their experience. This doesn’t generally get results as it’s putting the cart before the horse. This is the value of the ancient traditions who understand the way to get there and thus the techniques that will support that.

      Of course, some of those old instructions have been lost. Most spiritual bookstores have many translations of the Yoga Sutra, for example. Yet most think the way is control when it’s actually the reverse. Asana and meditation are much improved when you let go of control. They can come to teach you letting go, key for the actual awakening.

  4. Jim

    Exactly 🙂 Good point about the smoother transition to awakening. Also through the gradual familiarity of letting go, there can be less confusion when it occurs for good and for all. Thank you

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