By Swami Harshananda
The Annapurṇā Upaniṣad is found in the Atharvaveda. It is a fairly long work of 337 verses spread over five chapters.
Nidāgha yogi approaches Ṛbhu, the ‘best among the scholars of Brahman,’ for Self-knowledge. Ṛbhu prefaces his teaching by narrating how his father had taught him the ‘best of mantras,’ ‘the mantra of Annapurṇā’ of 27 letters
Aim hrīṃ sauṃ śrīm klīm oṃ namo bhagavatyannapūrṇe mamābhilasitam annarh dehi svāhā
How he had pleased the Divine Mother Annapurṇā by repeating it day after day for a long time, how he had asked for ātmajñāna or Self-knowledge from her when she appeared before him, and how he had got it by her grace. The name of the Upaniṣad is derived from this legend.
Though not in a systematic manner, rest of the Upaniṣad is just a long and loose discourse on Advaita philosophy in which many of its aspects have been brought in.
Apart from the topic of ‘bhrama’ (delusion) and how to overcome it, the Upaniṣad also deals with topics as follows :
- Vāsanākṣaya - Destruction of tendencies carried over from the previous lives
- Manonāśa - Dissolution of the mind through yogic exercises
- Jivanmukta - The liberated in life or a person who never gets affected by the various vicissitudes of life.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore