IshaVasya Upanishad appears in the Samhita portion of Shukla Yajur Veda. It is one of the Ten principal Upanishads. Isha Upanishad has Eighteen Mantras. Among Ten Principal Upanishads, this comes in the beginning of the list. Isha means the Lord of the Universe. In my previous post, Part-1, of this Upanishad, I have discussed Mantra no-01 to Mantra no -07.
Link of the previous post: The Essence of IshaVasya Upanishad- Part-1
In this part we will discuss Isha Upanishad Mantra no-08 to Mantra no-13.
§ Eighth Mantra: The Path of Renunciation:
1) Sah paryagat shukramakaayam avarnam; asnaaviragm shuddhamapaapa-viddham; 2) kavih maneeshee paribhooh, swayambhoo yaathaa-tathyatah; arthaanvyadadhaatshwateebhyah samaabhyah.
The Self [ the atman] is everywhere, without a Body, without a shape, whole, pure, unpierced by evils, wise, all knowing, far shining, self-depending, all transcending, functions and duties are allotted by HIM alone to the Creator for eternity.
There is no place where He is not there. He is everywhere. He is in everything. He is not limited by Time and Space. There is nothing that He needs to possess and nothing that He needs to achieve. He is the seed, the substratum, the cause of all. He has no physical body. As long as there is body, there is happiness and misery. He is immortal. He is beyond all the three gunas: Tamas, Rajas, and Sattwa. He is His own father and mother. None conceived Him. No one is the cause of His being. He is Self-existent.
§ Ninth mantra: Avidya & Vidya:
1) Andham tamah pravishanti ; ye avidyaam upaasate; 2) tatah bhooyah ive te tamah; ye u vidyaayaam rataah.
Pin your faith to natural knowledge, stumble through the darkness of the blind, pin your faith to supernatural knowledge, stumble through a darkness deeper still.
§ Tenth mantra: The fruits of Avidya & Vidya:
Anyat eve aanuh vidyayaa, anyat aahuh avidyayaa; iti shushruma dheeraanaam, ye nah tat vicha-chakshire.
They enter into blinding darkness who are worshippers of Avidya alone; but they enter even greater darkness, who verily are worshippers of Vidya alone. One thing, they say, is obtained from Vidya, and another thing, they say, from Avidya; Thus, we have heard from wise, who have explained it to us.
§ Eleventh mantra: Combination of Avidya & Vidya:
Vidyaam cha avidyaam yah, tatvedaubhayam saha; avidya mrityumteettvaa, mashnute vidyayaamrita.
They that know and distinguish between natural knowledge and supernatural knowledge shall by the first cross the perishable in safety; shall, passing beyond the second, attain immortal life.
Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (Ignorance: he who knows them both together, overcomes death [darkness] through Avidya and obtains immortality through Vidya.
Above three mantras are very important. We must understand the essence of the mantras. The essence is that we should equalise jnana (vidya) and ajnana (avidya) and should not adhere to either the one or the other alone. According to the scholars, knowledge of Ishwara cannot be obtained by Karma alone nor by knowledge alone. Avidya = Karma and Vidya = Knowledge. Avidya yields fruits of karma, which has time bound existence. Hence attainment of Moksha [ liberation] is not possible, since several births are required to enjoy the fruits of Karma. This is called falling into utter Darkness which is nothing but SAMSARA. The mantra further says that if Upasana of Vidya means devotion is offered alone, it is still worse, because it will lead to greater Darkness. He who understands the correct meaning of this avidya and vidya and maintains balance between them and does Upasana, accordingly, can cross the world of Death and attains mortality.
Different scholars of different darshanas have given different opinion on vidya and avidya. Let us look into Shankaracharya’s commentary. His method of analysis is on the basis of subtle meaning of both the words. He always considered Advaita Philosophy to explain these two words: avidya and vidya. The knowledge of the world is Avidya, and the knowledge of Ishwara is Vidya. The world of objects is presented to us by our senses, and we see the world [jagat] as real. We are ignorant about the thread of Consciousness running through each and every object. There is certainly connection between the visible world and unseen Ishwara. In general, we believe that we the jivas are separate entity and Ishwara is separate entity. The cause of existence and experience of the world is due to the presence of Ishwara. So long as we are in the world with a sense of separate existence as the Jiva, the world has to be accepted as though it is real.
§ Twelfth mantra: Worshipping Unmanifest and Manifest:
1) andham tamah pravishanti; ye asambhootim-upaasate; 2) tato bhooya iva te tamo; ya u sambhootyaagm ratah.
Pin your faith to the seed of nature, stumble through the darkness of the blind; pin your faith to the shapes of nature, stumble through a darkness deeper still.
They enter into blinding darkness who aim to conquer the Unmanifest cause of creation; but they enter into even greater darkness.
§ Thirteenth mantra: Fruits of Unmanifest and Manifest:
1) anyat evaaahuh sambhavaat, anyat aahuh asambhavaat; 2) iti shushruma dheeraanaam, ye nah tatvicha-chakshire.
The seed of nature brings one result: the shapes of nature another. We have heard it from the wise, who have clearly explained it.
Readers are requested to read the Sanskrit version of this Upanishad from the site whose link is here:
Karma is to be performed without expecting the fruits of Karma: Niskama Karma.
Jnana: Knowledge: The Truth
The nature of the Oneness: One Unity is the Ultimate Jnana: True knowledge.
Oneness: It is that, when:
- A person does not see as mine or not-mine.
- No more love and hate for objects.
- No more likes and dislikes.
- One transcends all pleasure and pain.
- There is no more Duality of subject and object.
- The waves and ocean are both seen as water alone.
- The blazing sparks are not different from the fire producing them.
Rebirth continues until Realization.
Katha Upanishad Mantra-2.3.4 says: If one does not succeed in realizing Him (The Self), before the fall of the Body, then in the worlds of created things, a rebirth for the Body is ordained.
- Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite. **
- THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
- Isavasya Upanishad for Beginners: By Swami Krishnananda.
- Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
- Commentary of ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
- IshaVasya Upanishad: By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
- EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
- THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
- A-U-M Awakening to Reality: By Dennis Waite***
- Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
- Information available on internet.
8 thoughts on “The Essence of IshaVasya Upanishad- Part-2”
Beautifully explained who am I and who I am not. It’s really very interesting to know about self.
Very nice, we are enriching with your research es.
Thank you so much Apurba Sir for your comments. It has encouraged me.
Sir, your thoughts on manifest and unmanifest is so intrusive to know the subtlety of known and ignorance. It is screaming its core teachings on going from gods dependence to self dependence. For example, when you dream at night, mountains are you, river flowing is you, wind is you, birds flying is you hence everything is only you. Once you un-mask the ignorance through self knowledge of “I” from stop imagining like the cow who is tied down, that’s when the true nature of self is revealed. Thank you once again for your valuable insights. Keep us glittering like the sun through your inputs. 🙏
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in this context.
You have always elaborated the essence of the post.
I always wait for your comments. There are very few readers who read these.
They find more interesting when they read your elaborated comments.
Take care of yourself 😊🙏
very nice and informative post Arun Ji. Karma is the most important thing in our lives. Everything what we get in this journey of life, reflects our karma. May be previous life karma. I am a firm believer of destiny and karma. My life took a turn when this karma played its role in my life. Please read today’s post. I liked to know who I am and who I am not. Thank you for everything. 🙏😊🌺😀
Indeed Karma is very important. But we must know what is *Karma Mukti*
We have to go beyond Karma. Karma should not bind us.
Vedas as a whole have two wings.
1) KARMA KANDA
2) GYAAN KANDA
Through practice of selfless karma, we must enter into the realm of Brahman (Nirguna Brahman)
Upanishadic knowledge reveals that.
I am very happy that you have gone through my post.
Thank you so much for your comments which inspired me 😊🙏
I will go through your posts