Isavasya (Isa) Upanishad
(tr. C. Johnston)
Translated by Raja Ram Mohun Roy
1st. ALL the material extension in this world, whatsoever it may be, should be considered as clothed with the existence of the Supreme regulating spirit: by thus abstracting thy mind from worldly thoughts, preserve thyself from self-sufficiency, and entertain not a covetous regard for property belonging to any individual.
2nd. Let man desire to live a whole century, practising, in this world, during that time, religious rites; because for Such A SELFISH MIND AS THINE, besides the observance of these rites, there is no other mode the practice of which would not subject thee to evils.
3rd, THOSE THAT NEGLECT THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE SUPREME SPIRIT, either by devoting themselves solely to the performance of the ceremonies of religion, or by living destitute of religious ideas, shall, after death, ASSUME THE STATE OF DEMONS, such as that of the celestial gods, and of other created beings, WHICH ARE SURROUNDED WITH THE DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE.
4th. The Supreme Spirit is one and unchangeable: he proceeds more rapidly than the comprehending power of the mind: Him no external sense can apprehend, for a knowledge of him outruns even the internal sense: He, though free from motion, seems to advance, leaving behind human intellect, which strives to attain a knowledge respecting him: He being the eternal ruler, the atmosphere regulates under him the whole system of the world.
5th. He, the Supreme Being, seems to move every where, although he in reality has no motion; he seems to be distant from those who have no wish to attain a knowledge respecting him, and he seems to be near to those who feel a wish to know him: but, in fact, He pervades the internal and external parts of this whole universe.
6th. He, who perceives the whole universe in the Supreme Being (that is, he who perceives that the material existence is merely dependent upon the existence of the Supreme Spirit); and who also perceives the Supreme Being in the whole universe (that is, he who perceives that the Supreme Spirit extends over all material extension); does not feel contempt towards any creature whatsoever.
7th. When a person possessed of true knowledge conceives that God extends over the whole universe (that is, that God furnishes every particle of the universe with the light of his existence), how can he, as an observer of the real unity of the pervading Supreme existence, be affected with infatuation or grievance?
8th. He overspreads all creatures: is merely spirit, without the form either of any minute body, or of an extended one, which is liable to impression or organization: He is pure, perfect, omniscient, the ruler of the intellect, omnipresent, and the self-existent: He has from eternity been assigning to all creatures their respective purposes.
9th. Those observers of religious rites that perform only the worship of the sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and the other creatures, without regarding the worship of celestial gods, shall enter into the dark regions: and those practisers of religious ceremonies who habitually worship the celestial gods only, disregarding the worship of the sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, shall enter into a region still darker than the former.
10th. It is said that adoration of the celestial gods produces one consequence; and that the performance of the worship of sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, produce another: thus have we heard from learned men who have distinctly explained the subject to us.
11th. Of those observers of ceremonies whosoever, knowing that adoration of celestial gods, as well as the worship of the sacred fire, and oblation to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, should be observed alike by the same individual, performs them both, will, by means of the latter, surmount the obstacles presented by natural temptations, and will attain the state of the celestial gods through the practice of the former.
12th. Those observers of religious rites who worship Prakriti 1 alone, shall enter into the dark region: and those practisers of religious ceremonies that are devoted to worship solely the prior operating sensitive particle, allegorically called Bruhma, shall enter into a region much more dark than the former.
13. It is said that one consequence may be attained by the worship of Bruhma, and another by the adoration of Prakriti. Thus have we heard from learned men who have distinctly explained the subject to us.
14th. Of those observers of ceremonies, whatever person, knowing that the adoration of Prakriti and that of Bruhma should be together observed by the same individual, performs them both, will by means of the latter overcome indigence, and will attain the state of Prakriti, through the practice of the former.
15th. “Thou hast, O sun,” (says to the sun a person agitated on the approach of death, who during his life attended to the performance of religions rites, neglecting the attainment of a knowledge of God,) “thou hast, O sun, concealed by thy illuminating body the way to the true Being, who rules in thee. Take off that veil for the guidance of me thy true devotee.”
16th. “O thou” (continues he), “who nourishest the world, movest singly, and who dost regulate the whole mundane system—O sun, of Cushyup; disperse thy rays for my passage, and withdraw thy violent light, so that I may by thy grace behold thy most prosperous aspect.” “Why should I” (says he, again retracting himself on reflecting upon the true divine nature) “why should I entreat the sun, as I AM WHAT HE IS,” that is, “the Being who rules in the sun rules also in me.”
17th. “Let my breath,” resumes he, “be absorbed after death into the wide atmosphere; and let this my body be burnt to ashes. O my intellect, think now on what may be beneficial to me. O fire, remember what religious rites I have hitherto performed.”
18th. “O illuminating fire,” continues he, “observing all our religious practices, carry us by the right path to the enjoyment of the consequence of our deeds, and put an end to our sins; we being now unable to perform thy various rites, offer to thee our last saluation.” 2
1. Prakriti (or nature) who, though insensible, influenced by the Supreme Spirit, operates through out the universe.
2. This example from the Veds, of the unhappy agitation and wavering of an idolater on the approach of death, ought to make men reflect seriously on the miserable consequence of fixing their mind on any other object of adoration but the one Supreme Being.
Translation of the
One of the Chapters of the Yajur Ved
According to the Commentary of the Celebrated Shankar-Acharya
(incl. Preface and Introduction)
By Raja Ram Mohun Roy
Translated by Charles Johnston
See also: The Mukhya Upanishads, by C. Johnston
By the Master all this is to be clothed and pervaded, whatever moves in this moving world.
Through this renounced, thou shalt enjoy; covet not the wealth of any!
Toiling, therefore, here at his tasks, let him be willing to live a hundred ages; this is it with thee, and not otherwise, nor does work smear and befoul the man.
Sunless, verily, are those worlds, by blind darkness enwrapped; they enter into those worlds on going forth—the men who are slayers of their own souls.
Without moving, that One is swifter than mind. Nor did the bright Powers overtake It; It went swiftly before them. That outstrips the others, though they run, while It stands still. In That Matarishvan disposes the life-streams.
That moves, That moves not; That is afar off, That is as if near. That is within all this; That is outside all this.
But he who beholds all beings in the supreme Self (Atma), and in all beings beholds the supreme Self, does not seek to hide himself from That.
In whom all beings have become as the Self of the enlightened, what delusion is there, what sorrow, for him beholding Oneness?
He circled around the bright, bodiless, woundless, without tendons, pure, unpierced by evil; the wise Poet, all-encircling, self-being, disposing ends through perpetual ages.
They go forth into blind darkness, who worship unwisdom; but into darkness deeper than that, as it were, they who find delight in wisdom.
There is one thing, they have said, through wisdom; there is another thing, they have said, through unwisdom. Thus have we heard from the wise, who have taught us the spiritual teaching.
He who knows both, wisdom and unwisdom, he, verily, through unwisdom fording through death, through wisdom reaches the Immortal.
They go forth into blind darkness, who worship that which is not the Life; but into darkness deeper than that, as it were, they who find delight in the Life.
There is one thing, they have said, through the Life; there is another thing, they have said, through that which is not the Life.
Thus have we heard from the wise, who taught us the spiritual teachings.
He who knows both, the Life and destruction, through destruction fording through death, through the Life reaches the Immortal.
By a veil as of gold, the face of the Real is hidden. O thou Shepherd of the flock, Lord of the sun, lift up that veil, for the vision of the law of the Real!
Shepherd and Lord of Light, thou Only Seer, Lord of Death, Light-Giver, Son of the Lord of Life, send forth thy rays and bring them together!
That radiance of thine, thy form most beautiful I behold; the Spiritual Man in the real world. That am I!
My Spirit enters the Spirit, the Immortal. And this body has its end in ashes.
O Sacrifice, remember! Remember what has been done! O Sacrifice, remember! Remember what has been done!
O Divine Fire, lead us by the good path to Victory! O Bright One, thou who knowest all wisdoms!
Give us victory over our consuming sin! To Thee we offer the highest word of praise!
“By The Master”
Translated from the Sanskrit with an Interpretation
By Charles Johnston
Translated by Swāmi Nikhilānanda
ALL THIS—whatever exists in this changing universe—should be covered by the Lord. Protect the Self by renunciation. Lust not after any man’s wealth.
If a man wishes to live a hundred years on this earth, he should live performing action. For you, who cherish such a desire and regard yourself as a man, there is no other way by which you can keep work from clinging to you.
Verily, those worlds of the asuras are enveloped in blind darkness; and thereto they all repair after death who are slayers of Ātman.
That non-dual Ātman, though never stirring, is swifter than the mind. The devas (the senses) cannot reach It, for It moved ever in front. Though standing still, It overtakes others who are running. Because of Ātman, Vāyu (the World Soul) apportions the activities of all.
It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near. It is inside all this and It is outside all this.
The wise man beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone.
To the seer, all things have verily become the Self: what delusion, what sorrow, can there be for him who beholds that oneness?
It is He who pervades all—He who is bright and bodiless, without scar or sinews, pure and by evil unpierced; who is the Seer, omniscient, transcendent and uncreated. He has duly allotted to the eternal World-Creators their respective duties.
Into a blind darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance (rituals); but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in knowledge [of a deity] alone.
One thing, they say, is obtained from knowledge, another, they say, from ignorance. Thus we have heard from the wise who have taught us this.
He who is aware that both knowledge and ignorance should be pursued together, overcomes death through ignorance and obtains immortality through knowledge.
Into a blind darkness they enter who worship only the unmanifested prakriti; but into a greater darkness they enter who worship the manifested Hiranyagarbha.
One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another, they say, from the worship of the unmanifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.
He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worhipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti.
The door of the Truth is coverd by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold It.
O Nourisher, lone Traveller of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajāpati! Gather Your rays; withdraw Your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there.
Now may my breath return to the all-pervading, immortal Prāna! May this body be burnt to ahses! Om. O mind, remember, remember all that I have done.
O Fire, lead us by the good path for the enjoyment of the fruit of our action. You know, O god, all our deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit. We offer, by words, our salutations to you.
Katha, Isa, Kena, and Mundaka
Translated from the Sanskrit with Introductions embodying a General Survey and the Metaphysics and Psychology of the Upanishads, and with Notes and Explanations based on the Commentary of Sri Sankaracharya, the great Ninth-century Philosopher and Saint of India.
By Swami Nikhilananda