Isha Upanishad

Anchored firmly to the School of Shukla Yajur Veda, is Isha Upanishad which is a small Upanishad in size hardly comprising Eighteen Stanzas but yet a very powerful treatise from the view point of Supreme ‘Jnaana’ exhorting to perform ‘Karmaacharana’ or Deeds of High Valued and concentrated Acts of Virtue and Sacrifices even necessarily without resorting to ‘Sanyasa’ the Ultimate Step of Varnashrama of Brahmacharya- Grihasthata- Vaanaprastha but through out practise and totally devote lifelong detachment of material needs without reference to milestones of Life. Isha Upanishad’s very opening stanza states: Om/ Ishaavaasyamodam sarvam yatkincha jagatyaam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjeethaa maa gridhah kasyasviddhanam/ or Detachment and Deliberation are the rudiments of Reliasing theSupreme. The further stanzas teach the following: Righteous action irrespective of fruits begets further longevity to keep pursuing the path of enlightenment; Involvement of evil actions caused by panchendriyas like vision, hearing, touch, breathing, generation accentuated by mind blinds the Essentail Truth and the pace of recovery would be too slow even nil; Unity of Self and the Supreme is evident and harnessing body parts and senses is of paramountcy to reiterate that essential Truth; both the Inner Self and the Supreme are stable yet on the move, nearby yet distantly unrealised, right within but without calling for intense introspection; the Self has no hatred for others since the action-reaction syndrome does not affect it in the least and those Yogis when realise this Reality wonder where there is hatred and what is the love; As there is ‘tadaadmya’ or absolute Identity, the Self and Supreme ought to be the same, irrespective of the play of senses and thoughts that the body carries; the Supreme is all pervading, unborn, bodyless yet allots clear instructions to follow by all entities; Pursuit of the path of Vidya and Avidya ie Knowledge against blind Ignorance needs to be distinguished since the latter enter the portals like rites, rituals and Sacrifices or get stuck to karma kaanda alone but Vidya is the higher plane of Learning ; Fruits of Vidya on the ascent path by wisdom, meditation and Karma or Work defined and duly blended;Knowledge and Ignorance both cross life and death but the former gets bliss while the latter gives rebirth; Prakriti or Maya and Purusha are manifest/ unmanifest but what is really worthy of worship be distinguished clearly; maya creates, preserves, destroys and recreates but the Driving Force is the Supreme; worship to Maya and Hiranyagarbha differs -one by ‘Karma’ another by ‘dharmaacharana’ and detachment; Truth and Immortality are concealed under the thick blanket of ignorance, may Surya open the Solar Orbit and let the golden vessel unveil Brahman or in other words worship to Solar Orbit reveals a golden disc and a Face within as Brahman ; solar Orbit discloses the Truth that Brahman is Surya Himself as it represents vision, the signs of death as also Bhur-Bhuvah-Swaha; Eternal Truth as divulged by worshipers is the Golden Disc or the Solar Orb and that the Supreme is Vayu the Vital Force; Vidya or Avidya, Deed or Misdeed, but the Ultimate Reality is Death and Agni. Thus Karmacharana be utilised to conquer ‘mrityu’and and utilise atma jnaana to accomplish ‘Amritatva’: Avidyayaa mrityumteertvaa, vidyaya amritamasnute//

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at