Ishavasya Upanishad with Shankara Bhashya (Sitarama)

by S. Sitarama Sastri | 1905 | 6,256 words

The Ishavasya Upanishad (or simply Isha) is one of the shortest of its kind, and basically represents a brief philosophical poem discussing the soul/self (Atman). This edition contains the Kanva recension, consisting of 18 verses. The words “Isha vasyam” literally translates to “enveloped by the Lord” and refers to the theory of soul (Atman); a co...

Shri Shankara’s Introduction


Adoration to the Brahman. The mantras beginning with Isavasyam, etc., have not been utilized in rituals, because they serve the purpose of enlightening us on the true nature of the Atman who is not an anga of i.e., not connected with. Karma. The true nature of the Atman consists, as will be described, in its purity being untouched by sin, oneness, being eternal, having no body, omnipresence, etc., and as that conflicts with Karma, it is only reasonable that these mantras should not be utilized in rituals; nor is the true nature of the Atman thus defined, a product, a modification, a thing to be attained or a thing to be refined; nor is it of the nature of a doer or enjoyer so that it may be connected with Karma. All the Upanishads exhaust themselves in describing the true nature of the Atman; and the Gita; and the Mokshadharma are bent on the same end. Therefore all Karma lias been enjoined in accordance with worldly understanding, which attributes to the Atman diversity, agency, enjoyment, impurity, sinfulness, etc. Those that know who are competent to perform Karma and who are not, (Adhikaravidah) tell us that he who seeks the fruits of Karma—visible such as the inherent splendour of a Brahmin and invisible such as Heaven,etc.,—and thinks “I am a twice-born free from any defect such as being one-eyed or hunch-backed, &c., which disqualifies one for the performance of Karma” is entitled to perform Karma. So, these mantras by enlightening (us) on the true nature of the Atman remove our natural ignorance and produce in us the knowledge of the oneness, etc., of the Atman,—the means of uprooting grief, delusion, etc., the concomitants of Samsara.

We shall now briefly comment upon the mantras, the persons competent to study which, the subject matter of which, the relevancy of which (samhandha) and the fruits of which, have been thus declared.

ओं | पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

oṃ | pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate |
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate ||

“The whole (Brahman) is all that is invisible. The whole (Brahman) is all that is visible. The whole (Hiranyagarbha) was horn out of the whole (Brahman). When the whole (the Universe) is absorbed into the whole (Brahman) the whole alone (Brahman) remains.”


Om. Peace! Peace!! Peace!!!

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