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...

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्य स्विद्धनम् ॥ १ ॥

īśāvāsyamidaṃ sarvaṃ yatkiñca jagatyāṃ jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasya sviddhanam || 1 ||

1. All this—whatsoever moveth on the earth—should he covered by the Lord. That renounced, enjoy. Covet not anybody’s wealth.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—The word ‘Isa’ is from the verb ‘Ishte’ (rules) and means ‘by the Lord.’ The Lord is Paramesvara, the Paramatman of all. He rules everything being the Atman of all. Should he covered by the Lord, by his own self, the Atman. What? All this, whatsoever moveth on the earth. All this universe, movable and immovable, unreal in absolute truth, should he covered by his self, the Lord, Paramatman, with the idea, “I alone am all this as being the inner self of all.” Just as the had odour—the result of moisture, etc.,—produced by contact with water, in sandal and agaru, etc., is hidden (lost) in their naturally agreeable smell produced by the process of rubbing, similarly all this on this earth (the word earth being illustratively used for the whole Cosmos) differentiated as name, form, and action, this bundle of modifications, superimposed upon the Atman by ignorance, and consisting in this seeming duality with its distinctions of doer, enjoyer, etc., will be abandoned by the contemplation of the true Atman. One who thus contemplates on the self as the Paramatman is bound to renounce the three-fold desire of son, etc., and not perform Karma. Tena tyaktena’ means ‘by such renunciation.’ It is well-known that one’s son or servant, abandoned or dead, having therefore no bond of connection, does not protect that one. ‘denunciation’, therefore, is the meaning of this word tyaktena. Bhunjithah means protect. Having thus renounced all desires, do not cherish any desire for wealth. ‘Anybody's wealth’; do not long for wealth either yours or another’s. Svit is a meaningless particle.

Or, it may be thus interpreted. Do not covet. Why? ‘Whose is wealth?’ is used in the sense of an objection; for nobody has any wealth which could be coveted. The meaning is “all this has been renounced by the contemplation of Jsvara, that the Atman is all. All this, therefore, belongs to the Atman and the Atman is all. Do not, therefore, covet what is unreal.”

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