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...

स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रणमस्नाविरंशुद्धम् अपापविद्धम् ।
कविर्मनीषी परिभूः स्ययम्भूर्याथातथ्यतोऽर्थान्व्यदधाच्छाश्वतीभ्यः समाभ्यः ॥ ८ ॥

sa paryagācchukramakāyamavraṇamasnāviraṃśuddham apāpaviddham |
kavirmanīṣī paribhūḥ syayambhūryāthātathyato'rthānvyadadhācchāśvatībhyaḥ samābhyaḥ || 8 ||

8. He pervaded all, resplendent, bodiless, scatheless, having no muscles, pure, untouched by sin; far-seeing, omniscient, transcendent, self-sprung, (he) duly allotted to the various eternal creators their respective functions.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—This text describes the real nature of the Atman, spoken of. in the previous texts. Sah means ‘the Atman previously spoken of.’ ‘Paryagat means went round.’ The meaning is ‘he is all-pervading like the Akas.’ Sukram means pure, hence bright, resplendent. Akayam, means ‘bodiless,’ i.e., having no linga sarira or subtle, boy. Avranam means ‘scatheless.’ ‘Asnaviram’ means ‘having no muscles.’ The adjuncts Avranam and Asnaviram show that the Atman has no sthula sarira or gross body. By the word suddha, pure or free from the taint of ignorance, it is shown that it has no karana sarira or causal body. ‘Apapa-viddham means ‘untouched by Karma, good or bad.’ ‘Sukram’ and the following epithets are to be read as masculine, because of the beginning and the end being in the masculine, as sah, kavih etc. Kavih means far-seeing, i.e., all-seeing; for, says the Sruti “There is no seer other than the Atman, etc.” ‘Manishi’ means ‘prompting the mind,’ hence ‘omniscient, omnipotent.’ Paribhuh means ‘being above all.’ Svayambhuh means ‘himself being all above and all below becomes all.’ He, the ever free, and omnipotent, being omniscient, allotted their respective functions, i.e., objects to be created to the various and eternal Prajapatis, known popularly as ‘years,’ as aids to the enjoyment of the fruits of Karma.

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