Isopanisad (Madhva commentary)

by Srisa Chandra Vasu | 1909 | 8,868 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165

This page relates ‘Peace chant’ of the Isopanisad (Isha Upanishad), the English translation and commentary of Madhva (Madhvacharya) called the Bhasya. The Isopanisad (Or Ishavasyopanishad) deals with topics such as Vidya, Advidya, Karma, Atman and other important concepts found in both the Advaita and Dvaita branches of the Vedanta school of Hindu philsophy.

Peace chant

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Īśa-upaniṣad (peace chant):

ओं पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ।
ओं शन्ति शन्ति शन्ति ॥

oṃ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate |
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate |
oṃ śanti śanti śanti ||

pūrṇam—Full; adas—that, the above; pūrṇam—full; idam—this, the manifest; pūrṇat—from the Full; pūrṇam—the full; udacyate—proceeds; pūrṇasya—from the Full; pūrṇam—full; ādāya—subtracting; pūrṇam—full; eva—even; ava-śiṣyate—remains behind.

Om. That is Full, this is full, from that Full, this full emanates. Taking away this full from that Full, the Full still remains behind. Om. Peace, Peace, Peace.

Madhva’s Salutation:

Salutation to Hari, the Lord of all Sacrifices, who is full of bliss, whose body is of wisdom, and who is eternal, and the upholder of this universe which consists of the eternals and non-eternals.

Note.—Viṣṇu is called the Sacrifice also, because He is the enjoyer of all Sacrifices. Sacrifice or Yajña is another name of the Lord. Beings whose happiness is imperfect are running after external objects in order to complete there happiness. Surely Hari is not the enjoyer of sacrifices in this sense, for His happiness or bliss is perfect and full. His enjoyment, therefore, is a mere ‘1ī1ā’ or sport, in order to show condescension to His devotees by accepting their offerings. Hari possesses infinite bliss, because He is the upholder of the universe. The eternals are the jīvas or souls. The non-eternals are the bodies and other material objects, which change their forms. If the Lord be absolutely without a body, then He cannot uphold the world; if He has a body then He would be subject to death and decay. To answer this dilemma the verse uses the words “whose body is of wisdom” and “who is eternal.” The body of the Lord consists of jñana matter, and is eternal.

Madhva’s Salutation (continued):

Salutation to the Guru, and to Hari from whom alone comes incessantly the illumination and increase of the knowledge of Brahmā, Rudra and of other devas, and even of Śrī.

Note.—It is customary to salute the Guru after saluting the Iṣṭa devatā: Madhva follows this custom by bowing to his Guru also; but that Guru is Hari Himself. In the case of Brahmā and other devas, there takes place an acquisition of knowledge. In the case of Śrī there is never a want of knowledge in her, and so she is mentioned separately. Though Śrī called also Ramā is eternally free and possesses knowledge, yet that knowledge is under the Lord. Hari is, therefore, the sole and the only Guru. Others are Gurus by His command and direction.

Commentary: The Bhāṣya of Madhva (Madhvācārya):

(English translation of Madhva’s 13th-century commentary called the Īśāvāsyopaniṣadbhāṣya or Īśopaniṣadbhāṣya)

Manu called Svāyambhuva praised the Lord Viṣṇu when He appeared as Yajña, the son of Ākuti, with the verses of this Upaniṣad.

[Note.—There is an ancient warning that no one should perform a sacrifice for himself or for others, study himself or teach others, unless he knows the four-fold laws regarding every mantra. These are (1) the devatā of the mantra, (2) the musical note of the hymn, (3) its seer or Ṛṣi and (4) its meaning. The meaning and the metre of a mantra can be found by reading the mantra itself. The other two require to be taught. This is done here. The Ṛṣi is Svayambhuva Manu and devatā is that incarnation of Viṣṇu called Yajña, the son of Ākuti. But how do you know this? Madhva answers it by quoting Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa.]

Thus we learn from the Brahmaṇḍa Purāṇa. “Svāyambhuva Manu praised with collected mind Viṣṇu who had incarnated as his daughter’s son, and was named Yajña, by means of these verses of the Īśāvāsya Upaniṣad.

“The ferocious Rākṣasas, who had come to devour him, as soon as they heard the chant of these mantras, could not bear (the strong vibrations of these) and so they left him unmolested, and thus he was delivered by Yajña from them. These Ṛākṣasas, who could not otherwise be destroyed, were killed by Yajña.

“The Lord Hara had given two boons to these Rākṣasas, by which they had themselves become incapable of being slain; and they could kill with impunity everybody else. But Hari is Lord of all, and so He transcended Siva also, for who is higher than He?”

In the Bhāgavata, Parana also this is the meaning given to this Upaniṣad. (See Bhāgavata Purāṇa VIII Skandha, I Adhyaya, &c.)

Note.—In the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Book VIII, Chapter I, Svāyambhuva praises Hari who had incarnated in his family as his daughter’s son. As he uses the first of these verses to praise Hari, it is clear that he must have been the seer of these verses; and as Hari in His incarnation as Yajña is the person addressed in that Purāṇa He is fitly called the devatā of this Upaniṣad. Madhva always quotes some Purānic authority for his apparently strange interpretations. It is clear from these apt quotations, that the school of thought which he represents existed long before him. These Bhāgavatas had already propounded a system of interpretation of their own. Madhva, by his genius gave an impetus to it, which still reverberates throughout India, wherever the religion of the Heart has flourished, and is not overpowered by the religion of the Head.

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