Isopanisad (Madhva commentary)

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

This is Mantra Mantra 8 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.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Īśa-upaniṣad mantra 8:

स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रणमस्नाविरं शुद्धमपापविद्धम् ।
कविर्मनीषी परिभूः स्वयम्भूर्याथातथ्यतोऽर्थान्व्यदधाच्छाश्वतीभ्यः समाभ्यः ॥ ८ ॥

sa paryagācchukramakāyamavraṇamasnāviraṃ śuddhamapāpaviddham |
kavirmanīṣī paribhūḥ svayambhūryāthātathyato'rthānvyadadhācchāśvatībhyaḥ samābhyaḥ || 8 ||

saḥ—he, the Adhikārin who meditates on the Self thus; paryagāt—attained; śukram—free from sorrow; akāyam—(liṅgaśarīra varjitam) incorporeal, without the subtle body; avraṇam—Eternal and full; Asnāviram sinews-less—without muscles, without the dense body; śuddham—the purifier; apāpaviddham—untouched by evil, untouched by karma-effects, good or bad; kaviḥ—the seer, the knower or seer of all, the wise, the omniscient; manīṣī—the ruler of mind, or the controller of Manas and intelligences like Brahmā, etc; paribhūḥ—omnipresent, all-existent, all-controller, overessence, conqueror of all passions, the best of all; swayambhūḥ—self-existent; Self-reliant. yāthātathyataḥ—in its full and proper sense, really and truly, and not as an illusion; arthān—things; vyadadhāt—disposed, ordained; śāśvatībhyaḥ—through eternal or recurring; samābhyaḥ—years, ages.

8. He attains the Lord Who is free from grief, free from subtle body, free from smallness, free from dense body, the Purifier, not tainted by sin. He creates the objects (like mahat, etc.) really and truly, from eternity. He is wise and omniscient, the Ruler of all Intelligences, the Best of all and Self-dependent.

Commentary: The Bhāṣya of Madhva (Madhvācārya):

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

The Varāha Purāṇa explains this mantra as follows:—

Brahman is called ‘Śukra’ [śukram], ‘griefless’ because He is free (ra) from grief (Śuk). He is called avraṇa [avraṇa], not small, (vraṇa=small), because He is Eternal and Kull; as He is the Purifier, He is said to be always pure; as He has no Liṅga deha or subtle body He is called ‘incorporeal’; as He has no dense body, He is called bodiless or without sinews. Though He is thus bodiless, yet He is called Kavi or Wise, because He is omniscient; He is called manīṣī or the Lord of Manas, because He rules the Intelligences (Manas) of all beings from Brahmā downwards, and even Prakṛti and Manas itself. He is called “Paribhū” because He is best of all and He is Svayambhu because He never depends upon another. The Lord Puruṣottama creates the world under fixed rules, in beginningless and endless times, in one uniform course. He creates this world as a reality, and it is eternal as a current (though ever changing). He the Lord has a head consisting of pure Being (sat), Intelligence (jñāna) and Bliss (ananda), His arms are pure Being, Intelligence and Bliss, His body is Being, Intelligence and Bliss, His feet are Being, Intelligence and Bliss. Such is the Great God, the Mahā-Viṣṇu The Lord created this real world, which is beginningless and endless, by His mere Will.”

Note.—In the preceding verse it was said that the wise become free from grief and sorrow, when they reach Viṣṇu. This verse gives the reason why it should be so. It is divided into two parts—one consisting of almost all negative attributes, describing that He is bodiless, etc., and naturally giving rise to the doubt how can such a Being be reached who has no body, etc., and how can He create? The next half beginning with kaviḥ, etc., shows that He has positive attributes also, and so He can be reached and can create the universe. Sri Madhva has explained this verse, not in his own words, lest some one may question his authority, but by quoting Varāha Purāṇa where this verse has been fully and exhaustively explained. The wise reaches the Lord and becomes similar to Him, in shaking off the dense and the subtle bodies: and when these bodies do not exist, there can be no sorrow, for they are the seeds of all misery. Therefore it has been properly said that on reaching Brahman one becomes free from grief, delusion, etc.

But how can God who is without body create? Nor is it right to say that the creation is an illusion, like the seeing of silver in a mother-of-pearl shell. For the the true notion of the shell removes the false notion of silver, but no one has ever observed the notion of the world being sublated by anything higher. The world, therefore, is real. Nor can it be said that time will create of itself. For creation is beginningless in time, like the flow of a river, the particles of which are constantly changing, the river yet retains a permanent form as a current. The creation being thus beginningless, is not subject to measurement.

The Lord has no material body, but has a body all the same consisting of Being, Intelligence and Bliss, and thus the objection, how can a Being without body create anything, is answered.

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