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Isha Upanishad - The Shortest of the Principle Upanishads


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Isha Upanishad

The following is a translation of the Isha Upanishad, in its entirety. It is the shortest of the principle Upanishads, yet is of great beauty and immense meaning. The Upanishads are perhaps the most important Hindu scriptures. They are called Vedanta, meaning “the end/essence of the Vedasâ€. They are the portion of the Vedas that deal with the highest realities of God, soul the world and existence. Even though this Upanishad is very short, it has amazing death, and a commentary on it could extend beyond a hundred pages.

Doing only sacrificial action here one may wish to live a hundred years. Only thus it is and not otherwise that karma does not cling to a man.

Sunless are those worlds, enveloped in blinding darkness, where they go upon departing who are slayers of their own Self.

One only, unmoving, swifter than the mind, the senses cannot reach him who moves front. Standing still he speeds beyond all things that run. In him the Lord of life sustains the waters of creation.

That moves; that moves not. That is far; that is near. That is within all beings and That is outside all beings.

He who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings, henceforth has no more distress. In whom the Self has become all beings, where can there be any delusion, any sorrow, for that man of discernment who sees only the Oneness?

All the universe exists as an expansion for the Spirit, whatsoever changing thing there is in this changing world. Experiencing life through that renunciation do not desire what any man has.

He is all-encompassing, luminous, bodiless, without organs, beyond disease, pure and untouched by evil. The Seer, the guide of the mind, all-pervading, self-existent, he ordained all objects according to their nature from eternal equanimity.

Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance. Into even greater darkness, as it were, fall those who are attached to knowledge.

Ignorance is of one movement, they declare, and knowledge of the other. Thus have we heard from the wise who related to truth to us.

The knowledge and the ignorance, who knows them both together, crossing over death through the ignorance, attains immortality through the knowledge.

Into blinding darkness enter those who worship destruction. Into even greater darkness, as it were, fall those who are attached to creation.

Destruction is of one movement, they declare, and creation of the other. Thus have we heard from the wise who related the truth to us.

Creation and destruction, who knows them both together, crossing over death through destruction, attains immortality through creation.

The face of truth is covered by a golden vessel. Remove that, oh Sun who nourishes all, that we may perceive our real nature.

Sun, our Father, solitary seer, death, who control the power of creation, disperse your rays and gather up your heat that I may see your most beneficent form. The Being in the Sun, He am I!

Let my life enter the immortal life and the body end in ashes. Om, Intelligence remember, remember your labor; Intelligence remember, remember your labor.

Fire, lead us by the perfect path to reality, God who knows all the ways of wisdom. Remove from us the wandering evil. The most full utterance of surrender may we offer unto you.

Translation by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

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