Isha or Ishavasya Upanishad

The principle it follows throughout is the uncompromising reconciliation of uncompromising extremes. Later thought took one series of terms, — the World, Enjoyment, Action, the Many, Birth, the Ignorance, and gave them a more and more secondary position, exalting the opposite series, God, Renunciation, Quietism, the One, Cessation of Birth, the Knowledge, until this trend of thought culminated in Illusionism and the idea of existence in the world as a snare and a meaningless burden imposed inexplicably on the soul by itself, which must be cast aside as soon as possible. It ended in a violent cutting of the knot of the great enigma. The Ishavasya Upanishad has 2 popular Shakas (recension), Kanva with 18 verses and Madhyandina with 17 verses. This is a Samhita Upanishad, linked to the 40th Chapter of Shukla Yajurveda Samhita. We are using Kanva Shaka, which consists of one chapter containing Verse 1 to Verse 18. This version uses Shankaracharya’s Bhasya (Commentary) taken from the translation by M. Hiriyanna [ Ishavasya Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary (1911)].

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Shanti Mantra

॥ ईशावास्योपनिषद् ॥

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

oṃ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate |

pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate ||

oṃ śāntiḥ | śāntiḥ | śāntiḥ ||

Sloka : 1

ॐ ई॒शा वा॒स्य॑मि॒द सर्वं॒ यत्किं च॒ जग॑त्यां॒ जग॑त् ।

तेन॑ त्य॒क्तेन॑ भुञ्जीथा॒ मा गृ॑धः॒ कस्य॑ स्वि॒द्धन॑म् ॥१॥

īśā vāsyam idaṃ sarvaṃ yat kiñca jagatyāṃ jagat |

tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasya sviddhanam || 1 ||

In the Lord is to be veiled all this—whatsoever moves on earth. Through such renunciation do thou save (thyself); be not greedy, for whose is wealth?

Commentary of Shankara

He who rules is (termed) Īt. Īśā (means), ‘by the Lord’. The Lord is the Ruler and the real Self of every creature[1]. By such a Lord, identical with oneself, is to be overspread i.e, covered. What? idam sarvam = (all this), yat kincha = whatsoever. jagatyām= on earth. jagat = all that (moves). By one’s own Self,—the Lord, the supreme Self—which is the sole reality, all these unreal (things), both movable and immovable, have to be covered over, (perceiving) thus—‘I am the inner Self of all’.[2] Just as adventitious bad odour in a piece of sandal, arising from moisture, is overcome by true fragrance when the (sandal) piece is rubbed[3], so indeed, will all the congenital variety of the world, such as being an agent or an enjoyer, superimposed on the Self, disappear at the perception (everywhere) of the (one) really existent Self. Since jagatyām is (here used) in an indicatory sense, all kinds of effects differentiated as name, form and action (are to be understood as connoted by it). What a person, that is so full of the conception that the Lord is the Self of all, ought to do is to renounce the three-fold desire for offspring etc., and not (be engaged in) karma. In tena tyaktena, tyakta means renunciation (being used as an abstract noun). (It is not to betaken here as a past participle in the sense of ‘given up’ because) a son or a servant (for example) who has been abandoned or is dead, cannot save one since all connection is severed between them. Therefore (the word) can only mean ‘renunciation’. bhuñjīthāḥ =do save[4]. Having thus renounced desires, be not greedy (mā gṛdhaḥ) i.e., do not long for wealth, kasya svit = (of anybody). (The meaning is)—Do not long for the wealth of anybody—i.e., yourself or another. (In this interpretation) svit is a mere expletive. Or (we may say as follows)—Be not greedy. Why? (The answer is )—kasya svit dhanam= Whose is wealth?—implying a denial. If wealth could belong to anybody it might be sought; (but) everything having disappeared through the discovery of the Lord (everywhere), all this is of the Self, and all this is the Self. Thus it means—Do not seek an unreality.’[5]

  1. The difference between the controller and the controlled is not to be understood as real. I t is merely apparent and is based on an illusion. In the same sense, we may, for example, say that a person standing before a number of mirrors controls the several reflected images of himself.
  2. The sense is that one should realise that all is Self and that there is no variety in the Universe. This is the chief teaching of the present Upanishad and corresponds, in its significance, to the well-known tattvamasi of the Chāndogyopaniṣad.
  3. The object of this illustration is to suggest that when conviction regarding the unity of all existence does not spring directly from faith in the teaching, reasoning or enquiry will generally lead to it.
  4. This statement is not to be understood literally for the Self does not, in reality, require to be saved. It is only intended to extol renunciation by ascribing final release to its influence.
  5. The third pāda of this verse enjoins renunciation on such as can discriminate between what is Self and what is not. Such withdrawal from the world is the only course for Self-realisation. By removing the ordinary distractions of life it renders easy the attainment of final release. The fourth pāda prescribes a rule of conduct and prohibits the acquisition by such persons of wealth of any description beyond what is necessary for bare maintenance.

Translation By Max Müller

1. ALL this, whatsoever moves on earth, is to be hidden in the Lord (the Self). When thou hast surrendered all this, then thou mayest enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man!

Sloka : 2

कु॒र्वन्ने॒वेह कर्मा॑णि जिजीवि॒षेच्छ॒त समाः॑ ।

ए॒वं त्वयि॒ नान्यथे॒तो॑ऽस्ति॒ न कर्म॑ लिप्यते॒ नरे॑ ॥२॥

kurvann eveha karmāṇi jijīviṣecchataṃ samāḥ |

evaṃ tvayi nānyatheto'sti na karma lipyate nare || 2 ||

Always performing karma here, one should desire to live, for a hundred years. So long as thou (seekest to live) a mere man, no other (path) exists (where) activity does not taint thee.

Commentary of Shankara

Kurvanneva= always performing. iha =(here) karmāni = rites such as agnihotra. jijīviṣet =one should desire to live. śatam =one hundred in number. samāḥ= years. For thus much is known to be the maximum age of man. Since (this is) a (mere) iteration (of an empirically known fact) what should be taken as enjoined (here) is that, if one should desire to live a hundred years, he should live only performing karma. evam= in this manner. in regard to you), nare i.e. when you live content to be a mere man. itaḥ i.e., from this present course of performing karma like agnihotra. different course, na asti =does not exist; in which course evil action does not stain; i.e., you do not get tainted by sin. Wherefore if one should desire for life Tone should live) throughout performing karma such as agnihotra prescribed by the śāstra. How is it to be understood that the former verse assigns to a sannyāsin devotion to knowledge and the latter, only devotion to karma to one incapable of it (Self-realisation)? We reply—Do you not remember the aforesaid antithesis between jñāna and karma which remains unshakable as a mountain? Here also the same has been expressly stated in verses 1 and 2,—(that he who seeks to live must perform karma and that he who does not, must give up all desire. The same conclusion may be arrived at) from the (following) directions to sannyāsins—“He should desire neither for life, nor for death; he should enter a forest. This is the law.” “He should not thence return”. The difference in result between the two will also be pointed out later on. (Another statement of the like import is) “These two paths only appeared in the beginning—the path of activity and (the path) of withdrawal.” Of these two, renunciation is higher, cf. Taittirīya Āraṇyaka “Renunciation alone excelled”. And Vyāsa, the great Vedic teacher, after much reflection, taught his son definitely as follows—“The Vedas aim at inculcating these two paths—one termed the path of activity and the other, of renunciation.”

Translation By Max Müller

2. Though a man may wish to live a hundred years, performing works, it will be thus with him; but not in any other way

Sloka : 3

अ॒सु॒र्या॒ नाम॑ ते लो॒का अ॒न्धेन॒ तम॒सावृ॑ताः ।

तास्ते प्रेत्या॒भिग॑च्छन्ति॒ ये के चा॑त्म॒हनो॒ जनाः॑ ॥३॥

asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasāvṛtāḥ |

tāṃste pretyābhigacchanti ye ke cātmahano janāḥ || 3 ||

Malignant are those worlds and enveloped in blinding darkness, into which pass, after death, whatsoever people slay the Self.

Commentary of Shankara

From the standpoint of Unity in the form of the supreme Self, even devas are (reckoned) as asuras. asuryāḥ=belonging to demons, nāma is a mere expletive here. te=(those), lokāḥ=births (or lives), because therein the fruits of karma are perceived or enjoyed. andhena=of blinding nature. tamasā=by nescience. āvritāḥ=enveloped. tān=(those) viz. existences down to the immovable, pretya=having left this body. abhigacchanti=(attain) according to their past deeds and according to their devotional practices, ye ke whosoever. ātmahanaḥ=those who slay the Self. Who are they? People that are ignorant[1]. How can they slay the eternal Self? Through their failing of ignorance they veil (i.e. forget) the ever present Self. The sign of (a belief in) its existence is the consciousness of its undecaying immortal nature. This becomes veiled (ie. forgotten), as if the Self has been slain, and the ordinary ignorant people are termed ‘slayers of Self’[2]. By reason of this sin of slaying the Self, they transmigrate. Now is explained of what nature this Self is, by slaying which the ignorant transmigrate and, as distinguished from them, the learned, by not slaying it, attain final release—

  1. I read “ke te? Ye janā avidvāṃsaḥ”.
  2. Ascribing impurity etc. to the Self is considered as equivalent to killing it; just as imputing a false and serious charge against a virtuous man is, in ordinary parlance, spoken of as “murder without a weapon.”—aśastravadha

Translation By Max Müller

3. There are the worlds of the Asuras [1] covered with blind darkness. Those who have destroyed their self (who perform works, without having arrived at a knowledge of the true Self ), go after death to those worlds.


1. Asury`â, Vâg. Samhitâ; asûryâ, Upan. Asuryà in the Upanishads in the sense of belonging to the Asuras, i. e. gods, is exceptional. I should prefer asûryá, sunless, as we find asûryé támasi in the Rig-veda, V, 32, 6.

Sloka : 4

अने॑ज॒देकं॒ मन॑सो॒ जवी॑यो॒ नैन॑द्दे॒वा आ॑प्नुव॒न्पूर्व॒मर्श॑त् ।

तद्धाव॑तो॒ऽन्यानत्ये॑ति॒ तिष्ठ॒त्तस्मि॑न्न॒पो मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑ दधाति ॥४॥

anejad ekaṃ manaso javīyo nainaddevā āpnuvanpūrvamarṣat |

taddhāvato'nyānatyeti tiṣṭhat tasminn apo mātariśvā dadhāti || 4 ||

Unmoving, one, (and speedier than the mind; the senses reach it never; (for) it (Self) goes before. Standing, it outstrips others that run. In virtue of it, does mātarisvā allot functions (severally to all).

Commentary of Shankara

Anejat=not shaking, from the root to shake. Shaking is moving, i.e., lapsing from its real state. (The Self is) free from it, i.e., is always of the same form. It is also one in all beings. manaso javīyaḥ= speedier than the mind which is characterised by desire &c. Wherefore these conflicting statements—that it is at once assuredly motionless and speedier than the mind? This is not wrong, for it can be justified (on the basis of the Self) being conditioned or unconditioned. In its original unconditioned form it is stated to be unmoving and one. (It is also possible to predicate motion of the Self) because it reflects (the features of) its conditioning mind which is the internal sense charaterised by desire and doubt. Since the mind, though residing here within the body can, in an instant, conceive of the distant Brahmaloka and the like, it is ordinarily taken as possessing great speed. When such mind, for instance reaches (in thought) Brahmaloka, with rapidity, the Self appears to have reached there already. Therefore it is said here 'speedier than the mind’. devāḥ=senses such as the eye—so called because they illuminate. enat =this entity of the Self. na-āpnuvan=did not reach, the mind being speedier than they. Since mental operation (always) intervenes, not even the semblance of the Self becomes perceivable by the Senses.[1] (And it is beyond the mind itself) because the Self is always in advance (of it) being all-pervading like space. (Now the verse) states that the Self, always[2] free from all features of transmigration, in its own unconditioned form and being altogether changeless, appears to the undiscriminating ignorant, as experiencing all the several modes of life due to limiting adjuncts and also as being many, i.e., one in each body. tat=(that). dhāvataḥ=speedily going. anyān=mind, the organs of speech &c., which are all other than the Self. atyeti =seems to outstrip. The text itself indicates the sense of iva (seems) by tiṣṭhat which means ‘itself remaining immutable.’ tasmin i.e. in virtue of the existence of the Self which is of the nature of eternal sentiency. Mātariśvā=He who moves (śvayati) in the heavens (mātari); the Wind, the active principle in all creatures; on which are dependent all the aggregates of causes and effects and into which they are woven like warp and woof and which is also termed ‘the connecting thread’ and is the support of the whole universe. Such is mātariśvā. apaḥ=functions[3] of things, such as flaming and burning of Fire, shining of the Sun, raining of the Cloud and so on. dadhāti=allots[4]; or the word may mean ‘directs’ agreeably to texts like “Through fear of Him the wind blows &c.” (Taitirriya Upanishad:- II, viii, 1). The idea is that all changes of the nature of cause and effect take place only when the Self, the eternal sentiency and substrate of all, exists. Not weary of repeating, the Veda states once again what has already been said in the previous verse—

  1. The action of the senses presupposes the operation of the mind. The Self being beyond mind, is necessarily beyond the senses as well.
  2. I read sarvadāpi instead of sarvavyāpi.
  3. Apaḥ in a secondary sense means ‘Sacrificial acts’ for most of them are performed with water, ghee and such other liquids. Hence, in what may be called a ‘tertiary sense’ the term may be taken to denote all kinds of activity.
  4. This implies an argument for the existence of an all-controlling Lord of the Universe.

Translation By Max Müller

4. That one (the Self), though never stirring, is swifter than thought. The Devas (senses) never reached it, it walked [1] before them. Though standing still, it overtakes the others who are running. Mâtarisvan (the wind, the moving spirit) bestows powers [2] on it.


1. Pûrvam arsat, Vâg. Samh.; pûrvam arshat, Upan. Mahîdhara suggests also arsat as a contraction of a-risat, not perishing. 2. Apas is explained by karmâni, acts, in which case it would be meant for ápas, opus. But the Vâg. Samhitâ accentuates apás, i.e. aquas, and Ânandagiri explains that water stands for acts, because most sacrificial acts are performed with water.

Sloka : 5

तदे॑जति॒ तन्नै॑जति॒ तद्दू॒रे तद्व॑न्ति॒के ।

तद॒न्तर॑स्य॒ सर्व॑स्य॒ तदु॒ सर्व॑स्यास्य बाह्य॒तः ॥५॥

tad ejati tan naijati tad dūre tad v antike |

tad antar asya sarvasya tad u sarvasyāsya bāhyataḥ || 5 ||

It moves and it moves not; it is far and it is near. It is inside all this; it is also outside all this.

Commentary of Shankara

Tad=the Self in question. ejati=moves. The same does not move (na ejati) i.e., in itself. In other words, being in truth motionless, it (only) appears to move. Moreover, it, tat=it, dūre=(at a distance). It is distant, as it were, because the ignorant cannot get at it even in a thousand million years. tat u=(it is also); antike=near. Absolutely so, to the wise for it is their very Self. It is not merely far and near; it is (also) antaḥ i.e. inside of all this. Compare—‘Which Self is inmost of all’—(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, iv, 1). asya savasya =(of this all) i.e., the universe consisting of name, form and action. It is outside all this, being pervasive; inside, being supremely subtle like space. (We should also remember) that it is without interstices from the teaching contained in passages like “wholly solid sentiency &c.’—(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV, v, 13)

Translation By Max Müller

5. It stirs and it stirs not; it is far, and likewise near [1]. It is inside of all this, and it is outside of all this.


1. Tad v antike, Vâg. Samh.; tadvad antike, Upan.

Sloka : 6

यस्तु सर्वा॑णि भू॒तान्या॒त्मन्ने॒वानु॒पश्य॑ति ।

स॒र्व॒भू॒तेषु॑ चा॒त्मानं॒ ततो॒ न वि जु॑गुप्सते ॥६॥

yas tu sarvāṇi bhūtāny ātmany evānupaśyati |

sarvabhūteṣu cātmānaṃ tato na vijugupsate || 6 ||

And he who sees all beings in himself and himself in all beings has no aversion thence.

Commentary of Shankara

Yaḥ tu i.e., a sannyāsin desiring final release. sarvāṇi bhūtāni= all beings (i.e., existences) from prakṛti down to the immovable, ātmani eva anupaśyati =(discovers in himself) i.e., does not understand as other than his own Self, sarva bhūteṣu cha i.e. and in the same (beings), ātmānam = (himself) i.e., his own Self as the Self of all those beings as well. (The reference here is to him) who beholds himself, the same in all beings thus—‘Just as I, the cogniser of all notions, the perceiver, one and devoid of all attributes, am the Self of this my body, the aggregate of causes and effects, so also am I in the same form, the Self of all beings from prakṛti down to the immovable. tataḥ = through such perception, na vijugupsate = does not feel repelled. This is an iteration of what is (empirically) known. All aversion is from evil things other than one’s own self, and if one recognises (everywhere) only the Self, absolutely pure and continuous, it is clear that (for such an one) there is nothing to excite repulsion. Hence the statement—‘He has no aversion thence’. Another verse also expresses the same idea—

Translation By Max Müller

6. And he who beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, he never turns away from it [1].


1. Vikikitsati, Vâg. Samh.; vigugupsate, Upan.

Sloka : 7

यस्मि॒न्त्सर्वा॑णि भू॒तान्या॒त्मैवाभू॑द्विजान॒तः ।

तत्र॒ को मोहः॒ कः शोक॑ एक॒त्वम॑नु॒पश्य॑तः ॥७॥

yasmin sarvāṇi bhūtāny ātmaivābhūd vijānataḥ |

tatra ko mohaḥ kaḥ śoka ekatvam anupaśyataḥ || 7 ||

When to a knower discovering unity, all beings become his very Self, what delusion then (to him) and what sorrow?

Commentary of Shankara

Yasmin=when or in which Self, sarvāṇi bhūtāni= the same (already mentioned) beings of all kinds, ātma eva abhūt= became one’s own self, through right perception, vijānataḥ = (to the knower) of Reality. tatra= then or in such Self, ko mohaḥ kaṣṣokaḥ = (what delusion and what sorrow?). Sorrow and delusion are for one that does not understand the source of desire and activity but not to one that realises the unity of Self, pure and resembling space. The third pāda by calling in question and denying the possibility of sorrow and delusion which are the result of nescience, indicates (so far as the knower is concerned) the absolute cessation of worldly existence together with its cause. The following verse (now) states of what description the Self—spoken of in the foregoing verses—in its nature, is—

Translation By Max Müller

7. When to a man who understands, the Self has become all things, what sorrow, what trouble can there be to him who once beheld that unity?

Sloka : 8

स पर्य॑गाच्छु॒क्रम॑का॒यम॑व्र॒णम॑स्नावि॒रशु॒द्धमपा॑पविद्धम् ।

क॒विर्म॑नी॒षी प॑रि॒भूः स्व॑यं॒भूर्या॑थातथ्य॒तोऽर्था॒न्व्य॑द धाच्छाश्व॒तीभ्यः॒ समा॑भ्यः ॥८॥

sa paryagāc chukram akāyam avraṇam asnāviraṃ śuddham apāpaviddham |

kavir manīṣī paribhūḥ syayambhūr yāthātathyator'thān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyaḥ samābhyaḥ || 8 ||

He (the self) is all pervading, bright, incorporeal, scatheless and veinless, pure, untouched by sin; a seer, all-knowing, superposed and self-begotten. (It is He that) has duly allotted to the eternal creators their (various) duties.

Commentary of Shankara

Saḥ=the aforesaid Self. paryagāt =went round; i.e. he is pervading like space. śukram=white, i.e. radiant, bright. akāyam=bodiless i.e. without the subtle body, avraṇam=not to be wounded, snāva=vein; therefore asnāviram means ‘veinless’. The last two (epithets) deny the gross body; ś uddham = without the stain of nescience. This denies the causal body, apāpaviddham=by evil (which term is meant to include) both merits and demerits[1]. The words beginning with sukram are to be changed to the masculine form, because the verse starts with saḥ (a masculine form) and ends likewise with kaviḥ and (which also are masculine in form). kaviḥ=seeing what is past[2], i.e. witness of all, according to the text—“There is no seer other than He” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, vii, 23), manīṣī =the controller of the mind i.e., the all-knowing Lord. paribhūḥ means ‘who is above (pari = upari) everything’. svayambhūh = self-begotten. This signifies that what is above everything as well as what is everything are both the Self. Such a Lord, always free, being all-knowing, has allotted duties (arthān) according to past deeds which are instrumental in yielding fruit (in this life) i.e. has appropriately distributed (them). Yāthātathyataḥ, being derived from yathātathā, means ‘according to facts’. ś āśvatībhyaḥ= permanent; Samābhyaḥ i.e. among Creators going by the name of ‘Time’[3]

  1. According to the view of Śaṅkarāchārya, it should be remembered, good and evil become reduced to the same level in the eyes of a knower of the Self, for both alike lead to a succession of births, although the one be of a higher kind than the other.
  2. This word literally means ‘one that can see what is past’. Here it is to be understood in a secondary sense, the past indicatin all time—the present as well as the future. Hence it means “witness of all”.
  3. For this sense of Samvatsara see Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I, v, 14 and Prashna Upanishad i. 9. Like everything else Time also is born of the Creator. Hence ‘Time’ is ‘Creator’ taking the effect for the cause.

Translation By Max Müller

8. He [1] (the Self) encircled all, bright, incorporeal, scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil; a seer, wise, omnipresent, self-existent, he disposed all things rightly for eternal years.


1. Saṅkara takes the subject to be the Self, and explains the neuter adjectives as masculines. Mahîdhara takes the subject to be the man who has acquired a knowledge of the Self, and who reaches the bright, incorporeal Brahman, &c. Mahîdhara, however, likewise allows the former explanation.

Sloka : 9

अ॒न्धं तमः॒ प्र वि॑शन्ति॒ येऽवि॑द्यामु॒पास॑ते ।

ततो॒ भूय॑ इव॒ ते तमो॒ य उ॑ वि॒द्याया॑ र॒ताः ॥९॥

andhaṃ tamaḥ praviśanti ye'vidyām upāsate |

tato bhūya iva te tamo ya uvidyāyāṃ ratāḥ || 9 ||

Into blinding darkness pass they who adhere to karma and into still greater darkness, as it were, they who delight in meditation.

Commentary of Shankara

andham tamaḥ = blinding darkness, praviśanti =(they pass). Who? ye avidyām upāsate = yjey who practise karma. avidyā is what is other than knowledge i.e. karma, because karma is opposed to knowledge. upāsate =devoutly practise i.e. perform only karma such as agnihotra. tataḥ i.e. than such blinding darkness. bhūya-iva= greater, as it were.[1] te tamaḥ i.e. they pass into darkness. Who? ye-u = those who, on the other hand; vidyāyām =in meditating on deities; ratāḥ take delight i.e. who engage themselves in it to the exclusion of karma. Now follows a statement of the distinction between the respective fruits of meditation and karma, as an argument for their simultaneous practice. Otherwise, if of the two thus proximately stated, one only is known to bear fruit and not the other, the relation between them would be (according to rules of interpretation, not one of co-ordination but) only that of subordination[2].

  1. I read bahutaram iva.
  2. I read aṅgāṅgitaiva syāt.

Translation By Max Müller

9. All who worship what is not real knowledge (good works), enter into blind darkness

Sloka : 10

अ॒न्यदे॒वाहुर्वि॒द्यया॒न्यदा॑हु॒रवि॑द्याया ।

इति॑ शुश्रुम॒ धीरा॑णां॒ ये न॒स्तद्वि॑चचक्षि॒रे ॥१०॥॥

anyad evāhur vidyayān yad āhur avidyayā |

iti śuśruma dhīrāṇāṃ ye nas tad vicacakṣire || 10 ||

Distinct, they say, is (the fruit borne) by meditation and distinct again, they say, is (that borne) by karma. Thus have we heard from sages who taught us that.

Commentary of Shankara

anyat-eva= quite distinct. Vidyayā =(by meditation) i.e. the fruit borne by meditation is distinct. āhuḥ= they say; (the second pāda) means “karma yields a distinct fruit altogether”; as recorded in “The world of manes through karma; the world of gods through meditation”. iti =thus. śuśruma =we have heard, dhīrānām i.e. (the saying) of the wise, ye—i.e., which teachers. naḥ= to us. tat i.e. karma and meditation. vicacakṣire =explained well. The purport is that this their teaching has been handed down by tradition, Since it is so,

Translation By Max Müller

10. One thing, they say, is obtained from real knowledge; another, they say, from what is not knowledge. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this [1].


1. Cf. Talavak. Up. I, 4; vidyâyah, avidyâyâh, Vâg. Samh.; vidyayâ, avidyayâ, Upan.

Sloka : 11

वि॒द्यां चावि॑द्यां च॒ यस्तद्वेदो॒भय॑ स॒ह ।

अवि॑द्यया मृ॒त्युं ती॒र्त्वा वि॒द्यया॒मृत॑मश्नुते ॥११॥॥

vidyāṃ cāvidyāṃ ca yas tad vedobhayaṃ saha |

avidyayā mṛtyuṃ tīrtvā vidyayāmṛtam aśnute || 11 ||

Whoever understands meditation and karma as going together, (he) overcoming death through karma, attains immortality through meditation.

Commentary of Shankara

The first pāda means ‘meditating on deities and karma’. yah= (whoever.) ta = etat =this. ubhayam =(two) saha—i.e. to be practised by the same person. veda =(understands). (The second half of the verse) states that only a person, practising both together, will in due course, achieve the chief end[1] avidyayā= by karma like agnihotra. mṛtyum—by this word are here meant usual activity and knowledge. having overcome those two. vidyayā= by meditation on deities. amṛtam= (immortality); godhead. aśnute =attains. Becoming one with the deity (meditated upon) is termed ‘immortality’ here. Now with a view to inculcate their simultaneous practice, follows the condemnation of the separate meditation on the manifest and on the unmanifest—

  1. I read Samucchayakāriṇa eva ekapuruṣārthasaṃbandhaḥ.

Translation By Max Müller

11. He who knows at the same time both knowledge and not-knowledge, overcomes death through not-knowledge, and obtains immortality through knowledge.

Sloka : 12

अ॒न्धं तमः॒ प्रवि॑शन्ति॒ येऽसं॑भूतिमु॒पास॑ते ।

ततो॒ भूय॑ इव॒ ते तमो॒ य उ॒ संभू॑त्या र॒ताः ॥१२॥

andhaṃ tamaḥ praviśanti ye'sambhūtim upāsate |

tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u sambhūtyāṃ ratāḥ || 12 ||

Into blinding darkness pass they who are devoted to the unmanifest, and into still greater darkness, as it were, they who delight in the manifest.

Commentary of Shankara

Saṃbhavanam means birth. That which is born and is an effect is sambhūti. asambhūti is what is other than sambhūti i.e., prakṛti, the undifferentiated cause whose essence is nescience and which is the source of all activity and desire. They who devote themselves to such Cause enter (as may be expected) darkness which is correspondingly blind in its nature. Sambhūtyām i.e., in the phenomenal Brahman known as Hiraṇyagarbha. They who delight only in Him enter darkness which is, as it were, more blinding still. Now follows as an argument for their simultaneous practice, a statement of the distinction between the respective fruits of the two kinds of meditation—

Translation By Max Müller

12. All who worship what is not the true cause, enter into blind darkness

Sloka : 13

अ॒न्यदे॒वाहुः सं॑भ॒वाद॒न्यदा॑हु॒रसं॑भवात् ।

इति॑ शुश्रुम॒ धीरा॑णां॒ ये न॒स्तद्वि॑चचक्षि॒रे ॥१३॥

anyad evāhuḥ saṃbhavād anyad āhur asaṃbhavāt |

iti śuśruma dhīrāṇāṃ ye nas tad vicacakṣire || 13 ||

Distinct, they say, is (what results) from the manifest and distinct again, they say, is (what results) from the unmanifest. Thus have we heard from the sages who taught us that.

Commentary of Shankara

anyat-eva= altogether distinct. āhuḥ =(they say). Sambhavāt =from that which has birth i.e., from meditating on the phenomenal Brahman, supernatural power such as assuming, at will, extreme subtlety is said to result. Similarly, they say that there is a (distinctive) fruit from meditating on the unmanifest,—that, alluded to in pāda 1 of verse 12 and which is known as “absorption into primal cause”[1] to those versed in the Purāṇas. iti =thus. śuśruma-dhīrāṇām—i.e., we have heard the saying of the wise. The last pāda means “who explained to us the results of meditating on the manifest and the unmanifest”. Since this is so, it is but right that meditation on both the effect and the cause should be practised together; a further reason being the achievement (through such meditation) of the chief end.[2]

  1. This state may be sought on account of the absence of the ordinary excitements of life in it as in sleep.
  2. I read yukta eva and ekapuruṣārthatvāccha.

Translation By Max Müller

13. One thing, they say, is obtained from (knowledge of) the cause; another, they say, from (knowledge of) what is not the cause. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.

Sloka : 14

संभू॑तिं च विना॒शं च॒ यस्तद्वेदो॒भय॑ स॒ह ।

वि॒ना॒शेन॑ मृ॒त्युं ती॒र्त्वा संभू॑त्या॒मृत॑मश्नुते ॥१४॥

saṃbhūtiṃ ca vināśaṃ ca yas tad vedobhayaṃ saha |

vināśena mṛtyuṃ tīrtvā saṃbhūtyāmṛtam aśnute || 14 ||

Whoever understands the manifest and the unmanifest as going together, (he), by overcoming death through the manifest, attains immortality through the unmanifest

Commentary of Shankara

The first half of the verse means “He who understands that meditation on the manifest and the unmanifest should be practised together”, here means an “effect”—that whose character is transitoriness; the abstract being put for the concrete, vināśena means “by meditating on such (Brahman)”. mṛtyum =death all kinds of deficiency arising from limited power, demerit, covetousness and soon. tīrtvā =(having overcome); for great supernatural power is attained by the contemplation of Hiraṇyagarbba. Having thus overcome death or limitation of power &c., asambhūtya i.e., by meditating on the unmanifest. amṛtam i.e. absorption into the First Cause. aśnute (attains). It should be noted that sambhūti in the first pāda is mentioned without the (initial) a (and is to be taken as equivalent to asambhūti) agreeably to the statement that the result is absorption into the First Cause. The result derivable, according to śāstra, through worldly and divine ‘wealth’[1] extends up to absorption into the First Cause. Thus far is metempsychosis. Higher than that, is the realisation of the unity of Self spoken of in verse 9—the result of renouncing all desires and devoting oneself (exclusively) to true knowledge. Thus the twofold teaching of the Veda, as relating to worldly activity and to withdrawal from it, has been explained here. And the (Śatapatha) Brāhmaṇa up to (the chapters on) Pravargya (purificatory ceremonies described in Khanda xiv chapters 1—3 ) concerns itself with elucidating, in full, the Vedic teaching relating to the path of activity, consisting of injunctions and prohibitions. The succeeding portion, viz., the Brhadāraṇyaka, explains the path of withdrawal from the world. In verse 11 it has been stated[2] that he who desires to live performing karma (in its entirety) from conception to death, and along with it, practises meditation on the lower (phenomenal) Brahman will attain immortality. It is now pointed out by what course, one so qualified becomes immortal. (We read in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad V, v, 2) “That is what is Truth; it is the Sun, the Person in this disc, as also the Person in the right eye”. The worshipper of this two-fold Brahman—Truth—who has also been performing karma as prescribed, addresses thus, when the end is come, Brahman who is Truth, beseeching Him for entrance—

  1. Worldly wealth or means comprising cattle, land, money &c., all required for performing karma. ‘Divine wealth’ is knowledge of deities.
  2. taduktam iti, tam pratyuktam mantreṇa vidyāṃcāvidyāṃcetyādinā.-—Ānandagici. One Ms., reads tampratyetaduktam in place of taduktam.

Translation By Max Müller

14. He who knows at the same time both the cause and the destruction (the perishable body), overcomes death by destruction (the perishable body), and obtains immortality through (knowledge of ) the true cause.

Sloka : 15

हि॒र॒ण्मये॑न॒ पात्रे॑ण स॒त्यस्यापि॑हितं॒ मुख॑म् ।

तत्त्वं पू॑ष॒न्नपावृ॑णु स॒त्यध॑र्माय दृ॒ष्टये॑ ॥१५॥

hiraṇmayena pātreṇa satyasyāpihitaṃ mukham |

tat tvaṃ pūṣann apāvṛṇu satyadharmāya dṛṣṭaye || 15 ||

Truths face is covered with a golden lid; remove that, O Pūṣan, that I, Truth’s devotee, may see It.

Commentary of Shankara

Hiranmayam =seeming golden, resplendent tena =by such. pātrena =lid, as it were, satyasya i.e., of the Brahman residing in the Solar disc, apihitam =covered. mukham= entrance. tat= (that); tvam =(you); he-pūṣan =O Sun, apāvṛṇu =remove. satyadharmāya i.e., to me who am through meditation on you who are Truth. Or this expression may mean “one that practises true piety” Dṛṣṭaye i.e., for reaching you whose essence is Truth.

Translation By Max Müller

15. The door of the True is covered with a golden disk [1]. Open that, O Pûshan, that we may see the nature of the True [2].


1. Mahîdhara on verse 17

Sloka : 16

पूषन्नेकर्षे यम सूर्य प्राजापत्य व्यूह रश्मीन्समूह तेजो॒

यत्ते॑ रू॒पं कल्या॑णतमं॒ तत्ते॑ पश्यामि यो॒ऽसाव॒सौ पुरु॑षः॒ सो॒ऽहम॑स्मि ॥१६॥

pūṣann ekarṣe yama sūrya prājāpatya vyūha raśmīn samūha tejaḥ |

yat te rūpaṃ kalyāṇatamaṃ tat te paśyāmi yo'sāv asau puruṣaḥ so'ham asmi || 16 ||

O Pūṣan, sole traveller, Yama, Sun, child of Prajāpati, recall thy rays; withdraw thy light that I may behold thee of loveliest form. Whosoever that Person is, that also am I.

Commentary of Shankara

Pūṣan=the sun, so called because he protects the world. Ekarṣe, because he traverses (the sky) alone. Yama, Death, because he controls all. Sūrya, because he sucks up rays, life and water. Prājāpatya, because he is the son of Prajāpati, the Creator. vyūha =remove, raśmīn i.e. your rays. samūha= unite i.e. withdraw. your light, yat-te =what is yours. rūpam =form, kalyāṇatamam = loveliest, tat-te =that of yours paśyāmi i.e. I may see by your grace. Further I am not entreating you as a servant, because whoever is the Person in the Solar disc, composed of vyāhṛtis,[1] the same am I. He is known as purusha (person) because He is of the form of a person, or because this world is full of Him in His modes of activity and thought or, again, because He lies in the citadel of the body.

  1. Vyāhṛti is literally ‘utterance’ and is the term used to denote the three sacred syllables bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ. See Brihadaranyaka Upanishad V, v, 3.

Translation By Max Müller

16. O Pûshan, only seer, Yama (judge), Sûrya (sun), son of Pragâpati, spread thy rays and gather them! The light which is thy fairest form, I see it. I am what He is (viz. the person in the sun) [1].


1. Asau purushah should probably be omitted.

Sloka : 17

वा॒युरनि॑लम॒मृत॒मथे॒दं भस्मा॑न्त॒ शरी॑रम् ।

ॐ क्रतो॒ स्मर॑ कृ॒त स्म॑र॒ क्रतो॒ स्मर॑ कृ॒त स्म॑र ॥१७॥

vāyur anilam amṛtam athedaṃ bhasmāntaṃ śarīram |

oṃ krato smara kṛtaṃ smara krato smara kṛtaṃ smara || 17 ||

(May) this life (merge in) the immortal breath! And (may) this body end in ashes! Om! mind, remember, remember thy deeds; mind, remember, remember thy deeds!

Commentary of Shankara

Now that I am dying, may my life (Vāyu) abandoning the bodily adjunct assume the godly, in the immortal breath of the universal Self, the ‘connecting thread’ of all. pratipadyatām (“may reach”) is to be understood. The meaning, agreeably to the prayer for entrance, is “May this subtle body purified by meditation and karma advance”. atha =(and). idam =(this), śarīram =(body), hutam =(burnt) in fire. bhasmāntam i.e., may it end in ashes. Om—thus is addressed Brahman—as identical with what is known as Agni the essence of Truth—following the mode of meditating on Him-through this symbol, krato i.e., O mind, so called because it desires, smara i.e., remember what has to be remembered, for the time for it is now come. Therefore remember what has till now been meditated upon. Remember also whatever karma you have done till now[1] —since boyhood. The repetition of the third pāda indicates-earnestness. By another verse also, entrance is prayed for—

  1. I read agre in place of agne.

Translation By Max Müller

17. Breath [1] to air, and to the immortal! Then this my body ends in ashes. Om! Mind, remember! Remember thy deeds! Mind, remember! Remember thy deeds [2]!


1. These lines are supposed to be uttered by a man in the hour of death. 2. The Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ reads

Sloka : 18

अग्ने॒ नय॑ सु॒पथा॑ रा॒ये अ॒स्मान्विश्वा॑नि देव व॒युना॑नि वि॒द्वान् ।

यु॒यो॒ध्य॒स्मज्जु॑हुरा॒णमेनो॒ भूयि॑ष्ठां ते॒ नम॑ उ॒क्तिं विधेम ॥१८॥

agne naya supathā rāye asmān viśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |

yuyodhy asmaj juhurāṇam eno bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama uktiṃ vidhema || 18 ||

O God Agni, lead us on to prosperity by a good path, judging all our deeds. Take away ugly sin from us. We shall say many prayers unto thee.

Commentary of Shankara

Agne =(O Fire), naya =lead, supathā =by a good path. This qualifying word excludes the southern path. (The devotee means)—“I am tired of the southern path characterised by birth and death, and therefore do I repeatedly ask you to lead (me) by the good path free from birth and death”. rāye =for wealth i.e. (here) for enjoying the fruit of karma. asmān =us, that are qualified for (the enjoyment of) the fruits of the prescribed practices. viśvāni =all. deva =O God, vayunāni=karma or meditation. vidvān =knowing. Further, yuyodhi i.e., separate or destroy. asmat=asmattaḥ =from us. juhurāṇam =crooked or deceitful. enaḥ= sin; so that becoming pure thereby we may obtain our wish. We are not, however, able now to serve you actively (as of old); we can but do obeisance again and again (bhūyiṣṭhām) to you. Some entertain a doubt (as regards the antithesis between karma and true knowledge) hearing the statements (contained in verses 11 and 14—“Overcoming death through avidyā, he attains immortality through vidyā” and “Overcoming death through the manifest, he attains immortality through the unmanifest”. We shall therefore briefly consider (the matter now) in order to clear (this doubt.) Now then, what is the reason for the doubt? The answer is—Why should not true knowledge itself be understood by vidyā in the above passage? and also (by amṛtatva true) immortality? Well, are not this knowledge of the supreme Self and karma mutually exclusive on account of the antithesis between them? True; but this antagonism is not known (through śāstra) for antagonism or the reverse should be based on śāstraic authority only. Just as the performance of karma and the practice of Vidyā are known through śāstra alone, so also should their opposition or agreement be. As the śāstraic prohibition “No creature should be hurt” is annulled by śātra itself in “In a sacrifice animals may be killed” so also should it be in the case of vidyā and avidyā as well as in the case of knowledge and karma.[1] No; because the Veda says—“Distant are these.—opposed and leading in diverse ways—karma and knowledge” (Katha Upanishad ii, 4)- If it be said that owing to the statement in verse 11, there is (likewise) no antagonism between them, we reply ‘No’; because[2] there can possibly be no option as regards opposition or agreement between true knowledge and avidyā[3]. If it be rejoined that there is no antithesis at all, on the strength of the injunction (here in verse 11) regarding their combined practice, we repeat ‘No’; for the two cannot conceivably co-exist. If it be urged that vidyā and avidyā are to be pursued by the same (person) one after the other[4], we reply ‘No’; for when true knowledge comes to a person, nescience is inconceivable in him. Thus (for instance) if once a man experiences heat and light in fire, there cannot arise in him the ignorance—that fire is cold or devoid of light. Nor can there be doubt or delusion (in a knower) for verse 7 denies all possibility of them. Nescience being inconceivable,—we have said—its result[5]—karma—is equally inconceivable. The immortality spoken of (here) is only relative. Further if vidyā in this passage referred to knowledge of the supreme Self, praying for an entrance would be inappropriate.[6] Thus we conclude by stating that the meaning of the verses in question is, as we have explained.

  1. I omit samucchayaḥ after vidyākarmaṇaśca.
  2. I omit hetusvarūpaphalavirodhāt. I also put a full stop after vikalpāsambhavāt.
  3. Option is conceivable in the case of karma. Thus one śākha of the Veda prescribes “udite-juhoti”; another, “anudite-juhoti.”. Here it may be understood that the Veda gives one, option to offer oblations either after sunrise or before. But the same rule cannot apply to vidyā and avidyā, on the strength of the two texts in question. In this case, only one of the statements can hold good and the other, instead of being taken literally, has to be interpreted in such a manner that it will not clash with the first. Reason has to decide which statement is to be understood literally and which not.
  4. If it is meant that karma precedes knowledge, there is no difficulty in agreeing with the opponent, for it is recognised that karma prepares man for true knowledge. But if karma is to succeed knowledge, the statement of the opponent cannot be admitted.
  5. The opponent may argue at this stage that the antithesis hithereto spoken of is between vidyā and avidyā and not between karma and vidyā. This argument is met by stating that dissociating avidyā from a knower is perforce dissociating karma also from him.
  6. This is said in reference to the Vedic text. “na tasya prānā utkrāmanti” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad v, 6), which declares that final release is attained by a knower, where he is, and not by his going elsewhere.

Translation By Max Müller

18. Agni, lead us on to wealth (beatitude) by a good path, thou, O God, who knowest all things! Keep far from us crooked evil, and we shall offer thee the fullest praise! (Rv. I, 189, 1.

Shanti Mantra (END)

॥ इति ईशावास्योपनिषद् ॥

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

oṃ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate |

pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate ||

oṃ śāntiḥ | śāntiḥ | śāntiḥ ||


The Isha Upanishad (Devanagari: ईशोपनिषद् IAST īśopaniṣad) is one of the shortest Upanishads, embedded as the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda. It is a Mukhya (primary, principal) Upanishad, and is known in two recensions, called Kanva (VSK) and Madhyandina (VSM). The Upanishad is a brief poem, consisting of 17 or 18 verses, depending on the recension. It is the 40th chapter of Yajurveda.

The name of the text derives from its incipit, īśā vāsyam, “enveloped by the Lord”, or “hidden in the Lord (Self)”. The text discusses the Atman (Soul, Self) theory of Hinduism, and is referenced by both Dvaita (dualism) and Advaita (non-dualism) sub-schools of Vedanta.

The Verse 1 (Devotion to Jñāna - the knowledge) teaches that those who understand the Self and are fit for realising it should give up all worldly desires and devote themselves exclusively to attaining final release. The Verse 2 (Devotion to Karma) enjoins the performance of karma on such others as do not comprehend the Self and are consequently unable to realise it. The Verses 3-8 (The real nature of the Self), which, having in view persons referred to in verse 1, describe the real nature of the Self and indicate the consequences of realising or not realising it. And the Verses 9-18 (The simultaneous practice of Karma and Upāsanā), which commend the simultaneous practice of karma and upāsanā, to persons referred to in verse 2.

Analysis By Sri Aurobinda


The pairs of opposites successively taken up by the Upanishad and resolved are, in the order of their succession:

  1. The Conscious Lord and phenomenal Nature.
  2. Renunciation and Enjoyment.
  3. Action in Nature and Freedom in the Soul.
  4. The One stable Brahman and the multiple Movement.
  5. Being and Becoming.
  6. The Active Lord and the indifferent Akshara Brahman.
  7. Vidya and Avidya.
  8. Birth and Non-Birth.
  9. Works and Knowledge.

These discords are thus successively resolved:


Phenomenal Nature is a movement of the conscious Lord. The object of the movement is to create forms of His consciousness in motion in which He as the one Soul in many bodies can take up his habitation and enjoy the multiplicity and the movement with all their relations.


Real integral enjoyment of all this movement and multiplicity in its truth and in its infinity depends upon an absolute renunci- ation; but the renunciation intended is an absolute renunciation of the principle of desire founded on the principle of egoism and not a renunciation of world-existence. This solution depends on the idea that desire is only an egoistic and vital deforma- tion of the divine Ananda or delight of being from which the world is born; by extirpation of ego and desire Ananda again becomes the conscious principle of existence. This substitution is the essence of the change from life in death to life in immortality. The enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego, founded on oneness of all in the Lord, is what is meant by the enjoyment of Immortality.


Actions are not inconsistent with the soul’s freedom. Man is not bound by works, but only seems to be bound. He has to re- cover the consciousness of his inalienable freedom by recovering the consciousness of unity in the Lord, unity in himself, unity with all existence. This done, life and works can and should be accepted in their fullness; for the manifestation of the Lord in life and works is the law of our being and the object of our world-existence.


What then of the Quiescence of the Supreme Being and how is persistence in the Movement compatible with that Quiescence which is generally recognised as an essential condition of the supreme Bliss?

The Quiescence and the Movement are equally one Brah- man and the distinction drawn between them is only a phe- nomenon of our consciousness. So it is with the idea of space and time, the far and the near, the subjective and the objective, in- ternal and external, myself and others, one and many. Brahman, the real existence, is all these things to our consciousness, but in itself ineffably superior to all such practical distinctions. The Movement is a phenomenon of the Quiescence, the Quiescence itself may be conceived as a Movement too rapid for the gods, that is to say, for our various functions of consciousness to follow in its real nature. But it is no formal, material, spatial, temporal movement, only a movement in consciousness. Knowledge sees it all as one, Ignorance divides and creates oppositions where there is no opposition but simply relations of one consciousness in itself. The ego in the body says, “I am within, all else is outside; and in what is outside, this is near to me in Time and Space, that is far.” All this is true in present relation; but in essence it is all one indivisible movement of Brahman which is not material movement but a way of seeing things in the one consciousness.


Everything depends on what we see, how we look at exis- tence in our soul’s view of things. Being and Becoming, One and Many are both true and are both the same thing: Being is one, Becomings are many; but this simply means that all Becomings are one Being who places Himself variously in the phenomenal movement of His consciousness. We have to see the One Being, but we have not to cease to see the many Becomings, for they exist and are included in Brahman’s view of Himself. Only, we must see with knowledge and not with ignorance. We have to re- alise our true self as the one unchangeable, indivisible Brahman. We have to see all becomings as developments of the movement in our true self and this self as one inhabiting all bodies and not our body only. We have to be consciously, in our relations with this world, what we really are, — this one self becoming everything that we observe. All the movement, all energies, all forms, all happenings we must see as those of our one and real self in many existences, as the play of the Will and Knowledge and Delight of the Lord in His world-existence.

We shall then be delivered from egoism and desire and the sense of separate existence and therefore from all grief and delusion and shrinking; for all grief is born of the shrinking of the ego from the contacts of existence, its sense of fear, weakness, want, dislike, etc.; and this is born from the delusion of separate existence, the sense of being my separate ego exposed to all these contacts of so much that is not myself. Get rid of this, see oneness everywhere, be the One manifesting Himself in all creatures; ego will disappear; desire born of the sense of not being this, not having that, will disappear; the free inalienable delight of the One in His own existence will take the place of desire and its satisfactions and dissatisfactions. Immortality will be yours, death born of division will be overcome.


The Inactive and the Active Brahman are simply two aspects of the one Self, the one Brahman, who is the Lord. It is He who has gone abroad in the movement. He maintains Himself free from all modifications in His inactive existence. The in- action is the basis of the action and exists in the action; it is His freedom from all He does and becomes and in all He does and becomes. These are the positive and negative poles of one indivisible consciousness. We embrace both in one quiescence and one movement, inseparable from each other, dependent on each other. The quiescence exists relatively to the movement, the movement to the quiescence. He is beyond both. This is a different point of view from that of the identity of the Movement and Quiescence which are one in reality; it expresses rather their relation in our consciousness once they are admitted as a practical necessity of that consciousness. It is obvious that we also by becoming one with the Lord would share in this biune conscious existence.


The knowledge of the One and the knowledge of the Many are a result of the movement of the one consciousness, which sees all things as One in their truth-Idea but differentiates them in their mentality and formal becoming. If the mind (Man- ishi) absorbs itself in God as the formal becoming (Paribhu) and separates itself from God in the true Idea (Kavi), then it loses Vidya, the knowledge of the One, and has only the knowledge of the Many which becomes no longer knowledge at all but ignorance, Avidya. This is the cause of the separate ego-sense.

Avidya is accepted by the Lord in the Mind (Manishi) in or- der to develop individual relations to their utmost in all the pos- sibilities of division and its consequences and then through these individual relations to come back individually to the knowledge of the One in all. That knowledge has remained all along unab- rogated in the consciousness of the true seer or Kavi. This seer in ourselves stands back from the mental thinker; the latter, thus separated, has to conquer death and division by a developing experience as the individual Inhabitant and finally to recover by the reunited knowledge of the One and the Many the state of Immortality. This is our proper course and not either to devote ourselves exclusively to the life of Avidya or to reject it entirely for motionless absorption in the One.


The reason for this double movement of the Thinker is that we are intended to realise immortality in the Birth. The self is uniform and undying and in itself always possesses immortality. It does not need to descend into Avidya and Birth to get that immortality of Non-Birth; for it possesses it always. It descends in order to realise and possess it as the individual Brahman in the play of world-existence. It accepts Birth and Death, assumes the ego and then dissolving the ego by the recovery of unity realises itself as the Lord, the One, and Birth as only a becoming of the Lord in mental and formal being; this becoming is now governed by the true sight of the Seer and, once this is done, becoming is no longer inconsistent with Being, birth becomes a means and not an obstacle to the enjoyment of immortality by the lord of this formal habitation. This is our proper course and not to remain for ever in the chain of birth and death, nor to flee from birth into a pure non-becoming. The bondage does not consist in the physical act of becoming, but in the persistence of the ignorant sense of the separate ego. The Mind creates the chain and not the body.


The opposition between works and knowledge exists as long as works and knowledge are only of the egoistic mental char- acter. Mental knowledge is not true knowledge; true knowledge is that which is based on the true sight, the sight of the Seer, of Surya, of the Kavi. Mental thought is not knowledge, it is a golden lid placed over the face of the Truth, the Sight, the divine Ideation, the Truth-Consciousness. When that is removed, sight replaces mental thought, the all-embracing truth-ideation, Mahas, Veda, Drishti, replaces the fragmentary mental activity. True Buddhi (Vijnana) emerges from the dissipated action of the Buddhi which is all that is possible on the basis of the sense- mind, the Manas. Vijnana leads us to pure knowledge (Jnana), pure consciousness (Chit). There we realise our entire identity with the Lord in all at the very roots of our being.

But in Chit, Will and Seeing are one. Therefore in Vijnana or truth-ideation also which comes luminously out of Chit, Will and Sight are combined and no longer as in the mind separated from each other. Therefore when we have the sight and live in the truth-consciousness, our will becomes the spontaneous law of the truth in us and, knowing all its acts and their sense and objective, leads straight to the human goal, which was always the enjoyment of the Ananda, the Lord’s delight in self-being, the state of Immortality. In our acts also we become one with all beings and our life grows into a representation of oneness, truth and divine joy and no longer proceeds on the crooked path of egoism full of division, error and stumbling. In a word, we attain to the object of our existence which is to manifest in itself whether on earth in a terrestrial body and against the resistance of Matter or in the worlds beyond or enter beyond all world the glory of the divine Life and the divine Being.

Introductory Remarks

By Shankaracharya

The verses beginning with Īśāvāsyam are not utilised in ritual[1], since they explain the true nature of the Self which is not subsidiary to karma. The true nature of the Self, as will presently be indicated, is purity, taintlessness, oneness, permanence, bodilessness, omnipresence and so forth, which being inconsistent with karma, it is only right that these (verses) are not used in ritual.

The Self whose essence is thus described, moreover, cannot be produced, modified, acquired or purified; nor is it of the character of an agent or an enjoyer; in which case it would be subsidiary to karma. (And its existence cannot be called in question) inasmuch as all the Upanishads purport only to unfold its nature.

The Bhagavadgīta and the Mokṣadharma (in the Mahābhārata) have also the same aim. (It has therefore to be presumed that) karma is prescribed taking (for granted) that, as recognised by the intelligence of the average man, plurality, agency, enjoyment and so forth, as also impurity and sinfulness, are of the Self.

Those that know who are eligible (for ritual) state that karma is prescribed only for him who is desirous of its fruit—whether that fruit be visible (i.e. attainable in this life) as spiritual lustre or invisible (i.e. attainable only in another life) as Svarga—and thinks “I am a twice-born, free from blindness, dwarfishness and the like marks of disqualification”[2].

Therefore the following verses, removing this original nescience concerning the Self, from an explanation of its real nature, produce a knowledge of unity which is the means of eradicating sorrow, delusion and other similar features of mundane existence.

We shall briefly comment on these verses, having thus indicated the persons entitled to study them, the subject-matter, aim and their inter-relation[3].


[1]: The doubt whether these verses are to be used in ritual arises because this Upanishad forms part of a Saṃhitā and the verses in the Saṃhitā portion of the Veda are generally so employed. If these verses are at all to be utilised in ritual there should be an express statement to that effect in the Veda or there should at least be an indirect guidance afforded by their contents. We find no such express statement, and the subject matter, so far from being connected with karma, is directly antagonistic to it. Further it is usual to classify whatever is subsidiary or supplementary to ritual in four ways as follows—that which is produced as e.g. a sacrificial cake which is newly made out of flour, that which is modified, as e.g. soma juice which is extracted from soma leaves, that which is acquired as e. g. a mantra which is learnt by rote before being used in ritual and, lastly, that which is purified, as e. g. unhusked rice which is utilised after being ceremonially sanctified. The Self cannot be brought under any of these classes. It is neither an effect, nor a modification. It is not external to us to be obtained anew; nor is it impure to require any purification. The only other way of connecting the Self with karma is to make it an agent or an enjoyer. Neither of these, however, can the Self be, as will hereafter be explained in the commentary. Hence the denial of all relationship between the Self and karma. Compare— (?? the position of the note with these references was unclear ??) samam sarveṣu bhūteṣu tiṣṭhantam parameśvaram vinaśyatsvavinaśyantam yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati —Bhagavad Gita xiii 27. eka eva hi bhūtātmā bhūte bhūte vyavasthitaḥ. ekadhā bahudhā chaiva dṛṣyate jalachandravat. -Mahābhārata—Mokṣadharma.

[2]: Desire, which is either for attaining happiness or for avoiding misery necessarily implies nescience. For the Self being in reality bliss itself, untouched by sorrow, cannot by its nature, be affected by any desire. Similarly, believing that the Self is fit for performing karma because its bodily adjuncts with which it is empirically connected are fit for it is also an indication of nescience.

[3]: In the beginning of a commentary it is customary to point out specifically the qualifications of persons entitled to study the treatise, its subject-matter, the aim of its teaching and their inter-relation, especially that between the last two. Deficiency in respect of any of these which are termed the Anubandhachatuṣṭayam is understood to indicate the unworthiness of the treatise to be commented upon.

Verse 9-18: Remarks by Śaṅkara

The first point taught here in Verse 1 is (exclusive) devotion to true knowledge after giving up desires of all kinds. The second point—taught in verse 2,—is that as this devotion to self-knowledge is not possible to the ignorant who seek to live (in the ordinary way) they should devote themselves to karma. The distinctness of the two courses referred to in these verses (belonging to the Suklayajurveda Saṃhitā) is also indicated in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka (which forms part of the Suklayajurveda Brāhmaṇa). (Thus we understand) from the passage beginning with “He desired, ‘Let me have a wife’ etc” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I, iv, 17) that all karma is for the ignorant actuated by worldly desires. And the statement, (in the same passage) “To him the mind is the Self; speech, wife; &c”[1] makes it clear that ignorance and covetousness characterise the person devoted to karma. Its result is accordingly the creation of the seven kinds of food and (thereafter) identifying with them oneself (and one’s interests)[2]. Again, as opposed to adherence to karma, exclusive devotion to the Self, in its reality, through renunciation of the three kinds of desire for wife &c., is taught to knowers of the Self in the passage beginning with “What have we to do with offspring—we to whom this Self is the desired end (world)?” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV, iv, 22.)

In verses 3—8, by first showing, dis-paragement of the ignorant, the real nature of the Self has been explained to such as devote themselves, after renunciation, to Self-realisation; for it is the knowers and not the worldly-minded that are qualified for it (Self-realisation). The same has been distinctly stated in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (vi, 21)—“To those in the highest religious stage, he well explained the sacred truth followed by many sages” The following verses are (now) addressed to the worldly-minded who, devoting themselves to karma, desire to live a life of activity. How is it to be known (that they are addressed to such alone) and not to all? The reply is—None but the deluded would associate with karma or with other kinds of knowledge, that knowledge of Self-unity, which arises from the destruction of all difference between end and means as taughc to the unworldly in verse 7. In what follows the dispraise of the ignorant is with a view to associate Karma with Vidyā. (Hence we should understand that) only such (knowledge) is meant here as can, with reason or in accordance with śāstra, be combined with karma. That knowledge is knowledge of deities (upāsanā or meditation), known as ‘divine wealth’ which is taught here as co-existent with, and not the knowledge of the supreme Self, for a specific result is known to follow (from a knowledge of deities) from the text—“The world of the gods through meditation” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I, v, 16). The separate practice of meditation and karma is condemned here with a view to (inculcate their) simultaneous practice and not for altogether deprecating (either); for specific results are known (from the Veda) to follow from each. Compare—‘That, They ascend through meditation’; ‘The world of the gods through meditation’ ‘Those who take the southern path do not go there ‘The world of the manes by karma’. Nothing that śāstra prescribes can possibly be blameworthy.—


[1]:Believing mind to be the Self is an indication of nescience.

[2]: See Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I, v, 1.


By Max Müller [The Upanishads, Part 1 (1879)]

THE Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ-upanishad, commonly called from its beginning, Îsâ or Îsâvâsya, forms the fortieth and concluding chapter of the Samhitâ of the White Yagur-veda. If the Samhitâs are presupposed by the Brâhmanas, at least in that form in which we possess them, then this Upanishad, being the only one that forms part of a Samhitâ, might claim a very early age. The Samhitâ of the White Yagur-veda, however, is acknowledged to be of modern origin, as compared with the Samhitâ of the Black Yagur-veda, and it would not be safe therefore to ascribe to this Upanishad a much higher antiquity than to those which have found a place in the older Brâhmanas and Âranyakas.

There are differences between the text, as contained in the Yagur-veda-samhitâ, and the text of the Upanishad by itself. Those which are of some interest have been mentioned in the notes.

In some notes appended to the translation of this Upanishad I have called attention to what seems to me its peculiar character, namely, the recognition of the necessity of works as a preparation for the reception of the highest knowledge. This agrees well with the position occupied by this Upanishad at the end of the Samhitâ, in which the sacrificial works and the hymns that are to accompany them are contained. The doctrine that the moment a man is enlightened, he becomes free, as taught in other Upanishads, led to a rejection of all discipline and a condemnation of all sacrifices, which could hardly have been tolerated in the last chapter of the Yagur-veda-samhitâ, the liturgical Veda par excellence.

Other peculiarities of this Upanishad are the name Îs, lord, a far more personal name for the highest Being than Brahman; the asurya (demoniacal) or asûrya (sunless) worlds to which all go who have lost their self; Mâtarisvan, used in the sense of prâna or spirit; asnâviram, without muscles, in the sense of incorporeal; and the distinction between sambhûti and asambhûti in verses 12-14.

The editions of the text, commentaries, and glosses, and the earlier translations may be seen in the works quoted before, p. lxxxiv.

This Upanishad, though apparently simple and intelligible, is in reality one of the most difficult to understand properly. Coming at the end of the Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ, in which the sacrifices and the hymns to be used by the officiating priests have been described, it begins by declaring that all has to be surrendered to the Lord. The name is, lord, is peculiar, as having a far more personal colouring than Âtman, Self, or Brahman, the usual names given by the Upanishads to what is the object of the highest knowledge.

Next follows a permission to continue the performance of sacrifices, provided that all desires have been surrendered. And here occurs our first difficulty, which has perplexed ancient as well as modern commentators.

I shall try, first of all, to justify my own translation. I hold that the Upanishad wishes to teach the uselessness by themselves of all good works, whether we call them sacrificial, legal, or moral, and yet, at the same time, to recognise, if not the necessity, at least the harmlessness of good works, provided they are performed without any selfish motives, without any desire of reward, but simply as a preparation for higher knowledge, as a means, in fact, of subduing all passions, and producing that serenity of mind without which man is incapable of receiving the highest knowledge. From that point of view the Upanishad may well say, Let a man wish to live here his appointed time, let him even perform all works. If only he knows that all must be surrendered to the Lord, then the work done by him will not cling to him. It will not work on and produce effect after effect, nor will it involve him in a succession of new births in which to enjoy the reward of his works, but it will leave him free to enjoy the blessings of the highest knowledge. It will have served as a preparation for that higher knowledge which the Upanishad imparts, and which secures freedom from further births.

The expression ‘na karma lipyate nare’ seems to me to admit of this one explanation only, viz. that work done does not cling to man, provided he has acquired the highest knowledge. Similar expressions occur again and again. Lip was, no doubt, used originally of evil deeds which became, as it were, engrained in man; but afterwards of all work, even of good work, if done with a desire of reward. The doctrine of the Upanishads is throughout that orthodoxy and sacrifice can procure a limited beatitude only, and that they are a hindrance to real salvation, which can be obtained by knowledge alone. In our passage therefore we can recognise one meaning only, viz. that work does not cling to man or stain him, if only he knows, i. e. if he has been enlightened by the Upanishad.

Saṅkara, in his commentary on the Vedânta-sûtras III, 4, 7; 13; 14, takes the same view of this passage. The opponent of Bâdarâyana, in this case, Gaimini himself, maintains that karma, work, is indispensable to knowledge, and among other arguments, he says, III, 4, 7, that it is so ‘Niyamât,’ ‘Because it is so laid down by the law.’ The passage here referred to is, according to Saṅkara, our very verse, which, he thinks, should be translated as follows: ‘Let a man wish to live a hundred years here (in this body) performing works; thus will an evil deed not cling to thee, while thou art a man; there is no other way but this by which to escape the influence of works.’ In answer to this, Bâdarâyana says, first of all, III, 4, 13, that this rule may refer to all men in general, and not to one who knows; or, III, 4, 14, if it refers to a man who knows, that then the permission to perform works is only intended to exalt the value of knowledge, the meaning being that even to a man who performs sacrifices all his life, work does not cling, if only he knows;–such being the power of knowledge.

The same Saṅkara, however, who here sees quite clearly that this verse refers to a man who knows, explains it in the Upanishad as referring to a man who does not know (itarasyânâtmagñatayâtmagrahanâsaktasya). It would then mean: ‘Let such a one, while performing works here on earth, wish to live a hundred years. In this manner there is no other way for him but this (the performance of sacrifices), so that an evil deed should not be engrained, or so that he should not be stained by such a deed.’ The first and second verses of the Upanishad would thus represent the two paths of life, that of knowledge and that of works. and the following verses would explain the rewards assigned to each.

Mahîdhara, in his commentary on the Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ, steers at first a middle course. He would translate: ‘Let one who performs the Agnihotra and other sacrifices, without any desire of reward, wish to live here a hundred years. If thou do so, there will be salvation for thee, not otherwise. There are many roads that, lead to heaven, but one only leading to salvation, namely, performance of good works, without any desire of reward, which produces a pure heart. Work thus done, merely as a preparation for salvation, does not cling to man, i.e. it produces a pure heart, but does not entail any further consequences.’ So far he agrees with Uvata’s explanation 1. He allows, however, another explanation also, so that the second line would convey the meaning: ‘If a man lives thus (performing good works), then there is no other way by which an evil deed should not be engrained; i.e. in order to escape the power of sin, he must all his life perform sacred acts.’

Next follows a description of the lot of those who, immersed in works, have not arrived at the highest knowledge, and have not recovered their true self in the Highest Self, or Brahman. That Brahman, though the name is not used here, is then described, and salvation is promised to the man who beholds all things in the Self and the Self in all things.

The verses 9-14 are again full of difficulty, not so much in themselves as in their relation to the general system of thought which prevails in the Upanishads, and forms the foundation of the Vedânta philosophy. The commentators vary considerably in their interpretations. Saṅkara explains avidyâ, not-knowledge, by good works, particularly sacrifice, performed with a hope of reward; vidyâ, or knowledge, by a knowledge of the gods, but not, as yet, of the highest Brahman. The former is generally supposed to lead the sacrificer to the pitriloka, the world of the fathers, from whence he returns to a series of new births; the latter to the devaloka, the world of the gods, from whence he may either proceed to Brahman, or enter upon a new round of existences. The question then arises, how in our passage the former could be said to lead to blind darkness, the latter to still greater darkness. But for that statement, I have no doubt that all the commentators would, as usual, have taken vidyâ for the knowledge of the Highest Brahman, and avidyâ for orthodox belief in the gods and good works, the former securing immortality in the sense of freedom from new births, while the reward of the latter is blessedness in heaven for a limited period, but without freedom from new births.

This antithesis between vidyâ and avidyâ seems to me so firmly established that I cannot bring myself to surrender it here. Though this Upanishad has its own very peculiar character, yet its object is, after all, to impart a knowledge of the Highest Self, and not to inculcate merely a difference between faith in the ordinary gods and good works. It was distinctly said before (ver. 3), that those who have destroyed their self, i. e. who perform works only, and have not arrived at a knowledge of the true Self, go to the worlds of the Asuras, which are covered with blind darkness. If then the same blind darkness is said in verse 9 to be the lot of those who worship not-knowledge, this can only mean those who have not discovered the true Self, but are satisfied with the performance of good works. And if those who perform good works are opposed to others who delight in true knowledge, that knowledge can be the knowledge of the true Self only.

The difficulty therefore which has perplexed Saṅkara is this, how, while the orthodox believer is said to enter into blind darkness, the true disciple, who has acquired a knowledge of the true Self, could be said to enter into still greater darkness. While Saṅkara in this case seems hardly to have caught the drift of the Upanishad, Uvata and Mahîdhara propose an explanation which is far more satisfactory. They perceive that the chief stress must be laid on the words ubhayam saha, ‘both together,’ in verses 11 and 14. The doctrine of certain Vedânta philosophers was that works, though they cannot by themselves lead to salvation, are useful as a preparation for the highest knowledge, and that those who imagine that they can attain the highest knowledge without such previous preparation, are utterly mistaken. From this point of view therefore the author of the Upanishad might well say that those who give themselves to what is not knowledge, i. e. to sacrificial and other good works, enter into darkness, but that those who delight altogether in knowledge, despising the previous discipline of works, deceive themselves and enter into still greater darkness.

Then follows the next verse, simply stating that, according to the teaching of wise people, the reward of knowledge is one thing, the reward of ignorance, i. e. trust in sacrifice, another. Here Mahîdhara is right again by assigning the pitriloka, the world of the fathers, as the reward of the ignorant; the devaloka, the world of the gods, as the reward of the enlightened, provided that from the world of the gods they pass on to the knowledge of the Highest Self or Brahman.

The third verse contains the strongest confirmation of Mahîdhara’s view. Here it is laid down distinctly that he only who knows both together, both what is called ignorance and what is called knowledge, can be saved, because by good works he overcomes death, here explained by natural works, and by knowledge he obtains the Immortal, here explained by oneness with the gods, the last step that leads on to oneness with Brahman.

Uvata, who takes the same view of these verses, explains at once, and even more boldly than Mahîdhara, vidyâ, or knowledge, by brahmavigñâna, knowledge of Brahman, which by itself, and if not preceded by works, leads to even greater darkness than what is called ignorance, i. e. sacrifice and orthodoxy without knowledge.

The three corresponding verses, treating of sambhûti and asambhûti instead of vidyâ and avidyâ, stand first in the Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ. They must necessarily be explained in accordance with our explanation of the former verses, i. e. sambhûti must correspond to vidyâ, it must be meant for the true cause, i. e. for Brahman, while asambhûti must correspond with avidyâ, as a name of what is not real, but phenomenal only and perishable.

Mahîdhara thinks that these verses refer to the Bauddhas, which can hardly be admitted, unless we take Buddhist in a very general sense. Uvata puts the Lokâyatas in their place. It is curious also to observe that Mahîdhara, following Uvata, explains asambhûti at first by the denial of the resurrection of the body, while he takes sambhûti rightly for Brahman. I have chiefly followed Uvata’s commentary, except in his first explanation of asambhûti, resurrection. In what follows Uvata explains sambhûti rightly by the only cause of the origin of the whole world, i. e. Brahman, while he takes vinâsa, destruction, as a name of the perishable body.

Saṅkara sees much more in these three verses than Uvata. He takes asambhûti as a name of Prakriti, the undeveloped cause, sambhûti as a name of the phenomenal Brahman or Hiranyagarbha. From a worship of the latter a man obtains supernatural powers, from devotion to the former, absorption in Prakriti.

Mahîdhara also takes a similar view, and he allows, like Saṅkara, another reading, viz. sambhûtim avinâsam ka, and avinâsena mrityum tîrtvâ. In this case the sense would be: ‘He who knows the worship both of the developed and the undeveloped, overcomes death, i. e. such evil as sin, passion, &c., through worship of the undeveloped, while he obtains through worship of the developed, i. e. of Hiranyagarbha, immortality, absorption in Prakriti.’

All these forced explanations to which the commentators have recourse, arise from the shifting views held by various authorities with regard to the value of works. Our Upanishad seems to me to propound the doctrine that works, though in themselves useless, or even mischievous, if performed with a view to any present or future rewards, are necessary as a preparatory discipline. This is or was for a long time the orthodox view. Each man was required to pass through the âsramas, or stages of student and householder, before he was admitted to the freedom of a Sannyâsin. As on a ladder, no step was to be skipped. Those who attempted to do so, were considered to have broken the old law, and in some respects they may indeed be looked upon as the true precursors of the Buddhists.

Nevertheless the opposite doctrine, that a man whose mind had become enlightened, might at once drop the fetters of the law, without performing all the tedious duties of student and householder, had strong supporters too among orthodox philosophers. Cases of such rapid conversion occur in the ancient traditions, and Bâdarâyana himself was obliged to admit the possibility of freedom and salvation without works, though maintaining the superiority of the usual course, which led on gradually from works to enlightenment and salvation. It was from an unwillingness to assent to the decided teaching of the Îsâ-upanishad that Saṅkara attempted to explain vidyâ, knowledge, in a limited sense, as knowledge of the gods, and not yet knowledge of Brahman. He would not admit that knowledge without works could lead to darkness, and even to greater darkness than works without knowledge. Our Upanishad seems to have dreaded libertinism, knowledge without works, more even than ritualism, works without knowledge, and its true object was to show that orthodoxy and sacrifice, though useless in themselves, must always form the preparation for higher enlightenment.

How misleading Saṅkara’s explanation may prove, we can see from the translation of this Upanishad by Rammohun Roy. He followed Saṅkara implicitly, and this is the sense which he drew from the text:–

‘4-9. Those observers of religious rites that perform only the worship of the sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, without regarding the worship of celestial gods, shall enter into the dark region: and those practisers of religious ceremonies who habitually worship the celestial gods only, disregarding the worship of the sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, shall enter into a region still darker than the former.

‘10. It is said that adoration of the celestial gods produces one consequence; and that the performance of the worship of sacred fire, and oblations to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, produce another: thus have we heard from learned men, who have distinctly explained the subject to us.

‘11. Of those observers of ceremonies whosoever, knowing that adoration of celestial gods, as well as the worship of the sacred fire, and oblation to sages, to ancestors, to men, and to other creatures, should be observed alike by the same individual, performs them both, will, by means of the latter, surmount the obstacles presented by natural temptations, and will attain the state of the celestial gods through the practice of the former.

‘12. Those observers of religious rites who worship Prakriti alone (Prakriti or nature, who, though insensible, influenced by the Supreme Spirit, operates throughout the universe) shall enter into the dark region: and those practisers of religious ceremonies that are devoted to worship solely the prior operating sensitive particle, allegorically called Brahmá, shall enter into a region much more dark than the former.

‘13. It is said that one consequence may be attained by the worship of Brahmâ, and another by the adoration of Prakriti. Thus have we heard from learned men, who have distinctly explained the subject to us.

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