Sages of the New Covenant
THE UPANISHADS, being vehicles of illumination and not of instruction, composed for seekers refers to knowledge of highest order that gives human beings peace, happiness and sense of blessedness. The central idea of the Upanishad is reconciliation and harmony of fundamental opposites.
THE ISHA UPANISHAD is so called because it starts with the word ‘Isha’. Isha means the Lord who is the inmost Self of all. To explain better, let me bring the following verses from the Bible:
“… you (every individual) are temple of living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them …’ – 2 Cor. 6:16.
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; ….” – Eph. 3:17
"The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." - Luke 17:21
From the above verses, one can easily understand that Isha Upanishad deals with the God who dwell in us. Unlike other Upanishad, it is all in verse, and I consider that it is the best of the Upanishads. It is found in “Sukla Yajur Veda”. Though it forms a part of the samhita section, which deals with rituals, it has nothing to do with rituals. It has 18 Shlokas or verses, excluding the Innovation mantra.
Upanishads bristle with disputes about Knowledge and Ignorance, the Real and the Unreal, and the One and the many. But the Isha Upanishad very succinctly resolves all these disputes. It shows how all that is relative dissolves into one Absolute existence.
The common usage, ‘Absolute’ is referred as Brahman or Paramatman. Isha Upanishad is evidently influenced by Christian concepts as acknowledged by all those who have come across it and introduces Isha (Isha as Paran [Lord] (Yesu Paran = Jesus is Lord = Iswaran),) as immanent in the cosmos as well as transcendent to it – a concept never found in the earlier Vedas.
Swami Sthevanatha is witting this new English Commentary as a part of his Homage to the dedicated servant of the Lord, Acharya Daya Prakash Titus. Bro. D P Titus had been conducting training program on 'Hinduism' to both Hindus and Christians till he breath his last, just before few months, before completing a century of life in this Earth. Sw. Sthevanatha's regret is that he got introduced to Bro. D P Titus, very late, and in the process, lost the chance of getting mentored by this Sanskrit scholar.
Om purnam-adah purnam-idam purnat purnam-udacyate
purnasya purnam-adaya purnam-evavasisyate
Om santih santih santih
The AUM (Word) which is complete is complete in itself.
From it was produced this complete creation.
Yet the complete still remains complete.
The nature of God – Brahman (who is in the form of Word – AUM) is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
The innovation in this Solokha is done to the deity – AUM. Hence, before going into the central message of the innovation, I would like my readers to understand the word – AUM and I urge you to read carefully, so that you could understand the message that I am trying to drive home.
We all know that in a telephone, the Sound energy is converted into electro-magnetic waves. In modern Sound Engineering the voice is converted into Digits (0-1 and its variance) and stored in CDs. Both phenomena prove the universal law of energy of Albert Einstein - “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another”. In other words, out of Nothing, nothing could be created.
Human beings (the Microcosm) are able to convert the Sound energy into another form of energy at a micro-level. At a macro-level, God (Macrocosm) has done such an energy conversion during the creation of Earth and its living-beings. We learn about this truth from the following verse from the Bible:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." - John 1:1
If we look at the creation in the book of Genesis (Chap. 1:25), we understand that God created Earth and the living beings with His verbal commands. This Word could be the divine vibration, which sounds ‘A-U-M”. In Hebrew Jewish text, God's name is referred as YHWH, which means: "I am that I am (God of affirmation)" or just 'DivineYES'. AUM (ஆம்) is a Thamizh word, which means “Yes” and one could see the relationship of AUM to the following verse from the Bible:
" ... but in Him was 'Yes'. For all promises of God in Him are 'YES' and in Him 'Amen', to the glory of God around us." - 2 Cor.1: 19 & 20
At this point of time, I would like to clarify to my readers, why I consider AUM to be a Thamizh word, in addition to its means - YES.
According to the Bible (Genesis Chapter: 11), initially the whole Earth had one language. With the invention of making "Baked Bricks", it became easy for the descendants of Manu (Noah) to build sky-rising buildings, as they need not lift heavy stones. Hence by using bricks instead of stones, they wanted to build a tower that would reach the Heaven, using asphalt for binding. Their pride, prompted God to confuse their language and as a result the descendants of Noah got scattered over the face of all the Earth; which culminated in abandoning their 'Project Tower to Heaven'.
When I visited Mohenjo-Daro (meaning -Mound of the Dead) one of the excavated sites of Indus Valley Civilization, I saw high rising towers constructed with bricks. I consider that Mohenjo-Daro is nothing but the biblical 'Babel', where God confused the languages of the descendants of Noah and as groups who understand and speak the same vernacular migrated to different pockets of Earth. In the picture that I have posted here, you could see the scripts of the ancient Indus valley civilization. This script confirms that the language spoken there is Dravidian (Thamizh). In a wheat favoring country like Pakistan, still the people at the vicinity of Mohenjo-Daro cultivate and eat only rice. In addition, good number of people (in the central Baluchistan region of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Iran) speak Brahui or Bráhuí, which is a Dravidian language. Kalat and Mastung districts of Baluchistan are predominantly Brahui-speaking.
This Thamizh word – ஆம் (AUM) meaning – YES - is pronounced as 'OM' (ஓம்) by the Thamizhs in Jaffna and the Sanskrit scholars adopted the same pronunciation in their language. I really wonder why people write AUM like ॐ instead of ओं. Prof. M M Nainan says: "This symbol and mantra AUM emerged in Indian scene soon after the mission of St Thomas. All early churches in Kerala had used this as the Christian symbol and they still appear at the entrance of the seven original churches established by St Thomas".
I am sure you have understood the meaning and origin of the word: AUM. Now let us go into the ventral message of this Solka. This verse deals with three attributes of God (who was in the form of Word - AUM):
1. God is Complete.
The following verse from the Bible could throw more light to this meaning:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Rev. 1:8
2. Divinity is complete in Itself and from this completeness came the completeness.
Those who are well versed with the meaning of the following lines from the Bible can understand this concept better:
“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” - John 1:1-3
“And God said, "Let there be” ……. and there was…….And God saw that it was good”.- Gen 1:3
3. Though the Completeness (Creator), produces another completeness (creation), the Completeness does not get any change; it still remains complete.
In my introduction, I had said that the Upanishads bristle with disputes about Knowledge and Ignorance, the Real and the Unreal, and the One and the many. Similarly, the law of energy is proved and disproved in this mantra. The law of energy is proved when the Word (AUM) energy is transformed into another form of creations, which we see in this World; while at the same time, the law of energy is disproved when the Completeness still remains Complete, even after creating an another completeness.
How could the Completeness still remains Complete, even after creating an another completeness? I know this leave you in awe. The Isha Upanishad very succinctly resolves all these disputes. It shows how all that is relative dissolves into one Absolute existence.
If you understand the phenomenon of the microcosm, you can understand the same factor happening with Macrocosm. If you look at the cell division that happens inside the fetus, one could understand this concept better. Both the cell that is divided and the new cell that is formed are complete in itself; the reason being they are self-generating. Similarly the completeness of the Completeness (Creator) remain complete, even after producing another completeness (creation), as God is SELF-GENERATING.
From the above three attributes of God, one can understand that the central message of this verse or mantra is that the phenomenal world has no independent existence. It exists because it is supported by God (Brahman) – it is only a superimposition on Brahman.
This existence of the Creator and the creations can be best be compared to the dancer and the dance. The dancer can be identified just by seeing the person who would perform the dance or has already performed the dance. But, can the dance happen without the dancer? No. From this we can understand the following two things:
Similarly, creation cannot exist without the Creator and when we know God (Brahman), the world merges into it. King David had realized this awareness, which is why he has written the following lines:
“ The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.: - Psalm. 19:1
Om ! That is full or infinite; this is full, (for) from the full the full (indeed) arises.
When the full is taken from the full, what remains is full indeed.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !
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Sages of the New Covenant