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Clarity in Hinduism

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This speaks for itself without speculation (imo)


Isa Upanishad  (Isavasya Upanishad)

Source: "The Upanishads - A New Translation" by Swami Nikhilananda



Om. That is full; this is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness. Om. Peace! Peace! Peace! 

1     All this-whatever exists in this changing universe-should be covered by the Lord. Protect the Self by renunciation. Lust not after any man's wealth. 

2     If a man wishes to live a hundred years on this earth, he should live performing action. For you, who cherish such a desire and regard yourself as a man, there is no other way by which you can keep work from clinging to you. 

3     Verily, those worlds of the asuras are enveloped in blind darkness; and thereto they all repair after death who are slayers of Atman. 

4     That non-dual Atman, though never stirring, is swifter than the mind. The senses cannot reach It, for It moves ever in front. Though standing still, It overtakes others who are running. Because of Atman, Vayu, the World Soul apportions the activities of all. 

5     It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near. It is inside all this and It is outside all this. 

6     The wise man beholds all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone. 

7     To the seer, all things have verily become the Self: what delusion, what sorrow, can there be for him who beholds that oneness?

 8     It is He who pervades all-He who is bright and bodiless, without scar or sinews, pure and by evil unpierced; who is the Seer, omniscient, transcendent and uncreated. He has duly allotted to the eternal World-Creators their respective duties. 

9     Into a blind darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance (rituals); but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in knowledge of a deity alone. 

10     One thing, they say, is obtained from knowledge; another, they say, from ignorance. Thus we have heard from the wise who have taught us this. 

11     He who is aware that both knowledge and ignorance should be pursued together, overcomes death through ignorance and obtains immortality through knowledge. 

12     Into a blind darkness they enter who worship only the unmanifested prakriti; but into a greater darkness they enter who worship the manifested Hiranyagarbha. 

13     One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another, they say, from the worship of the un-manifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this. 

14     He who knows that both the un-manifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti. 

15     The door of the Truth is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold It.

16     O Nourisher, lone Traveler of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajapati! Gather Your rays; withdraw Your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there. 

17     Now may my breath return to the all-pervading, immortal Prana! May this body be burnt to ashes! Om. O mind, remember, remember all that I have done. 

18     O Fire, lead us by the good path for the enjoyment of the fruit of our action. You know, O god, all our deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit. We offer, by words, our salutations to you. 

End of Isa Upanishad 

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Commentary on the Isavasya Upanishad by Swami Krishnananda


Part 1

"The first two mantras of the Isavasya Upanishad are supposed to give us in a few words a perfect philosophy of life. There are thinkers who feel that if none of the Upanishads becomes available at any time, and if only these two verses remain, that will sustain the world of philosophy.

What this Upanishad in its commencing mantras tells us at the very outset is something which we always forget, but which has to be kept in mind constantly if there is to be any meaning in our living in this world. What it makes out in the beginning is that there is the same invisible content pervading all things, connecting everything with everything else, and bringing about a relationship of all diversity, whatever be its nature – organic or inorganic, living or non-living. Whatever be the nature of the diversity of content, irrespective of this nature of diversity, a mysterious link brings them together into a perfect formation and leaves nothing unrelated. Right from the highest heaven to the lowest atom conceivable, everything is taken notice of, and all these things are put in their proper position.

The manner in which things are put in proper position is called organisation. Where such a thing is not done, it is chaos and a medley, a pell-mell, a presentation of meaninglessness. The relation that this unknown content manages to maintain is proportionally manifested. It does not strike everything with the same blow. The prick of a needle by a physician varies in its intensity from the hammer of a blacksmith or the axe of a woodcutter, etc. We have examples of difference in the manner of the placement of values. Yet everything is connected. The brain, the heart and the lungs, and the limbs of the body are placed in a position of unitedness. This is something known to us in our daily life. But they are not just chaotically related. They are in their different particularities placed in the proper context. The different limbs of the body perform different functions, one not overlapping the other, one not repeating the function that the other does, yet not contradicting the function of the other.

Such a relation is maintained throughout the variety of creation, presenting a beautiful picture of perfection that this creation really is. The different kinds of work that the limbs of the body perform do not create ugliness in their performances. We know what the teeth and the tongue do, the ears and the eyes do, and the legs and the feet, fingers, and so on do. Even the hairs on the body have some function to perform. But irrespective of a distance apparently being there between their functions, all of them look perfectly all right. The feet are as beautiful as the nose and the eyes and the face. Their position is the one that is intended for us. When a particular thing occupies a position intended for it, it looks beautiful. When it does not occupy that position and occupies somebody else’s seat, it is not beauty.

Incidentally, it appears to us that beauty is not a solid substance which we can touch with our fingers. It is an arrangement, a pattern, a relativity of adjustment and a proportionate recognition of values, bringing all these values into a completion, such that the whole which they constitute gives a magical touch of perfection to every little part of which the whole is made. The whole gives its beauty in a requisite proportion to every part which belongs to it, and of which it is constituted. The different limbs of the body look beautiful because they cooperate with the wholeness of the organism, which we call this body. Any particular part of the body which does not so cooperate hangs unconnectedly with the system. Its beauty vanishes in a second. A hair that is severed from the head has no beauty. It has a beauty only when it is stuck to the head, in the place where it has a position. Even the nail on a finger has its beauty. It loses its beauty when it is cut off from the finger. Isolated parts, unrelated to the whole to which they really belong, become ugly, redundant, unnecessary things, contingent aspects, and not anything contributing to vital life.

The meaning of life, in this light, appears to be a participation that is called upon everyone in relation to that organisation to which each one belongs. Extending the analogy of the physical body to larger organizations, we will feel that we live only when we participate in a larger-than-ourselves. When we do not participate in a system to which we necessarily belong, we do not really live. We just hang on. There is a difference between hanging on and actually living. A paralysed part of the body may hang on, but it is not living. It is not a part of the body. It exists. We can see it hanging lifelessly, as it were, to no purpose.

The life of a person comes to no purpose when the participation expected of that person in the context of the whole to which that person belongs is absent. The society of human beings is an organization, and everyone belongs to human society as long as one is a human being. The very finitude of human organisms compels them to participate in a system known as society. There is no necessity for a perfected individual to participate in anything. But the perfected individual is a misnomer, because that which is perfect cannot be an individual. Anyone who is an individual, human or otherwise, is, therefore, not perfect in any sense of the term. Thus, considering even the lowest category to which one belongs in a conceived wholeness, the human individual has to participate in the organic activity of society..."

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