1960 Back to Godhead vol 3 part 23 - Sri Ishopanisad
INVOCATION OF AMEN
- Om purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udachyate purnasya purnam adaya purnam eva avasishyate.
Om—The complete Whole, purnam—perfectly complete, adah—that, purnam—perfectly complete, idam—this phenomenal world, purnat—from the all perfect, purnam—complete unit, udachyate—produced, purnasya—of the complete whole, purnam—completely all, adaya—having been taken away, eva—even, avasisyate—there is the balance.
The complete whole Personality of Godhead is perfectly complete. And because He is completely perfect all emanations from His energy as this phenomenal world everything is perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And because He is complete Whole, even though so many complete units are emanated from Him, still He is the complete balance.
The complete Whole or the Supreme Absolute Truth is the complete Personality of Godhead. Impersonal Brahman is incomplete realisation of the Absolute Complete and so also the conception of Paramatma. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Satchidananda Vigraha. Impersonal Brahman realisation is the realisation of His Sat (eternity) part and Paramatma realisation is the realisation of Satchid (eternal knowledge) part realisation. But realisation of the Personality of Godhead is realisation of all the transcendental features like Sat Chit and Ananda in complete. Vigraha means Form. Therefore the complete whole is not Formless. If He is Formless or if He is less in any other thing He cannot be Complete Whole. The Complete Whole must have everything within our experience and beyond our experience. Otherwise He cannot be Complete. The Complete Whole Personality of Godhead has immense potencies and all of them are also as complete as He is. Therefore this phenomenal world or the material world where we are now put is also complete by itself. The twenty-four elements of which this material universe is a temporary manifestation are completely adjusted to produce complete things which are necessary for the maintenance and subsistence of this universe. No extraneous effort by any other unit is required for the maintenance of the universe. It has its own time fixed up by the energy of the Complete Whole and when the time is complete this temporary manifestation will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the Complete. There is complete facility for the small complete units namely the living beings to realise the Complete; and all sorts of incompleteness is experienced on account of incomplete knowledge of the complete. The human form of life is there as complete manifestation of a complete consciousness of the living being which is obtained after completing eighty four lacs of evolutionary processes in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore if human being does not realise His completeness with the complete in this complete life of complete consciousness, he loses the chance of realising his completeness and put into the cycle of evolutionary process by the complete law of complete material nature. Because we do not know that there is complete arrangement in the complete nature for our maintenance therefore we make effort to utilise the resources of nature for making a so called complete life of sense enjoyment. This misleading life and sense enjoyment is called illusion because the living entity cannot enjoy life or cannot enjoy the senses without being dovetailed with the Complete Whole. For example the hand of a body is a complete unit so long it is attached with the complete bodily unit. When the hand is detached from the main body such a hand may appear like a hand but actually it has no potency of being used as hand. Similarly the living beings are part and parcel of the Complete Whole and so long the parts and parcels are detached from the Complete Whole, certainly the illusory representation of completeness cannot bring in the desired result. Completeness of human life can only be realised when the human form of life is engaged in the complete service of the Complete Whole. Any service in this world either social, political, communal or international or even inter-planetary all will remain incomplete unless and until the same is dovetailed with—the Complete Whole. When everything is dovetailed with the Complete Whole such attached parts and parcels also become complete in themselves.
- Isha vasyam idam sarvam yat kim cha jagatyam jagat tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma gridhah kasyasid dhanam.
Isha—by the Lord, vasyam—controlled, idam—this, sarvam—all, yat—whatever, kim—it is, cha—and, jagatyam—within the universe, jagat—all that is animate or inanimate, tena—by Him, tyaktena—set apart quota, bhunjitha—must you accept, ma—do not, gridha—make into use, kasyasid—whom does it belong, dhanam—things necessary.
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept things necessary for him as it is set aside as his quota and must not accept otherwise knowing it well as to whom does it belong.
The Vedic knowledge is infallible because it comes down through the perfect disciplic succession of spiritual masters beginning from the Lord Himself. The Vedic knowledge is received from the transcendental sources because the first word was spoken by the Lord Himself. The words spoken by the Lord is called Apouresheya or not delivered by any person of the mundane world who is infected with four principles of imperfectness. A living being of the mundane world has four defective principles of his life and they are (1) that he must commit mistake (2) he must be sometimes illusioned (3) he must try to cheat others and (4) he is endowed with imperfect senses. With all these four principles of imperfectness one cannot deliver the perfect form of information in the matter of all pervading knowledge. The Vedas are not like that. The Vedic knowledge was imparted in the heart of Brahma the first created living being and Brahma in his turn disseminated the knowledge to his sons and disciples as they were originally received from the Lord. The Lord being Purnam or all perfect there is no chance of His becoming subjected to the laws of material nature which is also controlled by the Lord. The Lord is controller of the material nature while the living entities or inanimate objects all are controlled by the laws of material nature or ultimately by the potency of the Lord. This Ishopanishad is a part of the Yajur-veda and as such the information is there as to the proprietorship of things that be within the universe. This very thing is confirmed by the 'Bhagwat Geeta' in the seventh chapter where Para and Apara Prakriti is discussed. The elements of nature like the earth, fire, water, air, sky, mind, intelligence, and ego all belong to the inferior quality material energy of the Lord whereas the living being or the organic energy belong to the superior quality Para Prakriti of the Lord. But on the whole both the Prakritis or energies are emanations from the Lord and ultimately He is the controller of everything that be. There is nothing in the universe which does not belong either to the Para Prakriti or to the Apara Prakriti and therefore everything does belong to the proprietorship right of the Supreme Being.
The Supreme Being or the Absolute Personality of Godhead being the complete Personality, He has the complete perfect brain to adjust everything completely by His different potencies. The Supreme Being is compared with the Fire and everything that be organic or inorganic are compared with the heat and light of the Fire. The fire distributes the energy in the form of heat and light and as such the Lord displays his energy in different ways and is the ultimate controller and sustainer of everything, dictator of everything, full of all potencies, knower of everything, benefactor of everyone, and full of all inconceivable opulences, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation.
One should therefore be intelligent enough to know that except the Lord nobody is the proprietor of anything within the universe. Nobody should claim to be the proprietor of anything but he must accept things which are set aside by the Lord as his quota of maintenance. The cow gives milk but she does not drink the milk. The milk is designated as the food for the human being. The cow eats grass and straw but does not drink its own milk. Such is the arrangement of the Lord and we should be satisfied with the things as they have been very kindly set aside by Him. We should always think within ourself as to whom belongs the things that we possess. Take for example our dwelling house which is made of earth, wood, stone, iron, cement, metals and so many other material things. If we think in terms of the Ishopanishad then we can know that we cannot produce either of the above mentioned building materials. We can simply bring them together like a cooly and transform them in different shapes by our own labour. A labourer cannot claim to become the proprietor of a thing because he has laboured hard for manufacturing a particular thing. There is always a great quarrel between the labourers and the capitalist in the present day society. The quarrel is now taking an international shape and the world is at loggerhead between a man and a man just like the dogs and cats. The Ishopanishad cannot advice to the cats and dogs but it delivers the message of Godhead through the bonafide Acharyas. The human being may take Vedic lessons from the Ishopanishad that nobody should quarrel but they must be satisfied by the privilege given to him by the mercy of the Lord. There will be no peace if the communist or the capitalist or any other party claim to become the proprietor of the resources of nature which is the property of the Lord. The capitalist cannot curb down the communist simply by political maneuver neither the communist can gain over the capitalist simply by fighting for the stolen bread. If they do not recognise the proprietorship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead then the property which they claim to be their own must be taken as stolen property and therefore they shall be liable to be punished by the laws of nature. The atom bomb is there both in the hands of the communists and the capitalists and if both of them do not recognise the proprietorship of the Supreme Lord, it is sure and certain that the atom bomb from both the sides will ruin the career of the both the parties. Therefore in order to save themselves from the onslaught of the opposite party, both of them must follow the instruction of the Ishopanishad and bring in peace in the world.
The human being is not meant for quarreling like the cats and dogs. They must be intelligent enough to realise the importance of the human life and realise the aim of human life. The Vedic literatures are meant for them and not for the cats and dogs. The cats and dogs can kill their eatable animals and for that there is no question of sin on their part but if a man kills an animal for the satisfaction of his uncontrolled taste, he must be responsible for breaking the laws of nature and therefore he must be punished. Distress and happiness are meant for the human being and not for the animals. There is standard of life for the human being and not for the animals. The tiger does not eat rice or wheat or cows milk because it has been given its quota of foodstuff in the shape of animal food. There are many animals and birds who are either vegetarian or non vegetarian but none of them transgress the law of nature as it has been ordained by the will of the Lord. Amongst the living being either animals or birds or reptiles there is strict following of the laws of nature and therefore there is no question of sin for them neither the Vedic instructions are meant for them. The human life is therefore a life of responsibility.
It is also wrong to consider that simply by becoming a vegetarian one can save himself from the act of transgressing the laws of nature. Vegetable has also life. One life is meant for another living being and that is the law of nature. One should not be proud of becoming a strict vegetarian. The point is to recognise the Supreme Lord. The animals have no developed consciousness to recognise the Lord but a human being is sufficiently intelligent to take lessons from the Vedic literature and thereby know how the laws of nature is working and derive profit out of it. If he therefore neglects to consult the instruction of the Vedic literatures from the right sources his life is very risky.
The human being is therefore required to recognise the authority of the Supreme Lord. He must be a devotee of the Lord. He must offer everything to the service of the Lord and then partake the remnant of the foodstuff. That will make him able to discharge his duty properly. In the Bhagwat Geeta the Lord directly orders that He accepts the vegetable eatables from the hands of a pure devotee. Therefore a human being shall not only become a strict vegetarian but also he must be devotee of the Lord and offer first to the Lord all such cooked food and then partake of the Prasadam. Such devotees only can properly discharge the duty of the responsibilities of human life. Others who do not do so shall be eating only sins and nothing else and thus he will be subjected to different types of distresses which are results of various sins accruing from ignorance and the root of sins is deliberate disobedience to the laws of nature and not recognising the proprietorship of the Lord.
Disobedience to the laws of nature or disobedience to the order of Lord will bring in ruin for the human being. On the other hand if he is sober and knows the laws of nature without being influenced by unnecessary attachment or abhorrence he is sure to be recognised again by the Lord and thus becomes eligible for going back to Godhead to eternal home.
- Kurvan eva iha karmani jijibishet satam sama evam twai nanyatha itah na karma lipyate narey.
Kurvan—doing continuously, eva—thus, iha—during this span of life, karmani—work, jijibishet—one should desire to live, satam—one hundred, sama—years, evam—so living, twai—unto you, nanyatha—no alternative, itah—from this path, sati—there is, na—not, karma—work, lipyate—can bound up, narey—unto a man.
One may aspire to live for hundreds of years if he continuously goes on doing work in that way because that sort of work will not bind him in law of karma and there is no other alternative except this way for the man.
Nobody wants to die and everyone wants to live for as he can drag on. This temperament is not only visible individually but also it is visible collectively by groups of community society or nationality. There is hard struggle for life in every class of living entities and the Veda says it is quite natural for the living being. The living being is eternal by nature but due to his bondage in the material existence he has to change body one after another and the process is called transmigration of the soul. This transmigration of soul is called by another name as Karmabandhana or bound up by one's own work. The living entity has to work for his livelihood because that is the law of material nature and if he does not do act according to prescribed duties of a particular life he is supposed to transgress the law of nature making himself bound up more and more in the cycle of birth and death in different species of life. The cycle of birth and death is current in the life other than the human life and when the living entity gets the chance of human life, it is given to him to get himself freed from the chain of the law of Karma. This Karma, Akarma and Vikarma divisions are very clearly made in the Bhagwat Geeta. Actions which are done in terms of the prescribed duties mentioned in the revealed scriptures (Vedas) are called Karma. And actions which make one free from the cycle of birth and death is called Akarma. And actions which are performed according to one's misuse of freedom and thereby putting himself in the lower regions living conditions are called Vikarma.
Out of these three different categories of activities the one which makes one free from the cycle of further bondage of Karma is preferred by the intelligent class of men. Ordinary men want to perform good work in order to be recognised and get good status of life in this world or in heaven but better class of men wants to get himself freed altogether from the actions and reactions of all good and bad works. The intelligent class of men know it well that good work or bad work all are equally causes for material miseries of life and therefore to seek to do such work which make them free from the actions of good or bad work. This freedom from the action of good and bad work is ascertained herewith in the Ishopanisad.
The instruction of the Ishopanishad is better explained in the Bhagwat Geeta or in the Geetapanishad the cream of all the Upanishads. In the Bhagwat Geeta the Personality of Godhead says that nobody can attain the state of Naiskarma or Akarma without beginning the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedic literatures. The Vedic literatures have regulated the working energy of a human being in such a way that gradually one can realise the authority of the Supreme Being. When one realise the authority of the Personality of Godhead Vasudeva it is to be understood that he has now attained the stage of positive knowledge. At this purified stage of life where the modes of nature namely goodness, passion and ignorance cannot react one is enabled to act on the basis of Naiskarma or the work which does not bind one in the cycle of birth and death.
Factually nobody has to do anything more than to render devotional service of the Lord. But in the lower stage of life nobody can at once adopt the activities of devotional service neither he can completely stop reactionary work. A conditioned soul is accustomed to work for his sense gratification or for his own selfish or extended selfish interest. An ordinary man wants to work for his own sense enjoyment and in the same spirit when the principle of sense enjoyment is extended from individual to collective society, nation, community or even humanity etc. they assume different attractive names under the headings of altruism, socialism, communism, nationalism or humanitarianism etc. These isms are certainly very attractive forms of Karmabandhana but the Vedic instruction of the Ishopanishad is that if you want to live at all for either of the above isms make them God centered or Ishavasayam. There is no harm to become a family man, an altruist, a socialist, community, a nationalist or a humanitarianist provided all such activities are executed in relation with Ishavasya or God centered conception. God centered activities are evaluated in the Bhagwat Geeta so richly that it recommends a part of it can save one from the greatest danger. The greatest danger of life is to glide down again in the cycle of evolutionary process of birth and death. There are 84 lacs species of life and some way or other if a man misses the opportunity of his human form of life, influenced by the modes of material nature and thus glides down again in the above evolutionary cycle, it must be the most regrettable incidence of life which the foolish man cannot see by his defective senses. The Ishopanishad advises therefore to exert one's energy in the Ishavasya spirit and in that engagement he may wish to live for many many years. Otherwise his long life is as good as that of a tree which is also a living being and lives for hundreds and hundreds of years. There is no utility for living a long period like the trees or breathing like the bellows or begetting children like the hog and dog or eating like the camel and push on such activities in the name of polished isms. A humble life even, with God centered activities, is more valuable than the colossal hoax of so called altruism, socialism etc. without any relation of God.
When such activities as Altruism etc. are executed in the spirit of Ishopanishad, every one of them becomes a form of Karma-yoga as recommended in the Bhagwat Geeta and that guarantees an executor against the danger of evolutionary process of birth and death. Such God centered activities even though half finished still it is good for the executor because that will guarantee one at least human form of life in the next birth so that he gets another chance of improving his position on the path of liberation.
How one can execute God centered activities is elaborately explained in the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami and rendered into English by us under the title of Science of Devotional Service of the Lord. We shall recommend this valuable book to all who are interested to guide their activities in the spirit of Ishopanishad.
Mantra No. 3
- Asurya nama tey loka andheyna tamasa abritah tamstey pretya abhigachhanti ye ke cha atmahana janah.
Asurya-meant for the Asura, nama-famous by the name, loka-planets, andheyna-ignorance, tamasa-darkness, abritah-covered by, tam-there, tey-they, pretya-after death, abhigachhanti-do enter into, ye-anyone, ke-and everyone, cha-and, atmahana-the killer of the soul, janah-persons.
The killer of the soul whoever he may be must enter into the planets which are famous as the planet of the Asura (faithless) and are full of darkness and ignorance.
A human life is distinguished from the animal life on account of its heavy responsibilities. Those who are cognizant of that responsibility and work in that spirit are called Suras. And those who are either neglectful of the responsibility or have no information about it are called the Asura. There are only these two kinds of human being all over the universe. In the Rik Veda it is stated that the Suras always aim at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord (Vishnu) and act accordingly. Their ways are illuminated as that of path of the Sun.
Intelligent human being therefore must always remember that this particular form of body (human life) is obtained after an evolution of many millions of years in the cycle of transmigration of the soul. This material