Isha Upanishad - Super school - Auroville

Track Running Isha Upanishad 401

Date–26.12.2002

We have already done the preliminaries for this particular Upanishad. I gave you a number of words in Sanskrit and their meanings. Maybe many of them have been forgotten but it does not matter, we will revise them and proceed further. Let me first make a few statements about the Upanishad in general. Upanishad you remember has two meanings, the word Upanishad, it is to receive knowledge by sitting near the teacher, ‘Upa’ means near, ‘ni’ means still nearer, ‘sad’ means to sit; sit near, very near the teacher and to receive the knowledge by communication. So, that is the knowledge, which has been transmitted by means of being very near, still nearer, so that you can almost whisper into the ears of the pupil, and take the pupil very, very near and into your heart, into your soul and the stir into the soul the highest knowledge that is Upanishad. The second meaning is that you enter into the secret heart of truth and knowledge, which takes you into the inner heart of the truth, very, very near the truth, very close to the truth. So the secret truth is known that which contains that knowledge, that truth is Upanishad.

The style and the manner in which the Upanishads are written looks to us a little unfamiliar, the modern writings are of a different kind, whether it is prose or poetry, the modern mind expects a lot of explanation. You make a statement, you make a second statement, third statement, fourth statement, each statement should be linked in a very close manner. But Upanishad is of a different kind, between one statement and the other, there is a big jump. It says elsewhere the steps of the Upanishad are like steps of a giant. Imagine a huge giant and it puts one step here and his capacity to spread its second leg is so great that the second step will be very far, such is the style of the Upanishad. The steps of the Upanishadic exposition is like the stepping of the giant, the distance between one step and the other is so great, in between so much is transited, therefore, when you read the Upanishad you should expect that you are transiting between one statement and the other a great deal. Not like aeroplane’s speed, in which you make the transition, which is fast. At every step it is discovered that the giant stepping, the middle points are over passed, over crossed and if you want to link them, you find it very difficult to link them. This is the first characteristic of the Upanishad and when you will read this, you will find how you are moving with a giant one step and the next Step.

It is in that state as the part of our Super school program in which you do not live merely in thinking, but also strive to arrive at experience; it is that exercise that which we are going to do while studying it.

 Let us start now. It starts by saying that everything in the world is in motion, whether it is small or big, everything in the world is in motion. Everything is a complex structure, such a complex structure that it is like dwelling house. Everything in the world is a complex structure in motion, constantly in motion and yet capable of becoming a dwelling house, to become a habitation. You will see that each one of these statements is a drastic statement. It is true that we see many things in motion but everything we do not see in motion. This chair, this table which is before me, is stable, is not in motion, this flower–pot is not moving, it is stable, my chair at present is stable and I am sitting quietly and yet the Upanishad says everything is in motion.

You know, at one time it was thought that even though everything is in motion, there is one thing, which is not in motion and that is − atom. You go to the atom, smallest particle of matter. You cut matter into small pieces and you go into smaller pieces and yet smaller pieces and yet smaller pieces right up to the end − you come to a small atom, which remains the same, it is not in motion. But during the last hundred years or more, physicists have found that even this atom is not stable. What the Upanishad said 5000 years ago, is now proved only about hundred and fifty years ago, that this atom is not stable; it is also in constant motion.

It has been found that what we call atom is largely hollow; it seems to be so solid is not so solid, it is largely hollow. In that hollowness there are sparks, these sparks are constantly in motion, − they call it electricity. It is electricity which is in motion and this is also in an organised manner.

As the Upanishad says everything in the world has a complex structure therefore, fit for habitation. Something can become fit for habitation, only if there is a structure; if there is some regular structure. When you go to the atom, you find it has a complex structure in it, there is a central point, which is called nucleus, and there are protons and electrons. The positive charges and the negative charges and electrons are constantly rotating around the nucleus − this is the minimum. Afterwards, they found that there are hundreds of such particles, not only one or two or three, as you go deeper and deeper you find still further. So, imagine when Upanishad said that everything in the world, even the smallest, even the microcosm, (microcosm is that which is smallest, smaller than smallest and macrocosm is that which is higher than highest). So, whether you take the whole world, whole universe, is the largest body or bodies, to the smallest, everything is in motion. This is the first statement to be understood from this Upanishad, it states that everything in the world is in motion. Secondly, that in this thing that is in motion has a complex structure and that complex structure can become a place for habitation, can be a dwelling place. Dwelling place of whom, or what that is the first statement of the Upanishad, which says it is the habitation of Isha.

What is Isha? It's a Sanskrit word, which you must learn. There are many things which you need not learn in Sanskrit but this is one word, which you must learn because the whole Upanishad is named after this word ‘isha’. This Upanishad is called Isopanishad. So what is the meaning of the word ‘Isha’. Isha, comes from the world called ‘ish’, ‘ish’ is to rule, therefore, isha is the ruler. So all this world, whether it is small or big, is a structure, it is in motion and it is meant for the habitation by the Lord, by the ruler.

So, you now have the first concept here of the ruler. It is a word, which corresponds to nothing that which is in the world, which is in motion, we can to some extent see but this word ‘Isha’ refers to something not visible at all to us, to our senses. Therefore, this is one word on which we should contemplate, try to experience because there is nothing in our experience, which can say that I have now experienced the Lord. There is a ruler, in fact we don't find ruler at all anywhere, you find the whole world is flat. The word ‘Isha’ is one of the most important words in the Upanishad. We shall come back to this idea of ‘Isha’ again and again because the whole of the Upanishad is full of Isha.

So, we move forward, the first sentence: ‘All that is in the world and the world itself, whether small or big is in constant motion and it is meant for habitation by the Lord.

 The second statement looks like jump, a giant step. “ten tyakten bhunjitha” is a Sanskrit expressions, this is one of the most famous expressions in Sanskrit: “ ten tyakten bhunjitha”. It says, all this is not only for the habitation by the Lord, it is also meant for enjoyment, all this is for enjoyment.

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