Isha Upanishad- The Mother’s Institute of Research, Delhi - Session 1: Verses 1-9

First I had said the importance of the Upanishads – why do we study Upanishads at all? I had said that there are two reasons for it. One is that among all the literary history of India right from earliest times to the present day, Upanishads are ranked as the highest and the best literature of India. So as an Indian you ought to know what is the best literature of India. It is very surprising that these short things, actually each Upanishad is a short thing and even then they are regarded as the supreme literature of India. The second reason is that Upanishads have knowledge or they are records of knowledge, which are more clear than the Veda, because the Veda has a language which is symbolic. Upanishads also have a language which is symbolic but less symbolic; so Upanishads have a greater clarity for us. And that knowledge is particularly necessary for the modern man, it was necessary for all the times, but particularly for our times, that knowledge is indispensable, so very indispensable that if you don’t have it, we will not be able to make the next step in the history of the world not only for us but for the whole world. It is so important. These are the two reasons why we need to study the Upanishads.

Among these Upanishads we have taken Ishopanishad. There are twelve Upanishads, which are very important out of the 108. But 108 Upanishads are regarded to be the total number of Upanishads. Of these, twelve are regarded to be the most important and of these twelve, Ishopanishad is perhaps the most difficult and something, which contains the summary of all the Upanishads, so if you know Ishopanishad basically, you know the main line of the Upanishadic teachings. That is why we have taken the Ishopanishad. There is also another reason why we took up Ishopanishad and that is Ishopanishad is the last chapter of Yajurveda, therefore, we now also know something of the Veda by knowing this Upanishad. So it has a double advantage. So if you know Ishopanishad, you can also say to yourself that you know something of the Veda also not only Upanishad but also of the Veda. Now since we are revising we shall go rapidly over this Upanishad at least to whatever extent we have done so far. Now this Upanishad has eighteen verses. So in a sense therefore it is quite short and only eighteen verses and all the eighteen verses are in poetic form, in the form of poetry.

And merely from the point of view of poetry, it is considered to be superb poetry, considering the metre, the rhythm, the arrangement of words, the force, the power, the style, the substance, all together. Judging from all these points of view, we may say that the poetry of Ishopanishad is superb. To judge any poetry, you have to ask three questions. This I had not said in my main lecture but since I am speaking of it, I will add this. To judge any good poetry, you should ask three questions. First, what is the substance of it? If the substance is of a very low order, then the value of the poetry goes down considerably. Secondly, you have to ask whether the style of that poetry is appropriate to the substance. There should be harmony between the substance and the style. If you want to tell a humorous story, and the substance is humorous then the style also must be humorous then only the two coincide with each other. So similarly if the substance and the style do not go together even in the serious matter then the poetic value goes down and third the rhythm should be of the highest value. So substance, style and rhythm, when all the three are of the supreme nature or of the highest order, then you can say that that poetry is the highest, superb. And considering all these three, we can say that this poetry of Ishopanishad is superb.

Now these eighteen verses can be divided into four parts. The first part consists of the first three verses; the second part consists of the next four verses, i.e. 4, 5, 6 and 7; the third part consists of the next seven verses—8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 and the last fourth part consists of 15, 16, 17 and 18—four verses.

The first part deals with the science and art of life. This is something which is appropriate to every individual because we are all living and we need to know scientifically what life is and what is the art of living. The science and art of living is the subject matter of the first three verses. How to live? How to live depends upon what is life itself? Now in short substance, these three verses tell us that life consists of concentric circles of movement—jagatatyam jagat, that is to say, every little portion of life that you may be touching is a kind of a circle and that circle is part of a bigger circle and that bigger circle is a part of a greater circle and unending. But all these concentric movements are inhabited by the Lord. There is the Lord of Existence whom we don’t see physically, and in fact about whom constant questioning is raised—does God exist? This is the one supreme question which is being asked all the time throughout history and this Upanishad declares that God exists, not only that He exists but he inhabits every part of this universe. Not only that he inhabits all the parts of the universe but He is Isha, He is himself the master of it, He is the Lord of it, therefore, everything belongs to Him. Now this is the basic first statement, this is what is called premise, the first statement from which a conclusion can be derived is the first premise. And if that is so, then the art of life flows from it, that while living in the world, you must not covet what belongs to the other, you must not desire to possess for yourself what belongs to the Lord Himself. Since everything belongs to the Lord, you should not try to possess for yourself. So whenever there is a movement towards possessing something, our normal tendency is that we want to make it our own. Whatever is around us, whatever objects we see, our natural tendency is to possess it for ourselves. Now Ishopanishad says that since everything belongs to God and God is present in everything, even if you try to possess it for yourself, you will not succeed in doing so. It really belongs to Him. What you can do is that you can only enjoy whatever exists around you and in fact everything in the world and that you should not debar yourself from, but there is a condition for it. You admit that all this belongs to the Lord and renounce all this to the Lord and the moment you renounce it to the Lord, in this very act of renunciation you will gain the capacity of enjoying all that is around you.

So let us read the first verse:

ईशा वास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्य स्विद्धनम् ।।1।।

All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. (I spoke of concentric motion, to speak of universal motion which is a part of a larger universal motion) whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy; lust not after any man’s possession.

This is all it says, very simple. Now psychologically, there is one difficulty, which arises, whenever we want to renounce something or attain to renunciation, when we give up something, then we tend to become inactive. We, as it were, act only for possession, for trying to possess. This is our normal psychology. Whatever action we do, we act for obtaining possession. Acquisition, possession, enjoyment, relationship, these are our normal tendencies of action. Why we act—to acquire, to possess, to enjoy, to relate. And the moment you are told that you are not to possess but you have to renounce, then we normally tend to remain inactive. That is why a wrong idea has arisen in many cultures including India that renunciation is the best thing to do, therefore, be inactive, give up your responsibilities, come out of this mess of life, go to Himalayas, meditate and do nothing at all, attain to a state where you don’t need to do anything at all or do the most minimum things just to preserve your body and as soon as possible you strive to come out of the body. This is the kind of philosophy, which has arisen wrongly. It is to prevent this kind of misunderstanding that the Upanishad tells us that you should not give up works; renunciation does not mean that you should give up works. On the contrary, by doing works here itself, in this world itself, you should even wish to live for a hundred years, that means that you should go on living as long as you can. This is the only path, it says very clearly, this is the only path, if you give up the path of action then there will be a great difficulty for you. And then it adds one important line that when you do action, do not be afraid that you will get stuck to possession. There is an art of acting, there is a way of acting by which even if you do action, you will not become attached to the possessions, you will not become stuck to any kind of limitations, which normally happens. Normally, all our actions create reactions and lead you to further actions and only in that kind of a circle we go on acting and reacting but there is an art of life, which arises out of renunciation as a result of which, even if you act, you remain free.

Let us now read the second verse:

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छतं समाः ।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ।।2।।

Doing verily works in this world, one should wish to live a hundred years. Thus it is in thee and not otherwise than this; (this is the only way) action cleaves not to a man.

Even if you do an action, you will not become bound.

The third verse tells us that if you do not practise this art of life, then what happens to you. It says that you then become hurters of your soul, you happen to hurt your soul. The moment you try to possess and to keep it to yourself, you begin to hurt your soul because you are going contrary to the reality as it is. And those who hurt their souls, they enter into dark worlds, into sunless worlds. And you can never come out of it unless you learn this art of life, so this is the entire gist of the whole thing. So this art of life is something that is the key because there is no other way, it says very clearly. This is the only way; there is no other way. If you do not follow this path you will go into the world of darkness and if you want to come out of it, then you follow this path. This is the declaration which the Upanishad makes. It gives a very simple rule of divine life, of the true way of life.

So read the third verse now:

असूर्या नाम ते लोका अन्धेन तमसावृताः ।
तांस्ते प्रेत्याभिगच्छन्ति ये के चात्महनो जनाः ।।3।।

Sunless are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom whereto all they in their passing hence resort who are slayers of their souls.

Those who hurt their souls, when they pass about in this world or beyond this world, they enter into sunless worlds and enter into gloom. That is the end of the first part, first movement of this Upanishad and that is the real bearing of the entire Upanishad actually. All the rest is a kind of an elucidation of this, it tells in summary what it wants to say in very brief terms, in very clear terms. It is like a scientist, who has trodden all paths of life, experimented upon everything and then he has come to a conclusion that there is only one path, all the other paths lead you to gloom and darkness. And this is the art of life, you may not listen to me, if you don't like it and but if you ever want to come out of darkness, which one day you will like to, then you will listen to it and this is the only path.

Now in the next four verses, we get a deeper understanding of the first word with which this Upanishad starts. The Upanishad starts with the word Isha, in fact, the whole Upanishad is called Ishopanishad because the very first word is Isha, Isha means the Lord, Ishwara. Who is this Ishwara ‒ to whom we have to renounce everything? And by renouncing to whom, we can truly enjoy the world. Now in describing this there are startling statements because this reality, this Isha, this Ishwara is of a very peculiar nature.

Let us read it, verse number four:

अनेजदेकं मनसो जवीयो नैनद्देवा आप्नुवन्पूर्वमर्षत् ।
तद्धावतोऽन्यानत्येति तिष्ठत्तस्मिन्नपो मातरिश्वा दधाति ।।4।।

One unmoving that is swifter than Mind..

That is a very startling statement. It is Itself unmoving and yet It is swifter, swifter even than the speed of the mind. Actually the mind is supposed to be swifter than even the light. In physical terms, light is the speediest in the physical universe, even speedier than light is the movement of thought but that Isha, even though it does not move is swifter than the mind. It is a startling statement because it is not understandable. One who remains like a riddle, one who does not move and yet it is swifter than the mind. Then ‘That the gods reach not’. Now there is a new concept introduced here. Now there is Isha who is the Lord but there are gods who are supposed to be superior beings than human beings. Ishopanishad has the knowledge of those beings who are called gods. Our modern mentally does not accept gods at all. It only speaks of men and humanity because there is all that we see. It does not accept gods, it does not accept soul, it does not accept God. Neither God, nor gods nor soul, these three statements, these three words are for the modern mind quite foreign. But this Upanishad’s seer, the Rishi, he has the knowledge of the gods. In fact, the entire Veda of which this is the last chapter of Yajurveda particularly describes the discovery of the gods, and of that I have spoken last time. The Vedas have made a discovery of the gods. Apart from the discovery of God, it discovered God, it also discovered gods and said that the gods are personalities of one God Himself. God is one but He has many personalities and each personality can be called one of the gods. And then the Vedas give so many descriptions of these personalities and at one time I had spoken of all the gods and not all but many, many gods like Agni, Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman and many other gods. So many personalities were discovered by the Vedic Rishis, they had come in contact with them, they had dialogues with them, they had learnt from them, they knew the secret of them and these secrets have been written in the records. It is true that modern humanity may not accept all this and may say that all this is superstition, fine. If today the whole world comes to an end by nuclear explosion and a few individuals remain afterwards and then these happen to tell the children the story of the modern world that there were trains, that there were aeroplanes, they will never believe that such things could ever happen. Similarly, if we are now told that our forefathers had come into contact with the gods which have been described in the Vedas, we may not believe it at all. But so what? The Rishi is not barred from telling us what he has seen. Since he has seen the Rishi he says, since the Rishis have seen the gods the Rishi says that even the gods do not reach Him “That the gods reach not, for It progresses ever in front.” However much the gods may run to arrive at That Reality, the Isha is always in front and can never overcome that Reality. Not that That is running Itself, it says That standing, That always remains standing, because It is unmoving, That, standing, passes beyond others as they run. They go on running and He remains standing and yet they never reach Him. In That the Master of Life establishes the Waters. Out of that Reality, water stands for different strands of this world.

Water is a symbol of the Veda. Any movement of consciousness is called waters in the Vedas. Thoughts are called waves of waters and even this matter is called water because it is a movement as a current as modern physics tells us that this matter is nothing but atoms and atoms are nothing but electrons, protons and neutrons and they are nothing but electric movement. So even this matter is called a kind of a water, the life which is a pulsation that is also a water, a mind which consists of thought is also a water, so the whole universe which consists of various strands of matter, life and mind—all that emerges out of That. So it says in that the Master of life establishes or puts the waters, that is to say, it is the life-force which is given the function of manifesting all the aspects from That, from the Reality.

In the first verse we were told that Isha is the Lord of all that exists. Now we are told that all that exists is a manifestation of That. Not only is the Lord but all that is here is coming out of that Reality. All multiplicity ...

Question: ....

Answer: apah means waters, tasmin means in that, in that Reality, matarisvan the life force, apah means the waters, dadhaati means He establishes. Life-force has been given the function of manifesting all the movements of the world. Water stands for, as I said, strands of the universe, all the matter, life, mind—all that we see around is the waters, symbolically. So life-force is given the power to bring out from the Reality all that is there in the world.

Now continuing the same startling statement in the fifth verse it says:

तदेजति तन्नैजति तद् दूरे दद्वन्तिके ।
तदन्तरस्य सर्वस्य तदु सर्वस्यास्य बाह्यतः ।।5।।

That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near; That is within all this and That also is outside all this.

Now this startling statement seems ununderstandable to us because to our mind stability and movement are opposites; that is what we understand normally. In our ordinary experience that which is stable is not moving, that which is moving is not stable; these are two opposites to our mind, our experience. But you will always find that the greater the movement you want to make, the greater is the stability in the foundation you require. You try anywhere in this world, this is the nature of this universe that wherever you want to make a very big movement the foundation has to be more stable. If you want to make a small movement, the foundation need not be very strong but the greater the movement you want to make, the more stable the foundation should be. This is the nature of the Universe.

Question: Does stability also mean maturity?

Answer: Actually, maturity is one of the lower forms of stability because maturity also has gradations. We say he is quite mature, very mature, most mature, and so on. There are many degrees.

We find that the greater the silence in the inner being, the greater is the power of receiving the shocks of life. This also is a fact. The more quiet you become inwardly, the greater is the power to receive all kinds of shocks of life. The greater the silence in us, the greater is the power of speech in us. The greater is the silence, the greater is the reception of knowledge. That is why we find that when a child jumps from one thing to the other, he won’t be able to learn. We tell the child to be quiet, concentrate, and then when he reads with a concentration and quietude then he understands quite easily. So the greater the silence, the greater is the power to possess knowledge or to acquire knowledge. These are all our ordinary examples.

Even in our ordinary life, the relationship between movement and stability is very visible. If you want to make a very big dam and produce a lot of electricity, then you have to make a tremendous foundation so that the tremendous force of water which falls is able to be sustained, it can move then the turbine more powerfully and electricity can be produced. So although stability and movement seem to be opposite of each other, basically both are complementary. They are not opposite of each other. Both are complementary; one completes the other. The greater the movement, the greater the stability demanded. The greater the stability, the greater is the movement that you can generate.

So this Reality is in its very nature unmoving and yet it moves. There is a very great philosopher in the West called Aristotle. He defined God as the unmoved mover, Himself unmoved but the mover of the Universe, unmoved mover of the Universe. This is very similar to this. He has taken this as a kind of analogy from a magnet. A magnet is an unmoved mover of iron filings. You have a magnet, it does not move itself, but all the iron filings automatically are attracted to the magnet. It is an unmoved mover, if that magnet itself was moving away it would not have the power to attract. It is because it is unmoving itself that this power is generated. Once we know that moving and unmoving are two complementary things then these two verses seem to be quite simple. Now we shall read again:

One unmoving that is swifter than Mind, That the Gods reach not, for It progresses ever in front. That, standing, passes beyond others as they run. In That the Master of Life establishes the Waters.

That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near; That is within all this and That also is outside all this.

And came to the conclusion that this universe has behind it a very big stable support, that also could have been done and that is not the method of this Rishi. It is not an intellectual, philosophical book; it is a record of knowledge where in the state of silence the Rishi finds the origin of all movement. He finds that Ishwara is at once silence and yet originator of all the movement. From the profound silence of Ishwara, billions of rays of light are emanating, and a number of universes are created, are manifested and a number of creatures are created, and all this which is manifested, is manifested not outside the Reality because there is nothing outside this. All this is manifested within it.

So we have now three propositions—the proposition that there is Isha who is the Lord of the universe; secondly this Isha has a poise of stability or silence, which later on in the Gita is called akshara. Akshara means that it moves not, kshara is moving and akshara is not moving, He is akshara and who is at the same time moving who is kshara. So this corresponds to what Gita speaks basically as the description of the Supreme Reality. We say that Gita is also an Upanishad—and a summary of all Upanishads, therefore, there is a consistency between the Upanishads and the Gita. So there Isha is called Purushottama—the unmoving is called akshara purusha and the moving is called kshara purusha that is the Gita’s statement of the Reality. The Reality is Purushottama having two aspects of it—akshara and kshara.

Now having said this, much can be said actually, I am summarising therefore, I will not say more on this subject because it is a very difficult subject but we run over to the next two verses.

These two verses give a further insight into the relationship between the movement and That which is behind the movement and this relationship I had said can be expressed in three manners. And these three manners can be given a specific name so that it can be best understood. In any case, Upanishads have given the names, not in this Upanishad but if you read the totality of the Upanishads, these three names are given—Atman, Purusha, Ishwara. The relationship between the movement and That which is behind the movement can be described as a relationship between Atman on one side and the movement, Purusha on the one side and the movement, and Ishwara on the one side and the movement. It is the same Reality but it has three different ways of relating to the movement. Atman is the word which is used when movement is related to Reality as emerging out of Atman, as emerging out of the Reality. Just as the river flows out of the mountain, similarly, the universe or all movement moves out of the Reality. This kind of relationship is called the relationship between Atman and Maya. Movement is called Maya and the Reality from which it is moving out is called Atman. The second is when the Reality places Itself in the movement and plays with that movement then that Reality is called Purusha and the movement is called Prakriti. The third is when the Reality is seen to be the Lord of the movement, then the Reality is called Ishwara and the movement is called Shakti. It is the same Reality but known by three names because of the three relationships that Reality can have towards this movement. Now in these two verses, we are told that we are supposed to realise all the three aspects of Reality—know Reality as Ishwara, know Him as Purusha, know Him as Atman. And when you do that then you realise that the whole thing is nothing but oneness. And when that oneness is realised, all sorrow, all delusions vanishes. You will see that the whole emphasis is upon the destruction of sorrow. Just as in the first part, the idea was that you enjoy the world, we were told how to enjoy and we were told that if we renounce we will enjoy.

Now in the second movement we are given a little greater depth—that you will enjoy, that is all sorrow will vanish if you realise that that Lord to whom you are renouncing everything is not only the Master of all things but He is also the originator of all things. All things move out of Him, therefore, He is Atman and he is also in play with everything in the world.

Now let us read the sixth and seventh verses –

यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति ।
सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ।।6।।

यस्मिन् सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मैवाभूद् विजानतः ।
तत्र को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः ।।7।।

But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter (from anything) from aught.

He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, (this is the description of Atman, one who has become all this and from which He Himself issues out of everything. He in whom it is the Self Being that has become all existences that are Becomings.) he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness?

This is the second movement of the Ishopanishad. Now we come to the third movement. If you have any questions, be free to ask. In the third movement, we go to a deeper level. The basic idea is the same—the art of life. How can you really have a true enjoyment of the universe? How can you really be free from sorrow? How can you really be the master of all your life? So now the eighth one, the eighth verse, gives you the summary of all the descriptions of the Reality which has been given earlier, which is a very short one –

स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रणमस्नाविरं शुद्धमपापविद्धम् ।
कविर्मनीषि परिभूः स्वयंभूर्याथातथ्यतोऽन्व्यदधाद्धच्छाश्वतीभ्यः समाभ्यः ।।8।।

It is He that has gone abroad ‒ (unmoving is the moving i.e. in other words, it is He that has gone abroad—and what is the nature of that Reality?) That which is bright, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil. These are the characteristics of that Reality. And when He creates the world, he takes three positions—he takes the position of the seer, which in the Vedic times was called kavi, kavi is now for the poet but in those days kavi was regarded as Rishi—the seer. The thinker is manishi and the one who becomes everywhere is called paribhuh. These are the three statements about swayambhu of the Supreme Reality. The whole universe is manifested as if it were in three stages.

In the first stage, the Reality brings out a vision of what is to be created. So since the first thing is the vision, Reality becomes the Seer, He sees the vision, He has put forth the vision so He is called the seer.

In the second one, He deploys it, He scatters it, the vision is scattered you might say. In the vision everything is perfectly held together. In the second step of creation, the things are scattered. It is something like what happens in our movement of thought. There is a distinction between seeing and thinking. When you see a thing, then there is a totality in your perception and when you think about it there is an abstraction. You withdraw from what you see and create a conception about it. You scatter it actually. Whenever you think about a thing, it is only by scattering that you can think. The moment the whole thing comes before you, it becomes a vision. That is why we say that greatest thinkers become visionaries because their entirety of thought becomes united but when there is movement of scattering it is a thought movement. Therefore, the second is called manishi—the scattering movement is called manishi. In relation to the second movement, the Reality is a thinker. There is another capacity also of the thought that whenever you think, you are in the realm of possibilities. A thinker is supposed to be a master of possibilities. A thinker will never be able to tell you that this indeed is the Reality. It will say that either this will be possible or that will be possible or that will be possible or that will be possible. Various possibilities are thought out by thought but it can never tell you definitively that this is so. That this is so can only be done by vision or by one who has acted. The action holder, one who is capable of acting is definite about a thing. The thinker is never definite about anything; he is only the master of possibilities. You will see this very much in the action of a detective. A detective is something like a thinker. He is given a problem of a mystery. A theft has taken place and the detective is asked to find out how it has taken place. So he sets out making so many possible theories—a theft may have taken place either because of this reason or that reason or that reason or fourth reason. Various possibilities he puts before you but unless he comes to a man who has really done it, he will never be able to tell you that this is the real thing that has happened out of all possibilities.

So for the creation of the universe, for a real creation to come about you need a third step—first you visualise, then you scatter into many possibilities and then the third is you actualise—visualise, scatterise, actualise—these are the three steps of creation. Therefore, this Upanishad says that this creation has passed through three steps and regarding these three steps the same Reality has taken three positions. The position of a kavi, the position of manishi and the position of a paribhuh but He is the same one—svayambhu, He is a svayambhu. The Reality is Himself svayambhu, for Him there is no Creator. The universe is created but He Himself is not created. So He is called svayambhu. The Self-Existent has created the world in three steps as a kavi, as a manishi and as a paribhuh and then He has ordered objects perfectly, according to their nature from years sempiternal and the whole universe is therefore, ordered by Him by these three steps, therefore in this world nothing happens by chance. This is a very important conclusion that can be derived from it that every event that occurs now is not a haphazard event. Behind Him is paribhuh who really actualises, behind Him is the manishi who had scattered the vision and behind Him was the seer Himself the one who had visualised and behind Him is the svayambhu Himself. Therefore, no event which occurs is simply a mere accident there is no event which is an accident.

Question: Why did He plan this existence?

Answer: This is what is the subject matter of the next two-three verses, why did He do all this? Your question has come at the very right moment because there is exactly what is discussed in the next three verses or four verses.

If you are in a hurry then we can stop here and if you are not in a hurry I shall take ten minutes more and finish it, this will answer the question.

There is a reason for doing all this and let me say in one word just for the sake of giving a straight answer. To manifest in the individual the totality of the Isha, Purusha and Atman in the individual, how to compress the whole universal, transcendental, that which is svayambhu, how to compress Him in multiplicity of individuals, in every individual? For that reason He has planned this whole thing. If He had only to manifest Himself fully, it is finished; already done nothing is further needed. He can manifest Himself fully but to work out this in every individual, His totality. To take a small analogy, you have seen small mirrors which are sewn in some dresses, particularly in Gujarat we have saris and so on in which small mirrors are sewn. Now if any individual stands before these mirrors then in every mirror that individual is fully reflected but with a certain angle. The totality of the individual is reflected with a certain angle. Now to arrive at this kind of an effect, you have to create small mirrors and each mirror should be capable of reflecting the whole. If you do not achieve that then you cannot have this effect.

Question: Why does He want to create this effect? Why does he have the desire to create all this?

Answer: Let me say first of all, He has no desire at all. If He had a desire, then He won’t be perfect because then there is some imperfection in Him which He wants to cure but He has no desire at all but He is capable of it. He is capable of it. If you are capable of it and if you do it, and if you don’t do it, you will say why does He not do it. You will ask the contrary question. If he is capable of doing it and if does not do it, you will ask the question why he does not do it. So he will answer by saying that I can remain without doing it, I can also do it. In both conditions I am perfectly delightful but if I do it, do you have any objection to it? I am capable of it and I am doing it. So the answer is that because He is capable of doing it, and because He has no need of doing it; in either condition He has delight, therefore, He freely does it. Does it meet your question?

Question: If either way, He is in a sense of delight then by having created us because He is capable of doing it, are we not all going through the thorns of this life and at different stages of it because He is anyway delightful in either way, so why are we all going through this?

Answer: Good, I am very happy. This is the real question ‒ that why should His delight consist in giving pain to us?

Comment: Pain, I wouldn’t say pain, but then all of us souls are at a certain stage of elevation depending upon our purushartha but why are we going through all this? What is the end result? Just he is delightful in either way?

Answer: This question arises if you are different from God. If He would remain in a state of delight and He enjoys your pain and your struggle, while you are struggling and He is delightful, but that is not the case.

Question: Is He just allowing Himself to go through all these stages?

Answer: This is it, exactly.

Comment: So this is just His play with His own self.

Answer: Precisely. That is why it is Advaita. There are no two realities. It is exactly this, precisely.

Question: Then we as human beings should not worry about what we are going to do? It is He who is going through.

Answer: Quite true, precisely, that is the art of life. That is what precisely is said in the very first sentence.

Question: But to sit here and listen to you and come to the conclusions is very easy; the moment we walk out of this room and we get back into Maya or life, it does not even take us a split second to think it is “I”. Then I think, how do we control that “I” the moment we walk out of this room. Now as you logically putting it seems all very easy and so clear. It is actually next to impossible to actually live and follow it concretely.

That why is in the next verses now, the Upanishad says that there are two things in this world—there is avidya and there is vidya. Exactly when you go out of this room, now you come across two very important statements that what we have, our real problems consist of vidya and avidya. This is where we are actually in reality. Or we might say that God is now confronted with avidya and vidya, both created by Him. But this where He is caught Himself, when you are caught, it means God Himself is caught and when I am caught, God Himself is caught. And God is not worried about it, God knows that He is caught and He has chosen to do so. This world is not created by a mistake, as many philosophers believe that this world is an error, there is a fall of God into this world. Not at all, this is not what Upanishad says, not at all. Nothing is unplanned so there is no fall. It is God’s plan and there are real steps which are described—He is kavi, manishi, paribhuh—all these steps are described and nothing happens by accident. It is all pre-planned.

Now coming to the real crux of the problem, Upanishad says:

अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते ।
ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ विद्यायाः रताः ।।9।।

That there is vidya and there is avidya and then it says that those who follow avidya, they enter into darkness but those who follow vidya they go into greater darkness. Again a startling statement but if you follow very wisely both avidya and vidya, very wisely combined together, then you will attain to that great delight. If you follow only vidya there is a greater darkness and if it is for avidya there is a darkness but if you know how to combine both together then only you will really enjoy—enjoy immortality. So this also now gives us a description of what enjoyment is. From the very beginning it speaks of enjoyment. In the first part it spoke of enjoyment, in the second part it says where is the moha, where is shoka, where is grief. Now it describes real enjoyment as enjoyment of immortality. Whenever it speaks of enjoyment, it really means enjoyment of immortality. The only thing that is really enjoyable by man is immortality, everything else, even though he might say that I enjoy it, it is really a kind of misnomer, the only thing that he can really enjoy is immortality.

The secret of the whole thing is that each individual has to mirror the Reality fully in his own angle. His individuality should also not be lost. Keeping that individuality, if the totality of the Divine can be reflected fully then his work is done. So the whole secret is this, you might say. So the moment you approximate to it, you are reaching the fulfilment of God’s own work or you might say God Himself is doing it. ‘You’ means God Himself is doing, on the mirrored side He Himself is doing it.

When you say computerised, it may give an idea as if ten thousand years ago God had decided that you will do this now. But God’s vision is not like that. God has eternal ‘now’. In His vision, it is not in the past that He decided that you will do this now. He decides now that you will do this now because for Him there is only eternal ‘now’. We are trying to see two things at the same time which are rather, you might say jar with each other. This raises a big question of Time. What is Time? To the child, one day looks like one year. To the mother, one day is really only one day. If a child has done something in the morning, at 12 o’clock he says I ate long, long ago in the morning. Sometimes even when he has done two hours ago, he says I ate long, long ago but the mother says you ate just now actually, not long ago. So it depends upon what your position is in your consciousness. The larger your vision of things the shorter is the time duration. The smaller your vision the longer is the duration of time. When we are in the company of those whom we like very much, the time flies very fast and if you hear something very boring or if you see a movie which is very boring, it seems as if it takes a long, long time. So what we call time is a very flexible thing. So when we say that God pre-planned a thousand years ago. We have in our Indian concept that thousand years or thousand years multiplied by ten thousand, multiplied by ten thousand, is one day of Brahma. That is our Indian Puranic idea. It is only one day for Him. I go one step farther and I say that it is not even one day, for Him it is always eternal ‘now’. There is no past, present or future at all; all that happens ‘now’ only for Him.

Question: Why does he make some people do bad karma or why does he make some people do good karma. Now he says offer yourself and if He is you, then who are you to offer anything. In the last lecture you said offer yourself and everything to Him.

Answer: You are an individual. God has made you as an individual. This was the special effort that He made because He wants to make in the individual the totality of Himself. So in the individual He has put this nature, it is His own nature. You might say God offers to Himself but God offers to Himself as an individual—to the whole, totality of Himself. This is the special quality of the consciousness. When you play with the small child, sometimes you play two, three roles at the same time. The child is watching you and you play out three-four roles before the child. The child goes on laughing because you speak as the house owner, you speak as one who occupies the house, you speak as the servant in the house and make all the dialogues yourself. The child watches all that. So you yourself workout in all these fashions and this is the capacity of consciousness. You are not incapable of it. God is not incapable of individualising Himself, He is transcendental, He is universal but He is also capable of individualising Himself and when He individualises Himself then He can look at Himself from this angle and that is what we are actually doing. We are all gods looking at God from the other side.