Date - 18-09-2002
The word Isha means the Lord, the Supreme, the Master. This Upanishad is called Isha Upanishad because it explains, − what is the Lord, what is the meaning of the Lord, also because the very first word of this Upanishad is − Isha. This is one of the methods of the Upanishadic exposition, the Upanishad is known by its first word. Like another Upanishad is called Kena Upanishad. It is because ‘Kena’ is the first word of that Upanishad, ‘Kena’ means by whom therefore, that Upanishad is called the Kena Upanishad. It’s not always the case but basically Isha Upanishad, is Isha Upanishad because it gives the idea of the Lord, the experience of the Lord, the Lord, which is only a word as far as the experience is concerned, because we don't see the Lord anywhere − physically.
We see the world as it is expanding before us and nothing else, we don't see the Lord anywhere in the world, apart from ourselves and apart from the trees, plants, water, earth and sky is the all that we see in the world therefore, from the point of view of sense experience, the word Lord means nothing in the world, it only corresponds to a word that's all and this is the word which is being used in the Veda − the Lord. Therefore, Ishopanishad tries to penetrate through the word, to unveil the word, as we said Upanishadic Rishis trying to go beyond the words. It begins with the word Isha and tries to understand what does this word mean? And surely by sense experiences, you use your eyes, ears and your senses; you don't see the Lord anywhere therefore, the word has no meaning basically. The word Lord has no meaning and today it is a familiar word but mere familiarity does not mean that we understand it. Ishopanishad tries to understand this word, what is the meaning of this word and the entire 18 verses of this Upanishad explain to us what is the meaning of the Lord, what is the Lord that is the subject matter of the Upanishad.
It tries first of all to give you the idea of the Lord and then takes you into the experience of the Lord. There are three stages of the whole of the Upanishad. Isha as a word, Isha as an idea, and Isha as an experience, − these are the three levels of the whole Upanishad. It explains the idea of the Lord and that's the very first sentence of the Upanishad.
If you read the whole of the 18 verses of the Upanishad and go through it one by one in a rapid survey as in an exhibition for a tourist, just as the tourist goes round and gets some kind of an impression, so if you turn to these verses like a tourist looking at the exhibition of the 18 verses, you just get some ideas, pell-mell. First of all, I'll take you through the exhibition as to list, so that you have some pell-mell ideas, which are there in the Upanishad, you'll become familiar with some words which are used. So many words are used in this Upanishad and it's good to be familiar with these words and then you can enter into the ideas and then into the experience.
Yesterday, I spoke to you of the methods of the Vedantic knowledge, now I would like to ask you, what are these methods of Vedantic knowledge. Just give me three words to describe the Vedantic methods of knowledge. I will tell you rapidly, what I told yesterday.
Anybody wants to tell me, I would be very happy to receive from you. What are the Vedantic methods of knowledge, − sense experience, reason and intuition, the highest and the widest level − that is the intuition. Now in understanding the Upanishad we shall follow the same method sense experience, reason and intuition, all the three are involved in these 18 verses. What do we see by perception and what are the ideas that we see by reason and what are the intuitive experiences, which are drafted here before us.
First of all as we read the lines, we will only have the sense experience of some of the words which are there, one word is Isha, − Isha is the Lord. You just write down these words that you find in this Upanishad, make a list of these words because these are all important words. Isha is the first word, vasa is another word, which means habitation. You have seen the word Bharat Niwas, it is called Bharat Niwas, it comes from the word vasa, vasa means habitation, vasa reserved for India means Bharat Niwas. This is a word, which is very important in the Upanishad, vasa is the habitation, the place, the lodgement of the body by geographical location, the psychological location, which one can inhabit. You can inhabit your heart, you can inhabit your mind, inhabit a house, which is physical that is the meaning of vasa, − habitation. Sarvam means all, sarva is a Sanskrit word which means all, jagat is another word and it means the world.