(26 December 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 a 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 an atom. You go to the atom, the 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 an atom is largely hollow; it seems to be so solid, it 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 the 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, the 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 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 a 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. “tena tyaktena bhunjitha” is a Sanskrit expression, this is one of the most famous expressions in Sanskrit: “tena tyaktena 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.
But you are all students of Super school. Super school has one speciality, we try to understand not only thoughts, that is only the first step, we also try to understand by experience. So, to be a student of Super school you should have one special qualification either already possessed, or to be possessed but in any case you should have it in due course. To study the statements of the Upanishads by experience, or at least strive to experience. Experience is of various kinds, there is experience such as the experience of sugar by putting it on the tongue is called sense experience, you have the senses and the sense comes into contact with the object and you have the sense experience. But then there is a deeper experience not by the sense organs but directly by the mind, very few people have developed this capacity to sense by the mind directly without using the sense organs. At present they are called extra–sensory, beyond the senses but they have sensuous experience, there have been examples where people are blind–folded and they are asked to sit on the scooter and run through the town, and they run, without hurting anybody,− no accident. It is because the sense of sight is caught directly by the mind. There is a deeper sensation in the mind itself.
You know all of us have this kind of sense experience, every night when we have dreams, by what sense do you see these dreams? Your eyes are closed and yet you see all beautiful things, or various kinds of scenes. You talk, you hear, you feel, sense, what is that capacity in you by which you do all this; it is the mind, directly sensing. So this is the second type of experience.
The third is still a deeper experience. It is called intuitive experience. Intuitive experience requires three stages, first, you have contemplation or meditation, both are forms of concentration, you concentrate the power of consciousness. Every one of us possesses consciousness. We are all equal in the possession of consciousness. But different people have made use of consciousness differently, so if you concentrate properly then consciousness gives you experience. First of all, concentration takes place then comes what is called drishti, you have the vision. Just as in dreams, you see but to get dreams you have to go into a kind of sleep, you become unconscious to some extent. In the case of this spiritual experience you go deep but you do not lose consciousness. In the depth of consciousness without going into sleep you experience drishti, you have visions. You hear in the intensity of your being, you hear something, in the intensity of your concentration you can see, you have visions and then you go beyond it. Visions and auditions, smells of various kinds are not the only experiences; there are deeper experiences; where the subject and the object become one. In your visions you are still the other subject that observes the object, the vision. But here the subject and the object become one. So, intuition is the power in which the subject and the object become one.
The Upanishads invite you on a long journey, when you read Upanishads you have a program. The least is that you try to understand by your intellectual thought—it's the first stage, and then you concentrate upon what is stated and then you try to have inner experience. And ultimately you arrive at illumination, the true knowledge, this is the end. It may take years and years. But if you start now, you will be able to complete it before many years pass, if you start late in life, you can count how many years it will take from that time onwards. That is why young students should start at a young age. You start listening then gradually you ripen and when you have passed through various stages of ripening and then ultimately at the end of many years you experience.
As a part of our Super school program, in which we do not live merely in thinking, but we are also striving to arrive at experience, it is that exercise which we're going to do while studying it. The Upanishad starts by saying that everything in the world is in motion, whether it is small or big. Everything is a complex structure, such a complex structure that it is like a dwelling house. Everything in the world has a complex structure and is in motion and yet capable of becoming a dwelling house, to become a habitation. Each 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, for example this table is stable, this flowerpot is not moving, this chair is stable, we are all stable at this moment and are sitting quietly. And yet the Upanishad says that everything and even we are in motion. At one time it was thought that everything is in motion, that there is one thing that is not in motion and that is an atom. The atom, the smallest particle of matter, you cut this matter into small pieces and yet smaller pieces, right up to the end; you come to a smallest particle, which remains the same, it is not in motion. During the last hundred years or more, physicists have said even this particle is not stable. What the Upanishad said 5000 years ago, is now proved only 150 years ago that this atom is not stable, it is also in constant motion. It has been found that what we call an atom is largely hollow, which seems to be so solid. In that hollowness there are sparks, these sparks are constantly in motion. They call it electricity; it is electricity which is in constant motion in a certain organised manner. As the Upanishad says that everything in the world has complex structure, therefore fit for habitation. Something can become fit for habitation only if there is some regular structure. In the atom you will find there is a regular structure. There is a centre, which is called the nucleus and there are protons and electrons, the positive charges and the negative charges. Electrons are constantly rotating around the nucleus, this is the minimum and afterwards they found that there are hundreds of such particles, not only one or two or three, and as you go deeper you find still further. So, imagine when the Upanishad said everything in the world, even the smallest, even the microcosm. Microcosm is that which is smaller than smallest, macrocosm is that which is higher than highest. Whether you take the whole world, the whole universe, the largest body or bodies, or you take the smallest, everything is in motion. This is the first statement to be understood from this Upanishad that it states that everything in the world is in motion.
Secondly, that this thing that is in motion has a complex structure, such a complex structure that it can become a place for habitation; it can be a dwelling place, dwelling place for whom or for what? That is the first verse of this Upanishad; it says that it is the habitation of Isha. What is Isha? It's a Sanskrit word which we must learn. There are many things which you need not learn in Sanskrit but this is one word that you must learn because the whole Upanishads is named after this word, ‘Isha’. This Upanishads is called Isha Upanishad. What is the meaning of the word Isha? Isha comes from the word called ish, ish is to rule, therefore, Isha is the ruler. All this world whether it is small or big, is a structure, which is in motion and it is meant for the habitation by the Lord, by the ruler. You have the first concept here of the ruler, it is a word which corresponds to nothing that we see in the world that is in motion. We can to some extent see that this word ‘Isha’ refers to something which is not visible at all to our senses. Therefore, this is the one word on which we will contemplate and try to experience because there is nothing in our experience. No one can say that I have experienced the Lord or there is a ruler. In fact we do not find the ruler anywhere; we find the whole world is flat. The word ‘Isha’ is one of the most important words in the Upanishad. This is 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 a jump, a giant step: Tena Tyaktena bhunjitha, it's a Sanskrit expression, one of the most famous expressions in Sanskrit. It says all this is not only for the habitation by the Lord, it is also meant for enjoyment. All this is for enjoyment. I'm seeing a glass before me, it is not an object of enjoyment for me and I only see it. But if I'm very thirsty and this glass is full of water and it is by drinking the contents of this glass that my thirst is quenched, it's an object of enjoyment. So, there's a difference between an object of perception and an object of enjoyment. Many things in the world we only see and watch, and we watch in different states of consciousness. Suppose you are in a great hurry and you are running at that time and there is a beautiful sunrise. You're running and somebody says, ‘Look! What a beautiful sunrise’. You have no time to enjoy the sunrise because you are in a great hurry; the state of consciousness is different. Or suppose, you're extremely tired, you just want to sleep and somebody says, “Look, what a beautiful sunset’, you feel no interest in seeing the sunset because you want to sleep, as soon as possible. So that beautiful sunset has no meaning for you, it is not an object for your enjoyment.
This statement says that everything in the world, you should be in such a state of consciousness every moment that everything is meant for your enjoyment. You can enjoy the sunrise all the time, even to write a good poem that much leisure you should have to watch the sun and to imagine and to make a beautiful painting on the canvas. If you want to enjoy anything properly, you should have a state of leisure, you should have such a state of consciousness that you are not pressed, compelled by anything. It is in that state of consciousness, the more quiet you are the greater is the capacity of enjoyment.
All this is for enjoyment, if people say I am sorrowful and I am in pain, it means that they're not seeing the world rightly. If you experience the world rightly, everything should give you enjoyment. Knowing this very well that we are not constantly in a state of leisure and not in a state of great rest and silence and peace, therefore, the composer, the Rishi who has written this poem says,Ten Tyaktena bhunjitha, anything that you see, you renounce. If you renounce the object then you will be placed in the state of consciousness where it will be enjoyed. This is a statement which many people may not accept, therefore, it's a statement to be contemplated upon. You need to contemplate,—is it true that when you renounce, you enjoy. Normal experience is the contrary, it’s only when you try to grab something, take it into your hand and consume it that you enjoy. But this statement says by renouncing you enjoy. It looks very strange, therefore you can say that this is a statement to be contemplated upon.
Renunciation is effected by many means and here the Upanishad does not tell you what are the different ways and means to renounce. One of the ways by which you can renounce is by the method of surrender.
The first statement is an ontological statement. Since you've done philosophy to some extent with me this word needs to be repeated without very much difficulty. What is ontological, it's the technical word. Ontology is the study of Reality as it is, as distinguished from the knowledge of Reality as it appears. If I say that this table is stable, it is a statement of appearance and if I say this table is in motion, it is a deeper statement of Reality as it is. Ontologically the study of Reality as it is, really, ultimately, truly, finally. It says that really, ultimately, if you go behind everything, you find everything in the world is in motion,—whether it appears to be stable or not, it is all in motion. Secondly that all this has structure, we may not see structures where there are pure hollows, there are no structures, or in pure solid blocks you don't see any structure. The Upanishad says it is not true as everything in the world is in motion and everything in the world has a structure and the structure is of such a nature that it can be used for habitation. Finally it says, it is actually for the habitation by the Lord, not for you. Normally, we think that everything that is around us and we can stay ourselves in it. The Upanishad says that you are wrong, ontologically it is not true. I may be staying in this house, therefore I say this is my dwelling house, I am dwelling, we are dwelling in this. The Upanishad says, ‘no, it is a dwelling place for the Lord’. This is the ontological statement, whether you like it or not, whether you believe in it or not. Ontological means that after having made the study of everything in the world, it is a statement that you can make when all the studies are over.
In English the word ontology is a part of metaphysics. Metaphysics means,—‘meta’ means after and ‘physics’ is the study of matter. After physics, what you study is called metaphysics. First of all you study physics, when you've finished physics totally then you go beyond it, then you come to metaphysics. Because physics only tells you how matters looks, how matter appears, but what is matter in itself? If matters looks to be living then what is behind living matter, matter looks to be thinking then what is behind thinking matter. Behind thinking, living matter, what is real? That is metaphysics and that is the statement of ontology. Ontology states what is ultimately Real. It may seem to be opposed to all that appears but that is the Real Reality. So, if you want to challenge a statement, you should be a metaphysician. You should have studied everything in the world and then gone beyond and then you can make the statement.The first statement of the Isha Upanishad is an ontological statement, it goes beyond all ordinary statements or studies.
But now the very second statement is not ontological, in normal books of philosophy you have statements of ontology, one after the other. The second statement is an axiological statement. What is axiology? When you speak a language there are two words which you must have noticed, one is a word called ‘is’, this is a word which is used very often, table is smooth, table is in front of me—all the statements are confined to the word ‘is’. There is another word, which is called, ‘aught’. I ought to do, he ought to do, I ought to run, I ought to eat or I ought to eat less, or even in proportion otherwise I will become fat etc. This ‘aught’ is a different kind of a statement. You will not find anything in the world which is ‘aught’, you only find what ‘is’. So, this word ‘aught’ is a very special kind of word, it doesn't seem to be existing anywhere in the world. It is a word which expresses something that ‘ought’ to be. Not that which ‘is’ but which ‘ought’ to be. That statement which refers to that ‘ought’ to be, is called an axiological statement. Axiology is a study of values. What is value? Value is that which is to be attained, which is not there. Why do I study, why should I study, why ought I to study because I value knowledge. If I don't value knowledge, I don't bother about studies, why should I go to school? Because there is something through the study that to get which is not there in you now but which can come to you, which ought to come to you, which will come to you. So, there is this idea of a value.
Now let us try to understand these two words in a very different manner, by using two other words that which ‘exists’ is called positive that which ‘is’ this positive,—it is. But that which is not but which ‘ought’ to be is called normative. That which ‘is’, is positive that which ‘ought’ to be, is normative. The second statement says, you ought to enjoy, you must enjoy all, this world is for enjoyment. You ought to enjoy but in order that you can enjoy there is a difference in ‘ought’ and ‘can’. I ought, therefore I can but merely saying this aught is not can, ‘aught’ is the condition of ‘can’ because it ought to be enjoyed, therefore you can. You can enjoy, you ought to enjoy but when can you enjoy? In every axiological statement there are three steps,—what you ought to do, what you can do, and by what means can you do it. Every axiological statement is complete; when these three parts are present otherwise it is not complete. If I tell Betina, you should study but if I don't tell you how she should study, my statement is not complete. Most of the teachers are incompetent because of this very reason. They simply say study, study, but they don't tell you how to study. What is the real means by which you can study; therefore these axiological statements are incomplete? You have to say you ought to study, you can study and this is how you can study. All these three statements if you make then the axiological statement is complete.
You look at every axiological statement, there are so many axiological statements; I ought not to hurt others, it is not an axiological statement. Is it possible for me not to hurt others, can I try; very few people answer this question. I ought not to hurt others but can I really be in a state where I can not hurt others? How is it possible for me to arrive at a state in which I cannot hurt others and therefore, I fulfil the idea that I ought not to hurt. If all the three statements are given together, you can say it is a complete axiological statement. Basically you have no right to tell anybody you ought to do this, unless you can give all the three aspects. You say ‘aught’, ‘can’ and this ‘is’ the means by which you can do it, then it is satisfying. Why many children obey you, some children do not obey you because when you make an axiological statement you do not tell the child that you can do it and then you do not show the way by which it can be done, therefore many children do not obey you because you have not explained properly. If you really explain properly, you can say that this ought to be done, can be done and this is the means by which you can do it,—so a complete statement.
This particular statement says you ought to enjoy, you can enjoy and a method of enjoyment is ‘tena tyaktena’, by renouncing. If you really want to enjoy an object, you renounce it; it's one of the most difficult statements. As I said, usually you enjoy by grabbing, grasping, and possessing. This Upanishad says that is a wrong method, even if you think that you're enjoying, you will never be able to enjoy. To grasp something, consume it, after some time you will feel dissatisfied, it's gone. There is again a need to enjoy, again you grasp something, you try again, again you come to the same state, either of dissatisfaction or indifference or another desire to take something further, you really do not enjoy. True enjoyment is in which you really enjoy, there is only joy and nothing remains, you are really satisfied and nothing more remains to be done. That satisfaction, that enjoyment is possible and you ought to enjoy it but there is a condition: how do you do it,—renounce it. Very hard saying, renounce it and yet enjoy it. It looks like an opposition, enjoy by renunciation. Now, if you ask the question, why have these kinds of means been discovered by the Rishis of the Upanishads?