|Meaning of name||by the Lord|
|Date of composition||between c. 500 and 100 BCE|
|Type of Upanishad||Mukhya Upanishad|
|Associated Veda||Shukla Yajurveda|
|Number of verses||17–18|
|Commented upon by||Adi Shankara, Madhvacharya|
|Part of a series on the
|Bṛhadāraṇyaka · Īṣa|
|Taittirīya · Kaṭha|
|Chāndogya · Kena|
|Muṇḍaka ·Māṇḍūkya ·Praśna|
|Other Major Upanishads|
|Shvetashvatara ·Kaushitaki ·Maitrayaniya|
The Isha Upanishad (Devanagari: ईशोपनिषद् IAST īśopaniṣad) is one of the shortest of the Upanishads, in form more like a brief poem than a philosophical treatise, consisting of 17 or 18 verses in total. The Upanishad constitutes the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda and survives in two versions, called Kanva (VSK) and Madhyandina (VSM).
Like other core texts of the Vedanta, it is considered revealed scripture (Śruti) by diverse traditions within Hinduism. The name of the text derives from the its incipit, īśā vāsyam, "enveloped by the Lord".
In the two shakhas of the Shukla Yajurveda (called the VSK and VSM) the order of verses 1–8 is the same, however VSK verses 9–14 correspond to VSM verses 12, 13, 14, 9, 10, 11. VSM 17 is a variation of VSK 15, VSK 16 is lacking in VSM, and VSK 17–18 correspond to VSM 15–16.
The verse numbers used elsewhere in this article refer to VSK: The eighteen verses IśUp 1–18 thus correspond to VSK 40.1–18.
The Isha Upanishad is significant for its description of the nature of the "Supreme Being", exhibiting monism or a form of monotheism, referred to as Isha "Lord". It describes this being as "unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated" (verse 8), one who "moves and does not move', who is 'far away, but very near as well'" and who "although fixed in His abode is swifter than the mind" (verses 4 & 5).
The first verse of the text has been cited as of particular importance to Vedanta or to Hinduism as a whole. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi thought so highly of it that he remarked, "If all the Upanishads and all the other scriptures happened all of a sudden to be reduced to ashes, and if only the first verse in the Ishopanishad were left in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live for ever." Similarly, Swami Chinmayananda in his commentary[year needed] states "The very first stanza of this matchless Upanishad is in itself a miniature philosophical textbook. Besides being comprehensive in its enunciation of Truth, it provides a vivid exposition of the technique of realising the Truth in a language unparalleled in philosophical beauty and literary perfection. Its mantras are the briefest exposition on philosophy and each one is an exercise in contemplation."
The first verse reads:
- īśā vāsyam idaṃ sarvaṃ ¦ yat kiñca jagatyāṃ jagat |
- tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā ¦ mā gṛdhaḥ kasya sviddhanam ||
literal translation (Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899):
- "Enveloped by the Lord must be This All — each thing that moves on earth.
- With that renounced enjoy thyself. Covet no wealth of any man."
Max Müller also notes the special position of this verse. The use of "lord", as it were suggestiong personhood of the godhead, would become standard in the later Bhakti movement, but is very untypical of the mystical Vedanta school of thought, which prefers abstract concepts like Atman or Brahman.  The word isha "lord" is not repeated in the remainder of the text. Its occurrence in the first verse has also been adduced as evidence of the comparatively late date (within the mukhya corpus) of this text; isha as a term for "supreme deity" otherwise occurs notably in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (c. 300 BCE), where it is used as a title of Rudra, and as a term for a monistic or panentheistic "Supreme Being" first in the Manusmṛti (after c. 200 BCE).
Swami Chinmayananda notes in his commentary that the 18 verses (VSK recension) proceed over 7 "waves of thought" with the first 3 representing 3 distinct paths of life, 4-8 pointing out the Vision of Truth, 9-14 revealing the path of worship leading to purification, 15-17 revealing the call of the Rishis for man to awaken to his own Immortal state, and verse 18 the prayer to the Lord to bless all seekers with strength to live up to the teachings of the Upanishad.
- Sharma, B.N.K: Philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya, page 363. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1962.
- Deussen, Paul (1908), The philosophy of the Upanishads
- King, Richard; Ācārya, Gauḍapāda (1995), Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism: the Mahāyāna context of the Gauḍapādīya-kārikā, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2513-8, p. 52.
- Weber 1878:103
- Easwaran, Eknath: The Upanishads, Translated for the Modern Reader, page 205. Nilgiri Press, 1987.
- Chinmayananda, Swami: "Isavasya Upanishad", preface.
- "This Upanishad, though apparently simple and intelligible, is in reality one of the most difficult to understand properly. Coming at the end of the Vâgasaneyi-samhitâ, in which the sacrifices and the hymns to be used by the officiating priests have been described, it begins by declaring that all has to be surrendered to the Lord. The name is, lord, is peculiar, as having a far more personal colouring than Âtman, Self, or Brahman, the usual names given by the Upanishads to what is the object of the highest knowledge." (p. 314)
- Chinmayananda, "Isavasya Upanishad", pp.58-9
- Albrecht Weber, The History of Indian Literature (1878).
- N. Srinivasagopalan, Isa Upanisad Revisited,Oupanisada Publications, 16, Vayupuri, Secunderabad 500 094. 2004 ISBN 978-81-7525-831-0 The Subtitle is 'The Recipe for an Enlightened and Joyful Life of High Effectiveness and All-round success'
- editions and translations
- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Śrī Īśopaniṣad, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1969.
- Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads . Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. 1972.
- S. Radhakrishnan. The Principal Upanishads. George Allen and Unwin Ltd. New York. 1969.
- Swami Gambhirananda, Eight Upanishads, Vol.1. with the commentary of Shankaracharya. Tr. Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, 2nd edn. 1989.
- Sri Aurobindo, Isha Upanisad, Sri Aurobindo Asram, Pondicherry. 1986
- original text
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- commentary and translation
- Dvaita.org Published commentaries of Madhvacharya
- Isa Upanishad translation by Max Müller
- Isha Upanishad as Shukla Yajurveda Adhyaya 40 (White Yajurveda Chapter 40) A translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899
- Isha Upanishad Upanishad text, Gujarati translation and commentary by Shri Yogeshwarji.
- Isha Upanishad Sri Aurobindo on Isha upanishad.
- Śrī Īśopaniṣad by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
- Śrī Īśopaniṣad translation and commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
- Isha Upanishad translation and commentary by Swami Paramananda
- Isa Upanishad A translation by Swami Nikhilananda
- Multiple translations (Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Johnston, Nikhilānanda)
- Isa Upanishad Gujarati translation and commentary by Yogeshwarji
- Isha Upanishad translation by Sri Aurobindo Gosh, 1910.
Also see this. Similar to the previous, but with slight grammatical variations.
- Isha Upanishad Commentary by Sri Aurobindo Gosh
- Isha Upanishad Commentary by Dr. CS Shah
- Isha Upanishad translation and commentary by P.K. Hari Hara Subramanian.
- Isha Upanishad translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester.
- Isha Upanishad Invocation Translations Several translations of Purna, the Isha Upanishad Invocation.