Translation and Commentary
Om purnamadah purnamidam purnat purnamudacyate
purnasya purnamadaya purnamevavasisyate
Om santih santih santih
The Word which is complete is complete in itself.
From it was produced this complete creation.
Yet the complete still remains complete.
idam—this phenomenal world;
pürnät— from the perfect;
pürnasya—of the Complete Whole is;
ädäya— having been taken away;
avasisyate—remainder, what is left
Om ! That is full; this is full, (for) from the
full the full (indeed) arises. When the full is taken from the full,
what remains is full indeed. Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace ! (Panoli)
The official explanation in the Upanishad for AUM
is that it consists of three sounds representing the three persons
within the Godhead, but forming one united sound that creates – the
concept of One in Three Persons. It also introduces the fullness or
the substance of God as represented by the silence that follows or
the totality of the syllable. The Word was the first expression of
God through which the whole cosmos – living and the nonliving –
visible and the invisible – were all created.
The study of the sacred sound Om indicates that
it is the representation of the Logos concept. In fact John 1:1 is
replicated in exact form in the later Indian scriptures. The
earliest direct references are found in the later Upanishads
Prashna Upanishad and Mandukya. On the other hand Om is
inscribed in all Kerala Christian Churches of antiquity at the
Joh 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not
anything made that was made.
It is the Word that creates from exnihilo. Hence
both that creates and that is created are complete without within
the complete. Isa did not create anything from within so that some
thing was lost by the Word.
Gen 1:3 And God said, "Let there be" ……. and
there was…….And God saw that it was good.
If one looks even deeper, the whole of Kabala and
the threefold tree reaching into the unknown darkness encased in the
ineffable name of YHVH can be seen in the Upanishadic teachings. It
goes far deeper than the simple logos of the Greek.
In contrast, the later Hindu trinity (Brahma,
Vishnu, Maheswara of today) with its intricate mythologies are based
on the dialectics of good and evil and their interaction, a feature
borrowed from the Gnosticism - after the coming of Manichaean the
Persian Gnostic. This was the basic conflict on which Manicheans
were declared heretics by the early churches everywhere in the
world. The AUM on the other hand is the Christian "Word", and
represents the Trinity based on Love and not on conflict.
The symbol and mantra AUM emerged in Indian scene
soon after the mission of St.Thomas the Apostle and were seen only
after that time. All early churches in Kerala had used this as the
Christian symbol and they appear at the entrance of the seven
original churches established by Thomas.
The Bible makes a clear distinction between the
Creator and created beings, yet as the invocation affirms Isa never
cease to be God, nor can the created be God though it is perfect and
complete within itself. Isa did not depend on any preexisting entity
separate from himself—no preexisting stuff, no autonomous
principles, no other gods. There were no two eternals – Purusha and
Prakriti. (God and Nature). God is the source of all being, and
non-being. Nothing exists self-sufficiently apart from this God.
The creation by Word – Om as the creative
principle implies two realities:
(1) God is a personal being and not a principle.
(2) The world exists by a personal act, namely,
an effected word spoken by God.
In all Indian Vedic, Buddhist and Jain religions,
gods were just a class within the cosmos and were governed and
controlled by the eternal science of the cosmos. These laws were
essentially the cycle of birth, decay, death, and rebirth. In a
sense it makes Prakriti – the Physical Universe with all its Laws –
as the God of gods and man. It is here Isa Upanishad comes in sharp
contrast with the previous religions of India. God is absolutely
free, and the world, is an absolutely free act by this absolutely
free God. God is beyond any cosmic principles which he imposed on
it. He is still capable of transforming and recreating it and is in
fact doing it. Since the Perfect God created the world, He created
it perfect too. If there is decay or death it has to be explained in
terms of the God who controls the cosmos. They are there not without
Isavasyamidam sarvam yatkiñca jagatyam jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjitha ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam || 1 ||
Jesus is immanent in this entire universe –
whatever in this universe, animate or inanimate.
By Him is given sacrificially what is given for your enjoyment.
Therefore do not try to gain some one else’s wealth.
äväsyam—immanent, pervaded ;
or Isa vasyam = Jesus lives
yat kina—whatever; whatsoever
jagatyäm—within the universe or cosmos
jagat— the world (both animate and inanimate)
tyaktena— sacrificially; willingly ; granted;
bhunjithä— what is given accept or enjoy;
gådhaù—try to gain, crave for, seek;
kasya svit—someone else’s;
"The world is swaddled in the glory of the Lord.
Renounce it and enjoy it. Do not covet anyone's
wealth." (trans. P. Lal)
"Everything animate or inanimate that is within
the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should
therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are
set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things,
knowing well to whom they belong." (trans. Prabhupada)
All this, whatsoever moves on earth, is to be
hidden in the Lord. When thou hast surrendered all this, then thou
mayest enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man. (trans. Max
All this should be covered by the Lord,
whatsoever moves on the earth. By such a renunciation protect
(thyself). Covet not the wealth of others. Panoli
The name of God as Isa stands in sharp contrast
to the Devas of the Pre-Christian Period. It is a personal name as
opposed to a generic name for god. The name appears only in the post
Christian Upanishads written in Sanskrit. The concept of
Parameshwara originally comes from the concept of El Elyon which is
translated as The Most High God as in Gen 14:18 where Melchiz’edek
king of Salem was called the priest of God Most High, maker of
heaven and earth. He blessed Abraham in the name of the God Most
High and then onwards Abraham himself swore in that name in Gen
Regarding the starting word
“Isavasya” this is what the Sanskrit Scholar Dr. A. Stone states: “It
is clear that the first word, ii;saa, could theoretically be a
proper noun in compound with the second word (which might begin aa-
or with no vowel), OR the instrumental singular of either ii;s or
ii;sa or ii;saa.“ If this is true then this upanishad specifically
is naming Jesus as God.
The Hebrew name of the person whom we refer as
Yehoshuav which is rendered in English as Joshua . A
shortened form of the name is
from which we get the Dravidian translation through St. Thomas as
Yesu, Easow, Isa, Iswara
In contrast, the name given in Greco-Roman
culture is derived from their context as follows: When the good news
of the gospel was translated into to the Greco- Roman culture by
Paul and his group it was rendered in Greek as
pronounced as Yesous. Y in some languages is pronounced as J (ya as
ja) rendering it as JESUS. While we have no hesitation to
accept the name Jesus, even though it is only a Greco-Roman version
of the real name, we should have no problem in seeing the name Isa,
Maheswara, Parameshwara as equivalent to Jesus. Evidently this was
brought into Indian scenario by Thomas who arrived in India by 52 AD
and traveled all around into for twenty years and was finally
martyred in 72 AD in Madras, Tamil Nadu.
In fact there is no Isa in Hinduism. However as
the Gnostic infiltration took away the historical Jesus, Isa was
replaced with any favorite deity name according to which religious
sect quoted it. Thus Vaishnavite equate Isa with Hari or Krishna,
and Saivite with Siva. It is not difficult for any reader to see
what was happening.
The first part is a clear statement of the
doctrine of immanence of God. That God is specified as Isa. It also
implies that everything animate or inanimate that is within the
universe is controlled by Jesus. Since the creation came out of God
through the Word it is still within Godhead. This doctrine is the
doctrine of immanence of God. It is this necessary logic that is
enunciated in the first Mantra of Isa Upanishad. Immanence is a
difficult concept as long as we think if the space- time four
dimensional terms. But cosmos consists of many dimensions and hence
allows for a meaningful possible understanding of immanence. But God
is immanent. He is inside all that He has made as well as
outside. He is the Sustainer and Preserver. He is the source
of all power and all beauty. Nothing could continue to exist
for a moment if He were not continually keeping it in being.
This unity of the cosmos in God implies certain
responsibilities to all sentient beings. That is to share the cosmos
with each other in Love.
Gal 5:13 -15 For you were called to freedom,
brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the
flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole
law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as
yourself." But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you
are not consumed by one another.
kurvanneveha karmani jijivisecchatam samah |
evam tvayi nanyatheto'sti na karma lipyate nare ||2||
If a man wishes to live a full life on this world,
he should live doing his duties.
There is no other way for man
than to do the work as is given to him.
kurvan = doing;
eva = only, even, thus;
iha = here, in this world, while a human being;
karman.i = (prescribed) actions, duties, works;
jijıvis.et = jıvitum.icchet = desire to live;
satam.samah.= a hundred (years) equivalent, a full life;
evam.= thus, in this way;
tvayi = for you;
anyatha = otherwise, different;
itah.= from this;
asti = there is;
karma = work
lipyate = stains,taints, bound, given;
nare = to man.
Though a man may wish to live a hundred years,
performing works, it will be thus with him; but not in any other
way: work will thus not cling to a man (Trans. Max Muller)
By performing karma in this world (as enjoined by
the scriptures) should one yearn to live a hundred years. Thus
action does not bind thee, the doer. There is no other way than
Obeying the commandments of God, and living a
life in consonance with it, is the only way to live a long life on
this earth. Going against the rules of the cosmos will only hurt
those who violate it. But living in consonance with the laws, one
can enjoy it and live a fulfilled life.
Deu 4:25-26 "When you beget children and
children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act
corruptly by making a graven image in the form of anything, and by
doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to
provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you
this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you
are going over the Jordan to possess; you will not live long upon
it, but will be utterly destroyed.
Deu 11:8-9 "You shall therefore keep all the
commandment which I command you this day, that you may be strong,
and go in and take possession of the land which you are going over
to possess, and that you may live long in the land which the LORD
swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a
land flowing with milk and honey.
asurya nama te loka andhena tamasa'vrtah |
tamste pretyabhigacchanti ye ke catmahano janah || 3 ||
People who harm the soul
will go into the dark worlds
which is covered in blind darkness after death.
nämate— by the name;
ävrtäh— covered, enveloped;
pretyabhi —after death;
gacchanti—goes into, are trapped into, fall into;
ye ke—those who;
ätma—hanaù—harm the soul;
There are the worlds of the Asuras covered with
blind darkness. Those who have destroyed their self (who perform
works, without having arrived at a knowledge of the true Self), go
after death to those worlds. (trans. Max Muller)
Here Muller equates Asurya (sunless) with Asura
which has no connection at all. Asura in the Hindu thought are those
who were born of the breath of the Lord as Blavinsky points out.
Mat 8:11-12 I tell you, many will come from east
and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the
kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into
the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."
In the Bible the hell is described as outer
darkness as given in Isa Upanishad.
Says Swami Vivekananda: "In the Vedas, there is
no mention of hell. But our Puranas, the later works of our
scriptures, thought that no religion could be complete, unless hells
are attached to it, and so they invented all sorts of hells"
(Complete Works 1:400).
"The concept of heaven and hell evolved at a
later stage when we find such amendments in the Veda as "Go thou to
the heaven or to the earth, according to thy merit…"
In fact Hell and Heaven are interposed between
incarnations to make space in the Hindu system. The concept of Hell
is alien to pre-Christian Indian thought. It has no place in the
reincarnation cycle. This is because if Heaven and Hell are rewards
or Punishments for the Karma, then Karma Phala is paid for and
further incarnations become redundant. For Vedics and Buddhists and
Jains, this living. in a decaying world was the hell.
In contrast Isa Upanishad proposes a Hell in
direct consonance with the early Christian concept of Hell – a place
of punishment for the sins of this age.
Especially of interest is the Vayu Purana which
describes hell graphically. Since this was written during the
medieval era, it is certain that it is borrowed from Christianity.
The four-square city of Yama, the God of Death, simulates pearly
city of heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation.
CHAPTERS I to VII deal with Hells.
CHAPTER XIV deals with Heaven
CHAPTER III. An Account of the Torments of
34. There is one big tree there, glowing like
a blazing fire. It covers five yojanas and is one yojana in
35. Having bound them on the tree by chains,
head downwards, they beat them. They, for whom there is no
rescuer, cry, burning there.
36. Many sinful ones are hung on that
silk-cotton tree, exhausted by hunger and thirst, and beaten by
the messengers of Yama. 49. Some of the sinful are cut with
saws, like firewood, and others thrown flat on the ground, are
chopped into pieces with axes.
50. Some, their bodies half-buried in a pit,
are pierced in the head with arrows. Others, fixed in the middle
of a machine, are squeezed like sugar-cane.
An Account of the City of the King of Justice.
In the middle of the city, is the very
resplendent mansion of the king of justice. It is shining with
jewels, and splendid like lightning, flame and the sun.
It is certainly two hundred yojanas in
extent, and measures fifty yojanas in height.
It is supported by thousands of pillars,
decorated with emeralds, ornamented with gold, and is full of
palaces and mansions,
Pleasing to the mind with cupolas of the
splendour of the autumnal sky; with beautiful crystal stairways
and walls beautified with diamonds,
anejadekam manaso javiyo nainaddeva apnuvanpurvamarsat |
taddhavato'nyanatyeti tisthattasminnapo matarisva dadhati ||
Although fixed in His abode,
the one who has no beginning
is swifter than the mind and can overcome all others running.
The powerful gods cannot approach Him.
Although in one place,
He supplies even the (rain and wind) life giving spirit to all
anejad— not trembling, free of all fear, fixed;
manaso—with the mind;
äpnuvan—can approach; comprehend, know fully
pürvam—in front; from before, since beginningless time;
arsat—moving quickly; knowing (freely and from His own nature);
dhävato—those who are running;
tisthat—remaining in one place;
mätarisvä—the god of wind and rain; Mukhya Pran, Life giving Spirit
That one (the Self), though never stirring, is
swifter than thought. The Devas (senses) never reached it, it walked
before them. Though standing still, it overtakes the others who are
running. Matarisvan (the wind, the moving spirit) bestows powers on
it. (trans. Max Muller)
Unmoving, It is one, faster than the mind. The
senses cannot reach It, for It proceeds ahead. Remaining static It
overtakes others that run. On account of Its presence, Matarsiva
(the wind) conducts the activities of beings. (Panoli)
This verse is the statement of Omnipotence of Isa.
Omnipotence is power with no limits. Monotheistic religions
generally attribute omnipotence only to God. In the philosophy of
most Western monotheistic religions, omnipotence is listed as one of
God's characteristics among many, including omniscience,
omnipresence, and benevolence.Isa Upanishad defines Isa with exactly
these four characteristics.
Act 17:27-29 that they should seek God, in the
hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far
from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our
being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think
that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation
by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God
overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent.
tadejati tannaijati taddure tadvantike |
tadantarasya sarvasya tadu sarvasya bahyatah || 5 ||
He moves but does not move;
He is far away, yet He is very near;
He is everywhere of this and even outside of this.
na ejati— moves not
antike—very near, by the side;
sarvasya—of all, in all;
It stirs and it stirs not; it is far, and
likewise near. It is inside of all this, and it is outside of all
this. (trans, Max Muller)
The Transcendence and Immanence of Isa are a pair
of necessary truths, which must be held together.
To emphasize either side and neglect the other is
to fall into serious error. To believe in God's transcendence
and to neglect His immanence is to fall into Deism. To believe
in His immanence and to neglect His transcendence is to fall into
The word transcendence comes from tran-ascend
is thus to surpass or excel or move beyond something. The Christian
doctrine of God, divine transcendence refers to God being beyond
anything that is other than God. In Christian theology what’s other
than God is, by definition, the creation.
Immanence denotes the ongoing presence and
activity of God in creation.
God both transcends creation and is immanent in
it. As immanent in creation, God sustains and preserves the
creation, down to the smallest details. It is not a mechanical world
which is wound and then goes by itself.
This verse is an emphasis on the balance of the
notion of immanence and transcendence. Because of the immanence he
does not have to move or change. He is already everywhere at the
same time he is beyond this cosmos itself. On the personal level you
cannot hide from Him. Thus this verse defines the Omnipresence of
"He is near and also very far" (yadduure
"He is within and without" (tadantarasya
sarvasya tadu sarvasya baahyatah.);
"He moves and yet does not move" (taddhaavato’nyaanatyeti
yastu sarvani bhutanyatmanyevanupasyati |
sarvabhutesu catmanam tato na vijugupsate || 6 ||
He who perceives the spirit of God in all beings ,
and perceives the immanence of God in everything ,
does not entertain any hatred and does not hide it.
bhütäni—beings, creatures, objects, sentient beings;
ätmani—the Spirit ;
anupasyati—perceives; excellently beholds, clearly understands;
sarva-bhüteñu—in every living being;
ätmänam—the ruler of the soul;
vijugupsate— wish to hide or seek concealment.
And he who beholds all beings in the Self, and
the Self in all beings, he never turns away from it. (trans, Max
Max Muller seems to identify the Spirit with Self
all through his translation possibly because of the influence of
Advaita, though it is not warranted anywhere as such.
One who sees all animate and inanimate nature
from the point of view of Isa (for He exists outside them and is
their support), and also sees the Spirit of Isa in all of them (for
He exists in them, and is their controller from within), has no
reason to hate anything or anyone. Everyperson is created by Isa and
guides them. What is enunciated here is not the identity of God in
persons – not the"I am God" concept, but the presence of the spirit
of God in the creation especially in the sentient beings.
In Christianity it is the presented as the
concept of the "Children of God" – people in whom the Spirit of God
resides. In that sense all living has the Spirit of God, because it
is the Spirit that gives life. In the genealogy of Jesus Luke ends
up as (Luk 3:38) Adam, the son of God. Theosis, (also called
divinization, deification, or transforming union) was one of the
most important of early Christian doctrines which was probably
brought into India by Thomas. When united with Jesus willingly every
person transforms himself into the image of the Son of God.
"In this way we are all to come to unity in our
faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the
perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself." —Ephesians
This is the basic Eastern Theology of Theosis –
that all creation is within God, and all sentient beings are the
Children of God with potentiality to be like Christ himself as we
grow in Him. C.S. Lewis got the spirit of it in the following
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of
possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most
uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if
you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . ." —C.
S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
"God said that we were "gods" and He is going to
make good His words. If we let Him-for we can prevent Him if we
choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or
goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through
with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now
imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God
perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless
power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in
parts very painful; but that is what we are in for."—C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity 174-5
"Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life,
which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for
us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be
remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never
yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong,
radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy." —C. S. Lewis, The
Grand Miracle, p.
The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to
reveal his sons... From the beginning until now, the entire creation
has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only
creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit,
we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. —Rom.
May they all be one, Father, may they be one in
us, as you are in me, and I am in you, so that the world may believe
that it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory which you
gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and
you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise
that it was you who sent me, and that I have loved them as much as
you loved me. —John 17:21-23
yasminsarvani bhutanyatmaivabhudvijanatah |
tatra ko mohah kah soka ekatvamanupasyatah ||7 ||
One who has known that the spirit of God is present in
he will realize that sorrow and pain are transient.
yasmin—in the situation;
ätmä— spirit within
abhüt—present, exist within;
vijänataù—of one who knows; who understands
mohaù—illusion, delusion, transient;
"One who always sees all living entities as
spiritual sparks, in quality one with the Lord, becomes a true
knower of things. What, then, can be illusion or anxiety for him?"
It is the nature of the present world of this age
to have pain and sorrow. Since God is the creator and upholder of
this world, the perceiver should know that it is only transient and
is here for a purpose.
suddhamapapaviddham kavirmanisi paribhuh
vyadadhacchasvatibhyah samabhyah || 8 ||
It is He who pervades all—
He, who is bright and bodiless, without sinews, pure and untouched
who is omniscient, transcendent and uncreated, self existent,
He has duly allotted respective purposes from ages to ages.
saù—that person; he;
chukram—the omnipotent; free from sorrow
akäyam—unembodied; lacking a subtle body;
avranam—complete, not suffering from limitations of time, space or
manéñé—one who controls the minds;
paribhüù—the greatest of all;
yäthätathyataù— as is
arthän—desirables; entities, objects
vyadadhät—awards; created, ordained or determined purpose
samäbhyaù—time, years, ages.
"Far-sighted, wise, encompassing, he
self-existent hath prescribed aims, as propriety demands, unto the
everlasting Years" (trans. Griffith)
He (the Self) encircled all, bright, incorporeal,
scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil ; a seer, wise,
omnipresent, self-existent, he disposed all things rightly for
eternal years. (trans, Max Muller)
"Such a person must factually know [paryagat]
the greatest of all, the Personality of Godhead [shukram],
who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure
and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher who has been
fulfilling everyone's desire since time immemorial." (trans.
Col 1:15 - 17 He is the image of the invisible
God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were
created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things
were created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things
This God who loves the creation works out the
purposes of this age as well as the purposes of the ages to come to
fulfill his ultimate purpose of bringing the creation unto himself.
Behold I make ALL things new.
andham tamah pravisanti ye'vidyamupasate |
tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u vidyayam ratah || 9 ||
Into a blind darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance;
but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in Gnosis.
andham tamaù— blinding darkness;
praviçanti—enter into; obtain
avidyäm— out of ignorance
tataù—than that; and then
bhüyaù—still more; greater
vidyäyäm—with knowledge; Gnosis
All who worship what is not real knowledge (good
works), enter into blind darkness : those who delight in real
knowledge, enter, as it were, into greater darkness. (trans. Max
Those who worship avidya (karma born of
ignorance) go to pitch darkness, but to a greater darkness than this
go those who are devoted to Vidya (knowledge of the Devatas). (Vidyavachaspati
Salvation does not come with works or knowledge.
So those who follow karmic path goes into darkness, those who follow
intellectual inquiry goes into greater darkness. You cannot know God
through your actions nor through your intellect because even though
he is present in the world he is also beyond it.
Sankaracharya could not explain this passage
since both the avidyam and the vidyayam both go into darkness.
Rituals cannot save man, nor can good deeds, nor knowledge.
Knowledge is usually associated with the Gnosticism. Gnosticism (the
Congress of Messina) distinguished between "gnosis" in general as
"knowledge of the divine mysteries reserved for an elite" and
"Gnosticism" proper which is characterized by the notion that a
divine spark has fallen into our world, is entrapped in the
soul of man, and must be awakened by a divine aspect or counterpart
of the self so that it can be raised and reintegrated with the
divine sphere. This group was a second century development which
entered into India. India later became the center of Gnosticism.
What we know today as Hinduism is nothing but Gnosticism of India.
It is this Gnosticism that is referred to here as Vidya.
The name is derived from the Greek word "gnosis"
which literally means "knowledge." However, the English
words "Insight" and "enlightenment" capture more of
the meaning of "gnosis." Knowledge (gnosos) is not achieved
through a purely cognitive procedure. Yoga, Tapas, dialectic, and
reflection are the means to enter into the divine realm to which it
is cosubstantial. The mantra categorically rejects that idea of
salvation through Karma (work) as well as through Jnana (Knowledge).
Tit 3:5-7 he saved us, not because of deeds
done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the
washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he
poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that
we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of
iti susruma dhiranam ye nastadvicacaksire || 10 ||
One thing, they say, is obtained through intellectual knowledge;
another, they say, from work.
Thus we have heard from the wise who have taught us this.
anyat—different; the other
çuçruma—we have heard;
dhéräëäm—from the persons of sound understanding;
One thing, they say, is obtained from real
knowledge; another, they say, from what is not knowledge. Thus we
have heard from the wise who taught us this. ( Max Muller)
Some people including Sankara interprets Avidya
as Rituals and Vidya as Knowledge. Gnostic teachers taught that
there were a vast number of lesser gods or divine emanations that
emanated from the One true God. Hence we have here the association
of Vidya with lesser gods. Both Rituals and Knowledge leads to
destruction. The rewards for following work and following the lower
gods of nature are different, Both do not lead to salvation. They
can provide temporary gains. Each act has its own reward.
vidyam cavidyam ca yastadvedobhayam saha |
avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya'mrtamasnute ||11 ||
He who is aware that both
knowledge and the truth beyond knowledge should be pursued together,
overcomes death through non- knowledge
and obtains immortality through knowledge.
avidyäm—non-knowledge; rituals, works;
yaù—a person who;
avidyayä—through non-knowledge; trans-knowledge
He who knows at the same time both knowledge and
non-knowledge, overcomes death through non-knowledge, and obtains
immortality through knowledge (trans. Max Muller)
It has two statements:
- Through Knowledge or Vidyaya you obtain immortality
- Through Non-Knowledge or avidyaya you overcome death.
You cannot overcome death by yourself however learned you are. For
that you need to go back to Isa who alone overcame death in his own
body. But knowing him and submitting yourself to him you will be
able to live a righteous life leading to immortality. In this sense
you need both together to be redeemed. Just having one will only
lead to death.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for
all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to
God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death
into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides
Col 1:21-23 And you, who once were estranged and
hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body
of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless
and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the
faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the
gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature
Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in
you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,
which is idolatry.
andham tamah pravisanti ye'sambhutimupasate |
tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u sambhutyam ratah || 12 ||
All who worship
what is not god, enter into blind darkness:
those who delight in the gods, enter, into greater darkness.
andham tamaù—pitch darkness;
praviçanti—enter into, obtain
asambhütim— not true God
bhüyaù—still more, greater;
All who worship what is not the true cause, enter
into blind darkness: those who delight in the true cause, enter, as
it were, into greater darkness.(trans. Max Muller)
Those who follow work without concern for God
enter into blind darkness. But those who worship other gods will go
into still more deeper darkness.
anyadevahuh sambhavadanyadahurasambhavat |
iti susruma dhiranam ye nastadvicacaksire || 13 ||
One thing, they say,
is obtained from the worship of Isa;
another, they say, from the worship of the not-Isa.
Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.
anyat—different, the other;
ähuù—it is said;
sambhavät—by worshiping the true God who is the cause of all causes;
ähuù—it is said;
asambhavät—by worshiping what is not the true God
çuçruma—I heard it;
dhéräëäm—from the wise
tat—about that vicacakñire—perfectly explained.
One thing, they say, is obtained from (knowledge
of) the cause; another, they say, from (knowledge of) what is not
the cause. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us
this.(trans. Max Muller)
There are all sorts of beings in the cosmos with
varying degrees of freedom and power. If one worships these beings,
they do confer what they can. If you worship wealth (Lakshmi) you
get wealth, if you worship Knowledge (Saraswathi) you get knowledge.
But none of those will lead to redemption from decay and death –
moksha. That comes only through the worship of Isa. Worship of devas
(demigods) is condemned in favour of worship of Isa only, for
worship of anything other than the Isa brings about different
results. The reward for correct worship is given as a future life of
eternity, bliss and knowledge.
sambhutim ca vinasam ca yastadvedobhayam saha |
vinasena mrtyum tirtva sambhutya'mrtamasnute || 14 ||
He who knows at the same time
both Isa and the reason for the destruction of our body,
obtains the eternal Kingdom of God and will enjoy it after death.
sambhütim— The knowledge of true God
vinäçena—to destruction ;
sam—bhütyä—in the eternal kingdom of God;
He who knows at the same time both the cause and
the destruction (the perishable body), overcomes death by
destruction (the perishable body), and obtains immortality through
(knowledge of ) the true cause.(trans. Max Muller)
What is implied here is the temporal law of decay
and death. the cause of pain and suffering has a reason. That reason
lie in the knowledge of Isa itself and the redemption also lie in
Isa. The shocking revelation here is that decay and death are not
the normal order of Isa’s creation. Decay and death was imposed on
creation caused by promulgating Self as the Supreme, bringing harm
to the rest of the beings. In Christian terms it is called Sin –
Selfishness – I am separate from the rest of the cosmos.
Rom 8:20-24 for the creation was subjected to
futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected
it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its
bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of
God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail
together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who
have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for
adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we
Isa Upanishad verses 15-18 are recited at the
time of death, even today by Hindus, in their funeral rites. We are
required to remember our past deeds follow the departing soul and
they determine the nature of the future life.
hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham |
tat tvam pusannapavrnu satyadharmaya drstaye || 15 ||
The Truth is concealed with a golden cover.
Unveil it, O sustainer,
so that the true worshippers may behold the Truth.
hiraëmayena—by a golden effulgence;
satyasya—of the truth;
dharmäya—unto the devotee;
The door of the True is covered with a golden
disk. Open that, O Pushan, that we may see the nature of the
True.(trans. Max Muller)
The Gnostics cover the truth with great many
words of apparent wisdom and logic. Once those golden cover is
removed, we will be able to see the truth. Truth is for everyone and
for the select few or initiated. You can however hinder the truth
from being seen with golden cover as is done by the gnosis people.
Col 2:21-23 Why do you submit to
regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"
(referring to things which all perish as they are used), according
to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of
wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and
severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the
indulgence of the flesh.