Some thoughts on iishaavaasyopanishhad

MSR miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM
Fri Aug 2 13:30:25 CDT 2002

Om shrImAtre namaH

In his introduction to upanishhad-s, Sri vidyaraNya states that the
word upanishhad can mean only brahma-vidyaa. The term "upa" means near
or close.  And the root "sad" has few different meanings such as,  "to
decay", "to know or lead", "to destroy" etc. What is near or close at
all times and all places is  Atman. Based on this the term "upanishhad"
can be interpreted in the following ways. 1) By revealing the knowledge
about Brahman it takes jIva closer to brahman, which non-dual and
decays  the avidya and its effects.  2) By destroying the ignorance,
which is root cause of all evils, it reveal Him who is none other than
the inner Self which is near and dear to all 3) It destroys the outward
activities and takes the jIva inward and closer to Self.  (this is
based on my limited understanding of the text).

The words Atman or Self is a highly technical word and it denotes
different meanings on different contexts. Which in English some try to
convey by capitalizing S or otherwise.  For instance, the word Lion,
could mean a)  someone who has lion like qualities b) a deer mistakenly
considered as lion  or e) the true lion  itself. Hence taking one
closer to the Self should considered carefully. It takes the jiva who
erroneously thinks he is different from Atman closer to Atman.
Closeness to an entity is a consequence of initimate knowledge than
physical proximity.

Upanishads occurs in shruti or veda-s. Even though sometimes it is
mentioned as if it is a separate section of veda-s due to its
importance, it is not.  It is actually occurs in in one of the three
parts of vedas which are respectively samhita-s, brahmaNa-s and
aaraNyaka-s. In this case, the text iishaavaasyopanishhad occurs in the
samhita of shukla yahur veda. Hence it is often called as
samhitopanishhad or mantropanishhad. To give other examples,
bR^ihadaaraNyaka occurs in aaraNyaka portion  the entire aaraNyaka is
the upanishad; and text of kenopanishhad occurs in brahmaNa section of
the vedas.

My intention of discussing this upanishad is to iron out my
misunderstandings and get a clearer picture.  I have read shankara
bhashhya in translation and cursorily the bhaashhya by Sri Raghavendra.
Here I would like to restrict myself to shankara bhaashya.

I respectfully request your comments and suggestions.

ambaaL daasan


sharaNAgata raxakI nivEyani sadA ninnu nammiti mInAxI

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