Concept of personal God and Advaita

Stephanie Stean cerebral_rose at MAC.COM
Tue May 21 09:52:30 CDT 2002

Hello and Thanks for the information.  I believe Radhakrishnan is more known
for his translations than his commentaries, especially in western academic
circles. I will take a look at the commentaries you've mentioned from
Prabhupad and Sri Aurobindo.

I know that before I read any of the commentaries and before I knew anything
about the differing philosophical schools, I interpreted the Isa Upanisad as
more of an expression of the Oneness of all, versus referencing a personal
God. If you want me to share my reasons why, I will gladly do so.

I saw advaita in the Gita as much as dvaita or visistadvaita.  And every
reading I feel more strongly about this (especially when reading books 10
and 11).  I've used and compared many more translations and commentaries on
this text than the Upanisads.

During my readings, I rely on translations as well as my own knowledge of
Sanskrit (so far, my study of the language has been for one year).

Radhakrishnan's translation of the mantras are below, since you're not
familiar with him:

Mantra 15:

The face of truth is covered with a golden disc.  Unveil it, O Pusan, so
that I who love the truth may see it.

> Your Translation:
> O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your
> dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to
> Your pure devotee.

Mantra 16:

O Pusan, the sole seer, O Controller, O sun, offspring of Praja-pati, spread
forth your rays and gather up your radiant light that I may behold you of
loveliest form.  Whosoever is that person (yonder) that also I am.

> Your Translation:
> O my Lord, O primeval philosopher, maintainer of the universe, O regulating
> principle, destination of the pure devotees, well-wisher of the progenitors
> of mankind, please remove the effulgence of Your transcendental rays so
> that I can see Your form of bliss. You are the eternal Supreme Personality
> of Godhead, like unto the sun, as am I.
> Kindly share your knowledge to my benefit. Which advaita acharya's
> translation of Isopanishad would you recommend?
A professor I've worked with, who is an expert in Sanskrit (her PhD in India
was in Sanskrit literature and she also has a PhD in Linguistics),
interpreted mantra 15 for me one day.  Her interpretation, if I remember
correctly, was similar to Radhakrishnan's:  She said that the golden disc is
the tempting world of maya that keeps us distracted from seeing the truth.
So the desire is to remove that golden disc so that we can see the Truth
(beauty and Oneness of Reality or Brahman).

Thanks so much for your response.  Please share more if you like, anyone.  I
would like to learn more.

Take care,


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