Ishavasya Upanishad – My Interpretation

Ishavasya Upanishad has many passages that perfectly suit my liberal thoughts and atheistic philosophies. Here are some of them I have interpreted.

The Verse for “Right To Property”
ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ।।
IsAvAsyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyAm jagat |
Tena tyaktena bhunjithA mA grdhah kasyasvid dhanam ||
This everything that moves in this world is owned by Isa (God). Hence consume it sparingly and in a detached manner. Never ever covete for some one else’s possessions
This verse solves the confusion of right to property
(1) Only God owns everything that moves(Jagat) in this world(Jagatyam) . Since world itself is moving, everything on it also is moving. Hence no mortal can own anything that is on this earth. It asks us to consume it as if we are sharing, to be detached, and use it sparingly.
(2) What is the meaning of coveting somebody’s possessions when nobody but God owns things? My understanding is that the meaning of possession means sharing, as if you borrow a book from a circulating library. We cant say we own  a fraction of a library book,because all of it is shared. We neither own it in a time multiplexed manner, or space multiplexed, we only borrow it to enjoy. Not only that whatever we consume is a loan from our future generation, so we must have consideration. If we don’t follow this, it is equivalent to coveting somebody else’s possession. And we should never do that.
(3) This is so simple but so profound.Perhaps this is the best use of the concept of  God.
(4)  Also it proves that we knew earth was not static, we always knew earth was moving, solar system was moving, the entire universe is moving 🙂 and hence we use the word Jagat for this universe.

Principle of Non Aggression
असुर्या नाम ते लोका अन्धेन तमसाऽऽवृताः ।
ताँँस्ते प्रेत्याभिगच्छन्ति ये के चात्महनो जनाः ॥
Asurya Naama Te Loka andhena Tamasaavritaaha |
Taansthe pretyabhigachhanthi ye ke chaatmahano janaaha ||
There is a world without a star and hence is filled with darkness. Those who kill the self would go to that world.
Observe that when Krishna tells one cannot kill the aatma, this verse tells those who kill the Aatma would go to the place where there is no Star, no Light and darkness everywhere. How is this possible, does it not conflict?
Upon reading the Bhashyas further, I found that killing the self means prohibiting somebody (including oneself) to express themselves. This is the classic argument for Non Aggression, the corner stone of libertarianism. Thats why dehatyaga is a virtue, many do that. But Atmahatya is a abominable. Dehatyaga is done in peace, for the welfare of others with full knowledge. Atmahatya is escapism, the reflection of  failure.

Theory of Relativity
अनेजदेकं मनसो जवीयो नैनद्देवा आप्नुवन्पूर्वमर्षत् ।
तद्धावतोऽन्यानत्येति तिष्ठत्तस्मिन्नपो मातरिश्वा दधाति ||
Anejat ekam manasah javiyah na enat devAh apnuvan purvam arsat. |
Tat dhAvatah anyAn atyeti. Tasmin Apah mAtarisvA dadhAti ||
Though it appears not to move, it moves faster than mind. Even God’s cannot reach it, by the time Gods try to reach it, it would have gone farther (think of time travel)
तदेजति तन्नैजति तद्दूरे तद्वन्तिके ।
तदन्तरस्य सर्वस्य तदु सर्वस्य बाह्यतः ॥
Tat ejati tat na ejati. Tat dure tat antike. |
Tat antah asya sarvasya Tat u sarvasya asya bAhyatah ||
It moves but is also static, it is farther but yet near, it is within us but everything is external to it
These two shlokas classically state the main principle of relativistic theory. The self is faster than mind, hence when the Gods of senses try to reach the self, self would have got somewhere else as if it is a time travel. Self moves faster than mind, hence if you know how to control the self you can control  your mind and perhaps see the future 🙂
The second verse above tells that same object can be in motion and be static. It only depends on frame of reference.

Both Science and Philosophy should be studied.
अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते । ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ विद्याया रताः ॥
अन्यदेवाहुर्विद्ययाऽन्यदाहुरविद्यया । इति शुश्रुम धीराणां ये नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ॥
Andham Tamaha Pravishanthi Yo Avidhyaam Upaasathe |
Tato Bhooya Iva te Tamo Ya u Vidhyayaa Rataaha ||
Anyadeva Ahur-vidyaya anyadaahur-avidyayaa |
Iti shushruma dheeranaam ye nastad vichachakshire ||
Those who focus on Avidya alone will go to darkness. And those who study only Vidya will go to a place darker than the first. The result of Vidya is different and the result of Avidya is different, no need to say they conflict with one another, they are orthogonal.
Vidya is the study of Brahman, Avidya is the study of Prakriti which is ever changing and hence indeterministic. The above verse says that those who study only theology/philosophy will goto darkness (know nothing) and those who study only science also will goto darkness (know nothing).  So both have to be studied.
Now people may know that Hinduism is the only religion that is comfortable with science and hence we don’t have problems with evolution 🙂

Saying there is no God (Asambhava) and there is God(Sambhava) deterministically is both wrong, we need to believe in both.
अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽसम्भूतिमुपासते । ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ सम्भूत्या रताः ॥
अन्यदेवाहुः सम्भवादन्यदाहुरसम्भवात् । इति शुश्रुम धीराणां ये नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ॥
Andham Tamaha Pravishanthi Ye Sambhoothim Upaasathe |
Tato Bhooya Iva te Tamo Ya u Vidhyayaa Rataaha ||
Anyadeva Ahur-vidyaya anyadaahur-avidyayaa |
Iti shushruma dheeranaam ye nastad vichachakshire ||
Those who focus on non existence of God(Asambhooti) alone will go to darkness. And those who focus only on presence of God(Sambhoothi) will go to a place darker than the first. The God is for a different purpose and Godlessness serves a different purpose, no need to say they conflict with one another, they are orthogonal.
While most Bhashyakaaras have considered Sambhooti and Asambhooti as formfull/formless God (Saguna/Nirguna). I have taken liberty to translate it as presence or absence of God, hence theism/atheism.The reason is the usage of explicit words of “Sambhava” and “Asambhava” they don’t use Saguna/Nirguna here though they are available. They also don’t use Astika/Nastika which was interpreted as the presence/absence of belief in Vedas.



Who is a Dvija

Varna is said to be based on traits, but how should one identify the traits? It is possible to know one’s character as he/she becomes mature, but would it not be good if we identify it before starting the education? If not a person who is never interested in vedas and philosophy but in say tool making might be forced to waste time in learning BrahmaSutras.

Is that the real reason for Upanayana? After Upanayana a person is called Dvija or twice born.  Why is it so? Is their any linkage between this and Varnashrama? Read On:

(1) As per “Shodasha Samskara”  a brahmin child should not be considered as a brahmin till he gets his Yagnopaveeta, a license to study BrahmaGnyaana. If the child dies before the Upanayana, the child is buried  not cremated.

(2)  It is known that Yagnopaveeta was also worn by ladies during vedic period when they were studying philosophy, later when they were reserved to do house-chores (Unfortunately) they were spared from wearing it or getting Upanayana done.

(3) In older days Upanayana was done for all three major sub groups except the last “Shudras”.

(4) There is a rechristening ritual in Upanayanam, a person  gets a new surname. Usually since it is done only within Brahmin community, the surnames are “Sharma”, “Acharya”, etc. But I take liberty to think that we also get surnames like “Varma” which indicates the person is going to be a Kshatriya, or “Shreshti – Shreeeyam Ishtathi iti Shreshtihi, one who loves wealth is a Shreshti, which got its vernacular version of Shetty” for Vysya. Also it is possible to enjoin yourself to a new Gothra, and then you are called “Gothrapathyam Puman” son by Gotra. There are many Gotra lineages that were thus adopted .(I have the whole Gotra tree with me, but cant put it here it is so huge)

(5) As per Manu Smriti, all three subcasts can study Brahma Gnyaana, but only Brahmins are supposed to teach it, similarly Shastra(Weapons) and  Vyapaara(Business). It also tells that at dire situations people can change their professions, but generally that is not preferred. Also there is clear specification that if a person and his family chooses a different profession and continues to be in that profession for 7 generations the varna changes. Which is a clear evidence that Varna is primarily a trait, but linked to birth only in smritis for the sake of convenience.

Manusmiriti takes the easy step of associating traits with birth. No text explains how to formally join/change a  varna, other than jata-varna. And hence starts my imagination of linking Upanayana as a device to change the Varnas:

Any child born is neither a Brahmin, nor a Kshatriya or Vysya. They all fall into the default bucket of Shudras (Courtesy, first point above). Children of all four Varnas were put under observation. The various behavioural characteristics were analaysed and then parents and society together would decide to which classification the child seems to be fit. Corresponding to the trait of the child respective Upanayana samskaras are done for the child to join the Varna of Brahmana, Kshatriya or Vaishya. If the child is very servile, without having any independent decision making ability, the child is classified as a Shudra and no Upanayanam is done. Hence except Shudras all are called Dvijas, the twice born. Thus even if you consider the Varnas tied to birth, it is tied to the second birth not the first.

Possible Reasons for Upanayana Samskara to be restricted to Brahmins.
Because of marriages strictly within Varnas and genetics, the offsprings might have started to show behavioural characteristics of the same varna  as that they were born. This pattern would have caused people to not to do any Upanayanam and associate the child’s Varna automatically with the first physical birth. However Brahmins who are more traditional continued the process of upanayanam but still they kept the child in the same Varna. But they too laxed the ritual to females and retained it only for males.

I neither endorse atheism or any religion to others. I just present my thoughts. Human beings are generally social beings and I too am one of them.The points I express here are because of my curiosity to extract meaning out of Gods, Religion, and Customs. Essentially my thought process is that people are not fools to start any custom without a reason, but the reason gets faded as time passes by. 

The creation in Hinduism

As per Hindu Philosophy creation happened with Omkara. Omkara is the premordial sound. It is written as ॐ, and  is the creator of all sounds, languages and everything else.  It is the root of creation and hence the original Veda. It also called as Pranava Veda.

However, when I read Bhagavadgeetha, I came upon the following verses.

मम योनिर्महद्ब्रह्म तस्मिन् गर्भम् दधाम्यहं 
संभव: सर्वभूतानां ततो भवति भारत (14.3)

सर्वयोनिषु कौन्तेय मूर्तय:सम्भवन्ति या:
तासां ब्रह्म महत्योनि: अहं बीजप्रद: पिता (14.4)

सत्वं रजस्तम इति गुणा: प्रकृति संभवा:
निबध्नन्ति महाभाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययं (14.5)

In 14.3 Krishna tells that creation happens by him as father and with brahma as his mate. Now it is normal to wonder how two males can generate offspring. Remember sex is immaterial when talking about metaphysics and here Brahma means Prakriti.

In 14.4 Krishna further tells that for all the offsprings that get born out of all the females in the world, the mothers represent Prakriti and fathers represent the Paramatma.

In 14.5 Krishna tells that the attributes that give the diverse quality to body of souls is from “Prakriti” not from him (Purusha). The attributes are Satva,Raja and Tama.

So creation as per Bhagavadgeetha has no concept of Omkara, but has Prakriti and Purusha. Why is this so? I thought there is conflicting literature in the hinduism. Conflicts are fine among distinct darshanas but not in the same Vedanta darshana. Then I came upon this idea of going behind the origin of Omkara.

Lets go to the question of who created Omkara:

As a proof of anti plagiarism, and respecting copyright in ancient India, before reciting any prayer or sookta, we will pay our respect to the poet (lyricist), the composer(one who gives the prosody) and the owner (the producer of the poem :-)). Like wise before reciting Omkara also we acknowledge the stake holders.  Before reciting Omkara, especially during Pranayama, people say this — प्रणवस्य परब्रह्मा ऋषि:  परमात्मा देवता देवी गायत्रि छन्द: प्राणायामे विनियोग:. The creators of Omkara are thus Paramatma, Parabrahma and Gayatri.

So there is one more source of creation: Gayatri. Who is this Gayatri other than Paramatma and Parabrahma? This secret solved recently when I read the Vyakhyana of Bannanje Govindcharya.

In Rigveda we have the following shloka

हिरण्यगर्भ: समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जात: पतिरेक आसीत्।
स दाधार पृथिवीं द्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम॥

Here Vishnu is said to be Hiranyagarbha, or the one who holds the entire universe in his womb as hiranya or Lakshmi.

and in Atharva Veda

अहं सुवे पितरम् अस्य मूर्धन् मम योनिर् अप्स्व् अन्तः समुद्रे |
ततो वि तिष्ठे भुवनानि विश्वोतामूं द्यां वर्ष्मणोप स्पृशामि ||7||

here Lakshmi says, that Parabrahma is born out of her head

तमिद गर्भं परथमं दध्र आपो यत्र देवाःसमगछन्त विश्वे |
अजस्य नाभावध्येकमर्पितंयस्मिन विश्वानि भुवनानि तस्थुः ||

and this Shloka in Rigveda again, tells that Brahma comes out of Vishnu’s Navel .

So we have the trio, Vishnu as Paramatma,  Lakshmi as Gayatri in his womb, and Parabrahma raising out of the Navel of Vishnu. Parabrahma creates the Omkara which is responsible for the creation of the universe. So “bhagavadgeeta creation” and “Rigveda creation” are in sync now.

I wanted to put this analysis as the first post in religiontalks, as we may need to refer this back in our further discussions.

On a side note:
One of the theories to unify all the fundamental forces, superstring theory, says that every particle has its source as a vibration of a super string..

Superstring theory is an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modelling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings.

According to the theory, the fundamental constituents of reality are strings of the Planck length (about 10−33 cm) which vibrate atresonant frequencies. Every string, in theory, has a unique resonance, or harmonic. Different harmonics determine different fundamental particles.

I neither endorse atheism or any religion to others. I just present my thoughts. Human beings are generally social beings and I too am one of them.The points I express here are because of my curiosity to extract meaning out of Gods, Religion, and Customs. Essentially my thought process is that people are not fools to start any custom without a reason, but the reason gets faded as time passes by. 

What I need – Freedom

When I think about religion, I would like to compare it to a mother who out of her love does not trust the capabilities of the child. Trys to control and question each and every action of the child. This behaviour of the mother is not because she wants to have superiority over the child but out of deep love. But the child wants to be free, wants to explore, wants to learn by trial and error. And who knows the child may prove the mother also wrong. But a child needs mother, he/she wants to come back to mother under certain circumstances even though the child has achieved the zenith of success. Similarly I need a religion that lets me be me, even when I tell I am an atheist, even when I say I abhor religion. I dont want my religion to keep me moral I will be moral despite it, I dont want my religion to control me, I will be under control despite it. I dont know if B R Lakshman Rao who wrote this drew the same meaning out of his poem, but yes I try to extract this liberty in everything I see.

ಅಮ್ಮ, ನಿನ್ನ ಎದೆಯಾಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಾಳಕ್ಕೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಮೀನು ಮಿಡುಕಾಡುತಿರುವೆ ನಾನು ಕಡಿಯಲೋಲ್ಲೆ ನೀ ಕರುಳಬಳ್ಳಿ ಒಲವೂಡುತಿರುವ ತಾಯೆ, ಬಿಡದ ಬುವಿಯ ಮಾಯೆ(1) Oh Mother I am like a fish trapped in the depth of your heart.!! I am struggling to come out, but you dont cut that umbilical cord, you want to take care of me forever!!(1)
ನಿನ್ನ ರಕ್ಷೆಗೂಡಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಚ್ಚಗೆ ಆಡಗಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ದಿನ ? ದೂಡು ಹೊರಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಓಟ ಕಲಿವೆ, ಒಳನೋಟ ಕಲಿವೆ, ನಾಕಲಿವೆ ಊರ್ಧ್ವ ಗಮನ, ಓ ಆಗಾಧ ಗಗನ(2) How many days more should I be under your protection !! Please push me out, I will learn to run !! I will learn the inner truth !! I will learn how to reach the top !! I will go beyond the enoromous sky!!(2)
ಮೇಲೆ ಹಾರಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ಸೆಳೆತ ಮೀರಿ, ನಿರ್ಭಾರಸ್ಥಿತಿಗೆ ತಲುಪಿ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾಂಡವನ್ನೇ ಬೆದಕಿ ಇಂಧನ ತೀರಲು, ಬಂದೇ ಬರುವೆನು ಮತ್ತೆ ನಿನ್ನ ತೊಡೆಗೆ, ಮೂರ್ತ ಪ್ರೇಮದೆಡೆಗೆ I will jump up !! I will overcome your pull!! I will feel weightlessness!! I stir the entire universe!! But dont worry, I’ll return to your lap!! I will not forget your unconditional love!!(3)

What is my belief?

I can never do justice in translating this beautiful poem by Kuvempu, but yes here is my humble attempt. Please excuse me I am not able to convey it properly, but yes this is my belief. And this is where I want to begin.

ಒ ನನ್ನ ಚೇತನ
ಆಗು ನೀ ಅನಿಕೇತನ (1)
Oh my dear self
You be beyond having abodes(1)
ರೂಪ ರೂಪಗಳನು ದಾಟಿ
ಭಾವ ಕೋಟಿಗಳನು ಮೀಟಿ
ಎದೆಯ ಬಿರಿಯೆ ಭಾವ ಧೀಟಿ
ಆಗು ಆಗು ಆಗು(2)
Go through different ideologies, experience them all!!
Go through different emotions,let them not shackle you!!
Be expressive,do not hide your emotions !!
Continue updating again and again!! (2)
ನೂರು ಮತದ ಹೊಟ್ಟತೂರಿ
ಎಲ್ಲ ತತ್ತ್ವದೆಲ್ಲೆ ಮೀರಿ
ನಿರ್ಧಿಗಂತವಾಗಿ ಏರಿ
ಆಗು ಆಗು ಆಗು(3)
Be aware of hundred schools of thoughts !!
Take the best out of them!!
And grow beyond the skys!!
Continue updating again and again!! (3)
ಎಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ನಿಲ್ಲದಿರು
ಮನೆಯನೆಂದು ಕಟ್ಟದಿರು
ಕೊನೆಯನೆಂದು ಮುಟ್ಟದಿರು
ಓ ಅನಂತವಾಗಿರು(4)
Dont stop any where!!
Dont ever take a permanent shelter and stagnate your growth!!
Limit is a farce, dont think you reached the end!
Be everchanging, Be Infinite (4)
ಅನಂತ ತಾನನಂತವಾಗಿ
ಆಗುತಿಹನೆ ನಿತ್ಯಯೋಗಿ
ಅನಂತ ನೀನನಂತವಾಗು
ಆಗು ಆಗು ಆಗು(5)
Those who already are infinite,
Will be always one with their internal selves
You also be infinite(5)

Why I question?

To laugh is to risk appearing fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams,
before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the
greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing, do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change,
grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves;
they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.