Sri Isha Upanishad

        The Isha Upanishad is part of the White Yajur-veda. It is short with a total of only 19 mantras or verses. Nonetheless, it contains a concentrated view of the essential Vedic philosophy. It is also considered quite auspicious to recite this Isha Upanishad, which produces not only insights into our spiritual position and identity, but also the proper energy from the sound vibrations to invoke purity in the atmosphere as well as realizations in our consciousness. It shows the way the Upanishads describe the nonmaterial aspects of the Supreme Being, as when it describes Him as One who walks but does not walk. It is a way of relating how the Lord has no material qualities, but has all spiritual qualities and characteristics. By understanding this, one can begin to perceive the spiritual truths of which the Upanishads speak.

The Invocation

om purnam adah purnam idam

purnat purnam udachyate

purnasya purnam adaya

purnam evavashishyate

The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.


ishavasyam idam sarvam

yat kincha jagatyam jagat

tena tyaktena bhunjitha

ma gridhah kasya svid dhanam

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 must not accept other things, knowing well to Whom they belong.


kurvann eveha karmani

jijivisec chatam samaha

evam tvayi nanyatheto 'sti

na karma lipyate nare

One may aspire to live for hundreds of years if he continuously goes on doing work in that way, because that sort of work will not bind him to the law of karma. And there is no alternative to this way for man.


asurya nama te loka

andhena tamasavritaha

tams te pretyabhigacchanti

ye ke chatma-hano janaha

The killer of the soul, whoever he may be, must enter into the planets known as the worlds of the faithless, full of darkness and ignorance.


anejad ekam manaso javiyo

nainad deva apnuvan purvan arshat

tad dhavato 'nyan atyeti tishthat

tasminn apo matarishva dadhati

The Personality of Godhead, although fixed in His abode, is more swift then the mind, and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He has control over those who supply the air and rain. He surpasses all in excellence.


tad ejati tan naijati

tad dure tad vantike

tad antarasya sarvasya

tad u sarvasyasya bahyataha

The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and again He is outside of everything.


yas tu sarvani bhutany

atmany evanupashyati

sarva-bhuteshu chatmanam

tato na vijugupsate

A person who sees everything in relation to the supreme Lord, and sees all entities as His parts and parcels, and who sees the Supreme Lord within everything, never hates anything, nor any being.


yasmin sarvani bhutany

atmaivabhud vijanataha

tatra ko mohah kah shoka

ekatvam anupashyataha

One who always sees all living entities as spiritual sparks, in quality one with the Lord, becomes a true knower of things. What is there as illusion or anxiety for him?


sa paryagac chukram akayam avranam

asnaviram shuddham apapa-viddham

kavir manishi paribhuh svayambhur

yathatathyato 'rthan vyadadhac chashvatibhyah samabhyaha

Such a person must know in fact the Greatest of all, Who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminate, the self-sufficient Philosopher who is awarding everyone's desire since time immemorial.


andham tamah pravishanti

ye 'vidyam upasate

tato bhuya iva te tamo

ya u vidyayam rataha

Those who are engaged in the culture of nescient activities shall enter into the darkest region of ignorance. Worse still are those engaged in the so-called culture of knowledge.


anyad evahur vidyaya

anyad ahur avidyaya

iti shushruma dhiranam

ye nas tad vichachakshire

The wise have explained to us that one result is derived from the culture of knowledge, and it is said that a different result is obtained from the culture of nescience.


vidyam chavidyam cha yas

tad vedobhayam saha

avidyaya mrityum tirtva

vidyayamritam ashnute

Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death, and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.


andham tamah pravishanti

ye 'sambhutim upasate

tato bhuya iva te tamo

ya u sambhutyam rataha

Those who are engaged in the worship of demigods enter into the darkest region of ignorance, and still more so do the worshipers of the impersonal [form of the] Absolute.


anyad evahuh sambhavad

anyad ahur asambhavat

iti shushruma dhiranam

ye nas tad vichachakshire

It is said that one result is obtained by worshiping the Supreme Cause of all causes, and that another is obtained by worshiping what is not supreme. All this was heard from the undisturbed authorities who clearly explained it.


sambhutim cha vinasham cha

yas tad vedobhayam saha

vinashena mrityum tirtva

sambhutyamritam ashnute

One should know perfectly well about the Personality of Godhead and His transcendental name, as well as the temporary material creation with its temporary demigods, men and animals. When one knows these, he surpasses death and the ephemeral cosmic manifestation with it, and in the eternal Kingdom of God he enjoys his eternal life of bliss and knowledge.


hiranmayena patrena

satyasyapihitam mukham

tat tvam pushann apavrinu

satya-dharmaya drishtaye

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.


pushann ekarshe yama surya prajapatya

vyuha rashmin samuha tejaha

yat te rupam kalyanatamam tat te pashyami

yo 'sav asau purushah so 'hama smi

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.


vayur anilam amritam

athedam bhasmantam shariram

om krato smara kritam smara

krato smara kritam smara

Let this temporary body be burned to ashes, and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air. Now, O my Lord, please remember all my sacrifices, and because You are the ultimate beneficiary, please remember all that I have done for You.


agne naya supatha raye asman

vishvani deva vayunani vidvan

yuyodhy asmaj juhuranam eno

bhuyistham te nama uktim vidhema

O my Lord, powerful as the fire, omnipotent one, now I do offer You all obeisances and fall at Your feet on the ground. O my Lord, please lead me on the right path to reach You, and since You know all that I have done in the past, please free me from the reactions to my past sins, so that there will be no hindrance to my progress.


[These prayers are available at]

horizontal rule

[Home] [Back to the Prayer Book page] Back ] Next ]