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The Isha Upanishad (īśa upaniṣad, otherwise Ishopanishad īśopaniṣad or īśāvāsya upaniṣad) is one of the shortest of the Upanishads, consisting of 17 or 18 verses in total; like other core texts of the vedanta, it is considered revealed scripture (Śruti) by diverse traditions within Hinduism. The name of the text derives from the incipit, īśā, "by the Lord (Isha)". The Upanishad appears in the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda, but is historically one of the latest of the principal (mukhya) Upanishads, dating approximately to Mauryan times.

The short text covers a wide spectrum of philosophy, religion, ritualism and metaphysics.

The Supreme

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Yoga Vasistha

The Isha Upanishad is significant amongst the Upanishads for its description of the nature of the supreme being (Ish). It presents a monist or non-dual perspective of the universe, in that it describes this being,[1] 'is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated' (verse 8), who 'moves and does not move', who is 'far away, but very near as well', who 'although fixed in His abode is swifter than the mind' (verses 4 & 5).

The text then asserts the oneness of the supreme self;

For the enlightened one all that exists is nothing but the Self

and asks;

So how could any delusion or suffering continue for those who know this oneness?

The later verses take the form of a series of prayers requesting that the speaker be able to see past the supreme light or effulgence in order to understand the true nature of the Supreme Lord.


In the two shakhas of the Shukla Yajurveda (called VSM and VSK) the order of verses 1-8 is the same, however VSK verses 9–14 correspod to VSM verses 12, 13, 14, 9, 10, 11. VSM 17 is a variation of VSK 15, VSK 16 is lacking in VSM, and VSK 17–18 correspond to VSM 15–16. The verse numbers used elsewhere in this article refer to VSK:

VSK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
VSM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 13 14 9 10 11 (17) - 15 16

Verse 18 is a Rigvedic verse (RV 1.189.1) invoking Agni.


  1. Weber 1878:103


  • A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Śrī Īśopaniṣad, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1969.
  • Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads [1]. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. 1972.
  • S. Radhakrishnan. The Principal Upanishads. George Allen and Unwin Ltd. New York. 1969.
  • Swami Gambhirananda, Eight Upanishads, Vol.1. with the commentary of Shankaracharya. Tr. Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, 2nd edn. 1989.
  • Albrecht Weber, The History of Indian Literature (1878).
  • N.Srinivasagopalan, Isa Upanisad Revisited,Oupanisada Publications, 16, Vayupuri, Secunderabad 500 094. 2004 ISBN 978-81-7525-831-0 The Subtitle is 'The Recipe for an Enlightened and Joyful Life of High Effectiveness and All-round success'
  • Sri Aurobindo, Isha Upanisad, Sri Aurobindo Asram, Pondichery. 1986
  • Swami Satyananda Saraswati,Ishavasya Upanishad,Bihar School of Yoga, Monghyr, Bihar, India.1973
  • Sri Ganapati Sachchidanada Swamiji, Sri Sachchidananda Avadh00ta Datta Peetham, Mysore. 1992

See also

External links