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Ishavasya Upanishad and The True Import of Dharma
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About The Author

SWAMI TYAGISHANANDA, a disciple of Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj (a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna), was the President of Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Bangalore from 1938 to 1951. The Swami was well known for his erudite scholarship and sterling spiritual qualities in the Ramakrishna Order. His discourses and extempore talks on the Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras and Bhagavata, without any reference to notes and commentaries are a legend. His work, NARADA BHAKTISUTRAS which is a master piece and the illuminating article MESSAGE OF BHAGAVATA in the Cultural Heritage of India (Published from Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park, Kolkata), are some of his published writings which reflect his vast scholarship and deep spiritual insight. Besides these two works, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Chhandogya Upanishad and Mandukya Karika have appeared as series of articles in Vedanta Kesari (a monthly journal published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai).

Similar to the present class notes on Ishavasya Upanishad, the class-notes of his talks on Bhagavad Gita, Avatara and varied allied spiritual topics deserve to be published. The Shlokas very dear to him were the following ones:-

 

Publisher’s Note

The material presented here are the class-notes of scriptural classes on ISHAVASYA UPANISHAD by late Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj, an erudite scholarly. monk of the Ramakrishna Order at Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Bangalore during the period 1946-49. The notes was taken by late Swami Kirtidanandaji Maharaj who had just then joined the Order as a novice (Srikantaiah) and had the privilege of being guided in his novitiate days by Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj.

According to the learned Swamiji, the Upanishad has for its core, Dharma in all its dimensions and contains a code of life, a philosophy of social and ethical relations and above all spiritual solutions to human problems.

We owe the notes presented here mainly to late Swami Kirtidanandaji, who meticulously recorded them as dictated by Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji and preserved them for his personal reference.

A special feature of the book is that the learned Swamiji quotes copiously from various Srutis, Smritis and Puranas as also from different orthodox commentators to explore the real meaning of the Mantras of the Ishopanishad. We have presented only the Sanskrit originals of these quoted portions. Though the translations of these texts are not given, we believe readers can make out their meaning in the corresponding context. Apppendix-l gives additional details regarding the theme corresponding to the number indexed for the passage in main text. The complete text of the Ishavasya Upanishad and translation of the Mantras are given in the Appendix-2 for reference.

A brief profile of Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj is also given at the end of the book.

As the learned Swamiji explains in the course of his exposition, 'An attempt at the detailed interpretation of the mantras in the light of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna has been made here.

It is the spirit of this Upanishad that pervades the principles of practice of spiritual life as explained by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. It is in this Upanishad that we find the spirit of synthesis and harmony of all spiritual practices and religions mentioned. The liberal views of Yajnavalkya in matters of rights of women and of lower castes for Brahmavidya and realization of God find their echo in the teachings of Sri' Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.'

We are deeply indebted to Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. N.' Ranganatha Sharma, an exemplary nonagenarian scholar and a living authority on Vedanta for expressing some noble sentiments regarding this publication, despite his ill-health.

We are also extremely grateful to Vidwan H.V. Nagaraja Rao, an erudite scholar for kindly contributing the foreword which, we have no doubt, has added to the value of the book.

A highly qualified Sanskrit scholar, Dr. K.L. Prasannakshi, has taken immense trouble to go through the Sanskrit portion of the book. We are beholden to her for her. dedicated service.

Finally, we acknowledge with deep gratitude the generous contribution of the admirers of the great Swami, particularly Sri M.S Nanjundaiah, whose munificent contribution has been responsible for low pricing this publication.

We hope the present book will be interesting to all, especially to the seekers who intend to understand the true import of the Upanishad and help them strengthen their faith in their spiritual endeavour.

 

Contents

 

     
I Introduction - Brahmavidya- Its Liberalism - The Twin Teachings of Ishopanishad - Divinity of Man and the Universe - Vedic Ritual as a Synthesis of Yogas - Shanti Patha: the Importance of Shantimantras - The Teachings of Ishopanishad is Comprehensive - Salient Feature of Ishopanishad -Isha as a Symbol of God in Various Forms - Tyaga is the law of life which is only a struggle for securing maximum enjoyment or bliss - All the Ashramas are Training Ground in Tyaga - Life of a Sannyasin is highly productive and contributing to the welfare of the Society - Do not Run after Sense Pleasures - Practical Aspects of the first Mantra - Real wealth to a spiritual man is only God Himself - Summary of the first Mantra. (Page :1- 63)
     
II Vaidika Dharma for All - Tapas and Svadhyaya-the means of Purification - It is character and conduct that makes one a Brahmana (one who is fit to study the Brahma or Vedas) - There is nothing to prevent a Sudra by Birth from Studying the Vedas or Per-forming Yajnas - Different occupations for diverse temperaments-Not the birth, but Shraddha is the real qualification - Sign of Shraddha : Desire to learn and readiness to place oneself under the direction of a Guru - Right to Vedic Education for All - Understanding the so-called apasudradhikarana of Brahma-Sutras in Proper Perspective. (Page: 64-111)
     
III Essence of Spiritual Life: Tyaga and Yoga - Sankalpa and noble Desire for the Highest - Desire is the root of all Creation -Evolution of Individuality and Sense of Dharma in Man - The Suggestive Allegory of a Chariot for Man - Human Life compared to a journey in a Boat across the Ocean of Samsara - The Glory of Human Birth - He who hankers for heaven and misses Mukti, his birth-right, is virtually committing spiritual suicide. (Page: 111-135)
     
IV Dhruti, Dharana and Dharma - Dharma must be Characterised by Ahimsa - Duty of a Kshatriya is to Uphold Dharma by Punishing the offender - Animal Sacrifice in Yajnas has no Scriptural Sanction - Purodasha, used as an effective substitute for Animal Sacrifice - Physical Injury alone is not himsa; anything that has negative effect is himsa - Principles of Ahimsa are based on positive effects of one's actions in terms of moral and spiritual welfare of the world. (Page 136 -160)
     
V Meaning of lokasangraha in the Light of Dharma-Service is prompted by a sense of Freedom whereas Duty is prompted by a sense of Bondage - Highest type of Service: Worshipping God in man -Truth (sat yam) is the verbal aspect of Ahimsa-the highest Dharma (Page: 161-189)
     
VI Samanya Dharma and Vishesha Dharma - How to Resolve Conflicts of Dharma in Practice? - Inner Voice of God is the Guidance in Conflicts of Dharma- Understanding Jaimini's definition of Dharma Smritis: Supplementary source of Dharma - It is unsafe to rely entirely on Smritis as we find them today. (Page: 190-216)
     
VII Exploring more reliable sources of Dharma - It is the realized man who sets the standard or ideal of conduct to the ordinary man - What is Sadachara or Shishtachara ? - Achara should not be mistaken for mere, custom usage, or tradition - Atma-tushti / Atma-hita as a source of Dharma - Description of Dharma in terms of Bhakti, Yoga etc. (Page: 216-241)
     
VIII Better to be guided by one's own moral sense and freedom than by an external authority-Dharma must make us Morally and Spiritually Stronger - Receive inspiration from Atman to conquer the lower self - It is the use of Buddhi that converts mere Karma into Karma Yoga - Regaining real Freedom or Independence by Surrendering oneself to Atman or God inside or Guru outside -Svadharma and Sahaja Karma -The cumulative effect of purvabhyasabecomes svabhava in next life - Glory of an individual or group consists in their struggle to overcome the limitations of birth, heredity or previous Karma. (Page: 241-270)
     
IX The Institution of Sannyasa and Sannyasa Dharma-For the love and service of God, one may give up one's Hearth and Home -Sannyasa and Karma - Sannyasa consists only in giving up Kamyakarmas i.e activities based upon selfish desires for sense pleasures-Significance of Sannyasa and the need for Sannyasa life-The significance of Vi raja homa and sannyasa mantras - It is only a man of realization who lives life to its fullest extent. (Page: 271-330)
     
X Appendix 1 - Additional Notes. (Page: 331 •379)
XI Appendix II - Mantras with their English translation. (Page: 380- 383)
XII A Brief Profile of Swami Tyagishananda, (Page: 384-385)
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Ishavasya Upanishad and The True Import of Dharma

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About The Author

SWAMI TYAGISHANANDA, a disciple of Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj (a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna), was the President of Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Bangalore from 1938 to 1951. The Swami was well known for his erudite scholarship and sterling spiritual qualities in the Ramakrishna Order. His discourses and extempore talks on the Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras and Bhagavata, without any reference to notes and commentaries are a legend. His work, NARADA BHAKTISUTRAS which is a master piece and the illuminating article MESSAGE OF BHAGAVATA in the Cultural Heritage of India (Published from Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park, Kolkata), are some of his published writings which reflect his vast scholarship and deep spiritual insight. Besides these two works, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Chhandogya Upanishad and Mandukya Karika have appeared as series of articles in Vedanta Kesari (a monthly journal published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai).

Similar to the present class notes on Ishavasya Upanishad, the class-notes of his talks on Bhagavad Gita, Avatara and varied allied spiritual topics deserve to be published. The Shlokas very dear to him were the following ones:-

 

Publisher’s Note

The material presented here are the class-notes of scriptural classes on ISHAVASYA UPANISHAD by late Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj, an erudite scholarly. monk of the Ramakrishna Order at Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Bangalore during the period 1946-49. The notes was taken by late Swami Kirtidanandaji Maharaj who had just then joined the Order as a novice (Srikantaiah) and had the privilege of being guided in his novitiate days by Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj.

According to the learned Swamiji, the Upanishad has for its core, Dharma in all its dimensions and contains a code of life, a philosophy of social and ethical relations and above all spiritual solutions to human problems.

We owe the notes presented here mainly to late Swami Kirtidanandaji, who meticulously recorded them as dictated by Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji and preserved them for his personal reference.

A special feature of the book is that the learned Swamiji quotes copiously from various Srutis, Smritis and Puranas as also from different orthodox commentators to explore the real meaning of the Mantras of the Ishopanishad. We have presented only the Sanskrit originals of these quoted portions. Though the translations of these texts are not given, we believe readers can make out their meaning in the corresponding context. Apppendix-l gives additional details regarding the theme corresponding to the number indexed for the passage in main text. The complete text of the Ishavasya Upanishad and translation of the Mantras are given in the Appendix-2 for reference.

A brief profile of Rev. Swami Tyagishanandaji Maharaj is also given at the end of the book.

As the learned Swamiji explains in the course of his exposition, 'An attempt at the detailed interpretation of the mantras in the light of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna has been made here.

It is the spirit of this Upanishad that pervades the principles of practice of spiritual life as explained by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. It is in this Upanishad that we find the spirit of synthesis and harmony of all spiritual practices and religions mentioned. The liberal views of Yajnavalkya in matters of rights of women and of lower castes for Brahmavidya and realization of God find their echo in the teachings of Sri' Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.'

We are deeply indebted to Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. N.' Ranganatha Sharma, an exemplary nonagenarian scholar and a living authority on Vedanta for expressing some noble sentiments regarding this publication, despite his ill-health.

We are also extremely grateful to Vidwan H.V. Nagaraja Rao, an erudite scholar for kindly contributing the foreword which, we have no doubt, has added to the value of the book.

A highly qualified Sanskrit scholar, Dr. K.L. Prasannakshi, has taken immense trouble to go through the Sanskrit portion of the book. We are beholden to her for her. dedicated service.

Finally, we acknowledge with deep gratitude the generous contribution of the admirers of the great Swami, particularly Sri M.S Nanjundaiah, whose munificent contribution has been responsible for low pricing this publication.

We hope the present book will be interesting to all, especially to the seekers who intend to understand the true import of the Upanishad and help them strengthen their faith in their spiritual endeavour.

 

Contents

 

     
I Introduction - Brahmavidya- Its Liberalism - The Twin Teachings of Ishopanishad - Divinity of Man and the Universe - Vedic Ritual as a Synthesis of Yogas - Shanti Patha: the Importance of Shantimantras - The Teachings of Ishopanishad is Comprehensive - Salient Feature of Ishopanishad -Isha as a Symbol of God in Various Forms - Tyaga is the law of life which is only a struggle for securing maximum enjoyment or bliss - All the Ashramas are Training Ground in Tyaga - Life of a Sannyasin is highly productive and contributing to the welfare of the Society - Do not Run after Sense Pleasures - Practical Aspects of the first Mantra - Real wealth to a spiritual man is only God Himself - Summary of the first Mantra. (Page :1- 63)
     
II Vaidika Dharma for All - Tapas and Svadhyaya-the means of Purification - It is character and conduct that makes one a Brahmana (one who is fit to study the Brahma or Vedas) - There is nothing to prevent a Sudra by Birth from Studying the Vedas or Per-forming Yajnas - Different occupations for diverse temperaments-Not the birth, but Shraddha is the real qualification - Sign of Shraddha : Desire to learn and readiness to place oneself under the direction of a Guru - Right to Vedic Education for All - Understanding the so-called apasudradhikarana of Brahma-Sutras in Proper Perspective. (Page: 64-111)
     
III Essence of Spiritual Life: Tyaga and Yoga - Sankalpa and noble Desire for the Highest - Desire is the root of all Creation -Evolution of Individuality and Sense of Dharma in Man - The Suggestive Allegory of a Chariot for Man - Human Life compared to a journey in a Boat across the Ocean of Samsara - The Glory of Human Birth - He who hankers for heaven and misses Mukti, his birth-right, is virtually committing spiritual suicide. (Page: 111-135)
     
IV Dhruti, Dharana and Dharma - Dharma must be Characterised by Ahimsa - Duty of a Kshatriya is to Uphold Dharma by Punishing the offender - Animal Sacrifice in Yajnas has no Scriptural Sanction - Purodasha, used as an effective substitute for Animal Sacrifice - Physical Injury alone is not himsa; anything that has negative effect is himsa - Principles of Ahimsa are based on positive effects of one's actions in terms of moral and spiritual welfare of the world. (Page 136 -160)
     
V Meaning of lokasangraha in the Light of Dharma-Service is prompted by a sense of Freedom whereas Duty is prompted by a sense of Bondage - Highest type of Service: Worshipping God in man -Truth (sat yam) is the verbal aspect of Ahimsa-the highest Dharma (Page: 161-189)
     
VI Samanya Dharma and Vishesha Dharma - How to Resolve Conflicts of Dharma in Practice? - Inner Voice of God is the Guidance in Conflicts of Dharma- Understanding Jaimini's definition of Dharma Smritis: Supplementary source of Dharma - It is unsafe to rely entirely on Smritis as we find them today. (Page: 190-216)
     
VII Exploring more reliable sources of Dharma - It is the realized man who sets the standard or ideal of conduct to the ordinary man - What is Sadachara or Shishtachara ? - Achara should not be mistaken for mere, custom usage, or tradition - Atma-tushti / Atma-hita as a source of Dharma - Description of Dharma in terms of Bhakti, Yoga etc. (Page: 216-241)
     
VIII Better to be guided by one's own moral sense and freedom than by an external authority-Dharma must make us Morally and Spiritually Stronger - Receive inspiration from Atman to conquer the lower self - It is the use of Buddhi that converts mere Karma into Karma Yoga - Regaining real Freedom or Independence by Surrendering oneself to Atman or God inside or Guru outside -Svadharma and Sahaja Karma -The cumulative effect of purvabhyasabecomes svabhava in next life - Glory of an individual or group consists in their struggle to overcome the limitations of birth, heredity or previous Karma. (Page: 241-270)
     
IX The Institution of Sannyasa and Sannyasa Dharma-For the love and service of God, one may give up one's Hearth and Home -Sannyasa and Karma - Sannyasa consists only in giving up Kamyakarmas i.e activities based upon selfish desires for sense pleasures-Significance of Sannyasa and the need for Sannyasa life-The significance of Vi raja homa and sannyasa mantras - It is only a man of realization who lives life to its fullest extent. (Page: 271-330)
     
X Appendix 1 - Additional Notes. (Page: 331 •379)
XI Appendix II - Mantras with their English translation. (Page: 380- 383)
XII A Brief Profile of Swami Tyagishananda, (Page: 384-385)
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