9). Ishavasya Upanishad – Nature of SELF (atman)

Nature of SELF is outlined as below :

  • All pervading  – SELF went all around  (paryagat) – spread all over.
  • Bright (Shukram) – Light giving principle – Light of SELF (Atmajyothi)
  • Bodiless (akayam) – SELF is not embodied in five sheaths
  • Scatheless ( avanam) and muscleless (asnaviram) – There is no body to get injury.
  • Pure (suddha) – Without causal body – Sinless.
  • Untouched by evils (apapa viddam) of good and bad karma.
  • Wise ( kavih) – Witness of all ( omniscient)
  • Transcendent – beyond mind and sense organs.
  • Controller of mind ( manisi)  – Controller of mind
  • Above everything ( paribhuh) – Supreme Reality- Everything is SELF, SELF is above all.
  • Self Begotten ( swayambhu)  – Self manifest.
  • Brahman ( SELF) duly appoints all creators (prajapatis) their respective roles.



स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रण-
मस्नाविरꣳ शुद्धमपापविद्धम् ।
कविर्मनीषी परिभूः स्वयम्भूर्याथातथ्यतो-
ऽर्थान् व्यदधाच्छाश्वतीभ्यः समाभ्यः ॥ ८॥
स पर्यगाच् छुक्रम् अकायम् अव्रणम् अस्नाविरं शुद्धम् अपापविद्धम् ।
कविर् मनीषी परिभूः स्ययम्भूर् याथातथ्यतोर्ऽथान् व्यदधाच् छाश्वतीभ्यः समाभ्यः ॥ ८ ॥
sa paryagāc chukram akāyam avraṇam asnāviraṃ śuddham apāpaviddham |
kavir manīṣī paribhūḥ syayambhūr yāthātathyator’thān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyaḥ samābhyaḥ || 8 ||
He (the self) is all pervading, bright, incorporeal, scatheless and veinless, pure, untouched by sin; a seer, all-knowing, superposed and self-begotten. (It is He that) has duly allotted to the eternal creators their (various) duties.
Saḥ=the aforesaid Self. paryagāt =went round; i.e. he is pervading like space. śukram=white, i.e. radiant, bright. akāyam=bodiless i.e. without the subtle body, avraṇam=not to be wounded, snāva=vein; therefore asnāviram means ‘veinless’. The last two (epithets) deny the gross body; ś uddham = without the stain of nescience. This denies the causal body, apāpaviddham=by evil (which term is meant to include) both merits and demerits[7]. The words beginning with sukram are to be changed to the masculine form, because the verse starts with saḥ (a masculine form) and ends likewise with kaviḥ and (which also are masculine in form). kaviḥ=seeing what is past[8], i.e. witness of all, according to the text—“There is no seer other than He” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, vii, 23), manīṣī =the controller of the mind i.e., the all-knowing Lord. paribhūḥ means ‘who is above (pari = upari) everything’. svayambhūh = self-begotten. This signifies that what is above everything as well as what is everything are both the Self. Such a Lord, always free, being all-knowing, has allotted duties (arthān) according to past deeds which are instrumental in yielding fruit (in this life) i.e. has appropriately distributed (them). Yāthātathyataḥ, being derived from yathātathā, means ‘according to facts’. ś āśvatībhyaḥ= permanent; Samābhyaḥ i.e. among Creators going by the name of ‘Time’[9]

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