Isa,

by: Roger Weir

Isa
The Shortest Teaching. This Cumulative Section of the White Yajur-Veda is Only Eighteen Verses

Intro To The Major Works Of The Upanishads
Presentation 7 of 13

Isa
Presented by Roger Weir
Thursday, February 16, 1989

Transcript:

…you've forgotten about traffic and streets. Other things that you need to do. It's best that there be small groups for teachings like this.

In Asia the wisdom traditions always seek to come to some focal definiteness. All of the great traditions in Asia. Characterized by periods of grand sweet and quintessential exactness. So, what we have tonight is in the Upanishadic tradition, the pinpoint of exactness. We have tonight The Isa Upanishad, which is the shortest of all The Upanishads. It's only 18 verses. But is the most difficult of all The Upanishads to understand. All of The Upanishads up to tonight they've had a strategy about them. They've had a strategic shape which you could appreciate. And in that appreciation, or from the sensitivity developed by that appreciation, you could penetrate to the structure. And use the structure as a key, as a symbolic diagrammatic key, to understand the content.

But with The Isa Upanishad this is not possible. With The Isa Upanishad you hear it, but you don't hear it. And you read it again and again and it, and you miss it. It doesn't sound profound. It sounds well enough. But why is it the greatest of all the Upanishads? Why is it the point at which Indian philosophy transcended itself? And so, we'll try to come to some appreciation of that tonight.

Now The Isa Upanishad again, like The Kena Upanishad, is named so because the first word in The Upanishad is Isa. Or contains as its root the term Isa. And in just a very general sense Isa means Lord. And it means Lord specifically as in Lord of this world. Or if you put it into a more apt Indian context, our Lord. Whatever reality in this world we can appreciate, we appreciate because it is given to us by Isa, Ishvara, the Lord.

The ultimate absolute Brahman is not in this world. It's not in this world in any way that we could cognize. But what is in this world, the Lord gives us. And so, there's a very peculiar flavor to The Isa Upanishad. It's like esoteric Christianity. That you may not be able to come face-to-face with God, but you could meet the Lord. Where could you meet the Lord? You could meet the Lord in your heart. Where in your heart? In a space in your heart. Ah but there is the problem. How does one come by a space in one's heart? And you can see immediately that this begins to be a paradoxical problem. Especially when The Isa Upanishad says that only when the heart is full is there a space for the Lord to dance.

Now the invocation of The Isa Upanishad runs like this. And it's a classic statement of what philosophically is a conundrum, of what theologically is a paradox, and of what experientially is the ace point in Upanishadic experience. Here's how it runs in English translation. I use the Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan translation because it's the best to work with here in the first part. So, for the first half of The Upanishad I'll use the Radhakrishnan. And for the second half I'll use translation from Max Muller.

The invocation before The Upanishad begins runs like this. “That is full. this is full. The full comes out of the full. Taking the full, from the full, the full remains itself. Ohm. peace. Peace. Peace.”

Now in an intellectual jujitsu you can work with zero in this way. And if you could, could see zero as being full, you would go a long ways towards understanding the kind of mental setup that one needs. That is to say the object of mental orientation here needs to be zero. That is to say, if there is any quality whatsoever other than zero the mind is miss focused. the ear will miss hear. The experience will be askew.

When The Upanishad begins, it begins with, “Isa vasyamidam sarvam yatkinca jagatyam jagat.” Now jagat is a very interesting word. The last word in first line. Jagat in Upanishadic language is very close to the Greek term for nature. not the Latin latura. But the Greek term was fices. And the Greek term carries the same cognate implications that jagat carries. That nature is not a thing but a becoming. Nature does not ever exist objectively but is always a series of happenings.

So that The Upanishad declares here,
Know that all this, whatever moves in this moving world, is enveloped by God. Whatever moves in this moving world. And other than this moving world there is not. And this moving world as a series of happenings is just the series of happenings. And it has the coherence simply because it's been enveloped by God. Therefore, find your enjoyment in renunciation.

The annunciation. The pairing of enjoyment with renunciation is peculiar. But you have to understand here, what could you renounce? The only thing that you could renounce would be false views. What would be the false views? That there is any shape of thing that statically, objectively exists by itself. And that as one lets go of these views, the letting go of these views allows you to slip into the series of happenings that actually does occur. And to the extent that one is able to slip into the happenings that does occur, to that extent only is one sensitized to experiencing the enveloping by God, which then can happen to you. This experience of letting go, of renunciating, of finding oneself in the great concourse of happenings has a peculiar tone to it. The Isa Upanishad says, it has the tone that there is a person who is guiding you. That person is the Lord, Isa or Ishvara. So that there is a guide which occurs in our sensitivity the more that we actually occur in this world as it really is.

“Know that all this, whatever moves in this moving world is enveloped by God. Therefore, find your enjoyment in renunciation. Do not cover what belongs to others.” Now there's a esoteric extension here. Not only to not covet what belongs to others but your full self is in other than your reality. Anything that belongs to your false self also must be let go of. Cannot be coveted.

The second here emphasizes the point which becomes reiterated about 300 years later in The Bhagavad-Gita. It becomes the fulcrum upon which The Bhagavad-Gita balances itself. And it's related to this last point, the esoteric point, covet not what belongs to others. And that your false self is actually another than you. And do not become attached to whatever your false self has. What follows from that in a series of happening kind of a logic, which The Isa Upanishad has, reads in translation this way. “Always performing works here. One should wish to live a hundred years. If you live thus, as a man, there is no way other than this by which karma does not adhere to you.”

Now the language is deceptively simple here. What's being said here is that works are to be performed all of the time. A constant doing. And that this constant doing is to be let affinitize to the actual series of occurrences. Because that actual series of occurrences enveloped by God as you merge yourself into that, as you modulate your sense of orientation into that, you are also enveloped by God. There is nothing to grasp. there is nothing to possess. There's nothing to strive for. The striving is to let go of the false orientation.

And the way that The Isa Upanishad says is not to look at the causes but to look at the purposes. If you let, go of the purposes. If you let, go of the fruits of action. If you let go of coveting the fruits of action, your actions will begin to occur more and more in a universal way. Eventually enveloped by God. The strategy, if there is a strategy here, is not to go back and try and correct old mistakes but to learn new ways. And if you learn the new way, which is timelessly eternal, the so-called mistake that you have made will vanish of themselves. Because they can only continue to have any effect in this world in a karmic sense. And karma will not occur when you act renouncing the fruits of action. the key to slipping out of karma, it’s like slipping out of a current, is not to be in that kind of a stream. It's like instead of trying to negotiate in the stream, upstream or downstream or any which way, that one realizes that as long as you're in this kind of a stream there is no way that karma will not occur. That karma cannot occur if there is a renunciation of fruits of action.

So that in a very esoteric way one is brought very swiftly in just two lines, two couplets, two slokas, one is brought to see that there is a very arcane point here. By renouncing what does not belong to you. And realizing that your false worldly self is not really you and whatever belongs to it is not really yours. Also, the karma of that self is not really yours. And the only way that it continues, the only way that it still has any amperage whatsoever, is that one is still coveting the purposes toward which that karma is heading. Towards which that that person has designed. so that there's a kind of an impasse which requires an insight here.

And The Isa Upanishad tells us then that. let me use the, let me use the western term. A term which was incidentally have perfected in Islam. The purified heart. The purified heart is, is desireless for its own purposes. It's difficult to purify the mind. To not have purposes because the mind has intentionality in it's very structuring. But the heart can be still. And in that stillness, as it occurs in that stillness, there is that purified heart.

The Upanishad goes on and says and reads. And the word here that we're going to translate in, in the Sanskrit the word that they're using here is Asurya, Asurya it means demon. Asurya. But there's a slight modification. If you, if you say with the emphasis on both vowels in there equally, A-sury-A, that word means sunless. And by association it means dark. Darkness. But sunless is not night but it means blindness. So that the term in its noun form means demon and in its kind of verbal form means blindness. So that the demonic and blindness are related. They’re cognates. It's as if the demonic occurs only within that blindness. It’s like the demonic is enveloped by blindness and that's why it's demonic. If the blindness is transformed into sight the demonic simply no longer occurs. It doesn't go away. It’s that it never did occur. It's like that kind of a quality. It's like a demonic is truly delusionary and that when one dispels, The Upanishad uses the term which in Sanskrit means destroys. When you destroy blindness, the demonic no longer occurs and has never occurred. And thus, not only do you slip out of karma in terms of desireless purposes. But you rectify all of the past actions in such a way that there was no karma there either. So that there is a, an enlightenment, an awakening, that comes. And one sees that in this reality which is enveloped by God there never was a demonical occurrence other than in a dilutionary blindness which man alone brings into this world.

Now it's a very difficult thing to understand. This is where The Upanishad in the third section is telling us in a practical sense to deny evil spirits. Do not give them an in. Do not cooperate with them. What do they want to do? They want to produce fear. Do not fear. They want to produce greed. And do not have greed. But by not cooperating with them, it's not just that you don't cooperate with them, but you also don't respond to them. You don't do what they're eliciting from you, but you also don't not do what they're eliciting to. Because in a very subtle way by not doing that you are cooperating with them on the underside.

So, The Isa Upanishad is extremely sophisticated. One of the world's great spiritual documents.

The first time that there was ever a commentary that understood The Isa Upanishad in all of its intricacies was not until about 1,400 years after it was written down. around 800 A.D. there was a great sage who did a large commentary on the work called The Yoga By Shipta. It's a, it's an esoteric Ramayana. It's the inner spiritual conversations that the characters of The Ramayana have with their deep selves. And this great sage, Mahindra, he is the first you ever write a commentary who, that shows the intricacy of this in a discursive language.

So, here's how the third of the slokas runs, “Demoniac verily are those worlds enveloped in blinding darkness. And to them go after death those people who are the slayers of the self.” The slayers of the self. In Upanishadic terms the slaying here is forgetfulness. If you forget the self, if you do not remember, then you have slain.

There's a similar kind of an insight in the high medieval Christian realization in Dante. The river, the rivers of Hell, Lethe the river of forgetfulness. One of the boundaries of Hell. When you have crossed over that you cannot remember. And part of what makes the glue of hell is the forgetfulness. One doesn't ever remember. One doesn't know. So, there's that kind of a quality here.

So, the word is Asurya. Asurya “Demoniac verily are those worlds enveloped in blinding darkness. And to them go after death those people who are the slaves of the self. The Spirit is unmoving.” Now they use a term here Ecom. Ecom. Ecom-grotta. All, all of these cognates come around one there's like they would hold up a single finger. that kind of oneness.

So that the phrase runs, “The Spirit is unmoving. one swifter than the mind. The senses do not reach it. It is ever ahead of them.” One reason why the mind does not, is not able to entertain in an image, the, the unmoving one is that its unmoving of this. It is too Swift for the mind. You have to use a little imagination here. You have to understand that the mind in its directedness is always overshooting it. It can never stop itself Midway. And the one is always in the Midway unmoving this. It's always the fulcrum of whatever action there is. whatever movement there is. And every time the mind thinks it's a movement, it's constantly by its own structure always overshooting it. And, and does not know, does not know that what it constantly is passing over is God's realm indeed.

So, the mind has to be trained, and of course the false self which in its clever greed becomes dependent upon the mind’s abilities. One has to first lose this incredible inflated stupidity that the mind will take care of everything for you that you need. Well it's excellent tool but it is not at all made to do this, unless it first follows the heart. The heart can be still and then the mind can be trained not to overshoot. It's like the saying, it’s like the **inaudible word** saying, the problem with enlightenment is that there is no problem. And until the mind can put its hands of it pocket stop worrying about it, it will never be able to know this.

So, The Upanishad then reads, “The spirit is unmoving one swifter than mind. The senses do not reach it as it is ever ahead of them. Though itself standing still it outstrips those who run. In it the all-pervading air supports the activities **inaudible word or two**.”

Now this is all-pervading air of the mottarista. Mattarista. It's a quality of God to put it simply. It's what actually sustains. It doesn't sustain the **inaudible word**, which is fictious, but it sustains the movement, which is quite real. He who could guide us to look in between things to the true movement would be the Lord. And what he would sensitize us to is that the mattarista. That quality. And it becomes a source of joy as one realizes that in a true sense one is always gliding in pure joy. For God has no other quality that he would give up than, than that it himself. Thus, in India the term is Ananda or bliss. and it is the, it is the root denominator of all experience in God. whatever one has, the denominator is Ananda. Always joy and bliss.

“It moves”, says The Isa Upanishad, “and it moves not. It moves and it moves not. It is far and it is near. It is within all this and it is also outside all this.” So that three times we are given a blatant paradoxical statement. That we in our struggling with our mind activated by our false-self trying to choose which one. trying to weigh. The Upanishad is saying they weigh exactly equal. it's not a question of choosing. it's not a question of rejecting. It's a question that both together are something else than their polarity. Then they're seen in polarity. Then they’re seen in paradox.

So that there is a quality here that we are still here.

**audio here is unintelligible and seems to have two tracks at once. This continues until approximately 38:04 of this tape.**

So that The Upanishad disguises that with this mask of saying that there is a Sun in that stillness. And there's a person in that Sun, but one has to get to that Sun first. If you get to that quality, that quality of being able to manifest that interior Sun, then you are no longer afraid whether there are purposes or not. Those fears are inconsequential. You can care less.

So that it reads here, right at the middle of The Isa Upanishad. We've come to the middle now. “Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance. And those who delight in knowledge enter into still greater darkness.” Now this is a make or break phrase. And in Indian thought no one in the Vedic tradition could cope with this. The only person that could cope with this was the Buddha. And the Buddha refused to talk about the self. He would characteristically say, that's not our problem now. Our problem is getting there. And when we get there then you can deal with it. Then you'll have something to deal with. He used to use this simile that it is like a house is on fire don't ask who set the fire. get out of the house. Don't try to go around and and put blame someplace. Get out. When one is in the suffering of existence, one has to resolve that. Then when you have resolved that these other, these other issues if they're still there then you'll be able to deal with it.

But The Isa Upanishad makes it a, it's almost like a Zen kaon. There is no way that the mind can, can come to this. Listen to it again. “Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance. And those who delight in knowledge enter into still greater darkness,” As it were.

The first Hindu other than a Buddhist to understand this with Mahindra around 800 A.D. And because of thirteen other years of refinement of Buddhist psychology and metaphysics, it was able to be expressed quite adequately by the early 9th century A.D. If you delight in knowledge, then there is **inaudible word**. By emphasizing the form of knowledge one in a polarized way right away making it possible.

Delighting in knowledge, it has to be furthered. And one gets really bound up, but I mean really bound up in the karma of trying to make your purposes happen. If anything, the seemingly harmless purpose of inquiry to find out more becomes insidious. It locks one into moha, into delusion. Airtight. So that the more that one finds out, the more is one is led into a realm of spiritual blindness. And never know that it's the continuing of this whole operation that is like the root of the whole either.

Worshipping ignorance is bad enough but delighting in knowledge is even worse. You can always wake up from your worshipping of ignorance. But there's no waking up its an airtight delusion, from the, the delighting the worshipping of knowledge. What The Upanishad is saying here is that both together, ignorance and knowledge together, form a unity. And it's that unity that must be seen as a one. It's part of the oneness. It's part of the renunciation of these categorical separations, which keep you locked into karma. Which keep you locked into a false-self.

And I have to shift translations here because lot of Christian translations doesn't quite carry the umpf that I want to give to it. So, I'm gonna go to Max Muller's translation of about a hundred years ago for the, the next one.

The ninth “Into blinding darkness. Into those who worship ignorant and those who delight in knowledge into still greater darkness, as it were.” That ninth ties into the tenth and eleventh of the sections, two-line sections called slokas. The ninth, tenth and eleventh form a triad. It is so difficult.

We’ll…

END OF SIDE ONE

To hear what the ninth, tenth and eleventh together say, that it's repeated immediately in The Upanishad. It's almost like an echo. So, as the ninth, tenth and eleventh say what they're going to say, the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth say the same thing over again. Slightly different way but the very same structure. The very same rhetorical form. And then the last four parts of The Upanishad there is a third triad which leads to a realization. And then the last, the eighteenth is a benediction.

And I'll get to these I think after our break. We need to take a little break now. Let's take…if you want to eat something please go upstairs and don't bring any food down. Okay?

Ignore the machines. how is….wasn't there a young fellow here? Standing up. He had a white shirt with a red stripe.

Oh that’s **inaudible few words** circle **inaudible word**.

Where is he now?

I think he’s probably in the office.

Well you have to tell him at the end…

Here's the first triad, nine, ten and eleven. Verses nine, ten and eleven out of the eighteen of The Isa Upanishad. Notice that if you were to split eighteen in half, you'd have nine and then you'd have the next nine. The last one of the first half is the beginning of the second half. it's like, it's like in shumai painting, you don't paint from the shoulder. You paint from about a foot behind the shoulder. You put your kinesthetic consciousness behind you. That's the only way that you can move with one motion. That's the only way what you do is one motion. If you carry the sense of the action as a role which you are doing, even if you're polished you still split it up. It's still, it's still got joints. It’s still got moving parts. It's only one there's only one movement that there are no moving parts. Oneness of movement is stillness.

One of the great masters of that was Jalaluddin Rumi and his Bektashi order. The whirling dervishes. If you move in one movement it is absolutely still. If you whirl and not in oneness, you'll be dizzy quickly. But if you whirl in a single movement. or I guess we should hyphenate that in single movementness, you never get dizzy. In fact, it's a meditation for stillness.

Here's nine, ten and eleven.
All who worship what is not real knowledge enter into blind darkness. Those who delight in real knowledge enter as it were into greater darkness. One thing they say is obtained from real knowledge. Another they say from what is not knowledge. Thus, we have heard from the wise who taught us this. He who knows at the same time both knowledge and not knowledge overcomes death through not knowledge. And obtains immortality through knowledge.
It is extremely subtle.

Let me go over the second triad because it's like an echo of this. This is a technique which was developed later on in the, in the high Mahayana. It was called a cumulative penetration. And it's a meditative yogic practice, which was developed from primordial legerdemain. The, the parlor magic thing.

I don't know if you've ever seen. If you've never seen a really good magician, there's a way of moving the hands that's invisible to the eye. Like Mr. Hall can do it. Maybe not now but about ten years ago when my daughter was still young, he gave her a little magic show one time. He was doing the circles that come apart and you can't get them apart. And if you move your hands in just the right way the eye doesn't pick up the movements. And you can move in such a way that you can show just certain movements so that somebody else's eye only picks up the movements you want them to. And while they're picking up the movements you want them to, you can move in between those movements and they never see it. The only place that it registers is if you have perfect recall. Perfect interior recall. In deep Samadhi you can see the movements that were invisible. Like that.

There's a way of doing that in meditation. It's a cumulative penetration. And what The Isa Upanishad here is like one of the first examples of that. There, the sage, the rishi, is delivering God's truth. Not masters but God's truth. We didn't hear it. We heard it that we didn't we didn't hear it. We were trying to hear concepts. We're trying to form images. The import of what was said here is not in images. It's not in concepts. So, the rishi repeats it again exactly, same form, a little bit different and it's like moving it like that.

Okay here's twelve, thirteen, fourteen,
All who worship what is not the true cause enter into blind darkness. Those who delight in the true cause enter as it were into greater darkness. One thing they say is obtained from knowledge of the cause. Another they say from knowledge of what is not the cause. Thus, we have heard from the wise who taught us this. he who knows at the same time both the cause and the destruction overcomes death by destruction. And obtains immortality through the real cause.
It's very slippery.

Later on, when this, when this style of high spiritual excellence goes into China, the Chinese Daoist had a natural affinity for this. And the first time that you find the Chinese participating in an Indian Dharma tradition accurately is like in The Lankavatara Sutra. And if you read in The Lankavatara Sutra you can see that the same kind of uncanny expressiveness, this accumulated penetration technique, is used again.

Let me go through both of them in the same order and just let them occur to you. Start with nine again.
All who worship what is not real knowledge enter into blind darkness. Those who delight in real knowledge enter as it were into greater darkness. One thing they say is obtained from real knowledge. Another they say from what is not knowledge. Thus, we have heard from the wise who taught us this. He who knows at the same time both knowledge and not knowledge overcomes death through not knowledge and obtains immortality through knowledge. All who worship what is not the true cause enter into blind darkness. Those are delight in the true cause enter as it were into greater darkness. one thing they say is obtained from knowledge of the cause. Another they say from knowledge of what is not the cause. Thus, we have heard from the wise who taught us this. He who knows at the same time both the cause and the destruction overcomes death by destruction and obtains immortality through knowledge of the true cause.

Then the third triad. And the third triad is the resolving motion. It's like in the first two you were given the polarities. And then you're shown that there's, there's no hands. And nothing to polarize. Now in the third there's the movement of not polarizing. And it reads like this. I'll give it to you in the sequence of the three unbroken.
The door of the true is covered with a golden disc. Open that oh life force, that we may see the nature of the truth. Oh, life force only seer Yama the judge. Surya the Sun. the child of Prajapati. spread thy rays and gather them. The light which is thy fairest form I see. I am what he is. The person in the sun. breath to air and to the immortal. Then this my body ends in ashes. Ohm. mind remember. Remember thy deeds. Mind remember. Remember they deeds.

And in the last verse in The Isa Upanishad, the 18th is like a benediction. It's like when something this powerful, this truthful, that has this spiritual dynamic has been said, the etiquette in a spiritual tradition is not to end there but to give a little more so as to give you a foot back into this world. And a benediction is like that. It gives you a chance to come down just a little bit. It gives you a chance to pause after the exclamatory realization. For surely if one has heard this right, it's devastating.

So that the last, the 18th verse reads, “Agni lead us on to be attitude by a good path. Thou, oh God who knowest all things, keep far from us crooked evil. And we shall offer thee the fullest praise.” Agni is that the fire, the sacred fire. And it's like just saying to they to the sacred fire that would usually be there. Either on an altar or in the situation somewhere to address the, the fire.
“Agni lead us, lead us to the attitude by a good path. Thou, Oh God who knows all things, keep far from this crooked paths. And we shall offer thee the fullest praise that we can.” It’s that kind of a benediction.

Now let, I've underlined here some of Max Muller’s notes on this from a hundred years ago. And I'll give you just a little bit of this. And then we can call it an evening. He says this is the most difficult of all The Upanishad to understand. That the name Ish like an Isa, Ish or Ishvara. The name Ish, Lord, is peculiar. It's peculiar usage. It has a far more personal coloring than the term Atman or self or Brahman. So, when one uses the term like generally traditionally it would be Ishvara, it means that there is a personal reality in this world which is of God's own. It’s not impersonal. It's not neutered. It's not a dispassionate energy. It is personal in a sense that one can come to know the Lord. One can come to, to, to see eye to eye. So, it has this kind of a quality.

This person…I put this note in here because this may be of use to you. It's, it's as if this person of the Lord of this cosmos is a radiation of the self. It's a, an illumination coming from the self. And because the self is always God's, this person is God's person. The man of light. And this person realizes it's purely spiritual reality. And so, this person has the quality that is always freeing the spirit. So that when we are affine with this particular person, we to free our spirit. We don't do it as like a purpose. We don't do it because this is like the end. But it's a characteristic quality of this sense of presence.

Muller says that,
I hold The Upanishad, The Isa Upanishad wishes to teach the uselessness by themselves of all good works, whether we call them sacrificial, legal or moral. and yet at the same time to recognize if not the necessity at least the harmlessness of good works when they are performed without any selfish motives. Motifs.
And I've selected this out, changed it a little bit because he's, he's unclear here. He's a good professor but he's, he's not, he's not a deep yogi in himself.

What is meant here is that delusionary works are useless. And in the same way, in the same kind, good works are also useless, but they are necessary. They are necessary not for what they achieve but for what they prepare us to receive. And so, it's not what, it's not what the hand can grasp but it's what the hand can receive. And so, the knack is not to do bad works, but also not to get attached in good works. But to learn to use the hand in a receiving way. And when one can do that, whatever one does one receives God's presence. The Greek term for this, and you must understand is a universal spiritual wisdom. The Greek term for this was epiclesis. When you make the forms which you are capable of, those forms can receive God's presence. Put it in the colloquial sense, when he sees that you are ready, he will come. Or like to say in the in Alexandria around the turn of the millennium, wisdom is a beautiful woman and she will not make her home in an unclean place. So, when you clean up your life, she will count then and that she will, will keep counsel in your soul. So, that it's up to you not to go looking for her. Not to go hunting for her. Not to try and get some bait for her. But when you clean your soul up, she will come then, and she will live with you. It is that kind of understanding.

So, what you can do, your actions are not geared to the purposes that you thought they were. But to receiving the presences which can't come. Which, which do come in fact. So that there is a sense that in performing acts, one is preparing for a higher knowledge. One is preparing for that epiclesis. So, the sense of doing the acts is not to be attached to the fruits of action. Don't do evil things and don't do good things with an eye on well I'm going to do good. But you do what you can in a prepatory way to receive.

So that the expression, and he gives the Sanskrit expression here, “Na karma lipyathe nar. This expression seems to me to admit of this one explanation only. That work done does not claim to man provided he has acquired the highest knowledge.” In other words, there is no karma. And it's like one can sense, increasingly, one can see that the karmic webbing is loosening its hold in your life. And it's like the graphic indication that you have that you are, you are settling into your true self. You are receiving that quality of presence, which is highest knowledge, beyond categories. It's like you can feel the loosening of the binds of karma. It's like the, like the chains of hell in some kinds of literature. And you can you can feel that getting looser and slack. And finally, just literally falling off. Not, not being there at all. Not there at all. So that there is a quality of like floating in emulous. Or there's a quality of like flying in, in, in your own self. Somebody once said that it was like when you walk you, you're like scuffing clouds. There's a definite kind of a quality. That one is no longer bound very tightly to this world at all. You're still doing whatever you're doing, but it doesn't have that kind of a karmic quality anymore. It's like the karma is a grain and that as you release yourself from that hold it's as if the grain begins to lighten up and begins to disappear. Like that.

So that there is a sense here, and The Isa Upanishad brings it across, that one of the chains that holds us very firmly we discover is the sense of blind orthodoxy. We have a conception of God. We have a conception of spiritual life. We have a conception of good things. And all this forms of pattern and a tapestry. And our comportment is rather stuck to this. And this orthodoxy makes it very difficult for us to get rid of this kind of a grain. This kind of a comportment. So, The Isa Upanishad encourages us to accept a, a radical break.

One of the indications that you are frozen in a karmic glue by an Orthodox delusion. One of the indications for this is that there, you have a constant need to keep sacrificing to purify yourself. Oh, I've got, I've got to do it again. I've got, I did it yesterday I have to do it today. I have to do it tomorrow. It’s that constant need. It's like an addiction. That you got to do something to balance it out.

The apocryphal story that illustrates this particular spiritual point is from Tibet. Milarepa, the story of Milarepa. The man who went to become the inheritor of the lineage of Milarepa, the Kagyu lineage, his name was Gampopa, bound up in having these colossal world-class visionary dreams. And they would be so gorgeous and spectacular that he would go. And he would usually wake up about 4:00 in the morning and go and wake up Milarepa, the master. And tell him these dreams of enlightenment that he had. And Milarepa would say well it's very nice. Go back to sleep. Try again. And night after night, production after production, more gorgeous dream after more gorgeous dream. And it went on for 28 days. And finally, Milarepa said to him look just go back to sleep. And on the 29th night Gampopa had no dream of all. And he was utterly crestfallen. Had nothing to tell. And he left. He figured that he had burned himself out. And he went back home and just went back to being a university teacher. And a couple years later he heard Milarepa had died. And he thought well my chances for enlightenment in this life are completely gone. And he had the sense that he had come to an impasse. And then he understood that not having any dream images at all, that was it. That was it. That he in fact had been past the lineage that very night by Milarepa because there were no dreams and no nothing.

And it's like when you're, when you're first in that the, the puzzlement is that you don't you don't know what not to tell. Nothing happened. Well but you see in a universe of a whirlpool of delusion for nothing to happen, for there to be no images, that is a release. But it's only if you were sensitized to that kind of acceptance of that epiclesis of God's grace. It's only in that negative print out mode that you would know that something profound had an in fact happened. Otherwise in terms of your normal everyday mind you would say well nothing happened. Stuff doesn't work. And all the time that was it. You see how easy it is to move the mind always goes over the point. Can't, can't stop itself. Can't help itself. Not the minds problem. That's the way it is. Like an impetuous child. But that God is there at that quiet center. All the time. All the time. Never not there.

So that the term for knowledge at this time in India was Vidya. Vidya. We get like our word video. Of one sees. knowledge is, is a seeing. And ignorance is in Avidya. Non Vidya. Vidya and Avidya together can be set down. set aside. if you have only Vidya or only Avidya, you cannot let them down. You cannot set one of them down. Either knowledge or ignorance. but together you can set them both aside. And when you do it's, later in meditation they say it's like putting your mind in the palm of your hand. Put your mind there, it's not going to go anywhere. That you don't need your mind for your spirit. At all. Why? The mind is of this world. It's a movement in this world.

So that here's how Muller wrote at a hundred years ago. “This antithesis between Vidya and Avidya seems to me still firmly established that I cannot bring myself to surrender it here.” The confession from him.
Though this Upanishad has its own very peculiar character. Yet its object is after all to impart a knowledge of the highest self. And not to inculcate merely a difference between faith and the ordinary Gods and good works. So that the difficulty therefore which has perplexed all Indian thinkers in this Upanishad. While the Orthodox believer is said to enter into blind darkness, the true disciple who has acquired only a knowledge of the true self could be said to enter a still greater darkness.

If you enter the true self as a conception of the true self, you haven't missed it completely. And you're a really bad, bad straights. That's what a good teacher will always put those kinds of spurs in there to forbid you to easily come to a conception of what is being said. It's only the first-class conmen and phonies that make it perfectly clear. So, you say, oh that's what you mean. Yeah that’s spot on. Oh yeah. Well that whole activity is stupidity itself. Because the whole activity is to lead you towards understanding but forbid you from jumping to the conclusions which are always wrong. There are no conclusions to jump to. There are only delusions. So, you want to get yourself into a balance where you neither know nor you know that you don't know. Netty, netty. Not this, not that.

And when you're not intending for either, when you're accepting both, something else happens. **inaudible word/part of a word** Tolstoy says, man's extremity is God's opportunity. And because it's on the air all the time you can't miss the that show. You don't have to worry what time it is. You don't have to do what season it is. It never off the air. can't miss it.

So that, “He only who knows both together both what is called ignorance and what is called knowledge can be saved. Because by good works he overcomes death here explained by natural works. And by knowledge he obtains the immortal here explained by oneness with Brahman.”

One of the final emphases that The Isa Upanishad has is that this world is important then. This world is blessed. This world is not an antithetical throwaway compared to a transcendental Heaven, which is the glorious thing to have. To make God's realm some glorious transcendental heaven is exactly going towards purposes of knowledge in the stupid way. projecting out. Not that at all. not at all. So that the cherishing of this world, even though it is a world of appearances is an important part of spiritual practice. Planting flowers is important. Cherishing the animals is important. Helping the children and the aged is important. this world is important in, but in a radically real way. Not in a sentimental way but in a radically real way. It's our guarantee that we're not going to jump to delusive conclusions about God. And that's why the person of God is, is Ishvara in this world. The Lord of this world. Is, is God in this movement in this way.

So, there is a beautiful phrase again, Sri Aurobindo. he writes here, “The language of this Upanishad makes it strikingly clear that it is no metaphysical abstraction, no void silence, no indeterminate absolute which is offered to the soul that aspires but rather the absolute of all that is possessed by it here is the relative world of its so journey.” This world in its actuality in its so journey. He uses the term that that comes from Hellenistic Judaism. The, time is the moving image of eternity. So that the temporality of this world is not an evil but it's the nature of the happening of the Lord, who is the ballast presence of God. In that way infinitizing ourselves with this person, coming to know this person, becoming that person. Then the saying is that the person in the Sun, that golden disc, is able to radiate all light.

So, you can see that The Isa Upanishad even though it's 18 verses and the shortest of all of them it's just an exquisite little work.

And we’ll, we’ll let the tapes carry us from there.

Thank you for coming.

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