Reading the Upanishads: Part Seven

I thought it would be nice to read along through some scriptures and discuss the passages. I have a translation of the Upanishads done by Eknath Easwaran, a teacher whom I deeply trust and love. In this book there is an introduction before each translation with some insight from Easwaran.

Here is a link to the Amazon page for the book I have:

The seventh verse of the Easwaran translation of the Isha Upanishad is…

Those who see all creatures in themselves

And themselves in all creatures know no grief.

How can the multiplicity of life

Delude the one who sees its unity?

This verse continues directly from the previous where it was said that when you see yourself in everyone you know no fear. I can easily see how fear would be alleviated by seeing the unity of all life. Grief is a little more difficult.

When I miss my dear friend who died, if I’m doing Hinduism right then I will know that her spirit is within me and within everything and everyone else. She is not gone. But that is easier said than felt.

The grief I still feel is perhaps an indication that I’m not entirely enlightened yet ;) I also take comfort, though, in knowing that sages have advised mourning when appropriate. I like to let my body feel what it is feeling and not try to force it to something else. But at the same time, I also maintain the knowledge that what my body or mind is going through is not me. My soul can remain calm and just observe the different emotions as they pass through the physical/maya level.

The second part of this verse is particularly lovely. I think I’m going to start using that quote to give me perspective when I lose sight of what’s real.

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Drekfletch

    Alternative translation:
    Oxford World’s Classics, trans Patrick Olivelle, 1996

    When in the self of a discerning man,
    his very self has become all beings,
    What bewilderment, what sorrow can there be,
    regarding that self of him who sees this oneness.

    This translation pretty much switches pairs of lines. First two verses of the first translation go with the second two verses of the second translation, and vice verse. To me they seem to imply that the ‘it’ of the previous verses isn’t just the unity of existence, but includes enlightenment.


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