Reading the Upanishads: Part Nine

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:

Verses 9 to 11 of the Easwaran translation of the Isha Upanishad are…

In dark night live those for whom

The world without alone is real; in night

Darker still, for whom the world within

Alone is real. The first leads to a  life

Of action, the second to a life of meditation.

But those who combine action with meditation

Cross the sea of death through action

And enter into immortality

Through the practice of meditation.

So we have heard from the wise.

What a very interesting passage! It appears to say that it is not wise to pick one type of path only (action, study, devotion). It appears that you don’t get the complete picture when you focus too much on just the outside world or just the inside world. You need both action and meditation, an understanding of both the world within and the world without in order to reach enlightenment.

Krishna does say in the Gita that it is impossible to renounce action entirely; your body will continue to act through breathing and heart pumping blood, etc. That is not something to resist.

It appears that, as with everything, the right balance is necessary. Everything in the correct measure leads us to the Truth.

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About Ambaa Choate

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.