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Isha Upanishad - Shloka 4
|by Dr. R. K. Lahri|
The Atman dwells in every being.
The shloka suggests that the Self is swifter than the mind. It has been accepted all over that the mind is the fastest but the Infinite surpasses it. As it is present already in the place where mind has yet to reach and it can only reach later. The All-pervading nature of the Self is such that It makes its presence felt everywhere without any movement or dynamic speed as of other objects. In short, Self is the one, unmoving, faster than the mind, having preceded mind, It is beyond reach of the senses. Ever steady, It outstrips all that run. By its mere presence It enables the cosmic energy to sustain activities of life.
The seer uses the term, Anejat Ekam. It stands for Atman, the Self. He emphasises that the Self is Ekam i.e. one and only one, or one without a second. It is the highest and beyond that there is nothing. It is Anejat, unmoving and motionless. It is alone, Infinite and non-mobile. Simultaneously It is Manasah Javeevah - or swifter than the mind.
The stanza suggests that even the Devas cannot overtake or surpass the Infinite. Devta is the one possessed of great and useful qualities and powers, much higher and above ordinary individual. Nasadiya Sukta (10-129) says that Gods were born later than the world’s creation. Devas are celestial powers, generally benevolent and beneficent and death – postponing. Someone who confers selflessly benefit and advantage and expects no return is also considered as a devata. Yagvalkya in Brahad (111-19) speaks of 8 vasus, from the cosmos (Earth, Water, Fire, Ether and Air) plus sun, moon and constellation; 11 Rudras (5 sense objects and 5 motor objects plus mind) 12 Adityas (12 months of the year) and Time he rest two are Indra and Prajpati. All these together constitute 33 gods in Vedic mythology. It is obvious that the word Devata stands for sense organs. It is the Infinite Consciousness that makes the organs function properly through mind. Sense organs can only perceive the object but ultimately the rider is the Consciousness acting through mind. Geeta says (10-2) “Neither the host of devas nor of great seers know My origin and boundless supernatural powers and influences, for in every respect I am the initial cause of all.”
The line says, sitting It goes faster than who ran after It. We observe that the experience of pleasure and pain in relation to existence and non-existence of sense objects is attached to the condition of the mind. When the mind is at peace and the heart leaps to the Supreme Truth, when all the disturbing thought waves of the mind have subsided, then alone peace and bliss of the Infinite is gained. No sense organ can achieve it without grace of Infinite Consciousness. Hence the engine of Infinite carries with it attached bogies of sense organs and sense objects. Self is the very substance of Eternity in all movements and is the very force in face of all such seeming power forces.
Water is such another force. It has oxygen and hydrogen in proper proportion. It has been called Apah. Apah and Apasa are interconnected and the power to release them is Matarishva; the great controller of cosmic energy. This life force operates under Supreme Consciousness, the Atman. The Supreme and the Matarishva is one and the same in this respect as our life source cannot be two but one and only one.
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