In the Isa Vasya Upanishad, which is the last part of the Sukla Yajur Veda, Yajnavalkya says,
vAyuh anilam amRtam : The wind (that which carries away), wind (the forty-ninth of the Maruts), the state of non-death (immortality)
DSC-0049 : Sankaracharya : Photo Credit : Kavana Vijaya : All Rights Reserved
atha idam : now this
bhasmAntam sarIram : this body is finally (in the end ) ashes
Aum kratO smara : Aum, remember O krata! (sankalpAtmaka: that part of us that can Will things to happen)
kRtam smara : remember kRta (that which was done)
kratO smara kRtam smara : remember O krata! remember what was done.
What does Sankaracharya say?
Sankara says that we should add the word pratipadyatAm to the first line. “As I die, my prANa (life, breath), my vAyu breaks away from its adhyAtmic enclosure (paricchEda) and enters the adhidaivic (divine) eternal wind, that is the self of all beings (sarvAtmak) having become sUtrAtmA”
(sUtrAtmA is annoyingly translated into english as thread-soul.. which means nothing in itself. It has been described it as a sort of DNA thread that has all the carry forward gene-like stuff on it.
Krishna says in one of the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita that as the wind carries forward smells from place to place, so also the AtmA carries forward its Karma from one birth to another. I think we will for the moment treat it as the “individuality” that survives body-death, till I get greater insights into this, from my Guru or from texts. – Satya)
This body with form (linga), gnyAna and karma, having been offered to agni becomes ashes, and should be left behind.
As per our upAsana, we saying Aum, which is the symbol of the undifferentiated Brahman whose form is truth (satyasvarUpam) and name is Agni.
Remember oh SankalpAtmaka! That which ought to be remembered. And also Remember all the karma that you did anuSTAna. (All the karma that you practiced)
What do I think?
atha idam vAyuh anilam amRtam : Now this life breath is the eternal wind.
I don’t think atha need refer to the moment of death. It in my view refers to the moment of realisation, when in the previous mantram, we said sohamasmi, He I am.
Then I know that “now my breath is the eternal wind.”
sarIram bhasmAntam : The body is ashes in the end.
Aum kratO smara kRtam smara : Aum, remember Oh Doer! remember what was done.
So in this moment of realisation when I realise that I am He behind the golden rays of the sun, and my breath is the eternal wind, I am the Purusha (sankalpAtmaka), the doer and I remember what was (actually) done.
I know that everything that moves is under Is’vara sankalpa. I know that I must “do” and live out my entire life-span. I know that not realising my self and not eductating myself will send me to sunless dark worlds. I know that my Self is in All and All is in my Self and that it goes everywhere while being stationary and is faster than the dEvatAS. I know that learning and methods other than Vidya must both be practiced to take me to amRta, similarly I must consider both the manifest and unmanifest in my sAdhana.
Then I regard the Nourisher and ask him to reveal the truth that’s behind his brilliant radiant form only to realise that it is I. I now feel my breath as the wind and recall what it was that was done, by Me the Doer!
This brings us to the last mantram of this upanishad which we shall study next time. Jai Sankaracharya! Jai Yagnyavalkya! (Jai Satya! ) May those who read my rendition of this Isa Vasya Upanishad be blessed. Thanks for being there!
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula