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Īsha Upanishad

The Upanishads are a celebration of the awakening of the Self (Ātman), a state of unbounded pure being, pure bliss. They reveal the great truth of life: The Self of the individual is identical to the Self of the universe (Brahman). They sing out, “I am totality” (aham brahmāsmi). The wholeness of life, Brahman, expresses itself as every particle of creation and as every human being. This is the profound message of the Upanishads.1

I recently started reading the Vedic Upanishads. I became interested in them as I worked my way through the process of doing a Second Order Translation of The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom.

As I have learned, the Upanishads are part of the Vedanta (the end of the Vedas) and provide, I think, a summary of centuries of spiritual thought. There's about 200 of them, scholars say, but only a few that are considered core.  Because I was learning a lot about the Vedas by providing a SOT of the Crest Jewel, I thought I'd do it for the Upanishads as well, starting with the Īsha Upanishad.

Below you will find my second order translation of the Īsha Upanishad. The first order translation is provided by Katch and Egenes.2 The Īsha Upanishad is fairly straight forward. It opens with a statement about proper orientation to the fruits of Creation. It makes a statement about the importance of paying attention to cause and effect, and then gives advice on the importance of achieving Connection, making some statements on the difference between Self and “mind” or, using LP lingo, between the spiritual ego and bodily ego. It also gives some advice on properly orientating your understanding. The Upanishad ends with an affirmation requesting assistance, authentic connection, persistent apprehension of truth, and union.

All in all, the message of the Īsha Upanishad is quite simple, particularly from the LP perspective. You can decide your yourself.

Note, the text linked below is divided up into two sections. The first is the second order translation exclusive of the original translation, and the second section intersperses the two, so you can consider the veracity of my interpretation. Comments welcome below.

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-- All you need is love...

michael - i like your concept of a second order translation so much. It is amazing how much clarity the LP concepts add.  It seems to make sense to write 'second order translations' for lots of spiritual texts, so that we can actually understand them!

I do notice thought that in your straight-forward translation, some of the 'poetry' or mysticism of the original is stripped away and lost. (that is probably OK.)

It reminds me of something from Christianity. the King James translation of the bible is the one I grew up with, and i find it "flowery" (and somewhat antiquated) language very beautiful. The more contemporary versions might be clearer in some ways, but too me lose of the the 'reverence' of the King James.


anyway, great job with your translation. i really liked reading it. FYI i think maybe LP concepts will be pretty readily assimilated into "Hindu-style" thought, and the LP might make huge inroads there first. Because of that, i bet your SOT versions of classical Hindu thought like the Upanishads will serve as important ways to draw readers into the LP. what do you think??


finally, FYI A long time ago on the LP forums I remember you asked if anybody could make an 'updated' version of the Lord's Prayer.  after reading about your concept of a 'second order translation' today, i was very inspired to try my hand at this So I will post my attempt in my other thread

🙂 May the people of this world be free.

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