ईशा वास्यमिदँ सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ।। (यजुर्वेद ४०.१)
O Human! The entire world – static as well as dynamic – is pervaded by Ishwar – the Supreme Lord. Hence enjoy the pleasures in a detached manner. Do not be greedy. This wealth does not belong to anyone.
Isha – The Supreme Lord
Vasyam – Inhabits
Idam – This
Sarvam – Everything – every point, every location
Yat – Whatever
Kim Cha – And
Jagtyam – Dynamic world
Jagat – Living and Inanimate World
Tena – These
Tyaktena – With detachment
Bhunjitha – Enjoy
Maa – Do not
Gridhah – Be greedy
Kasyaswit – Whose is
Dhanam – This wealth?
Ishopanishad or the 40th Chapter of Yajurveda forms the foundation of all positive philosophies of the world. The very first mantra sets the tone. In few words, it provides the essence of life and living, structure of world and our ideal approach while we live. It states:
– There are three entities in the world – The world around us (Prakriti), Ishwar who resides everywhere and we – the soul (Atman)– who is being addressed in the mantra.
– We do not own the world around us. The owner – the Ishwar – pervades every point that He owns. Now since we do not own the world, the way we should use the facilities of the world should be without a sense of ownership.
– This does not mean we should refuse to use the facilities in the world. By all means, we should make best use of the facilities, but without considering it as our own personal property.
– Under any circumstance, we should not have any greed. Greed is the highest level of foolishness. Neither do we own the world around, nor can we take it with us after we die. Hence running after what eventually would be lost is indeed stupidity. In fact no one can own the world. Even Ishwar owns as a manager and not someone who extracts benefits from the world.
Hence, we should stop acting foolish and start enjoying the world in the true sense.
The mantra teaches another fundamental law of life – You cannot enjoy unless you are detached. The ONLY way to enjoy the world is by getting detached from it. This may seem counter-intuitive on surface but in fact it is not. If you think deeply, you would find that it the lust to own that causes all the worries. Worries start from the very desire of owning something:
– We worry about ways to obtain our desired object.
– Once obtained, we worry about its security and our continued association with it.
– And finally, when it is time to say goodbye, we regret because we now lose it.
In fact true ownership of anything except what you already have – your own self and Ishwar – can simply not happen. It is like chasing a shadow. Sometimes we come very close to it, but it again moves ahead. The only way to chase a shadow is to turn around and face the sun. Instead of chasing the shadow, chase the source of light. And shadow will fall behind.
I recall a joke I heard in childhood where a boy challenged Tees-Maar-Khan (TMK) to touch the red traffic light some distance away and come back while he measures the time. The next morning, TMK was furiously hunting for the boy in the neighborhood. When someone asked whats the matter, he angrily replied, “The boy made me run the entire city behind tail light of a bus!”
I laughed a lot when I first heard it. But gradually I realized this is the dark humor dominating the world today. We all keep chasing the elusive tail light. We glamorize and idolize all those who earned fame, earned wealth, earned power and aspire to be one of them. The hunger never ceases. We keep running for more and more. But we never feel as if we have achieved whatever we ran to achieve. And then suddenly lights go off in this mad race and the show ends. And when the show ends, we all are at same level. All the toys of the world that we collected – name, fame, wealth, power – which we never actually collected but we fooled ourselves to assume that we have collected, evaporate in a split-second. Thus, after all the drama, all the frustrations, all the sacrifices, all the compromises, all the complexities, all the troubles, all the madness, we are back to square one.
An Amitabh, or a Shahrukh, or an Obama, or a Sonia, or a Lalu, or a Pope, or a Zakir, or an Ambani, or an Osama, or a rich, or a poor, or a celebrity, or a non-entity – everyone would die equally rich or equally beggar. Some may argue: “But some of them would leave a legacy that would continue”. But lets be clear – even if legacy continues – no one would be there to even claim that ‘I’ left this legacy. Even the memory of this so-called legacy would wipe out. And then even those people who remember this legacy would also face the same destiny of blankness and forget all the legacies of theirs or their predecessors in one split-second defined as death or “The End” of the show.
In summary, nothing in the world ever belonged to us and nothing gonna go with us despite whatever efforts we may exert to acquire them.
So what are we supposed to do? Sit blankly like a morbid lunatic waiting aimlessly for the final ‘The End’? Well, many a philosophers may suggest so. Some may say that live in present and do not worry about future. Others would suggest that one should enjoy this life to maximum and face the future – death or whatever – when it comes and not bother about it now. Yet another group would advise that death is simply like a fantastic sleep so why worry about it.
But let us be honest, how many of these philosophers and their followers would enjoy their parties and fun when held at gun-point? These all are elusive ideologies that fear to address the core issue and provide only escapades. They are simply attention-distractions. Like a pain-balm which works by confusing the sensation of pain with a new sensation of skin irritation. But then, somewhere from some corner in this body, something raises an alarm – that soon “THE END” would come.
It is natural that all living beings fear and avoid death. If death were indeed so painless, why would there be a natural revulsion to death? Why does society consider murder as greatest crime? This is so intuitively built-in within us that we do not even need to explain this. This is implicit in all the actions we carry in our lives. And when we associate this fact of death with all the running around to gather temporary wealth that we indulge into, we clearly know that we are acting foolish. THIS CANNOT BE GOAL OF LIFE WHEN WE KNOW WE CAN NEVER ACQUIRE IT.
The very first mantra of Ishopanishad, very succinctly not only states that chasing the tail light of bus is simply a foolishness, but also offers a clue to what else should be done. It provides not a pain-balm but addresses the root cause of pain in the very first words of the mantra: That everything is inhabited by the Supreme Lord.
The solution is clear – instead of pursuing what we can never obtain, pursue what is already everywhere – within and outside you. Pursue the Ishwar. Since He is the manager of the entire world, since He alone would remain closest to you forever and wherever you go, so as a smart person, simply follow Him. Instead of chasing a desire that is technically impossible, pursue what is most achievable and most beneficial. Since He is already with and within us, to pursue Him implies understanding Him and conducting actions as per this knowledge.
Thus, the mantra changes the very approach towards life. Instead of being owners of anything including our relations, our body, our thoughts, our minds, our properties, our clothes, our degrees, our fame, our wealth etc etc, we are simply being employees of Ishwar.
– This world is our workplace or our office or company “World Inc”.
– Each thought, each word, each action is being appraised every moment by the CEO – Ishwar – and he keeps promoting or demoting us accordingly.
– We head the business unit called “Me and My World Inc” but Ishwar is the Supreme Head of all such business units.
– We have to work together to maximize profits not only for the Business Unit that we head but for entire organization.
– And we have to work here in same manner as we work in our professional life. The pen, the laptop, the chair, the table, the office facilities, the car that company provides, the flight in which we travel for business purpose etc are not OWNED by us. But we use them and use them with FULL enjoyment – for the sole purpose of the organization. Same goes for World Inc.
– Anyone who uses company resources for his personal gains is penalized in an ethically driven company as per Corporate Governance. In the “World Inc”, we are punished similarly for any cheating that we do against the code of world governance.
– In the mortal company, punishments and rewards are delayed. But in the perfect World Inc, everything is instantaneous. He is present everywhere to ensure this. And he ensures what we get is what we deserve – neither less nor more.
Thus the mantra asks us to enjoy the world and work in it as Business Heads who own ownership of actions and not the resources. All our actions should maximize the profits of entire company and we all should report only to the CEO – the Ishwar. Ishwar, being the smartest CEO, would provide us the resources that we need to fulfill our objectives. Our goal is not to maximize these resources in our business unit but to fulfill the objectives of entire organization.
With this professional business oriented approach towards life, there is no more any scope for fear, worry or aimlessness. Instead of trying in vain to enjoy life because we want to elude the ultimate “THE END”, we tend to proactively and truly start enjoying life with a passion to maximize our achievements before the “INTERVAL” so that we are provided even higher designations after the “INTERVAL”.
Suddenly we don’t feel the need to try being brave and daring in life. We instead feel that to be natural trait of ours. We don’t feel like either running away or indulging in the world. We instead feel like smart managers who UTILIZE the world and its resources for our ultimate objectives. We don’t feel the need to wasting time in enormous fluff of myriad philosophies that only an idle person has time to analyze. We instead feel extremely goal oriented who focus only on what needs to increase the profits. We don’t feel scared of losing any of the world’s resources because we don’t own them in first place. We instead focus every moment on what we have and what we need to acquire for the company goals. If there is a airplane to our destination, we feel no hitch nor any special pride in availing it. We simply use it, plan for next business target and enjoy the process. If there is no airplane, we still feel the same exhilaration pursuing our goals in the bullock cart or cycle or whatever.
We still aspire for wealth and riches and better facilities in world. We still aspire for fame and glory. But we aspire not for our own self. We aspire these only for the goals of this World Inc. We aspire only TO EXTENT THEY FULFILL goals of World Inc. Its no more ‘for me only’. It is for the mission of ‘Idanna Mama’ – ‘Not mine’. Thus instead of being beggars dreaming to be tycoons, we become most well-paid Business Heads of the company!
The mantra summarizes the essence of ‘Idanna Mama’ (Not mine) and ‘Swaha’ (for the larger goal alone) that form the bedrock of Vedic ideology. No wonder, the same values are honored in the most professional and respected of worldly organizations. And that is what makes them successful. When these can achieve so much success by scratching a very tiny surface of Vedic wisdom, just imagine the level of success that is waiting for us when we immerse into Vedas!
One who understands the crux of this mantra even partially would make himself a winner. Instead of wasting time collecting sand and pebbles that eventually will be snatched away from us, the smart follower of this mantra would utilize his stay to collect the jewels that would go with him when the show ends for others! And while others would face the consequences of being corrupt, the smart manager would win his next level of promotion. Further, even in this life, the fools waste life chasing elusive happiness that never comes to them and instead gather tremendous amount of emptiness, frustration, guilt, shame, regret, fear, tension beneath the false gimmick of outwardly bliss. The smart manager, all the while, gathers true bliss, true happiness and enjoys being promoted to further bliss in each moment of noble action.
One may ask, what these noble actions are and what are the goals of World Inc that we are expected to pursue. Now you don’t need any special prophet or incarnation or miracle to tell you that. You simply need to follow your inner voice of accepting the truth and rejecting the falsehood in every moment of life through thoughts, words and actions in most optimal manner. Everything else is derived from this core most inherent intuitive mission. Even need to master Vedas is a derivative of this core essence.
If we delve into this deeply, we would find that this in itself justifies why following the inspiration of Ishwar alone to achieve Ishwar alone through knowledge is the right and only way to achieve bliss. Vedas provide detailed explanations to this and increase our speed and effectiveness. Thus Vedas are the corporate policy guidelines of World Inc. Not only is the text available for reference, but for ease of all, the same has also been inherently copied in our own self a-priori. This is what intuitively keeps inspiring us to do good for the world, pursue happiness, spread knowledge, get into action etc.
We shall in course of more detailed understanding of Vedic Mantras, keep reviewing what these goals are and how are they to be applied as per the Policy guidelines of Vedas. But those willing to explore more details are requested to review http://agniveer.com/vedas/foundations/
O Ishwar, may my ignorance that leads me to ignoring You and chasing the world that was never mine be destroyed forever. I promise to put my best efforts for this. With Your blessings I promise to seek You and You alone because You alone are source of bliss! May this noble thought always prevail in me!