The Isha Upanishad, translated by Lasha Darkmoon

Introduced by John Scott Montecristo  

isha-upanishadThis imitation translation of the Isha Upanishad, the first to be done in trimetrical rhyming quatrains—i.e., with three stresses per line—was composed over 10 years ago as a literary exercise by Lasha Darkmoon.

An imitation translation, a genre of translation widely recognized and practiced by many poets, can also be described as an “impressionistic” translation. Here an attempt is made to imitate the original and give an interpretative impression of it, conveying its essential meaning and essence. This is the very opposite of a literate, word-for-word translation that strives for 100 percent linguistic accuracy.

The difference between a literate translation and an “imitation translation” is analogous to the difference between a photograph and an impressionistic painting.

Other shorter Sanskrit translations by Lasha Darkmoon, published in 2006 in the Poetry magazine Acumen, can be read here: Three Sanskrit Poems


MANUSCRIPT PAGE OF THE ISHA UPANISHAD
MANUSCRIPT PAGE OF THE ISHA UPANISHAD

The shortest of the Upanishads—just over one page in prose or 60 lines in this verse translation—the Isha Upanishad  encapsulates the essence of the Brahminical worldview that was to achieve its final flowering in the Bhagavad Gita.

The “Self” referred to in the poem is synonymous with the Atman, the divine element in man, which is said to achieve enlightenment and salvation when it merges with Brahman, the Supreme Reality. 

For more detailed discussion on the relationship between Atman, Brahman and Parabrahman — decribed by Christmas Humphreys as “the indescribable Ultimate” — see Darkmoon’s essay In Quest of the Unknown Brahman.

The two concluding  verses of the Isha Upanishad, recited as a mantra at the moment of death, remain to this day among the most hallowed utterances of Hinduism.


THE ISHA UPANISHAD

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In all things underneath
the sky and everywhere
where light and shadow fall
the Self is present there.

Let not your heart hanker
for someone else’s treasure.
Cling to the Eternal,
the things that last forever.

Only then will a hundred
years of life on this earth
be worth it. Otherwise
it’s back to the wheel of birth!

There are worlds beyond death:
here demon and demoness
flit through the shadows,
and men lost in darkness.

The Self wins every race
moving or standing still.
Softly now, silently
its way becomes our will.

The Self is in and out,
it’s far off and it’s near.
See in all things your Self
and so lose all your fear.

This is the pearl you’re seeking,
here is the magic ring—
the world all ONE and shining
and you in everything!

The Self is everywhere
radiant and incorporeal,
without flesh and bone,
beyond good and evil.

Here is the ONE who sees
everything, and knows all:
the infinite transcendent,
the immanent eternal.

The face of truth lies hidden
behind the veils of seeming—
we see the world and wonder
if we could be dreaming.

Remove O Brahm our blinkers
and let our eyes behold
the SUN in its true glory,
its orb of burning gold!

O Lord of all creation
life-giving Sun and sage
calm in your golden grandeur,
both Idea and Image—

you’re more than we imagine,
you shine and let us see
your beauty . . .  and you hide
behind your Mystery.

O body fall to ashes!
Soul O my soul take wing!
Remember O remember
all your ancient strivings!

 Lord of light forgive us
the sins of our long past!
Lead us out of darkness
and bring us home at last!

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Lasha Darkmoon

Dr Lasha Darkmoon (b.1978) is an Anglo-American ex-academic with higher degrees in Classics whose political articles and poems have been translated into several languages. Most of her political essays can be found at The Occidental Observer and The TruthSeeker. Her own website, Darkmoon.me, is now within the top 1 percent of websites in the world according to the Alexa ranking system.

19 thoughts on “The Isha Upanishad, translated by Lasha Darkmoon

  1. Lasha Darkmoon’s capacity for inquiry and study is vast! She never fails to impress.

    “The face of truth lies hidden
    behind the veils of seeming – ”

    If lines like this are “imitation translations”, she’d flatter any manuscript!

  2. Darkmoon would be a better website if the administration allowed discussion/debate about the Flat Earth Geocentrics versus the Heliocentrics. It’s a very important subject, the nature of the Universe. The issue gets to the heart of the New World Order and modern day culture [ if you can call it culture ].

    The way we see the Universe affects and effects our thinking about EVERYTHING else. There’s NO getting around that. A very important subject matter. But Darkmoon, supposedly so interested in every aspect of The New World Order, won’t allow any discussion/debate about the very nature of the Universe.

    DM’ers plethora of world’s leading experts, MEGA intellectuals, and Oh, so smart and savvy characters , can’t see what I, mere whiddlejoew, can see, and can see Very Clearly, thank you very much.

    1. @ TROJ

      I always knew the earth was flat. Ever since I was a toddler and took my first tentative steps on the so-called “globe”, I knew in my little bones that I was walkin’ on a flat disc. It was pretty obvious to me even then, as a precocious 3-year-old, that Copernicus and Galileo were up the creek without a paddle and that Newton was just a nutcase.

      So I see no need, dear Joe, to enter into longwinded discussions on the darkmoon site about the “heliocentric theory”. What’s the point? It’s blindingly obvious to all us Flat Earthers here, starting with your good self, that the earth is a flat disc. I am sick and tired hearing about the “globe” — and no word drives me crazier than the word “antipodes”.

      When ships reach the edge of the flat disc, they just topple over into the abyss of empty space. That’s where all the Missing Persons go. So I’m told by the FBI.

      1. Thanks for the brilliantly evocative translation of the Isha Upanishad, Lasha. And my sincere apologes for my off-topic post above.

        The last 8 lines of the poem — the mantra recited on the point of death — are among the best I have read. This is hardly an “imitation”. The sense is exactly the same as given in the original.

      2. NOT ALL Missing Persons topple over the edge of the flat disc into the abyss of empty space. There’s a lot of Missing Persons here in Spamblinka prison camp for “thought criminals”, I happen to know. If someone you LERV is missing, doesn’t necessarily mean your LERVED One fell off the edge of the earth. Your LERVED One could very well have been thrown into a solitary confinement prison cell in Spam.

        When I was a toddler all I could think of was about having my Maypo and having my stuffed teddy bear best friend in the Cosmos by my side, safe and sound, and no one could take my LERVED One away from me. But then again, I was never such a smartie as you, Sardonicus. I was not a precocious child. I was never your run-of-the-mill dime-a-dozen “know-it-all” type kid. Thank you very much.

    2. Please explain the mechanics of your cited positions, TROJ. Tell us why we should give a rat’s ass about it by your explanation (unless we are in immediate danger of toppling off the edge!).

      1. Relax, Gilby. Your rat’s ass 😉 is the very center of the Cosmos everything in the whole Universe, the whole Cosmos every since That BIG BANG revolves around! LMFAO!!!!

        Far be it from me Gilby to tell what you should give a rat’s ass about, after all, your arab jew spic fips has got your rat’s ass covered, your lerver boy is watching your back while taking real good care of your rat’s asshole. You should be walking on clouds up there in the SUN-ny Heavens! Like you died and went to Heaven with your beloved fips taking real good care of your rat’s assh*le , you and your fips ONE ENTITY Under The Sun , the Moon, and born out of that great Big Black Hole in the Cosmic Mystery of All Mysteries!!! Good day SUNshine!

    3. Listen, wheedlejoe, there is no debate because no one is disputing whatever theory you promote or defend.
      And the reason no one is disputing whatever theory you promote or defend is because no one has a clue just what that theory is.
      So, instead of endlessly arguing with yourself and then claiming repressive censorship,
      TROJ unfairly oppresses TROJ!,
      why not come out and say it (with minimal repetitions and on some run-in thread, not that they are ever stale), instead of being offensively off-topic like right now.
      I never read Upanishads and I never read the theory of Heliocentrism but I would at this point prefer to read about the former rather than the latter and I seriously doubt the two topics have much in common.
      Right now, all I see in massive evidence is TROJocentrism.

    4. Joe, here are four (4) different methods of measurement of Earth and Cosmos.
      The Vedas say, Bhu-gola. (earth is round).
      The flat/disc part idea is also easy to see.
      Everything operates as per the laws of physics.
      Along with people big and small, of course.
      The Rishis and Sages you mean mouth, knew thousands of years ago what modern scientists know now, and a whole lot more.
      Pay attention Joe.
      Although the Bhagavatam’s “Earth” (disk- shaped Bhu-mandala) may look unrealistic, careful study shows that the Bhagavatam uses Bhu-mandala to represent at least four reasonable and consistent models: (1) a polar- projection map of the Earth globe, (2) a map of the solar system, (3) a topographical map of south-central Asia, and (4) a map of the celestial realm of the demigods.

      1. Hinduism is too complicated for me, HP. There’s way too many “gods” and it’s all very complicated and involved.

      2. No it is not at all complicated, Joe.
        One God. Many demi-gods. Many angels. Many humans. Many etc..

        I practice only two mantras. It’s the same as a Catholic counting rosary and singing the blessed Psalms.
        Krishna says – “of Vedas I am the Sama [psalm] Veda”

        This and acting like a human being (ahimsa) and not an animal, will suffice.
        Practice, practice, practice, so at the time of death, Remembering the Lord’s name(s) images, beauty, etc., is habit. Our lives are very simply put, a series of habits. Almost exclusively self indulgent, material habits/desires. The goal is to replace material habits with spiritual habits. A good Catholic will tell you that. Yes?

        “Those worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.”

        Bhagavad Gita 9.25

  3. Lasha,
    I’ve read many translations of the Isha Upanishad, this is one of the best. It retains the “music”, a vital factor in any good translation.

  4. OH MAMA!!! One hears Music alright, whenever THE SUN is UP HIGH In The Sky!! Oh DADDY-O!! I can hear Music, sweet sweet Music, whenever Lasha composes a Hindoo poem In Reverent Homage to Our Father SUN who art In Heaven Hallowed Be Thy Rays of Tanning Light! I can hear Music whenever The Veiled One is near. Like totally groovy, dudes and dudettes! One hears Music, one hears the Magikal Musical Concordant Sounds of Endless Summer!!! Don’t worry, baby, everything will turn out alright ; Now that THE Eternal SUN is IN Endless Summer Time!! [ How old is Lasha, 16? Is she Sweet Sixteen or what! ]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl5kEqQ9gec

    SURF’S UP!!!

    ~ I’ve been all around the great big world and I’ve seen all kinds of girls, Yeaaa, but I couldn’t wait to get back to London town England and Tavistock, back to the cutest Veiled Chick in The Universe!

    Lasha is Our very own MISS UNIVERSE contestant! GO LASHA GO!!! U Win That MISS Universe Contest GIRL!!! U GO MISS INDIA GIRL!!!

  5. Oh Man!!! Lasha’s poetry can’t be beat!!
    Our Moon Goddess Mother, man, feel that rhythm!
    Lasha’s THE best poet around since Allen Ginsburg from the 60s!
    An alchemical fusion of Hindoo and Jajouka Sufi
    joo kabballah, ancient Egyptian religion of Nerfititi and ISIS
    and of course, Our Favorite ALL-TIME GROOVIEST RELIGION, can U dig IT!!!
    Our Blessed Sacred and Holy Babylonian Faith
    In Our Lord Nimrod’s FATHER OUR SUN GOD DADDY-O
    Above Our heads In Heaven
    HIS Tanning Light Rays so Radiant so Glorious
    turning Us into Golden Gods and Goddesses of The Cosmos
    Oh Man! It’s like being back on the beach in California
    early 60s and Man, I was ALL ready
    to go out there and explore The Heavens!!
    CIA-Tavistock Sandoz LSD is the Way To Go, dudes!!!
    I learned that from My Guru Huxley in Berkeley, 1963!!!
    you can enter Heaven thru the back door!

    No one is going to ask you if you’re a sinner
    that is so lame and so passé, so out-of-date
    that’s like from xtianity
    and they’re like still back in the dark ages, dudes
    their flat earth geocentric matrix paradigm
    to keep us all trapped inside boxes,
    to hinder Us from Expressing Ourself
    Just focus on Our Moon Goddess chicks
    and the Moon Goddess babes will LEAD you into Heaven
    via the Back Door of Our SUN GOD FATHER’s Heavenly Mansion
    no need to bother your mind with existentialist questions
    about right or wrong, junk like that
    Man, just dig on on Our Magical Musik So Concordant!
    jajouka Trans-fromative, like Totally!
    get off your butts, dudes, and Raise Your Consciousness
    OH WOW!!! I See The Light
    I can see the forest for the trees
    Oh Man! I see a Clearing A Lichtung Up Ahead!!
    Oh Man The Light The Light is Blinding Me!!
    Lasha is like so Ereignis, dudes
    Lasha is all about Being Here
    Or is She all about “Being There” ?

    Oh, sh*t, I never could understand Heidegger completely
    I was always way TOO busy tripping on Life , dudes
    always on the SUN-ny side of the street walking
    The Great Mysterious Gift
    bestowed upon US from Our Mighty SUN GOD DADDY-O
    TOO busy chasing Moon Goddess babes
    on the beaches of California in THE SUMMER TIME
    when Our GOD is HIGH IN THE SKY above our heads
    to delve into Heidegger in any depth
    Life is ALL about ENDLESS SUMMER, man!
    Kopf Hoch and don’t let ’em get you down
    convert to any pre-xtian RELIGION of your desire,
    that suits your mood, whatever
    whatever Holy PRE-xtian Religion
    corresponds with whatever it is you’re into
    and you’re quite simply bound to Morph Into your very own GOD
    if not exactly EQUAL to Our Father SUN
    at least EQUAL to Our holy dog in the sky, Sirius, man
    Life is an Eternal Re-Occurring ENDLESS SUMMER, man
    don’t let ’em tell you otherwise, dudes
    Hey, it’s on the Black Black Dark Side Of The Moon
    where The Real True Light of The Cosmos
    Merges In Harmonic Convergence!

    OH WOW man!! Moon Goddess Mama babes and ENDLESS SUMMER!!!
    BIG DADDY-O Is watching out for Our Best Spiritual Interests!
    I always smoke some kanev bosom — if there’s no LSD around,
    and then I do all my real Sirius reading on THE BEACH
    Under The Sacred Tanning Rays of BIG DADDY’s Heaven
    where on my beach towel, I morph into a Golden Beach Boy God
    I guess I never found the time
    to understand Heidegger as well as I should
    but please please please, don’t be judgmental on me
    Hey, I’m not stupid, maybe I’m just not into him
    to make judgments on people-persons of The Cosmos
    that’s not cool, that’s not groovy
    “to judge” means “to think”, and NEVER that, *grin*….

    (Edited for brevity)

  6. I hope I may comment properly on a line or two of this while in my current manifestation.

    Meanwhile I will simply give thanks.
    Sometimes I feel we are all survivors, fortunate indeed our souls to have been hurtled along through time and space (that is, what passes for time and space) , to find our lucky selves here at present, with these sacred teachings such as this Upanishad, blessed with questioning hearts , surrounded by both holy and profane fools and Saints, all of real value.

    Thank you Lasha.

  7. S.W. [ sometimes ] Has The Correct Feeling. Yes, we’re All survivors, until it’s our time to kick the bucket that is, then we’re not survivors anymore, but that’s a long story, TOO long to get into.If you’re alive right now and reading this, then you’re a real strong person. a Survivor!! If you’re not alive and not reading this, than you’re a weak useless loser who let “them” get to you, you let yourself get defeated, U loser U !!

    I just got home from shopping in the town a few miles down the pike from my hometown, it’s an artsy-fartsy old hippie type way au-courant and hip with-it Progressive town, similar to like Oh, Davis, California or Berkeley Taos, New Mexico on Route del Muerte 66 of Crowley’s-Parson’s Homunculus creatures thru the Sacred Lands of Nuclear Experimentation, or someplace way cool and groovy like that. I bought Lasha a “I Survived Catholic School” t-shirt she can wear under her Hindu Kali Goddess of NUKES veil. A Gift to Our Dark Side of The Moon Goddess Mama for all that she does for us! I couldn’t live or in any way Survive another second without Our Dark Side KALI NUKE Mama, could you?

  8. ORIGINAL JOE,
    You write well, images and an obvious love of life. Survive without our Dark Side KALI NUKE? A good question.

    As a lover of the Goddess in all her manifestations I know Kali well. Fearsome, as in a child’s dreams, but not really scary at all to all of us. Not to you, not to me.
    But she exists, not in darkness, but just like we do. In the light of creation. Our relation to gods, goddesses, djinn, dryads, angels, etc. is a fraternal/sororal one. We all stand in the same relation to the Divine One.

    “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.”

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ”
    God’s life is the light of men. The darkness we experience is a equally divine metaphysical darkness. It is not evil.
    So yes, I exist in God’s good night and day. And none of us could live for a moment outside of it.

    That there is evil is not questioned, it is a singularly human turning away from Love.

  9. This is a brilliant rendering Lasha! My heart is lifted. Thank you so much for providing this rich and delicious food for thought. More please!! If it is in you.

    Namaste

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