Ishopanishad and Mahatma Gandhi

I may have different views about many things about Mahatma Gandhi over the years of my life though I came in this world when Mahatma Gandhi was almost taken up as the saviour of India freeing it from 200 years of British rules and then was made The Father of Nation, that Indian who got this honour in the whole written history of India. But now I believe Gandhi grew in his life itself as one of the great Mahtma India has produced. I have written briefly about his statement on the first Sloka of Ishopanishad:

ईशा वास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्‌।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम्‌ ॥१॥
**
ईशा वास्यम् इदं सर्वम् यत् किं च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भूञ्जीथाः मा कस्यस्वित् धनं ।।सं
**
īśā vāsyam idaṃ sarvaṃ yat kiñca jagatyāṃ jagat |
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasya sviddhanam ||T
**
जगत के सब चल अचल जीवों में ईश्वर हैं और यह जगत उनका बनाया है. तुम त्याग पूर्वक ही भोग करो, किसी अन्य के धन का लोभ न करो।
**
The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme Reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation.
Cover nothing. All belongs to the Lord.


I have found the source of that material and the story that I am giving below to which I fully agree..

For the first time at the public meeting in Quilon Gandhiji summed up the credal belief of Hinduism in an Upanishadic mantra, and thereafter at every meeting gave lucid and simple commentaries on the numerous implications of that all-comprehensive mantra. The pure exposition without much of a commentary was given on the previous day at Quilon and is reproduced below :

I have fixed upon one mantra that I am going to recite to you, as containing the whole essence of Hinduism. Many of you, I think, know the Ishopanishad. I read it years ago with translation and commentary. I learnt it by heart in Yeravda Jail. But it did not then captivate me, as it has done during the past few months, and I have now come to the final conclusion that if all the Upanishads and all the other scriptures happened all of a sudden to be reduced to ashes, and if only the first verse in the Ishopanishad were left in tact in the memory of Hindus, Hinduism would live forever.

Now this mantra divides itself in four parts. The first part is ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं | यत्किं च जगत्यां जगत | It means, as I would translate, all I this that we see in this great Universe is pervaded by God. Then come the second and third parts which read together, as I read them : तेन त्यक्तेन भुंजीथा | I divide these into two and translate them thus: Renounce it and enjoy it. There is another rendering which means the same thing : Enjoy what He gives you. Even so you can divide it into two parts. Then follows the final and most important part, मा गृध कस्यस्विद् धनम् | which means: Do not covet anybody’s wealth or possession. All the other mantras of that ancient Upanishad are a commentary or an attempt to give us the full meaning of the first mantra.

It seems to me to satisfy the craving of the socialist and the communist, of the philosopher and the economist. I venture to suggest to all who do not belong to the Hindu faith that it satisfies their cravings also. And if it is true— and I hold it to be true—you need not take anything in Hinduism which is inconsistent with or contrary to the meaning of this mantra. What more can a man in the street want to learn than this, that the one God and Greator and Master of all that lives pervades the Universe? The three other parts of the mantra follow directly from the first. If you believe that God pervades everything that He has created, you must believe that you cannot enjoy anything that is not given by Him. And seeing that He is the Greator of His numberless-children, it follows that you cannot covet anybody’s possession. If you think that you are one of His numerous creatures, it behoves you to renounce everything and lay it at His feet. That means that the act of renunciation of everything is not a mere physical renunciation but represents a second or new birth. It is deliberate act, not done in ignorance. It is there­fore a regeneration. And then since he who holds the body must eat and drink and clothe himself, he must naturally seek all that he needs from Him. And he gets it as a natural reward of that renunciation. As if this was not enough the mantra closes with this magnificent thought: Do not covet anybody’s possession. The moment you carry out these precepts you become a wise citizen of the world living at peace with all that lives. It satisfies one’s highest aspirations on this earth and hereafter.

Gandhiji described at another meeting spoke about this mantra as the golden key for the solution of all the difficulties and doubts that may assail one’s heart. Remember that one verse of the Ishopanishad and forget all about the other scriptures. You can of course drown yourselves and be suffocated in the ocean of scrip­tures. They are good for the learned if they will be humble and wise, but for the ordinary man in the street nothing but this

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