Chapter 1: Beyond the Changing
For example, the root ram can mean first “to be calm”, second “to rest”, third “to delight in”, fourth “cause delight to”, fifth “to make love”, sixth “to join”, seventh “to make happy”, eighth “to be blissful”, ninth “to play”, tenth “to be peaceful”, eleventh “to stand still”, twelfth “to stop, to come to a full stop”, and thirteenth “God, divine, the absolute”. And these are only few of the meanings of the root. Sometimes the meanings are related to each other, sometimes not; sometimes even they are contradictory to each other. Hence the language has a multidimensional quality to it. You can play with those words and through that play you can express the inexpressible; the inexpressible can be hinted.
The Sanskrit language is called devavani - the divine language. And it certainly is divine in the sense because it is the most poetic and the most musical language. Each word has a music around it, a certain aroma.
How it happened? It happened because so many people used it who were full of inner harmony. Of course those words became luminous: they were used by people who were enlightened. Something of their light filtered to the words, reached to the words; something of their silence entered the very grammar, the very language they were using.
The script in which Sanskrit is written is called devanagari; Devanagari means “dwelling-place of the gods”, and so certainly it is. Each word has become divine, just because it has been used by people who had known God or godliness.
This Upanishad in which we are entering today is the smallest - it can be written on a postcard - and yet it is the greatest document in existence. There is no document of such luminosity, of such profoundness anywhere in the whole history of humanity. The name of the Upanishad is Isa Upanishad.
The world of the Upanishads is very close to my approach. In fact, what I am doing here is giving a rebirth to the spirit of the Upanishads. It has disappeared even from India, and it has not been on the scene at least for three thousand years. There is a gap of three thousand years, and in these three thousand years India has destroyed its own achievement.
The first thing is that Upanishads are not anti-life, they are not for renouncing life. Their approach is whole: life has to be lived in its totality. They don’t teach escapism. They want you to live in the world, but in such a way that you remain above the world, in a certain sense transcendental to the world, living in the world and yet not being of it. But they don’t teach you that life has to be renounced, that you have to escape from life, that life is ugly or life is sin. They rejoice in life! It is a gift of God; it is the manifest form of God.
This fundamental has to be remembered. Upanishads say that the world is the manifest form of God and the God is the unmanifest form of the world, and every manifest phenomenon has an unmanifest phenomenon inside it.