That is whole, and this also is whole.
For only the whole is born out of the whole;
and when the whole is taken from the whole,
behold, the remainder is whole.
Om. Peace, peace, peace.
The Ishavasya Upanishad begins and ends with this sutra, and in it is declared all that can ever be said. It is quite unique. For those who fully understand it, no more is needed; the rest of the Upanishad is for those who do not. Thus the peace prayer, which usually brings the Upanishad to its close, is here invoked at the end of the very first sutra. And for those who have come to the peaks of understanding, this is the end of the Ishavasya; but for those who are still climbing, it is only the beginning.
Part of its uniqueness lies in the clarity with which it distinguishes between the Eastern and the Western methods of thinking and reasoning. Two schools of reasoning have flourished in the world – one in Greece, the other in India. The Greek system of logic gave birth to the whole of Western science, while from the Indian system emerged religion. The first and most fundamental of the differences between the two lies in the Western – Greek – method of progressing towards a conclusion. Whenever we seek the truth of a matter, an initial inquiry will lead via research to an eventual conclusion; first, thought and inquiry, then conclusion.
The Indian way is exactly the opposite. India affirms that what we are going to investigate is always there. It does not take shape as a result of our inquiry, but is already present even before our investigation begins. The truth which will become manifest was there before we were in existence. It was there before we discovered it just as much as it is there once we have done so. Truth is not formed or constructed through our research; what research does is to bring it within the realm of our experience. Truth is ever-present. That is why the Indian way of reasoning declares the conclusion in the beginning, and afterwards discusses method and procedure; first conclusion, then method. The Western way puts method first, then investigation, and finally conclusion.
One important point should be kept in mind: the Western method is very appropriate for those who look for truth by thinking about it. This method of reasoning is like trying to find something on a dark night with the help of a small lamp. The night is pitch black, and the light sheds its light dimly over three or four feet of ground. Only a small patch is visible, most remains unseen; and conclusions arrived at about that which is seen will be tentative. After a while, as one proceeds with the lamp, a little more becomes visible, and it is needed to revise or change the conclusion. As one progresses further and further, new things continuously become visible and so the conclusion is altered again and again.