Isha Upanishad

Isha Upanishad Verses 1 to 3, Shukla Yajurveda, Sanskrit, Devanagari.jpg
Isha Upanishad, verses 1 to 3 (Sanskrit, Devanagari script)
Date1st millennium BC
TypeMukhya Upanishad
Linked VedaShukla Yajurveda
Verses17 or 18
Commented byAdi Shankara, Madhvacharya[1]

The Isha Upanishad (Devanagari: ईशोपनिषद् IAST īśopaniṣad) is one of the shortest Upanishads, embedded as the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda. It is a Mukhya (primary, principal) Upanishad, and is known in two recensions, called Kanva (VSK) and Madhyandina (VSM). The Upanishad is a brief poem, consisting of 17 or 18 verses, depending on the recension.

It is a key scripture of the Vedanta sub-schools, and an influential Śruti to diverse schools of Hinduism.It is the 40th chapter of Yajurveda. The name of the text derives from its incipit, īśā vāsyam, "enveloped by the Lord",[2] or "hidden in the Lord (Self)".[3] The text discusses the Atman (Soul, Self) theory of Hinduism, and is referenced by both Dvaita (dualism) and Advaita (non-dualism) sub-schools of Vedanta.[4][5]

It is classified as a "poetic Upanishad" along with Kena, Katha, Svetasvatara and Mundaka by Paul Deussen (1908).[6]


The root of the word Ishvara comes from īś- (ईश, Ish) which means "capable of" and "owner, ruler, chief of",[7] ultimately cognate with English own (Germanic *aigana-, PIE *aik-). The word Isha (ईश) literally means "ruler, master, lord".[8] The term vāsyam (वास्य) literally means "hidden in, covered with, enveloped by".[9]

Ralph Griffith and Max Muller, each interpret the term "Isha" in the Upanishad interchangeably as "Lord" and "Self" (one's soul).[2][3] Puqun Li translates the title of the Upanishad as "the ruler of the Self".[10]

The Upanishad is also known as Ishavasya Upanishad and Vajasaneyi Samhita Upanishad.[3]