From the last few mantras in Isha Upanishad, it is clear that all mantras are offered as a prayer?

Who is praying and to whom?

  • 1
    Ishopanishad and Isha Upanishad are one and the same @Karthik . That was improving nothing. Please suggest some substantial edits. Oct 26, 2018 at 11:01
  • @Karthik Shankar Ishopanishad is correct only. Isha+Upanishad by Sandhi becomes Ishopanishad.
    – Rickross
    Oct 26, 2018 at 11:02
  • Which are the exact verse numbers are you talking about? @Rara
    – Rickross
    Oct 26, 2018 at 11:03
  • Final three verses there are terms like asmi, purusa, nama-uktim, vidhema..
    – user16618
    Oct 26, 2018 at 11:05
  • Final three that means 16, 17 and 18? @RaRa
    – Rickross
    Oct 26, 2018 at 11:07

3 Answers 3


The verses Isa Upanishad 15-18 describe death-bed prayer to the sun which is a symbol for Brahman. A dying man is praying to Brahman in verses 15-18.

The following verse describes a fervent death-bed prayer to the sun, on the part of such a worshipper, to help him realize his cherished desire.

The door of the Truth is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold it.

Isa Upanishad 15

Truth: Referring to the manifestation of Brahman in the sun. The sun is often used as a symbol of Brahman. ..... The worship prescribed in this and the following verses is the symbolic worship of Brahman through the sun.

Covered: It is hidden from the view of people who are without self-control. .....

O Nourisher, lone Traveller of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajapati! Gather Your rays: withdraw Your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there.

Isa Upanishad 16

That form etc: Referring to Brahman manifest through the symbol of the sun.

I am indeed etc: The devotee is not, like a servant, asking a favour. He is conscious of his identity with the deity.

He: That is to say, the resplendent figure in the sun.

Purusha: Lit, Person. It also refers to the Godhead, who lies in the hearts of all, or, who fills the whole universe with life and consciousness.

The prayer of the dying man continues. .......

The Upanishads translation and commentary by Swami Nikhilananda


Ishopanishad 16 starts with:

Pushannekarshe yama surya prAjApatya vyuh rasmin | ....

It's a prayer to Pushan/Surya.

the translation is:

O Pushan, who wanders alone, O the controller, O Surya, the son of PrajApati, please control your rays, please lessen your Tejas (fire-energy or heat). Let us view your pleasant form, by your grace. One, who is the Purusha situated in the Aditya Mandala (the sphere/station of Aditya/Sun), I am not different from him.

Verse 17 says:

VAyuranilammritamedam bhasmAntam shariram |
Om krato smara kritam smara krato smara kritam smara ||

It is a prayer to Agni/ Krato.

Translation is from here:

The vital forces (in me are about to merge in) the immortal Prana (the cosmic energy); then this (mortal) body shall be reduced to ashes. Om! O mind! Remember; your (good) deeds, remember.’

Here they have simply translated Krato as mind but Swami Gambhirananda translates it as " the Fire of which the symbol is Om". So, it is requesting that fire whose symbol is Om to remember all the past deeds of the devotee.

Verse 18 is:

agne naya supathā rāye asmān
viśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |
bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te namauktiṃ vidhema ||

It is clearly a prayer to Agni.

O Agni, lead, us by the good path that we may (enjoy) the wealth (the fruits of the good deeds we have done). Thou knowest all our deeds. Lord, destroy the deceitful sin in us. We salute Thee with our words again and again.

Who is praying?

It is the Guru (teacher), who is teaching his disciples this Upanishadic discourse, is praying. The students are also learning from him.

Also, meaning of few words that you wanted clarifications on (in comments) are as follows:


Full word is sah + aham + asmi = sohamasmi. Meaning is "What that Pursusha is I am the same".

See from dictionary - "Aham asmi" means "I am".

Namauktim vidhema (is there in 18).

Nama ukti= Namaskara Vachana. Namah=Salutation and Ukti=saying. It is a saying equivalent to a salutation. Vidhema= performing it. That is the overall meaning is "I am offering you with several salutations by words".

Purusha= Aditya Mandala stitha Purusha= The Purusha who's is situated in the orb of Aditya or the Sun.


Isha Upanishad is a prayer of a devotee (bhakta) of Lord Krishna to Him, Lord Krishna. Vedanta requires such an interpretation. However, superficially it may seem that some verses in this Upanishad are not offered as a prayer to Lord Krishna, such as mantra 18 which may seem is not intended to address Krishna but Agni:

agne naya supathā rāye asmān ... te nama-uktiṁ vidhema

O Agni ... I offer You obeisances ...

But even that verse is a prayer offered to Lord Krishna because Vedanta requires such an interpretation. So, those words of the verse which I quoted above can be explained as referring to Lord Krishna who is addressed as agni, namely as powerful as fire. That's why Vaishnava translators often translate those words as

O my Lord (Krishna), as powerful as fire (agni), now I offer You all obeisances ...

  • Dear downvoters my answer is consistent with Vaishnava systems of Vedanta. Oct 28, 2018 at 15:23

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