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ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥

When I fed it to search engine, I got many explanations by different people according to their understanding. I want to know in what context originally it was written and what is it's meaning?

I read it on front page of Ishavasyopnishad.

  • I this important sukta is from some Upnisad and utilised to define Brahma. But it is certain , this sukta is a precursor for the emergence of the concept of mathematical Zero. – B.N. Bhaskar Jan 14 at 9:51
  • It is also seen in BrhadAranyaka upanishad 5.1.1 – user16618 Jan 14 at 10:05
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This is actually a Shanti Mantra (peace Mantra) from the Upanishads. It can be interpreted in different ways.

One translation from greenmesg.com is as follows:

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnasya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning:

1: Om, That (Outer World) is Purna (Full with Divine Consciousness); This (Inner World) is also Purna (Full with Divine Consciousness); From Purna comes Purna (From the Fullness of Divine Consciousness the World is manifested) , 2: Taking Purna from Purna, Purna Indeed Remains (Because Divine Consciousness is Non-Dual and Infinite). 3: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Here they have translated the this (idam) and that (adah) as inner/outer worlds.

In this answer I have used Adi Shankara's translation/interpretation, according to which, this= Nirguna Brahman (or Karana Brahman) and that= Saguna Brahman (or the Karya Brahamn). So, both are equally full or infinite is the meaning.

What is the reason Isha Upanishad is starting with that particular Mantra?

According to Muktika Upanishad, which is a minor Upanishad, various Upanishads will have particular Shanti Mantras associated with them.

The teacher starts the recital of an Upanishad after chanting that particular Shanti Mantra.

The text says that the Mantra "Purnamidam .." is the Shanti Mantra for 19 Upanishads that are attached to the Shukla Yajur Veda:

"That (which lies beyond) is full" [

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

auṁ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṁ pūrṇātpurṇamudacyate pūrṇaśya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate || auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||

That (Brahman) is whole. This (jagat) is whole. From that (Brahman) whole, this (jagat) whole has come. This (jagat) whole (in spite of) having come from that (Brahman) whole, Whole (Brahman) alone remains. Om Peace Peace Peace. ] - and so on:

This is the Shanti-mantra of the following Nineteen Upanishads, forming part of the Śukla Yajur Veda:

  1. Īśa Upanishad
  2. Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad
  3. Jabālā Upanishad
  4. Hamsa Upanishad
  5. Paramahamsa Upanishad
  6. Subala Upanishad
  7. Mantrika Upanishad
  8. Niralamba Upanishad
  9. Triśikhī-brāhmaṇa Upanishad
  10. Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇa Upanishad

  11. Advaya-Tāraka Upanishad

  12. Paiṅgala Upanishad
  13. Bhikṣu Upanishad
  14. Turyātīta Upanishad
  15. Adhyātma Upanishad
  16. Tarasara Upanishad
  17. Yājñyavalkya Upanishad
  18. Satyayani Upanishad
  19. Muktikā Upanishad

And, that's why you have found it at the start of in the Isa Upanishad. It will also be found at the start of the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad.

The text also gives the list of 108 Upanishads attached to the 4 Vedas as well as that of the Mantras will be the corresponding Shanti Mantras for those Upanishads.

The Mantra "Om sahana vavatu ..", for example, is mentioned as the Shanti Mantra for the 32 Upanishads that are attached with Krishna Yajur Veda.

So, the Svetasvatara Upanishad will start with it.

  • Although you gave detailed information about why it is on front page and its different interpretation, I am interested in knowing which is it's sourcebook and it's interpretation over there. – user573082 Jan 15 at 16:25
  • The sources are all the 19 Upanishads that are attached to the Sukla Yajurveda (name of those Upanishads already given in the answer) .. all these Upanishdas hv this Mantra/Sloka.. so all of them can be considered as sources @user573082 – Rickross Jan 15 at 16:27
  • Also the Mantra can be interpreted differently because Idam (this) and Adha (that) are not explicitly statted to mean anything in particular .. that's why different people assign different meanings to those words and thus the overall meanings change. @user573082 – Rickross Jan 15 at 16:30
  • i thought this Shloka belongs to some text and some one set it as Shanti mantra for Shukla yajur ved Upanishads. – user573082 Jan 15 at 17:51
  • now it's clear to me why it has different interpretations – user573082 Jan 15 at 17:52

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