The scripture reading for today comes from the Upanishad. The Great Teacher Shankara explained that the word Upanishad means, “the knowledge of Brahman by which ignorance is destroyed.” Brahman is the Ultimate Teacher and the Ultimate Reality through which all teachers and teachings are born and given the breath of life.
Breath is very important for any recitation or singing activity. The more we speak or sing these words, the more we breathe life into them. These words are immortal and timeless, for they emanate from Brahman.
In verse 15 of the Isha Upanishad, it is written:
The face of truth is hidden by a disc of gold. Unveil it, O Pushan, so that I, steadfast in truth, may see.
Pushan is the deity associated with Revati Nakshatra, the final lunar mansion of the Vedic Astrology system. He is associated with new journeys, new adventures and even immigration to foreign lands. Metaphysically, he is associated with the journey from death back into life–a reincarnation, a rebirth or even a resurrection.
When we’re trying to move forward in our lives, it may feel that we are being obscured or obstructed. Somehow or another, we just can’t seem to reach our goal. We get a taste of success before it vanishes. We get the opportunity that we were hankering for; around two years after we first wished for it. We finally land that dream job only to realise that our dreams have changed.
Through this verse, we call on Pushan to unveil the path and the journey that is for our highest good. What does it mean when ‘the face of truth is hidden by a disc of gold’?
In verse 16 of the Isha Upanishad, the meaning is further elaborated upon:
O Pushan, the sole seer, O controller, O Surya, offspring of Prajapati, disperse your rays and gather in your light, so that I may behold your most graceful form. He who is that person afar, I am he.
Pushan, as the sole seer, has the ability to see ahead what we will encounter on the path that we have chosen. The call to Surya is a request that one may ‘see’ what lies ahead. For our future self and present self are both ‘one person’ living in a different time and space; and even in an entirely different body.
Think of the body you inhabited when you were an adolescent versus the one that you inhabit now. You may think that it is the same body, but it is not. It has gone through changes. It has gone through hurts, traumas, triumphs and victories. It has lived and it has aged. If our body and our memory can carry the past, it is surely carrying the future within it as well. We are even carrying the unmanifested children that are yet to be born.
The scripture is saying that if we can ‘see’ the past (or at least remember it), we can also foresee the future. The truth, however, is that neither the past nor the future can be seen in its entirety.
Only the Sun, the Great Eye of the Universe, sees all and knows all.
Through the recitation of this verse, we call on Pushan to allow us to glimpse into the unknowable future. Why do we do this? So that we may only embark upon the path that is for our highest aspirations and discard all the false dreams that will only bring us harm.