This Upanishad starts with the phrase: ‘Ishavaasyam idam sarvam’. Hence it is also known as *Ishavaasya Upanishad*. It is called the ‘*Ishopanishad*’. This forms the fortieth chapter in the vajaneya samhita of *Sukla-Yajur Veda*. Because of this reason, it is also called as the ‘*Sukla Yajur vediya samhita Upanishad*’ and as the ‘*vajasaneyi samhita Upanishad*’.
The rishi or the sage of this Upanishad is ‘*Datyang aadarvanar*’. His son, who is leading a normal worldly life (and not a monastic one) approaches the sage for advices on knowledge of the self. The sage, observing that his son has complete control over all the desires and that he is following all the duties and dharmas cast on him by the religious doctrines and also that he is a true aspirant of liberation and dedicated to the cause by complete surrender, teaches his son about the knowledge of the Self.
(intro provided by http://www.vedarahasya.net/isha.htm)
The first verse is praised by Mahatma Gandhi as being the most important in all the Upanishads.
"If all the Upanishads and all the other Scriptures happened all of a sudden to be reduced to ashes, and if only the first verse in the Ishopanishad were left in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live forever" -- Mahatma Gandhi
This verse seems to be translated in many different ways, some beautiful and inspiring but seemingly inaccurate, some accurate and seemingly dry.
Thus this piece brings together various translations of this first verse, and also provides a word-by-word translation.
îsHâ vâsyamidaM sarvaM yat kiñca jagatyâM jagat,
tena tyaktena bhuñjîthâ mâ gRidhaH kasya sviddhanam. 1.
ॐ ईशा वास्यमिदँ सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ।। १ ।।
ishaa - God, the Lord
vaasyam - clothed, enveloped, pervaded, dwelling
idam - this
sarvam - all
yatkincha (yat kim cha)- whatsoever ?
jagatyaam - in this world, on earth
jagat - world, moving, movable, earth
tena tyaktena -renouncing this, it
bhunjitha - enjoy
ma - dont
gridha - covet
kasya - whose
svid - indeed, i wonder, do you think
dhanam - wealth
By the Lord is enveloped all that moves in the moving world.
By renouncing this, find your enjoyment.
Do not covet the possessions of others.
All this should be covered by the Lord, whatsoever moves on the earth. By such a renunciation protect (thyself). Covet not the wealth of others.
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to Whom they belong.
All this, whatever moves on the earth, should be covered by the Lord. Protect your Self through that detachment. Do not covet anybody's wealth. Or - Do not covet, for whose is wealth?
Om ! In this material world full of things that appear and disappear (now and then), one should perceive and understand that even such worldly transitory things are filled in with the presence of Lord. (iisavaasyam itham sarvam – God pervades everything in this world). By so perceiving and feeling that, one can protect him from the (otherwise never-relieving) bond of karma. One should also convince him that he has been provided by the Lord with all the things necessary for his existence. With that sort of contentment, one should try to avoid being greedy or jealous about others or others’ riches.
1. All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy; lust not after any man's possession.
1. The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme Reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation.
Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.