Beginning to 'get into' the Isha at an advanced age I've come to see it as magnificent poetry. It speaks to me about the things of God, the very same things that I read in my N.T.
Elknath Easwaran's little book, The Upanishads, quotes Mahatma Gandhi on page 205: "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 of the Ishopanashad were left in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live forever."
To Christianize this idea we need only substitute the Great Commandment for the "first verse of the Ishopanashad".
We consider Gandhi an outstanding Christian although he never confessed it. (A green young seminarian asked his professor if he thought Gandhi went to heaven. The reply: "I don't know; when I get there I'll ask him." A foolish question deserves a foolish answer. The professor, Ted Clark, was later fired by the seminary for writing a book called Saved by his Life, but found a better place at a more enlightened denominational school (the same denomination by the way).
Back to page 205 when a western journalist asked him for the secret of his life in three words, Gandhi replied, Renounce and enjoy (the first verse again).
Re the fulness
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (The fulness is the love of Christ!)
(Brahman is certainly as near to a synonym for God as Hindu scriptures allow. )
Isha 2: Thus alone you will work in real freedom.
John 8:31-2 If ye continue in my word.....
8:3 ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Isha 3: Those who deny the Self are born again, blind to the Self...
In N.T. language the self has two opposite meanings:
1) the egocentricity, as selfishness or selfcentredness.
2) Christ (Jungian psychology uses the self in the Ishan sense.)
Verse 8 substitute one word and it becomes pure Christian doctrine:
The Christ is everywhere; bright is the Christ;
Indivisible, untouched by sin, wise,
Immanent and transcendent; he it is
who holds the cosmos together.
Verse 9: In dark night live those for whom the world without is real...
Cf the story of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
I don't find in the N.T. the idea of combining the active with the contemplative or of the transcendent and the immanent which verses 11-14 embrace. It was a prominent part of the theology of Thomas Merton, who of course was deeply exposed to Eastern religion.)
Nor have I located a biblical idea of the sun as a creature (can someone help me here?). It was prominent in the thought of blessed brother Francis: 'brother sun, sister moon'.
Verse 18: Oh god of fire: certainly a biblical metaphor for God, used over and over again.
And finally "deliver us from evil, we who bow and pray again and again". Here we have a perfect commentary of a primary point of the Lord's Prayer. Did Isha antedate the N.T. (or perhaps was it the other way around??)?
I welcome dissent.