In the Vedas
An early mention of Ishana is in one of the Pañchabrahma Mantrāṇī found in the Taittiriya Aranyaka (TA 10.21.1) of the Krishna Yajurveda (c.1200 BCE):
- ईशानस्सर्वविद्यानां ईश्वरस्सर्वभूतानां ब्रह्मािधिपतिर्ब्रह्मणोऽधिपतिर्ब्रह्माशिवो मे अस्तु सदाशिवोम्।
- īśānassarva vidyānām īśvaras sarva bhūtānām brahmādhipatir brahmaṇo’dhipatir brahmā śivo me astu sadāśivom
Translation by Sabharathnam Sivacharyar:
- “Lord Ishana—the Supreme Lord and Revealer of all knowledge and spiritual disciplines, the nourisher and controller of all living beings, the Directing Lord of Sadasiva, He who is the guiding and directing authority for the eight Vidyeshvaras, who directs Brahma, Vishnu and others—may He present Himself in this Sivalinga. By such benign presence, let there occur absolute purity and auspiciousness in me. Om”
Ishana is also mentioned in the Vajasneyi Madyandina Samhita of the Shukla Yajurveda (VS 27.35), which the Shiva Purana calls the “Ishana Mantra”, though the Purana calls a different verse from the same Samhita which also mentions Ishana (VS 39.8) the “Ishana Mantra” as well.