Upanishad

Upanishad

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The Upanishads are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main (mukhya) or old Upanishads. The oldest of these, the Brihadaranyaka, Jaiminiya Upanisadbrahmana and the Chandogya Upanishads, were composed during the pre-Buddhist era of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, while the Taittiriya, Aitareya and Kausitaki, which show Buddhist influence, must have been composed after the 5th century BCE. The remainder of the mukhya Upanishads are dated to the last few centuries BCE. New Upanishads were still composed in the medieval and early modern period: discoveries of newer Upanishads were being reported as late as 1926. One, the Upanishad, predates 1656 and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads, including itself as the last. However, several texts under the title of "Upanishads" originated right up to the first half of the 20th century, some of which did not deal with subjects of Vedic philosophy. The newer Upanishads are known to be imitations of the mukhya Upanishads.

The Upanishads have been attributed to several authors: Yajnavalkya and Uddalaka Aruni feature prominently in the early Upanishads. Other important writers include Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Pippalada and Sanatkumara. Important women discussants include Yajnavalkya's wife Maitreyi, and Gargi. Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

, son of the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperor Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

, translated 50 Upanishads into Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 in 1657. The first written English translation came in 1805 from Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an English orientalist.-Biography:Henry Thomas Colebrooke, third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, was born in London. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics...

, who was aware of 170 Upanishads. Sadhale's catalog from 1985, the lists 223 Upanishads. The Upanishads are mostly the concluding part of the Brahmanas and in the Aranyakas.

All Upanishads have been passed down in oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. The mukhya Upanishads are regarded in Hinduism as revealed texts (shruti). With the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

 and the Brahmasutra (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi , literally, three points of departure, refers to the three canonical texts of Hindu philosophy, especially of the Vedanta schools...

), the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for several later schools of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n philosophy (vedanta), among them, two influential monistic
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 schools of Hinduism. The Upanishads were collectively considered amongst the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith, a British poet, critic, and biographer.-Chronological list:...

 by the British poet Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Roger Seymour-Smith was a British poet, literary critic, biographer and astrologer.Seymour-Smith was born in London and educated at Oxford University where he was editor of Isis...

, and have received praise from writers and scholars like Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, Kant, Schopenhauer and several others. Some criticism of the Upanishads revolves around the denial of pluralistic ideas due to the core philosophy of unity of the Upanishads.

Etymology


The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 term derives from upa- (nearby), ni- (at the proper place, down) and ṣad (to sit) thus: "sitting down near"), implying sitting near a teacher to receive instruction or, alternatively, "sitting at the foot of ..(teacher)", or "laying siege" to the teacher. Monier-Williams' late 19th century dictionary adds that, "according to native authorities Upanishad means 'setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit.'" A gloss of the term Upanishad based on Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

's commentary on the
{{good article}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
{{IndicText}}
The Upanishads ({{lang-sa|उपनिषद्}},
IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

: {{IAST|Upaniṣad}}, upəniʂəd) are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main (mukhya) or old Upanishads. The oldest of these, the Brihadaranyaka, Jaiminiya Upanisadbrahmana and the Chandogya Upanishads, were composed during the pre-Buddhist era of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

,{{sfn|Olivelle|p=xxxvi|1998}}{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}}{{#tag:ref|The date of the Buddha's birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 563 BCE to 483 BCE,{{sfn|Cousins|1996|pp=57–63}} but more recent opinion dates his death to between to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE.{{sfn|Narain|2003|p=}}|group=note}} while the Taittiriya, Aitareya and Kausitaki, which show Buddhist influence, must have been composed after the 5th century BCE.{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}} The remainder of the mukhya Upanishads are dated to the last few centuries BCE.{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}} New Upanishads were still composed in the medieval and early modern period: discoveries of newer Upanishads were being reported as late as 1926.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=12}} One, the {{IAST|Muktikā
Muktika
The Muktikā refers to the canon of 108 upaniṣadas of the Advaita school enumerated in the Muktikopaniṣad, the 108th of which is the Muktikopaniṣad itself...

}} Upanishad, predates 1656{{sfn|Verma|2009}} and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads,{{sfn|Sen|1937|p=19}} including itself as the last. However, several texts under the title of "Upanishads" originated right up to the first half of the 20th century, some of which did not deal with subjects of Vedic philosophy.{{sfn|Varghese|2008|p=101}} The newer Upanishads are known to be imitations of the mukhya Upanishads.

The Upanishads have been attributed to several authors: Yajnavalkya and Uddalaka Aruni feature prominently in the early Upanishads.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|pp59-60}} Other important writers include Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Pippalada and Sanatkumara. Important women discussants include Yajnavalkya's wife Maitreyi, and Gargi. Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

, son of the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperor Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

, translated 50 Upanishads into Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 in 1657. The first written English translation came in 1805 from Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an English orientalist.-Biography:Henry Thomas Colebrooke, third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, was born in London. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics...

, who was aware of 170 Upanishads. Sadhale's catalog from 1985, the {{IAST|Upaniṣad-vākya-mahā-kośa}} lists 223 Upanishads.{{sfn|Sadhale|1987}} The Upanishads are mostly the concluding part of the Brahmanas and in the Aranyakas.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=56}}

All Upanishads have been passed down in oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. The mukhya Upanishads are regarded in Hinduism as revealed texts (shruti). With the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

 and the Brahmasutra (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi , literally, three points of departure, refers to the three canonical texts of Hindu philosophy, especially of the Vedanta schools...

),{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=205}} the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for several later schools of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n philosophy (vedanta), among them, two influential monistic
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 schools of Hinduism.{{#tag:ref|Advaita Vedanta, summarized by Shankara (788–820), advances a non-dualistic (a-dvaita) interpretation of the Upanishads."{{sfn|Cornille|1992|p=12}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|"These Upanishadic ideas are developed into Advaita monism. Brahman's unity comes to be taken to mean that appearances of individualities.{{sfn|Phillips|1995|p=10}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|"The doctrine of advaita (non dualism) has is origin in the Upanishads."{{sfn|Marbaniang|2010|p=91}}|group=note}} The Upanishads were collectively considered amongst the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith, a British poet, critic, and biographer.-Chronological list:...

 by the British poet Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Roger Seymour-Smith was a British poet, literary critic, biographer and astrologer.Seymour-Smith was born in London and educated at Oxford University where he was editor of Isis...

, and have received praise from writers and scholars like Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, Kant, Schopenhauer and several others. Some criticism of the Upanishads revolves around the denial of pluralistic ideas due to the core philosophy of unity of the Upanishads.

Etymology


The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 term {{IAST|Upaniṣad}} derives from upa- (nearby), ni- (at the proper place, down) and ṣad (to sit) thus: "sitting down near"), implying sitting near a teacher to receive instruction{{sfn|Macdonell|2004|p=53}} or, alternatively, "sitting at the foot of ..(teacher)", or "laying siege" to the teacher.{{sfn|Schayer|1925|pp=57–67}} Monier-Williams' late 19th century dictionary adds that, "according to native authorities Upanishad means 'setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit.'"{{sfn|Monier-Williams|p=201}} A gloss of the term Upanishad based on Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

's commentary on the
{{good article}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
{{IndicText}}
The Upanishads ({{lang-sa|उपनिषद्}},
IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

: {{IAST|Upaniṣad}}, upəniʂəd) are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main (mukhya) or old Upanishads. The oldest of these, the Brihadaranyaka, Jaiminiya Upanisadbrahmana and the Chandogya Upanishads, were composed during the pre-Buddhist era of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

,{{sfn|Olivelle|p=xxxvi|1998}}{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}}{{#tag:ref|The date of the Buddha's birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 563 BCE to 483 BCE,{{sfn|Cousins|1996|pp=57–63}} but more recent opinion dates his death to between to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE.{{sfn|Narain|2003|p=}}|group=note}} while the Taittiriya, Aitareya and Kausitaki, which show Buddhist influence, must have been composed after the 5th century BCE.{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}} The remainder of the mukhya Upanishads are dated to the last few centuries BCE.{{sfn|King|Ācārya|p=52|1995}} New Upanishads were still composed in the medieval and early modern period: discoveries of newer Upanishads were being reported as late as 1926.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=12}} One, the {{IAST|Muktikā
Muktika
The Muktikā refers to the canon of 108 upaniṣadas of the Advaita school enumerated in the Muktikopaniṣad, the 108th of which is the Muktikopaniṣad itself...

}} Upanishad, predates 1656{{sfn|Verma|2009}} and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads,{{sfn|Sen|1937|p=19}} including itself as the last. However, several texts under the title of "Upanishads" originated right up to the first half of the 20th century, some of which did not deal with subjects of Vedic philosophy.{{sfn|Varghese|2008|p=101}} The newer Upanishads are known to be imitations of the mukhya Upanishads.

The Upanishads have been attributed to several authors: Yajnavalkya and Uddalaka Aruni feature prominently in the early Upanishads.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|pp59-60}} Other important writers include Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Pippalada and Sanatkumara. Important women discussants include Yajnavalkya's wife Maitreyi, and Gargi. Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

, son of the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperor Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

, translated 50 Upanishads into Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 in 1657. The first written English translation came in 1805 from Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an English orientalist.-Biography:Henry Thomas Colebrooke, third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, was born in London. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics...

, who was aware of 170 Upanishads. Sadhale's catalog from 1985, the {{IAST|Upaniṣad-vākya-mahā-kośa}} lists 223 Upanishads.{{sfn|Sadhale|1987}} The Upanishads are mostly the concluding part of the Brahmanas and in the Aranyakas.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=56}}

All Upanishads have been passed down in oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. The mukhya Upanishads are regarded in Hinduism as revealed texts (shruti). With the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

 and the Brahmasutra (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi
Prasthanatrayi , literally, three points of departure, refers to the three canonical texts of Hindu philosophy, especially of the Vedanta schools...

),{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=205}} the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for several later schools of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n philosophy (vedanta), among them, two influential monistic
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 schools of Hinduism.{{#tag:ref|Advaita Vedanta, summarized by Shankara (788–820), advances a non-dualistic (a-dvaita) interpretation of the Upanishads."{{sfn|Cornille|1992|p=12}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|"These Upanishadic ideas are developed into Advaita monism. Brahman's unity comes to be taken to mean that appearances of individualities.{{sfn|Phillips|1995|p=10}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|"The doctrine of advaita (non dualism) has is origin in the Upanishads."{{sfn|Marbaniang|2010|p=91}}|group=note}} The Upanishads were collectively considered amongst the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith, a British poet, critic, and biographer.-Chronological list:...

 by the British poet Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Seymour-Smith
Martin Roger Seymour-Smith was a British poet, literary critic, biographer and astrologer.Seymour-Smith was born in London and educated at Oxford University where he was editor of Isis...

, and have received praise from writers and scholars like Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, Kant, Schopenhauer and several others. Some criticism of the Upanishads revolves around the denial of pluralistic ideas due to the core philosophy of unity of the Upanishads.

Etymology


The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 term {{IAST|Upaniṣad}} derives from upa- (nearby), ni- (at the proper place, down) and ṣad (to sit) thus: "sitting down near"), implying sitting near a teacher to receive instruction{{sfn|Macdonell|2004|p=53}} or, alternatively, "sitting at the foot of ..(teacher)", or "laying siege" to the teacher.{{sfn|Schayer|1925|pp=57–67}} Monier-Williams' late 19th century dictionary adds that, "according to native authorities Upanishad means 'setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit.'"{{sfn|Monier-Williams|p=201}} A gloss of the term Upanishad based on Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

's commentary on the {{IAST
Katha Upanishad
The Katha Upanishad , also titled "Death as Teacher", is one of the mukhya Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the school of the Black Yajurveda, and is grouped with the Sutra period of Vedic Sanskrit. It is a middle Upanishad...

 and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad equates it with Ātmavidyā, that is, "knowledge of the Self
Atman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

", or Brahmavidyā "knowledge of Brahma". Other dictionary meanings include "esoteric doctrine" and "secret doctrine".{{sfn|Müller|1900|p=lxxxiii}}

Classification


There are more than 200 known Upanishads, one of which, the {{IAST|Muktikā}}, gives a list of 108
108 (number)
108 is the natural number following 107 and preceding 109.- In mathematics :One hundred [and] eight is an abundant number and a semiperfect number...

 Upanishads – this number corresponding to the holy Hindu number of beads on a mala or Hindu rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

. Modern scholars recognize the first 10, 11, 12 or 13 Upanishads as principal or Mukhya Upanishads and the remainder as derived from this ancient canon. If a Upanishad has been commented upon or quoted by revered thinkers like Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

, it is a Mukhya Upanishad,{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=56}} accepted as shruti by most Hindus.

The new Upanishads recorded in the {{IAST|Muktikā}} probably originated in southern India,{{sfn|Deussen|1908|pp=35–36}} and are grouped according to their subject as (Sāmānya) Vedānta
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

 (philosophical), Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, Sanyasa (of the life of renunciation), Vaishnava (dedicated to the god Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

), Shaiva (dedicated to Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

) and Shakti
Shakti
Shakti from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes...

 (dedicated to the goddess).{{sfn|Varghese|2008|p=131}} New Upaniṣads are often sectarian since sects have sought to legitimize their texts by claiming for them the status of Śruti
Sruti
' , often spelled shruti or shruthi, is a term that describes the sacred texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism and is one of the three main sources of dharma and therefore is also influential within Hindu Law...

.{{sfn|Holdrege|1995|pp=426}}

Another way of classifying the Upanishads is to associate them with the respective Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

s. Of nearly the same age are the Aitareya, Kauṣītaki and Taittirīya Upaniṣads, while the remnant date from the time of transition from Vedic to Classical Sanskrit.{{sfn|Sharma|1985|pp=3, 10–22, 145}}

Mukhya Upanishads


{{Main|Mukhya Upanishads}}
The Mukhya Upanishads can themselves be stratified into periods. Of the early periods are the Brihadaranyaka, Jaiminiya Upanisadbrahmana and the Chandogya, the most important and the oldest, of which the two former are the older of the two, though some parts were composed after the Chandogya.{{#tag:ref|These are believed to pre-date Gautam Buddha (c. 500 BCE){{sfn|Olivelle|1998|pp=3–4}}|group=note}}

It is alleged that the Aitareya, Taittiriya, Kausitaki, Mundaka, Prasna, and Kathaka Upanishads show Buddha's influence, and must have been composed after the 5th century BCE. It is also alleged that in the first two centuries CE, they were followed by the Kena, Mandukya and Isa Upanishads.{{sfn|King|1995|p=52}} Not much is known about the authors except for those, like Yajnavalkayva and Uddalaka, mentioned in the texts.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=56}} A few women discussants, such as Gargi and Maitreyi, the wife of Yajnavalkayva,{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=61}} also feature occasionally.

Each of the principal Upanishads can be associated with one of the schools of exegesis of the four Vedas (shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

s).{{sfn|Joshi|1994|pp=90–92}} Many Shakhas are said to have existed, of which only a few remain. The new Upanishads often have little relation to the Vedic corpus and have not been cited or commented upon by any great Vedanta philosopher: their language differs from that of the classic Upanishads, being less subtle and more formalized. As a result, they are not difficult to comprehend for the modern reader.{{sfn|Heehs|2002|p=85}}


Veda-Shakha-Upanishad association
VedaRecensionShakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

Principal Upanishad
Rig Veda Only one recension Shakala {{IAST
Aitareya Upanishad
The Aitareya Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads commented upon by acharyas such as Adi Shankara and Madhvacharya. It is a Mukhya Upanishad, associated with the Rigveda. It figures as number 8 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads....

Sama Veda Only one recension Kauthuma {{IAST
Jaiminiya Kena
Kena Upanishad
The Kena Upanishad , or the Kenopanishad is one of the earlier, "primary" Upanishads, a genre of Hindu scriptures, commented upon by Shankara and Madhvacharya. It is associated with the Samaveda where it is found inserted into the last section of the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana...

Ranayaniya
Yajur Veda Krishna Yajur Veda Katha {{IAST
Katha Upanishad
The Katha Upanishad , also titled "Death as Teacher", is one of the mukhya Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the school of the Black Yajurveda, and is grouped with the Sutra period of Vedic Sanskrit. It is a middle Upanishad...

Taittiriya
Taittiriya
Taittirīya is a shaka of the Black Yajurveda*Taittiriya Samhita , see Black Yajurveda*Taittiriya Upanishad...

{{IAST|Taittirīya}} and {{IAST|Śvetāśvatara}}
Maitrayani {{IAST
Maitrayaniya Upanishad
The Maitrayaniya Upanishad or the Maitri Upanishad belongs to the Maitri or Maitrayaniya shakha of the , though some texts assign it to the . It figures as number 24 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads under the name of the Upanishad, which is included there as a Upanishad, associated with...

Hiranyakeshi (Kapishthala)
Kathaka
Shukla Yajur Veda Vajasaneyi Madhyandina {{IAST
Isha Upanishad
The Isha Upanishad is one of the shortest of the Upanishads, consisting of 17 or 18 verses in total; like other core texts of the vedanta, it is considered revealed scripture by diverse traditions within Hinduism...

 and {{IAST|Bṛhadāraṇyaka}}
Kanva Shakha
Kanva Shakha
ĞKanva Shakha is the oldest shakha of Shukla Yajurveda. The tradition is followed mostly in Orissa, Karnataka, parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. This Shakha is prevalent from time even when Shankaracharya was born...

Atharva Two recension Shaunaka
Shaunaka
Shaunaka is the name applied to teachers, and to a Shakha of the Atharvaveda. It is especially the name of a celebrated Sanskrit grammarian, author of the , the , the and five Anukramaṇīs to the Rigveda. He is claimed as the teacher of Katyayana and especially of Ashvalayana, and is said to have...

{{IAST
Mandukya Upanishad
The Mandukya Upanishad is the shortest of the Upanishads – the scriptures of Hindu Vedanta. It is in prose, consisting of twelve verses expounding the mystic syllable Aum, the three psychological states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the transcendent fourth state of illumination.This...

 and {{IAST
Mundaka Upanishad
The Mundaka Upanishad or the Mundakopanishad is one of the earlier, "primary" Upanishads, a genre of Hindu scriptures commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the Atharvaveda. It figures as number 5 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads.It is a Mantra-upanishad, i.e. it has the form...

Paippalada Prashna Upanishad
Prashna Upanishad
The Prashna Upanishad or the Prashnopanishad is one of the earlier, "primary" Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is a Mukhya Upanishad, associated with the Atharvaveda. It figures as number 4 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads.-Contents:...



The {{IAST|Kauśītāki}} and {{IAST|Maitrāyaṇi}} Upanishads are sometimes added to the list of the mukhya Upanishads.

New Upanishads


There is no fixed list of the Upanishads as newer ones have continued to be composed.{{sfn|Rinehart|2004|p=17}} On many occasions, when older Upanishads have not suited the founders of new sects, they have composed new ones of their own.{{sfn|Mueller|1859|p=317}} 1908 marked the discovery of four new Upanishads, named Bashkala, Chhagaleya, Arsheya and Saunaka, by Dr. Friedrich Schrader
Friedrich Schrader
Friedrich Schrader was a German philologist of oriental languages, orientalist, art historian, writer, social democrat, translator and journalist. He also used the pseudonym Ischtiraki...

,{{sfn|Singh|2002|pp=3–4}} who attributed them to the first prose period of the Upanishads.{{sfn|Schrader|Adyar Library|1908|p=v}} The text of three, the Chhagaleya, Arsheya and Saunaka, was reportedly corrupt and neglected but possibly re-constructable with the help of their Perso-Latin translations. Texts called "Upanishads" continued to appear up to the end of British rule in 1947. The Akbar Upanishad and Allah Upanishad are examples,{{sfn|Varghese|2008|p=101}} having been written in the 17th century in praise of Islamic ideas at the insistence of Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

.{{sfn|Walker|1968|p=534}}

The main Shakta
Shaktism
Shaktism is a denomination of Hinduism that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother – as the absolute, ultimate Godhead...

 Upanishads mostly discuss doctrinal and interpretative differences between the two principal sects of a major Tantric
Tantra
Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

 form of Shaktism called Shri Vidya
Shri Vidya
' is the name of a Hindu religious system devoted to the goddess Lalitā Tripurasundarī, Bhuvaneshvari or simply . According to British scholar Gavin Flood she is a tantric form of the goddess , consort of Vishnu...

 upasana
Upasana
Upasana in Sanskrit literally means "Sitting near" but normally the term is used in Hinduism to denote a prescribed method for approaching a Deity or God or getting close to a deity/deities. In the Vedas, some Upasanas are prescribed whereby one meditates on the all-pervading Brahman as some aspect...

. The many extant lists of authentic Shakta Upaniṣads vary, reflecting the sect of their compilers, so that they yield no evidence of their "location" in Tantric tradition, impeding correct interpretation. The Tantra content of these texts also weaken its identity as an Upaniṣad for non-Tantrikas and therefore, its status as shruti and thus its authority.{{sfn|Brooks|1990|pp=13–14}}

The text composed by Vaishnava saint Namalvar (Satkopa) is also known as the Dravidopanisatsangati.

Philosophy



Two words that are of paramount importance in grasping the Upanishads are Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 and Atman
Ātman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=59}} The Brahman is the universal spirit and the Atman is the individual Self.{{sfn|Smith|1995|p=10}} Differing opinions exist amongst scholars regarding the etymology of these words. Brahman probably comes from the root brh which means "The Biggest ~ The Greatest ~ The ALL". Brahman is "the infinite Spirit Source and fabric and core and destiny of all existence, both manifested and unmanifested and the formless infinite substratum and from whom the universe has grown". Brahman is the ultimate, both transcendent and immanent, the absolute infinite existence, the sum total of all that ever is, was, or shall be. The word Atman means the immortal perfect Spirit of any living creature, being, including trees etc. The idea put forth by the Upanishadic seers that Atman and Brahman are One and the same is one of the greatest contributions made to the thought of the world.{{sfn|Lanman|1897|p=790}}{{sfn|Brown|1922|p=266}}{{sfn|Slater|1897|p=32}}{{sfn|Varghese|2008|p=132}}

The Brihadaranyaka and the Chandogya are the most important of the mukhya Upanishads. They represent two main schools of thought within the Upanishads. The Brihadaranyaka deals with acosmic or nis-prapancha, whereas the Chandogya deals with the cosmic or sa-prapancha.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=56}} Between the two, the Brihadaranyaka is considered more original.{{sfn|Parmeshwaranand|2000|p=458}}

The Upanishads also contain the first and most definitive explications of the divine syllable Aum
Aum
Om or Aum Om or Aum Om or Aum (also , written in Devanāgari as and as , in Sanskrit known as (lit. "to sound out loudly"), ', or ' (also as ') (lit. "Auṃ form/syllable"), is a sacred/mystical syllable in the Dharmic or Indian religions, i.e...

, the cosmic vibration that underlies all existence. The mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

 Aum Shānti Shānti Shānti, translated as "the soundless sound, peace, peace, peace", is often found in the Upanishads. The path of bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 or "Devotion to God" is foreshadowed in Upanishadic literature, and was later realized by texts such as the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

.{{sfn|Robinson|1992|p=51.}}

Some of the Mahāvākyas
Mahavakyas
The Mahavakyas are "The Great Sayings" of the Upanishads, the foundational texts of Vedanta. Though there are many Mahavakyas, four of them, one from each of the four Vedas, are often mentioned as "the Mahavakyas"...

 (Great Sayings) from the Upanishads
Sanskrit quoteEnglish meaningUpanishad
Prajñānam brahma "Consciousness is Brahman" Aitareya Upanishad
Aitareya Upanishad
The Aitareya Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads commented upon by acharyas such as Adi Shankara and Madhvacharya. It is a Mukhya Upanishad, associated with the Rigveda. It figures as number 8 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads....

{{sfn|Panikkar|2001|p=669}}
Aham brahmāsmi "I am Brahman" Brihadaranyaka{{sfn|Panikkar|2001|pp=725–727}}
Tat tvam asi "Thou art that" Chandogya{{sfn|Panikkar|2001|pp=747–750}}
Ayamātmā brahmā "This Atman is Brahman" Mandukya
Mandukya Upanishad
The Mandukya Upanishad is the shortest of the Upanishads – the scriptures of Hindu Vedanta. It is in prose, consisting of twelve verses expounding the mystic syllable Aum, the three psychological states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the transcendent fourth state of illumination.This...

{{sfn|Panikkar|2001|pp=697–701}}


Metaphysics


The three main approaches in arriving at the solution to the problem of the Ultimate Reality have traditionally been the theological, the cosmological and the psychological approaches.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=247}} The cosmological approach involves looking outward, to the world; the psychological approach meaning looking inside or to the Self; and the theological approach is looking upward or to God. Descartes takes the first and starts with the argument that the Self is the primary reality, self-consciousness the primary fact of existence, and introspection the start of the real philosophical process.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=248}} According to him, we can arrive at the conception of God only through the Self because it is God who is the cause of the Self and thus, we should regard God as more perfect than the Self. Spinoza on the other hand, believed that God is the be-all and the end-all of all things, the alpha and the omega of existence. From God philosophy starts, and in God philosophy ends. The manner of approach of the Upanishadic philosophers to the problem of ultimate reality was neither the Cartesian nor Spinozistic. The Upanishadic philosophers regarded the Self as the ultimate existence and subordinated the world and God to the Self. The Self to them, is more real than either the world or God. It is only ultimately that they identify the Self with God, and thus bridge over the gulf that exists between the theological and psychological approaches to reality. They take the cosmological approach to start with, but they find that this cannot give them the solution of the ultimate reality. So, Upanishadic thinkers go back and start over by taking the psychological approach and here again, they cannot find the solution to the ultimate reality. They therefore perform yet another experiment by taking the theological approach. They find that this too is lacking in finding the solution. They give yet another try to the psychological approach, and come up with the solution to the problem of the ultimate reality. Thus, the Upanishadic thinkers follow a cosmo-theo-psychological approach.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=248}} A study of the mukhya Upanishads show that the Upanishadic thinkers progressively build on each others' ideas. They go back and forth and refute improbable approaches before arriving at the solution of the ultimate reality.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|pp=249–278}}

Schools of Vedānta



The source for all schools of Vedānta are the three texts – the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

 and the Brahmasutras.{{sfn|Radhakrishnan|1956|p=272}} Two different types of the non-dual Brahman-Atman are presented in the Upanishads:{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=62}}
  • The one in which the non-dual Brahman-Atman is the all inclusive ground of the universe and
  • The one in which all reality in the universe is but an illusion

The later theistic (Dvaita and Visistadvaita) and absolutist (Advaita) schools of Vendanta are made possible because of the difference between these two views. The three main schools of Vedanta are Advaita, Dvaita
Dvaita
Dvaita is a school of Vedanta founded by Shri Madhvacharya....

 and Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita Vedanta is a sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy, the other major sub-schools of Vedānta being Advaita, Dvaita, and Achintya-Bheda-Abheda. VishishtAdvaita is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy...

. Other schools of Vedanta made possible by the Upanishads include Nimbarka's Dvaitadvaita, Vallabha's Suddhadvaita and Chaitanya's Acintya Bhedabheda.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|pp=179–182}} The philosopher Adi Sankara has provided commentaries on 11 mukhya Upanishads.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=63}}

Advaita is considered the most influential sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy,{{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica}} though it does not represent the mainstream Hindu position.{{sfn|Klostermaier |2007|pp=361–363}} Gaudapada was the first person to expound the basic principles of the Advaita philosophy in a commentary on the apparently conflicting statements of the Upanishads.{{sfn|Radhakrishnan|1956|p=273}} Advaita literally means non-duality, and it is a monistic system of thought.{{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica}} It deals with the non-dual nature of Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 and Atman
Atman
Atman means 'self' in Sanskrit and is a concept of importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Yoga and Jainism:* Ātman * Ātman * Atman Atman may also refer to:...

. The Advaita school is said to have been consolidated by Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

. He was a pupil of Gaudapada's pupil. Radhakrishnan believed that Shankara's views of Advaita are straightforward developments of the Upanishads and the Brahmasutra and he offered no innovations to these,{{sfn|Radhakrishnan|1956|p=284}} while other scholars found sharp differences between Shankara's writings and the Brahmasutra,{{sfn|King|1999|p=221}}{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=31}} and that there are many ideas in the Upanishads at odds with those of Shankara.{{sfn|Collins|2000|p=195}} Gaudapada lived in a time when Buddhism was widely prevalent in India, and he was at times conscious of the similarity between his system to some phases of Buddhist thought.{{sfn|Radhakrishnan|1956|p=273}} His main work is infused with philosophical terminology of Buddhism, and uses Buddhist arguments and analogies.{{sfn|King|1999|p=219}} Towards the end of his commentary on the topic, he clearly said, "This was not spoken by Buddha". Although there are a wide variety of philosophical positions propounded in the Upanishads, commentators since Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankara (IAST: pronounced , (Sanskrit: , ) (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as ' and ' was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta...

 have usually followed him in seeing idealist
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

 monism
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 as the dominant force.{{#tag:ref|The breakdown of the Vedic cults is more obscured by retrospective ideology than any other period in Indian history. It is commonly assumed that the dominant philosophy now became an idealist monism, the identification of atman (self) and Brahman (Spirit), and that this mysticism was believed to provide a way to transcend rebirths on the wheel of karma. This is far from an accurate picture of what we read in the Upanishads. It has become traditional to view the Upanishads through the lens of Shankara's Advaita interpretation. This imposes the philosophical revolution of about 700 C.E. upon a very different situation 1,000 to 1,500 years earlier. Shankara picked out monist and idealist themes from a much wider philosophical lineup.{{sfn|Collins|2000|p=195}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|In this Introduction I have avoided speaking of 'the philosophy of the upanishads', a common feature of most introductions to their translations. These documents were composed over several centuries and in various regions, and it is futile to try to discover a single doctrine or philosophy in them.{{sfn|Olivelle |1998|p=4}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|The Upanishadic age was also characterized by a pluralism of worldviews. While some Upanishads have been deemed 'monistic', others, including the Katha Upanishad
Katha Upanishad
The Katha Upanishad , also titled "Death as Teacher", is one of the mukhya Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the school of the Black Yajurveda, and is grouped with the Sutra period of Vedic Sanskrit. It is a middle Upanishad...

, are dualistic.{{sfn|Glucklich|2008|p=70}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|The Maitri is one of the Upanishads that inclines more toward dualism, thus grounding classical Samkhya
Samkhya
Samkhya, also Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy and classical Indian philosophy. Sage Kapila is traditionally considered as the founder of the Samkhya school, although no historical verification is possible...

 and Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, in contrast to the non-dualistic Upanishads eventuating in Vedanta.{{sfn|Fields |2001|p=26}}|group=note}}{{#tag:ref|For instances of Platonic pluralism
Pluralism (philosophy)
Pluralism is a term used in philosophy, meaning "doctrine of multiplicity", often used in opposition to monism and dualism . The term has different connotations in metaphysics and epistemology...

 in the early Upanishads see Randall.{{sfn|Collins|2000|pp=197–198}}|group=note}}

The Dvaita school was founded by Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya
Madhvācārya was the chief proponent of Tattvavāda "Philosophy of Reality", popularly known as the Dvaita school of Hindu philosophy. It is one of the three most influential Vedānta philosophies. Madhvācārya was one of the important philosophers during the Bhakti movement. He was a pioneer in...

. Born in 1138 near Udipi,{{sfn|Raghavendrachar|1956|p=322}} Dvaita is regarded as the best philosophic exposition of theism.{{sfn|Chari|1956|p=305}} Sharma points out that Dvaita, a term commonly used to designate Madhava's system of philosophy, translates as "dualism" in English. The Western understanding of dualism equates to two independent and mutually irreducible substances. The Indian equivalent of that definition would be Samkya Dvaita.{{sfn|Sharma|2000|pp=1–2}} Madhva's Dvaita differs from the Western definition of dualism in that while he agrees to two mutually irreducible substances that constitute reality, he regards only one – God, as being independent.{{sfn|Sharma|2000|pp=1–2}}

The third school of Vedanta is the Vishishtadvaita, which was founded by Ramanuja
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

. Traditional dates of his birth and death are given as 1017 and 1137, though a shorter life span somewhere between these two dates has been suggested. Modern scholars conclude that on the whole, Ramanuja's theistic views may be closer to those of the Upanishads than are Shankara's, and Ramanuja's interpretations are in fact representative of the general trend of Hindu thought. Ramanuja strenuously refuted Shankara's works.{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007|pp=361–363}} Visistadvaita is a synthetic philosophy of love that tries to reconcile the extremes of the other two monistic and theistic systems of vedanta.{{sfn|Chari|1956|p=305}} It is called Sri-Vaisanavism in its religious aspect. Chari claims that has been misunderstood by its followers as well as its critics. Many, including leading modern proponents of this system, forget that jiva is a substance as well as an attribute and call this system "qualified non-dualism" or the adjectival monism. While the Dvaita insists on the difference between the Brahman and the Jiva, Visistadvaita states that God is their inner-Self as well as transcendent.{{sfn|Chari|1956|p=305}}

Chronology and geography


Scholars disagree about the exact dates of the composition of the Upanishads. Different researchers have provided different dates for the Vedic and Upanashic eras. Ranade criticizes Deussen for assuming that the oldest Upanishads were written in prose, followed by those that were written in verse and the last few again in prose. He proposes a separate chronology based on a battery of six tests.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|pp=13–14}} The tables below summarize some of the prominent work:{{sfn|Sharma|1985|pp=17–19}}
Dates proposed by scholars for the Vedic and/or Upanishadic era
Author Start (BC)End (BC) Method employed
Tilak (Winternitz expresses agreement)
6000
200
Astronomical
B. V. Kameshwara Aiyar
2300
2000
Astronomical
Max Muller
1000
800
Linguistic
Ranade
1200
600
Linguistic, ideological development, etc.
Radhakrishnan
800
600
Ideological development
Dates and chronology of the Principal Upanishads
Deussen (1000 or 800 – 500 BC) Ranade (1200 – 600 BC) Radhakrishnan (800 – 600 BC)
Ancient prose Upanishads: Brihadaranyaka, Chandogya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Kena
Poetic Upanishads: Kena, Katha, Isa, Svetasvatara, Mundaka
Later prose: Prasna, Maitri, Mandukya
Group I: Brihadaranyaka, {{IAST|Chāndogya}}
Group II: Isa, Kena
Group III: Aitareya, Taittiriya, Kaushitaki
Group IV: Katha, Mundaka, Svetasvatara
Group V: Prasna, Mandukya, Maitrayani
Pre-Buddhist, prose: Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Taittiriya, {{IAST|Chāndogya}}, Brihadaranyaka, Kena
Transitional phase: Kena (1–3), Brihadaranyaka (IV 8–21), Katha, Mandukya
Elements of Samkhya and Yoga: Maitri, Svetasvatara


The general area of the composition of the early Upanishads was northern India, the region bounded on the west by the Indus valley, on the east by lower Ganges river, on the north by the Himalayan foothills, and on the south by the Vindhya mountain range. There is confidence about the early Upanishads being the product of the geographical center of ancient Brahmanism, comprising the regions of Kuru-Panchala and Kosala-Videha together with the areas immediately to the south and west of these.{{sfn|Olivelle|1998|p=xxxvii}}
While significant attempts have been made recently to identify the exact locations of the individual Upanishads, the results are tentative. Witzel identifies the center of activity in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as the area of Videha, whose king, Janaka, features prominently in the Upanishad. Yajnavalkya is another individual who features prominently, almost as the personal theologian of Janaka.{{sfn|Olivelle|1998|p=xxxviii}} Brahmins of the central region of Kuru-Panchala rightly considered their land as the place of the best theological and literary activities, since this was the heartland of Brahmanism of the late Vedic period. The setting of the third and the fourth chapters of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishads were probably intended to show that Yajnavalkya of Videha defeated all the best theologians of the Kuru Panchala, thereby demonstrating the rise of Videha as a center of learning. The Chandogya Upanishad was probably composed in a more Western than an Eastern location, possibly somewhere in the western region of the Kuru-Panchala country.{{sfn|Olivelle|1998|p=xxxix}} The great Kuru-Panchala theologian Uddalaka Aruni who was vilified in the Brihadaranyaka features prominently in the Chandogya Upanishad. Compared to the Principal Upanishads, the new Upanishads recorded in the {{IAST|Muktikā}} belong to an entirely different region, probably southern India, and are considerably relatively recent.{{sfn|Deussen|1908|pp=35–36}}

Development of thought


While the hymns of the Vedas emphasize rituals and the Brahmanas serve as a liturgical manual for those Vedic rituals, the spirit of the Upanishads is inherently opposed to ritual.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=57}} The older Upanishads launch attacks of increasing intensity on the ritual. Anyone who worships a divinity other than the Self is called a domestic animal of the gods in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The {{IAST|Chāndogya}} Upanishad parodies those who indulge in the acts of sacrifice by comparing them with a procession of dogs chanting Om! Let's eat. Om! Let's drink. The Mundaka launches the most scathing attack on the ritual by comparing those who value sacrifice with an unsafe boat that is endlessly overtaken by old age and death.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=57}}

The opposition to the ritual is not explicit all the time. On several occasions the Upanishads extend the task of the Aranyakas by making the ritual allegorical and giving it a philosophical meaning. For example, the Brihadaranyaka interprets the practice of horse-sacrifice or ashvamedha allegorically. It states that the over-lordship of the earth may be acquired by sacrificing a horse. It then goes on to say that spiritual autonomy can only be achieved by renouncing the universe which is conceived in the image of a horse.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=57}}

In similar fashion, the pattern of reducing the number of gods in the Vedas becomes more emphatic in the Upanishads. When Yajnavalkaya is asked how many gods exist, he decrements the number successively by answering thirty-three, six, three, two, one and a half and finally one. Vedic gods such as the Rudras, Visnu, Brahma are gradually subordinated to the supreme, immortal and incorporeal Brahman of the Upanishads. In fact Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

 and the supreme deity of the Brahamanas, Prajapati
Prajapati
In Hinduism, Prajapati "lord of creatures" is a Hindu deity presiding over procreation, and protector of life. He appears as a creator deity or supreme God Viswakarma Vedic deities in RV 10 and in Brahmana literature...

, are made door keepers to the Brahman's residence in the Kausitaki Upanishad.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=57}}

In short, the one reality or ekam sat of the Vedas becomes the ekam eva a-dvitiyam or "the one and only and sans a second" in the Upanishads.{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=57}}

Worldwide transmission


The Upanishads have influenced world culture in part through later Hindu texts, such as the Bhagavad Gītā
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

, which Radhakrishnan
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan , OM, FBA was an Indian philosopher and statesman. He was the first Vice President of India and subsequently the second President of India ....

 says conveyed a "message based on the ancient wisdom, prajñā purāņī, of the Upaniṣads."{{rp|13}} The Gītā Dhyānam
Gita Dhyanam
The , also called the Gītā Dhyāna or the Dhyāna Ślokas associated with the Gītā, is a 9-verse Sanskrit poem that has often been attached to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important scriptures of Hinduism...

, a 9-verse poetic invocation that is often published with the Gītā, celebrates the purported Upanishadic influence in a famous verse stating that "The Upaniṣads are the cows... and the nectar-like gitā is the excellent milk."{{rp|13}}

Given that Indian Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 seers are reputed to have visited Greece, it may be that the Upanishadic sages influenced Ancient Greek philosophy.{{sfn|Wadia|1956|p=64-65}} Many ideas in Plato's Dialogues, particularly, have Indian analogues – several concepts in the Platonic psychology of reason bear resemblance to the gunas of Indian philosophy. Professor Edward Johns Urwick conjectures that The Republic owes several central concepts to Indian influence.{{sfn|Wadia|1956|p=64-65}}{{sfn|Ranade|1925|p=xix}} Garb and West have also concluded that this was due to Indian influence.{{sfn|Chousalkar|p=130}}{{sfn|Urwick|1920|p=14}}

A. R. Wadia dissents in that Plato's metaphysics were rooted in this life,{{sfn|Wadia|1956|p=64-65}} the primary aim being an ideal state. He later proposed a state less ordered but more practicable and conducive to human happiness. As for the Upanishadic thinkers, their goal was not an ideal state or society, but moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

 or deliverance from the endless cycle
Karma in Hinduism
Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth...

 of birth and death. Wadia concludes that there was no exchange of information and ideas between Plato and the Upanishadic thinkers: Plato remains Greek and the Indian sages remain Indian.{{sfn|Wadia|1956|p=64-65}}

The Upanishads were a part of an oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. Their study was confined to the higher caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

s of Indian society.{{sfn|Sharma|1985|p=19}} Sudras
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

 and women were not given access to them soon after their composition. The Upanishads have been translated in to various languages including Persian, Italian, Urdu, French, Latin, German, English, Dutch, Polish, Japanese and Russian.{{sfn|Sharma|1985|p=20}} The Moghul Emperor Akbar's reign (1556–1586) saw the first translations of the Upanishads into Persian,{{sfn|Müller|1900|p=lvii}}{{sfn|Muller|1899|p=204}} and his great-grandson, Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

, produced a collection called Sirr-e-Akbar (The Greatest Mysteries) in 1657, with the help of Sanskrit Pandits of Varansi. Its introduction stated that the Upanishads constitute the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

's "Kitab al-maknun" or hidden book.{{sfn|Mohammada|2007|p=54}}{{sfn|Engineer|2006|p=20}} But Akbar's and Sikoh's translations remained unnoticed in the Western world until 1775.{{sfn|Müller|1900|p=lvii}}

Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron
Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron
Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron was the first professional French scholar of Indian culture. He conceived the institutional framework for the new profession. He inspired the founding of the Ecole francaise d'extreme orient a century after his death and, later still, the founding of the...

, a French Orientalist who had lived in India between 1755 and 1761, received a manuscript of the Upanishads in 1775 from M. Gentil
Guillaume Le Gentil
Guillaume Joseph Hyacinthe Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galaisière was a French astronomer.-Biography:...

, and translated it into French and Latin, publishing the Latin translation in two volumes in 1802–1804 as Oupneck'hat.{{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica|1911}} The French translation was never published.{{sfn|Müller|1900|p=lviii}} The first German translation appeared in 1832 and Roer's English version appeared in 1853. However, Max Mueller's 1879 and 1884 editions were the first systematic English treatment to include the 12 Principal Upanishads.{{sfn|Sharma|1985|pp=20}} After this, the Upanishads were rapidly translated into Dutch, Polish, Japanese and Russian.{{sfn|Sharma|1985|p=19-20}}

Global scholarship and praise


The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

 read the Latin translation and praised the Upanishads in his main work, The World as Will and Representation
The World as Will and Representation
The World as Will and Representation is the central work of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The first edition was published in December 1818, and the second expanded edition in 1844. In 1948, an abridged version was edited by Thomas Mann....

 (1819), as well as in his Parerga and Paralipomena
Parerga and Paralipomena
Parerga and Paralipomena is a collection of philosophical reflections by Arthur Schopenhauer published in 1851...

 (1851).{{sfn|Schopenhauer|Payne|2000|p=395}} He found his own philosophy was in accord with the Upanishads, which taught that the individual is a manifestation of the one basis of reality. For Schopenhauer, that fundamentally real underlying unity is what we know in ourselves as "will". Schopenhauer used to keep a copy of the Latin Oupnekhet by his side and is said to have commented, "It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death".{{sfn|Schopenhauer|Payne|2000|p=397}} Another German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Fichte, his mentor prior to 1800, and Hegel, his former university roommate and erstwhile friend...

, praised the mystical and spiritual aspects of the Upanishads.{{sfn|Singh|p=456-461|1999}} Schelling and other philosophers associated with German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...

 were dissatisfied with Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 as propagated by churches. They were fascinated with the Vedas and the Upanishads.{{sfn|Singh|1999|p=456-461}} In the United States, the group known as the Transcendentalists
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

 were influenced by the German idealists. These Americans, such as Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 and Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, were not satisfied with traditional Christian mythology and therefore embraced Schelling's interpretation of Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

's Transcendental idealism
Transcendental idealism
Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century. Kant's doctrine maintains that human experience of things is similar to the way they appear to us — implying a fundamentally subject-based component, rather than being an activity that...

, as well as his celebration of the romantic, exotic, mystical aspect of the Upanishads. As a result of the influence of these writers, the Upanishads gained renown in Western countries.{{sfn|Versluis|1993|pp=69, 76, 95. 106–110}} Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...

, the great quantum physicist said, "The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West."{{sfn|Schrödinger|1992|p=129}} Eknath Easwaran
Eknath Easwaran
Eknath Easwaran was a spiritual teacher, an author of books on meditation and ways to lead a fulfilling life, as well as a translator and interpreter of Indian literature....

, in translating the Upanishads, articulates how they "form snapshots of towering peaks of consciousness taken at various times by different observers and dispatched with just the barest kind of explanation".{{sfn|Easwaran|2007|p=9}}

Criticism



The Brihadaranyaka gives an unorthodox explanation of the origin of the caste-system. It says that a similar four-tier caste system existed in heaven which is now replicated on earth.{{sfn|Ranade|1926|p=59-60}} This has been criticized by the Dalit leader Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He studied the philosophy of the Upanishads pragmatically and concluded that they were most ineffective and inconsequential piece of speculation and that they had no effect on the moral and social order of the Hindus.{{sfn|Singh|2000|pp=97}} Ambedkar implies that the voluminous Upanishads are a useless work because of their inability to effect any change in the caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

-biased, inherently unequal Hindu society. He dismisses the Upanishads by quoting Huxley
Thomas Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS was an English biologist, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution....

 in saying that Upanishadic philosophy can be reduced to very few words. Ambedkar agrees with Huxley: {{cquote|In supposing the existence of a permanent reality, or "substance", beneath the shifting series of phenomena, whether of matter or of mind. The substance of the cosmos was "Brahma", that of the individual man "Atman"; and the latter was separated from the former only, if I may so speak, by its phenomenal envelope, by the casing of sensations, thoughts and desires, pleasures and pains, which make up the illusive phantasmagoria of life. This the ignorant, take for reality; their "Atman" therefore remains eternally imprisoned in delusions, bound by the fetters of desire and scourged by the whip of misery.||author=Thomas Huxley{{sfn|Singh|2000|pp=96–97}}}}

John Murray Mitchell, a Western writer, asserts that by suggesting that all appearance is an illusion, the Upanishads are potentially overturning ethical distinctions. Dr. A.E. Gough, an early European orientalist
Oriental studies
Oriental studies is the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology; in recent years the subject has often been turned into the newer terms of Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies...

, remarked that the Upanishads were "the work of a rude age, a deteriorated race, and a barbarous and unprogressive community." According to another writer, David Kalupahana
David Kalupahana
David J Kalupahana is a Buddhist scholar from Sri Lanka. He was a student of the late K.N. Jayatilleke, who was a student of Wittgenstein. He wrote mainly about epistemology, theory of language, and compared later Buddhist philosophical texts against the earliest texts and tried to present...

, the Upanishadic thinkers came to consider change as a mere illusion, because it could not be reconciled with a permanent and homogeneous reality. They were therefore led to a complete denial of plurality.{{sfn|Kalupahana|1975|p=14}} He states that philosophy suffered a setback because of the transcendentalism resulting from the search of the essential unity of things.{{sfn|Kalupahana|1975|p=15}} Kalupahana explains further that reality was simply considered to be beyond space, time, change, and causality. This caused change to be a mere matter of words, nothing but a name and due to this, metaphysical speculation took the upper hand. As a result, the Upanishads fail to give any rational explanation of the experience of things.{{sfn|Kalupahana|1975|p=15}} Paul Deussen
Paul Deussen
Paul Jakob Deussen was a German Orientalist and Sanskrit scholar. He was influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. He was also a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and Swami Vivekananda.In 1911, he founded the Schopenhauer Society...

 criticized the idea of unity in the Upanishads as it excluded all plurality, and therefore, all proximity in space, all succession in time, all interdependence as cause and effect, and all opposition as subject and object.{{sfn|Deussen|1908|pp=156}}

Association with Vedas


All Upanishads are associated with one of the five Vedas—Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, Samaveda
Samaveda
The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

, Shukla Yajurveda, Krishna Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

. The {{IAST|Muktikā}} Upanishad's list of 108 Upanishads groups the first 10 as mukhya, 21 as Sāmānya Vedānta, 23 as Sannyāsa
Sannyasa
Sannyasa is the order of life of the renouncer within the Hindu scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men or women at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks who wish to renounce worldly...

, nine as Shākta, 13 as Vaishnava, 14 as Shaiva and 17 as Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

.{{sfn|Sri Aurbindo Kapali Sastr Institute of Vedic Culture}} The 108 Upanishads as recorded in the {{IAST|Muktikā}} are shown in the table below.{{sfn|Farquhar|1920|p=364}}{{sfn|Parmeshwaranand|2000|pp=404–406}} The mukhya Upanishads are highlighted.

Veda-Upanishad association
Veda Aitareya {{fontcolor|black|yellow|Kauśītāki}}, Ātmabodha, Mudgala Nirvāṇa Tripura, Saubhāgya, Bahvṛca
Akṣamālika (Mālika) Nādabindu
Samaveda Chāndogya, Kena Vajrasūchi, Mahad, Sāvitrī Āruṇeya, {{fontcolor|black|yellow|Maitrāyaṇi}}, Maitreyi, Sannyāsa, Kuṇḍika
Vāsudeva, Avyakta Rudrākṣa, Jābāla Yogachūḍāmaṇi, Darśana
Krishna Yajurveda Taittirīya, Śvetāśvatara, Kaṭha Sarvasāra, Śukarahasya, Skanda (Tripāḍvibhūṭi), Śārīraka, Ekākṣara, Akṣi, Prāṇāgnihotra Brahma, Śvetāśvatara, Garbha, Tejobindu, Avadhūta, Kaṭharudra, Varāha Sarasvatīrahasya Nārāyaṇa (Mahānārāyaṇa), Kali-Saṇṭāraṇa (Kali) Kaivalya, Kālāgnirudra, Dakṣiṇāmūrti, Rudrahṛdaya, Pañcabrahma Amṛtabindu, Amṛtanāda, Kṣurika, Dhyānabindu, Brahmavidyā, Yogatattva, Yogaśikhā, Yogakuṇḍalini
Shukla Yajurveda Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Īśa Subāla, Mantrikā, Nirālamba, Paiṅgala, Adhyātmā, Muktikā Jābāla, Paramahaṃsa, Advayatāraka, Bhikṣu, Turīyātīta, Yājñavalkya, Śāṭyāyani
Tārasāra
Haṃsa, Triśikhi, Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa
Atharvaveda Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍūkya, Praśna Sūrya, Ātmā Parivrāt (Nāradaparivrājaka), Paramahaṃsaparivrājaka, Parabrahma Sītā, Annapūrṇa, Devī, Tripurātapani, Bhāvana Nṛsiṃhatāpanī, Mahānārāyaṇa (Tripādvibhuti), Rāmarahasya, Rāmatāpaṇi, Gopālatāpani, Kṛṣṇa, Hayagrīva, Dattātreya, Gāruḍa Śira, Atharvaśikha, Bṛhajjābāla, Śarabha, Bhasma, Gaṇapati Śāṇḍilya, Pāśupata, Mahāvākya


See also


{{Portal|Hinduism}}
  • 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
    100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
    The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith, a British poet, critic, and biographer.-Chronological list:...

  • Bhagavad Gita
    Bhagavad Gita
    The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

  • Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...


Further reading

  • Max Müller
    Max Müller
    Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

    , translator, {{IAST|The Upaniṣads}}, Part I, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1962, ISBN 0-486-20992-X.
  • Max Müller
    Max Müller
    Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

    , translator, {{IAST|The Upaniṣads}}, Part II, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1962, ISBN 0-486-20993-8.
  • Three Upanisads of The Vedanta by J.L. Bansal

External links


{{Wikiquote}}
{{wikisourcelang|1|उपनिषद्|Upanishad (Sanskrit text)}}
{{wikisourcelang|oldwikisource|उपनिषद्|उपनिषद्}}

{{Hindu Culture and Epics}}
{{Indian Philosophy}}