Upanishads

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The Upanishads means "sit down near"[1] and are a collection of instructional texts originally memorized by rishis in order to provide instruction to interested students who would "sit down near" the feet of an illuminated teacher to engage in a session of spiritual instructions, as aspirants still do in India today."[2]

Upanishads

Isha Upanishad, Kena Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad

Primary (मुख्य) Upanishads

Isha Upanishad, Kena Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad

Notes

"The Upanishads are not systematic philosophy; they are more like ecstatic slide shows of mystical experience – vivid, disjointed, stamped with the power of direct personal encounter with the divine." [3]

The Upanishads are channeled texts. "According to India’s ancient tradition of knowledge, the Upanishads were cognized by rishis, or seers. The profound truths dawned spontaneously in the silent depths of their consciousness and were recorded by them and passed down through generations, first orally and later in written form."[4]

The Upanishads are a collection of religious and philosophical texts, written in India between c. 800 BCE and c. 500 BCE, "during a time when Indian society started to question the traditional Vedic religious order." During this period, some decided to pursue spiritual progress, living as ascetics and hermits, giving up family, and rejecting material concerns. Their speculations and philosophy were compiled into the Upanishads, which are an attempt to shift the focus of religious life from external rites and sacrifices towards Connection and Connection Practice.[5]

For a list, see the Miktika, a collection of 108 Upanisads

The Vedas are the oldest available Sanskrit literature, they are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, written between 8000 BCE and 500 BCE,[6] and considered to be of divine origin, not authored by humans: “Breathed out by God or visioned by the seers.” They are called sruti (what is heard/channeled) and are more authoritative then smriti, which are commentaries on “what is remembered. “ In New Age speak, the Vedas are considered pure channelled expressions of the highest spiritual truths.

The Vedas come in four sections. The Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda. Each individual collection is further classified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads. The Upanishads are focussed on meditation, affirmation, cosmology, and Connection.

The Upanishads are part of the Vedanta (the end of the Vedas) and provide a summary of centuries of spiritual thought specifically aimed at teaching and encouraging connection with God.

"The major constituent parts of the VEdas (rooted in the specialized functions of the Vedic preists during sacrifice) were originally orally transmitted." [7]

The Upanishads are a celebration of the awakening of the Self (Ātman), a state of unbounded pure being, pure bliss. They reveal the great truth of life: The Self of the individual is identical to the Self of the universe (Brahman). They sing out, “I am totality” (aham brahmāsmi). The wholeness of life, Brahman, expresses itself as every particle of creation and as every human being. This is the profound message of the Upanishads.[8]

Of the 200 surviving Upanishads, fourteen are considered important. These are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kausitaki, Mahanarayana and the Maitri Upanishads."

Of the 200 surviving Upanishads, fourteen are considered important. These are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kausitaki, Mahanarayana and the Maitri Upanishads."[9]

Footnotes

  1. Katz, Vernon, and Thomas Egenes. The Upanishads: A New Translation. New York: Penguin, 2015. https://amzn.to/2XAhN7M
  2. Violatti, Cristian. “Upanishads.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.ancient.eu/Upanishads/.
  3. Easwaran, Eknath, trans. The Upanishads: Introduced and Translated by Eknath Easwaran. Berkeley, California: Nilgiri Press, 1987. p. 23.
  4. Katz, Vernon, and Thomas Egenes. The Upanishads: A New Translation. New York: Penguin, 2015. p. 6 https://amzn.to/2XAhN7M
  5. Violatti, Cristian. “Upanishads.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.ancient.eu/Upanishads/.
  6. Violatti, Cristian. “Upanishads.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.ancient.eu/Upanishads/.
  7. Weber. The Religion of India. Toronto: Collier-Macmillan Canada, 1958. p. 26
  8. Vernon Katz and Thomas Egenes, The Upanishads: A New Translation (New York: Penguin, 2015), https://amzn.to/2XAhN7M.
  9. Violatti, Cristian. “Upanishads.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed July 5, 2019. https://www.ancient.eu/Upanishads/.