We have already studied the science of all the ten Principal Upaniṣads (Daśopaniṣads). Now, in this article we take up for study the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad which does not belong to those ten, but is considered at par with them in view of the significance of its spiritual expositions. The stream of thoughts therein, however, appears to have a deflection from that of the Daśopaniṣads, in respect of the mode of conception and style of presentation. Nevertheless, this Upaniṣad takes the ancient spiritual postulations further forward by adducing clarifications and making a few new assertions. We will see the details...Read More
Author: Karthikeyan Sreedharan
Aitareya Upaniṣad is part of Aitareya Āraṇyaka which belongs to Ṛgveda. This is one of the most ancient Upaniṣads and is the only Principal Upaniṣad under Ṛgveda. The name Aitareya descends from Ṛṣi Aitareya who is considered as its revealer. It has got three chapters, each of which is divided into sections and then into verses. A verse is identified by its serial number together with the respective section and chapter numbers. This is the tenth Upaniṣad in the series, ‘The Science of Upanishads’. Being part of a very ancient Āraṇyaka, this Upaniṣad has its expositions in a cryptic...Read More
Taittirīya Upaniṣad consists of three discourses of Taittirīya Āraṇyaka which belongs to Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda. The focal areas in this Upaniṣad are rules of conduct and nature of Brahma. Popular instructions like ‘Satyaṃ vada, dharmaṃ cara; mātṛdevo bhava, pitṛdevo bhava; etc. are contributions of this Upaniṣad. In this article which is ninth in the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, we study the explications on these two topics, namely, the nature of Brahma and the instructions on the rules of conduct. The text of this Upaniṣad is divided into three chapters (Valli) which are again divided into passages (Anuvāka) and verses....Read More
Praśna Upaniṣad is one of the three Principal Upaniṣads belonging to Atharva Veda; we have already seen two, Māṇḍūkya and Muṇḍaka. Praśna in Sanskrit means question; this Upaniṣad is fully set in question-answer format and hence the name. In this Upaniṣad six seekers ask one question each and Ṛṣi Pippalāda (पिप्पलाद) answers them all. We discuss these answers in this article, which is the eighth in the series. Unique features of this Upaniṣad are, first, its precision in the postulations on the origin and existence of beings and second, its psycho-spiritual expositions on the power of human will power...Read More
“SATYAMEVA JAYATE (सत्यमेव जयते)” is the national motto of India. All Indians do know it; but, most of them may not know that this is part of an Upanishadic mantra. Yes, it forms part of verse 3.1.6 of Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, which is the subject of discussion in this article; this is the seventh in the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’. Muṇḍaka belongs to Atharva Veda and consists of six parts (Khaṇḍas) arranged in three sections which are known as Muṇḍaka(s). Each verse is numbered by the section, part and serial numbers; accordingly 1.2.3 indicates verse 3 of part 2...Read More
In the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, it is Māṇḍūkya (माण्डूक्य) Upaniṣad that we now take up for study and rational review; this is the sixth in the series of eleven Upaniṣads. Māṇḍūkya belongs to Atharva Veda, together with two other Principal Upaniṣads, Muṇḍaka and Praśna. What the word Māṇḍūkya signifies is not definitely known; in the study of the Upaniṣad it is not significant either. Māṇḍūkya is the smallest of the eleven Principal Upaniṣads under our review; it has only 12 verses, numbered serially from 1 to 12. Nevertheless, it is the tersest of all, expounding in a...Read More
In this article, which is the fifth in the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, we propose to study Kena (केन) Upaniṣad. This is very small in size, but, content-wise amazingly terse and succinct. Also called Talavakāra Upaniṣad, it belongs to Talavakāra Brāhmaṇa and contains four parts, of which we concentrate on the first two parts, since it is in them the rational thoughts on the nature of Brahman are expounded. The other two parts are fable-like in nature depicting the already stated ideas in mythological terms with some elucidation on the modes of meditation upon Brahman. Verses in the...Read More
Kaṭha (कठ) Upaniṣad is the fourth in the series of eleven Principal Upaniṣads that we have taken up for rational review. This Upaniṣad is unique in content, since it deals with, in detail, the question of what happens after death. Apparently to add authenticity to the assertions made, the Upaniṣad supposes that the issue is explained by the Lord of Death himself. The subject-matter is presented as a dialogue between Lord of Death called Mṛtyu and a young boy by name Nachiketas. (The word mṛtyu – मृत्यु in Sanskrit means death; in the study of this Upaniṣad we use...Read More
Īśāvāsya (ईशावास्य) is the only one among the Principal Upaniṣads which is part of a Samhita. It is the end part of Śukḻa Yajurveda (Kāṇva recension), consisting of 18 verses in poetry. Being part of a Samhita is a testimony for the authenticity and ancientness of the Upaniṣad. While taking up the study of this very small Upaniṣad, we confine our analytical endeavour to the limits that we have already set, in the case of our previous studies. This Upaniṣad derives its name from the opening word of its first verse. Īśāvāsya means abode of the Ruler; Īśa is...Read More
In this part of the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, we take up for study, the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (छान्दोग्य). Previously we studied Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad and as an introduction to that study we had made the following observations defining the perimeters of our analytical reach in unravelling the scientific spirit of the Upaniṣadic thoughts. “Upaniṣads are not like ordinary spiritual texts which dwell on glorification and appeasement of an almighty god through prayers, rituals and offerings, with an intention to secure protection, prosperity, happiness and long life. The primary concern of Upaniṣads is not the physical life as such, but...Read More
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