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The name, “''Upanishads'',” is usually translated “esoteric doctrine.” These treatises form part of the ''Sruti'' or “revealed knowledge,” ''Revelation'', in short, and are generally attached to the ''Brahmana'' portion of the Vedas, as their third division. There are over 150 ''Upanishads'' enumerated by, and known to, Orientalists, who credit the oldest with being written ''probably'' about 600 years b.c.; but of ''genuine'' texts there does not exist a fifth of the number. The Upanishads are to the Vedas what the Kabala is to the Jewish Bible. They treat of and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts. They speak of the origin of the Universe, the nature of Deity, and of Spirit and Soul, as also of the metaphysical connection of mind and matter. In a few words: ''They CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but they have now ceased to REVEAL it'', since the day of Buddha. If it were otherwise, the Upanishads could not be called ''esoteric'', since they are now openly attached to the Sacred Brahmanical books, which have, in our present age, become accessible even to the ''Mlechchhas'' (out-''castes'') and the European Orientalists. One thing in them—and this in all the ''Upanishads''—invariably and constantly points to their ancient origin, and proves (a) that they were written, in some of their portions, ''before'' the caste system became the tyrannical institution which it still is; and (b) that half of their contents have been eliminated, while some of them were rewritten and abridged.<ref>Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, ''The Secret Doctrine'' vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 269-270.</ref></blockquote>
 
The name, “''Upanishads'',” is usually translated “esoteric doctrine.” These treatises form part of the ''Sruti'' or “revealed knowledge,” ''Revelation'', in short, and are generally attached to the ''Brahmana'' portion of the Vedas, as their third division. There are over 150 ''Upanishads'' enumerated by, and known to, Orientalists, who credit the oldest with being written ''probably'' about 600 years b.c.; but of ''genuine'' texts there does not exist a fifth of the number. The Upanishads are to the Vedas what the Kabala is to the Jewish Bible. They treat of and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts. They speak of the origin of the Universe, the nature of Deity, and of Spirit and Soul, as also of the metaphysical connection of mind and matter. In a few words: ''They CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but they have now ceased to REVEAL it'', since the day of Buddha. If it were otherwise, the Upanishads could not be called ''esoteric'', since they are now openly attached to the Sacred Brahmanical books, which have, in our present age, become accessible even to the ''Mlechchhas'' (out-''castes'') and the European Orientalists. One thing in them—and this in all the ''Upanishads''—invariably and constantly points to their ancient origin, and proves (a) that they were written, in some of their portions, ''before'' the caste system became the tyrannical institution which it still is; and (b) that half of their contents have been eliminated, while some of them were rewritten and abridged.<ref>Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, ''The Secret Doctrine'' vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 269-270.</ref></blockquote>
  
== Online resources ==
+
== Major texts ==
 +
 
 +
These are the '''Mukhya Upanishads''', also known as Principal Upanishads, are associated with the Vedic tradition. They are accepted  by all Hindus ad the most important scriptures of [[Hinduism]].
 +
 
 +
=== Aitareya Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with the '''Rigveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/aitar.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aitareya_Upanishad Aitareya Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Bṛhadāraṇyaka or Brihadaranyaka Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Yajurveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/brihad.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihadaranyaka_Upanishad Brihadaranyaka Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Chāndogya or Chandogya Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Samaveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandogya_Upanishad Chandogya Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Īśā or Isha Upanishad ===
 +
 +
This is associated with '''Yajurveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/isha.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isha_Upanishad Isha Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Kaṭha or Katha Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Yajurveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/katha.html Sri Aurobindo, 1910].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katha_Upanishad Katha Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Kena Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Samaveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/kena.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kena_Upanishad Kena Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Māṇḍūkya or Mandukya Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Atharvaveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/mandu.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
=== Mundukya Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Atharvaveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/mundaka.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundaka_Upanishad Mundaka Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Praṣna or Prasna Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Atharvaveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prashna_Upanishad Prasna Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Taittiriya Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
This is associated with '''Yajurveda'''.
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taittiriya_Upanishad Taittiriya Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
== Other texts ==
 +
 
 +
These are some of the other significant texts from the 200+ surviving Upanishads. Three or four of these are considered by some authors to be of major importance &ndash; Kausitaki, Mahanarayana, Maitri, and Shwetasvatara.
 +
 
 +
=== Kauṣītaki or Kausitaki Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaushitaki_Upanishad Kausitaki Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Mahānārāyaṇa or Mahanarayana Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahanarayana_Upanishad Mahanarayana Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Maitrī  or Maitri Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
*
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitrayaniya_Upanishad Maitrayaniya Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
=== Śvetāśvatara or Shwetasvatara Upanishad ===
 +
 
 +
Translations by:
 +
* [http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/indian/upanishads/shwe.html Sri Aurobindo].
 +
 
 +
See also:
 +
* [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shvetashvatara_Upanishad Shwetasvatara Upanishad] in Wikipedia.
 +
 
 +
== Additional resources ==
  
 
The [[Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals]] lists over 300 articles in Theosophical periodicals that are about the Upanishads or reviews of books about the Upanishads. Here is a [http://www.austheos.org.au/cgi-bin/ui-csvsearch.pl?search=upanishad list of the articles.]
 
The [[Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals]] lists over 300 articles in Theosophical periodicals that are about the Upanishads or reviews of books about the Upanishads. Here is a [http://www.austheos.org.au/cgi-bin/ui-csvsearch.pl?search=upanishad list of the articles.]

Revision as of 19:47, 21 May 2020

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Upanishads refers to a collection of ancient Indian texts that provide the philosophical grounding of Hinduism, along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras. They were written over a period of centuries beginning in the 7th century BCE.

The Upanishads are texts found at the end of each Veda, discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge. They are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought, and have profoundly influenced diverse traditions. There are 108 Muktikā Upanishads in Hinduism, of which between 10 and 13 are variously counted by scholars as Principal Upanishads.

Blavatsky on the Upanishads

In her book The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky wrote at length about her view of this collection of books as esoteric texts:

The UpanishadsUpa-ni-shad being a compound word meaning “the conquest of ignorance by the revelation of secret, spiritual knowledge”—require now the additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to get at their full meaning. The reason for this I venture to state here as I learned it from a Master.
The name, “Upanishads,” is usually translated “esoteric doctrine.” These treatises form part of the Sruti or “revealed knowledge,” Revelation, in short, and are generally attached to the Brahmana portion of the Vedas, as their third division. There are over 150 Upanishads enumerated by, and known to, Orientalists, who credit the oldest with being written probably about 600 years b.c.; but of genuine texts there does not exist a fifth of the number. The Upanishads are to the Vedas what the Kabala is to the Jewish Bible. They treat of and expound the secret and mystic meaning of the Vedic texts. They speak of the origin of the Universe, the nature of Deity, and of Spirit and Soul, as also of the metaphysical connection of mind and matter. In a few words: They CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but they have now ceased to REVEAL it, since the day of Buddha. If it were otherwise, the Upanishads could not be called esoteric, since they are now openly attached to the Sacred Brahmanical books, which have, in our present age, become accessible even to the Mlechchhas (out-castes) and the European Orientalists. One thing in them—and this in all the Upanishads—invariably and constantly points to their ancient origin, and proves (a) that they were written, in some of their portions, before the caste system became the tyrannical institution which it still is; and (b) that half of their contents have been eliminated, while some of them were rewritten and abridged.[1]

Major texts

These are the Mukhya Upanishads, also known as Principal Upanishads, are associated with the Vedic tradition. They are accepted by all Hindus ad the most important scriptures of Hinduism.

Aitareya Upanishad

This is associated with the Rigveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Bṛhadāraṇyaka or Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

This is associated with Yajurveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Chāndogya or Chandogya Upanishad

This is associated with Samaveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Īśā or Isha Upanishad

This is associated with Yajurveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Kaṭha or Katha Upanishad

This is associated with Yajurveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Kena Upanishad

This is associated with Samaveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Māṇḍūkya or Mandukya Upanishad

This is associated with Atharvaveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Mundukya Upanishad

This is associated with Atharvaveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Praṣna or Prasna Upanishad

This is associated with Atharvaveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Taittiriya Upanishad

This is associated with Yajurveda.

Translations by:

See also:

Other texts

These are some of the other significant texts from the 200+ surviving Upanishads. Three or four of these are considered by some authors to be of major importance – Kausitaki, Mahanarayana, Maitri, and Shwetasvatara.

Kauṣītaki or Kausitaki Upanishad

Translations by:

See also:

Mahānārāyaṇa or Mahanarayana Upanishad

Translations by:

See also:

Maitrī or Maitri Upanishad

Translations by:

See also:

Śvetāśvatara or Shwetasvatara Upanishad

Translations by:

See also:

Additional resources

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists over 300 articles in Theosophical periodicals that are about the Upanishads or reviews of books about the Upanishads. Here is a list of the articles.

Digital versions

Artistic representations

Artist Joma Sipe has illustrated the Twelve Principal Upanishads, "as considered in a book by Doctor E. Roer, in 1906." The art works have been published by Theosophy Forward in Upanishads.

Commentaries

  • Besant, Annie. The Wisdom of the Upanishats. Available at Canadian Theosophical Association.
  • Johnston, Charles. "The Kingdom of Heaven and the Upanishads". The Open Court. December, 1905. Available at OpenSIUC.

Audio

Additional print resources

  • Q.[author unknown], "Mr. Johnston and the Upanishads", The Theosophical Quarterly 29.3 (January, 1932), 214-222.

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 269-270.