The Upanishad represent a significant reorientation in the
philosophical thinking and approach of ancient Indians towards
their understanding of God, the status of individual souls in
God's creation and their relationship with Him, a development that
opened a new chapter in the religious practices and traditions
of the Indian subcontinent and epitomized the flowering of human
consciousness on a scale that was unprecedented before in the
history of human civilization in both the eastern and western
hemispheres. The Upanishads teach us to discern the Reality that
surrounds amidst the glamour and glitter of life and know truth
from untruth so that we are neither ensnared by its attractions
nor repulsed by its vulgarity. They unravel the secrets that are
hidden deep with in our consciousness and introduce us to
ourselves in a different light, equating us with the universal
self, Brahman, urging us to overcome our desire to perpetuate
our limited selves and transcend our ordinariness to discover
the greater self that lies beyond our minds and senses. The word
"upanishad" means sitting near. In ancient India the Upanishads
were taught to few individuals, who were tested for their
spiritual inclination and readiness for liberation over a long
period of time and only in person. They progressed slowly on the
path as they sat near their masters and digested the verses one
by one, meditating upon them for months and years. In the
following essays we try to introduce you some of the concepts
and ideas found in the Upanishads and how you can benefit from
their study and understanding.
A brief introduction to Upanishads: Collectively, the Upanishads are known as Vedanta (end of the vedas).
The name has struck, because they constitute the concluding part
of the Vedas. The word 'upanishad' is derived from a combination
of three words, namely upa+ni+sad. 'Upa' means near, 'ni' means
down and 'sad' means to sit.
The concept of soul or Atman in the Upanishads:
Atman is the immortal aspect of the mortal existence, which is
hidden in every object of creation including man. It is the
microcosm, representing the macrocosm in each of us, imparting to
us divine qualities and possibilities and providing us with the
reason to exist and experience the pains and pleasures of earthly
|The Story of Brahma, Gods, Demons and the Humans:
Find out what advise Brahma gave to his three offspring and why it
is relevant for us.
|The Story of Gods, Demons and the Soul:
This story from the Briahdaranyaka Upanishad about gods and demons
contains an important lesson to learn. Find out.
|Brahman the highest God of Hinduism:
Brahman is the central theme of almost all the Upanishads. Brahman
is the indescribable, inexhaustible, omniscient, omnipresent,
original, first, eternal and absolute principle who is without a
beginning, without an end , who is hidden in all and who is the
cause, source, material and effect of all creation known, unknown
and yet to happen in the entire universe.
|An essay on the Upanishads by Sri Aurobindo:
The Upanishads are the supreme work of the Indian mind, and that
it should be so, that the highest self-expression of its genius,
its sublimest poetry, its greatest creation of the thought and
word should be not a literary or poetical masterpiece of the
ordinary kind, but a large flood of spiritual revelation of this
direct and profound character, is a significant fact, evidence of
a unique mentality and unusual turn of spirit.
Upanishads: The collection of Upanisads translated by Dara shiko,
Aurangzeb's brother, contained 50 Upanisads. The Muktika Upanisad
gives a list of 108 Upanisads. With the exception of the first 13
Upanisads most of them are of more or less later date. The
Upanisads dealt with in this chapter are the earlier ones.
||Introduction to the
Upanishads by Swami Paramananda: The Upanishads represent the
loftiest heights of ancient Indo-Aryan thought and culture. They
form the wisdom portion or Gnana-Kanda of the Vedas, as contrasted
with the Karma-Kanda or sacrificial portion.
|An over view of the Upanishads:
The Upanishads abound in spiritual knowledge. In Sanskrit, the
literary language of Vedic India, the word Upanishad means
situated under Truth. The exact number of Upanishads is not
clearly known. There must have been as many Upanishads in ancient
India as there were schools and masters of self realization.
|Brahman according to Advaita and Dvaita schools of thought:
The universe is not just conscious, but it is consciousness, and
this consciousness is Brahman. Human consciousness has forgotten
its identity, that of Brahman, as if a drop of water from a vast
ocean thought itself separate, and that the only path to merge
back into that Brahman or supreme consciousness ...
|The relationship between God and soul:
There are several theories in Hinduism to explain this and no one
knows for sure which one is correct. Besides it is all very
confusing, as confusing perhaps as the theory of relativity by
Einstein. According to one approach the whole universe is one self
|List of 108 Upanishads:
The exact number of the Upanishads is not clearly known. Scholars
differ on the total number of Upanishads as well as on what
constitutes an Upanishad. Some of the Upanishads are very ancient,
but some are of recent origin.
|Hinduism and belief in one God:
The Hindus believe in many gods and goddesses. At the same time
they also believe in the existence on one Supreme God, whom they
call variously as Paramatma (Supreme Self), Parameshwar (Supreme
Lord), Parampita (Supreme Father). Iswara, Maheswara, Bhagawan,
Purusha, Purushottama, Hiranyagarbha and so on
|Brahman the great enigma:
Any attempt to explain Brahman to the satisfaction of a mind that
is driven by reason and familiar with the concretization thought
is fraught with enormous difficulties, because that which is
inexplicable cannot be explained by any amount of reasoning and
|Manifestations of Brahman:
Strictly speaking everything in the universe is a manifestation of
Brahman only. Innumerable are his forms and manifestation, but He
is One and Alone, without a beginning and without an end. He
pervades everything, is hidden in everything and enveloped by all
that is here and elsewhere.