38 Facts About Upanishads


Upanishads are late Vedic Sanskrit texts that supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.

FactSnippet No. 616,974

The aim of all Upanishads is to investigate the nature of Atman, and "direct[ing] the enquirer toward it.

FactSnippet No. 616,975

Around 108 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main Upanishads.

FactSnippet No. 616,976

The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down orally.

FactSnippet No. 616,977

The mukhya Upanishads predate the Common Era, but there is no scholarly consensus on their date, or even on which ones are pre- or post-Buddhist.

FactSnippet No. 616,978

Remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE.

FactSnippet No. 616,979

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was deeply impressed by the Upanishads and called it "the most profitable and elevating reading which.

FactSnippet No. 616,980

The ancient Upanishads are embedded in the Vedas, the oldest of Hinduism's religious scriptures, which some traditionally consider to be apauruseya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless".

FactSnippet No. 616,981

Various philosophical theories in the early Upanishads have been attributed to famous sages such as Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka Aruni, Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Balaki, Pippalada, and Sanatkumara.

FactSnippet No. 616,982

The chronology of the early Upanishads is difficult to resolve, states philosopher and Sanskritist Stephen Phillips, because all opinions rest on scanty evidence and analysis of archaism, style and repetitions across texts, and are driven by assumptions about likely evolution of ideas, and presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies.

FactSnippet No. 616,983

Later Upanishads, numbering about 95, called minor Upanishads, are dated from the late 1st-millennium BCE to mid 2nd-millennium CE.

FactSnippet No. 616,984

Scholars are reasonably sure that the early Upanishads were produced at 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.

FactSnippet No. 616,985

These are further divided into Upanishads associated with Shaktism, Sannyasa (renunciation, monastic life), Shaivism (god Shiva), Vaishnavism (god Vishnu), Yoga, and Samanya (general, sometimes referred to as Samanya-Vedanta).

FactSnippet No. 616,986

Some of the Upanishads are categorized as "sectarian" since they present their ideas through a particular god or goddess of a specific Hindu tradition such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, or a combination of these such as the Skanda Upanishad.

FactSnippet No. 616,987

One chronology assumes that the Aitareya, Taittiriya, Kausitaki, Mundaka, Prasna, and Katha Upanishads has Buddha's influence, and is consequently placed after the 5th century BCE, while another proposal questions this assumption and dates it independent of Buddha's date of birth.

FactSnippet No. 616,988

The Kena, Mandukya, and Isa Upanishads are typically placed after these Principal Upanishads, but other scholars date these differently.

FactSnippet No. 616,989

Each of the principal Upanishads can be associated with one of the schools of exegesis of the four Vedas.

FactSnippet No. 616,990

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.

FactSnippet No. 616,991

In 1908, for example, four previously unknown Upanishads were discovered in newly found manuscripts, and these were named Bashkala, Chhagaleya, Arsheya, and Saunaka, by Friedrich Schrader, who attributed them to the first prose period of the Upanishads.

FactSnippet No. 616,992

Ancient Upanishads have long enjoyed a revered position in Hindu traditions, and authors of numerous sectarian texts have tried to benefit from this reputation by naming their texts as Upanishads.

FactSnippet No. 616,993

All Upanishads are associated with one of the four Vedas—Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.

FactSnippet No. 616,994

These lists associated each Upanishad with one of the four Vedas, many such lists exist, and these lists are inconsistent across India in terms of which Upanishads are included and how the newer Upanishads are assigned to the ancient Vedas.

FactSnippet No. 616,995

Upanishads include sections on philosophical theories that have been at the foundation of Indian traditions.

FactSnippet No. 616,996

On occasions, the Upanishads extend the task of the Aranyakas by making the ritual allegorical and giving it a philosophical meaning.

FactSnippet No. 616,997

Upanishads describe the universe, and the human experience, as an interplay of Purusha and Prakrti (the temporary, changing material world, nature).

FactSnippet No. 616,998

Shankara in his discussions of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy referred to the early Upanishads to explain the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts that Atman exists, whereas Buddhism asserts that there is no soul, no self.

FactSnippet No. 616,999

Upanishads contain four sentences, the Mahavakyas, which were used by Shankara to establish the identity of Atman and Brahman as scriptural truth:.

FactSnippet No. 617,000

Sri Ramanuja frequently cited the Upanishads, and stated that Vishishtadvaita is grounded in the Upanishads.

FactSnippet No. 617,001

The Upanishads, according to the Vishishtadvaita school, teach individual souls to be of the same quality as the Brahman, but quantitatively they are distinct.

FactSnippet No. 617,002

The Brahman in the Upanishads is a living reality, states Fowler, and "the Atman of all things and all beings" in Sri Ramanuja's interpretation.

FactSnippet No. 617,003

Several scholars have recognised parallels between the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato and that of the Upanishads, including their ideas on sources of knowledge, concept of justice and path to salvation, and Plato's allegory of the cave.

FactSnippet No. 617,004

Upanishads have been translated into various languages including Persian, Italian, Urdu, French, Latin, German, English, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Russian.

FactSnippet No. 617,005

Upanishads found his own philosophy was in accord with the Upanishads, which taught that the individual is a manifestation of the one basis of reality.

FactSnippet No. 617,006

Poet T S Eliot, inspired by his reading of the Upanishads, based the final portion of his famous poem The Waste Land upon one of its verses.

FactSnippet No. 617,007

The Upanishads insisted on oneness of soul, 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.

FactSnippet No. 617,008

Max Muller, in his review of the Upanishads, summarizes the lack of systematic philosophy and the central theme in the Upanishads as follows,.

FactSnippet No. 617,009

The key-note of the old Upanishads is "know thyself, " but with a much deeper meaning than that of the ????? sea?t?? of the Delphic Oracle.

FactSnippet No. 617,010

The "know thyself" of the Upanishads means, know thy true self, that which underlines thine Ego, and find it and know it in the highest, the eternal Self, the One without a second, which underlies the whole world.

FactSnippet No. 617,011