सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Upanishads"







In General

The Upanishads are philosophical texts that explore the nature of reality, human existence, and the ultimate truth (Brahman). They are considered the culmination of Vedic wisdom and are often studied in conjunction with the Vedas.

Upanishads form the last of the four part of Veda. It along with Aranyaka is generally taken as the Jnanakanda, the way of knowledge. The parts Samhita and Brahmana together is considered Karmakanda. The Jnanakanda doesn’t means that Upanishads are mental perception or abstract intellectual speculation but Truth seen, felt and lived. Upanishads are expression of the Rishis who have seen the Truth with the soul and were total living in it with the power of inner being. So Jnana and the ideal of Upanishad is a spiritual annihilation of self by a kind of identification with the object of knowledge.

Upanishads are records of deepest spiritual experience, sublime poetry and great creation of thought and never end up with description of an isolated religious ecstasy. Upanishads do not represent a revolt or departure from general trend of Vedic thought, but a natural growth out of it. It is against the excessive ritualism, priest craft and animal sacrifices. Most of the philosophical insights in Upanishads can be traced back to Veda Samhita.

Jaina and Buddhist movements are in accord with the spirit of the Upanishads and in common with them in trying to reform excessive ritualism, priest craft and animal sacrifices


The Upanishads are not a separate part like Brahmana in Vedic lore but identified by subject matter. Normally the last part of Aranyaka is considered as Upanishads. Not all Upanishad are from Aranyaka; some of them are form Samhita and Brahmana. Every recession or sakha of Veda has its own Upanishads. The five Vedas in total had 1180 Sakas or schools and thus there should be 1180 Upanishads. As basic texts of many sakhas are lost what exists today is around 300 Upanishads.

A list of 108 Upanishads is considered as important. Out of the 108 Upanishads, only 10 have been commented upon by famous Acharyas like Adi Shankaracharya. These are Ishavasya , Kena , Katha , Aithreya , Brihadaranyaka , Prashna , Mandukya , Taittireeya , Chandogya and Mundaka. These have also been popularized by many savants like Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Maharshi, Swami Chinmayananda etc.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana