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The Upanishads

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,244 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
The Upanishads contain not philosophy but central principles to guide us through life. They are therefore India s most precious legacy to humanity.
What is that, by knowing which, all things are known? What makes my mind think, my eyes see, my tongue speak, my body live? What happens when this body dies?
With such questions the Upanishads the fount of India s loftiest though
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311 pages
Published 1996 by Penguin Books India (first published -500)
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J.D. I like the translation: "The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal," translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester. This translation is…moreI like the translation: "The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal," translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester. This translation is approachable, is entirely in English, it flows well, and doesn't include many (if any) words that need to be looked up. It also excludes pieces of the texts that are irrelevant, violent, perverse, etc. I found this out by reading a review of another translation, wherein the text had advocated for beating and assaulting a woman, viciously. I looked up that other translation and saw that it did indeed say such things. There was also a lot of strange sexual preoccupations with virility and the like that seemed completely pointless, considering the whole idea of the universal Self, Brahman. When you identify properly with a universal Self, such things really have no place so the text seemed so off in that respect. Anyway, I'm halfway through the translation I mentioned and I haven't seen any of that stuff in this translation. There are a few Upanishads I don't relate to, but nothing so incredibly offensive or disturbing. I think that a casual reader looking for some spiritual or intellectual stimulation would benefit much more from this translation than others. I hope this helps! :)

P.S. - "The Upanishads" usually refers to a main group of Upanishads, while there are actually many more than presented in that main group. Keep that in mind. (less)
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Mahdi
آیین برهمایی
جهان بینی برهمایی، یکی از بی نظیرترین مکاتب فلسفی-عرفانی شرق است که بنا به عقیده ی بسیاری، تأثیری عمیق در عرفان پيشا مسيحى( فلوطین)، عرفان مسیحی و عرفان اسلامی گذاشته است.
مهم ترین اصل این جهان بینی این است که جهان هیچ حقیقتی ندارد و تنها "نمود"ی بدون "بود" است، مانند تصاویری که در رؤیا می بینیم. تمام این جهان، تمام این تصاویر، تمام این "نمود"ها، ساخته ی "بود"ی واحد، بی شکل و درک ناشدنی است که "جان" یا "آتمان" نامیده می شود. "آتمان" در درون تمام اشیا جاری است، اما با حس درک نمی شود، ب
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Lotz
Jan 22, 2016 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I find it interesting how pervasive is the mystic idea of unity. From transcendentalists to scientists to Buddhists to Christians to Hindus, I hear this same thing emphasized repeatedly—everything is one. Physicists wax poetic about how our bodies are made of star-dust. Biologists and naturalists wonder at the unity of life on earth. Christians celebrate the infinite simplicity of God. Spinoza's philosophy proclaims the oneness of all reality. Walt Whitman had this to say:
And I know that the han
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Girish Kohli
Jul 16, 2012 Girish Kohli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Upanishad' means 'sit down near me'. That is its true meaning. Isnt it so simple?
Doesnt the meaning of Upanishad remind you of your grandfather or grandmother telling you a story.
That is exactly what the Upanishad is.

The Upanishad is one of the oldest Hindu scriptures (after the vedas) but that doesnt mean only Hindus can read it. The beauty of the Upanishads is that it never talks about Hinduism.

It is a work that explores the metaphysical truths of Human existence. If you read carefully,
you w
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Adrian Anderson
Mar 30, 2011 Adrian Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
This book first exposed me to the deep, Deep, DEEP wellspring of spirituality that is to be found in the Indian tradition. The concept of Atman and Brahman and the interchangeability was so in keeping with my person beliefs that the first reading left me shaken.

I am from the Bible belt where our preachers call Indians (and others) idolaters, polytheists, blasphemers and fuel for hellfire. But on reading the Upanishads one realizes that they are closer to monotheism than is Christianity with it's
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Trenton Judson
Oct 21, 2012 Trenton Judson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a magic to this text that comes alive inside those warm places in the bottom of your stomach as you read it. The connectivity and the power of the self that this book teaches are invaluable to any person of any ethical, moral, or theological background. I first had a strong desire to read this book after reading Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" and found myself going back and back to the quote on the first page from The Upanishad's that reads: "The sharp edge of a razor is difficul ...more
Megan Salyer
Jul 11, 2012 Megan Salyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Right up there w the Bible and Quran, but if I had to choose I'd say Hindu text I've read thus far is my favorite. There's so much love and drama in the text it always leaves me wanting more and I feel more accurately describes reasons our world is so unpredictably crazy
David Withun
Dec 14, 2014 David Withun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
The Upanishads are some of the most fascinating writings in world literature. They are a record of several hundred years of experience and wisdom in one of the world's great mystical traditions. As such, they act as a powerful witness to the universality of the desire for eternity and transcendence, for the innate humanity of the longing for God.

This translation is an interesting one and may be useful for someone who is new to the Upanishads. Nearly all of the technical language is trimmed out a
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Dennis Littrell
Easwaran, Eknath. The Upanishads (1987) *****
Important volume on one of humanity's greatest religious works

In the Upanishads there are two selves. They are symbolized by two birds sitting on a tree branch. The one bird, the self with a small "s" eats. The other bird, the Self with a capital "S" observes. The first self is the self that is part of this world. The second Self is merely an observer that doesn't take part and is in fact beyond the pairs of opposites such as pleasure and pain that do
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Richard
I thought this would be another primary source to understand the history of Hindu thought, and while it did that, it was so much more. It was a fundamental tool in changing the way I look at God, the world, and my place in it. One of the most important reads I've ever had.
K.D. Rose
One of the most beautiful books of religious text that reads like poetry. The only book I rate comparable from ancient religious texts anyway, is The Song of Songs.
Oakshaman
Jun 18, 2009 Oakshaman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The essence of the twelve principle Upanishads

_If you have ever been intimidated by the multi-volume scholarly translations of the Upanishads, then this book is for you. I still marvel at how Prabhavananda and Manchester managed to encapsulate so much of the core content and meaning of the twelve principle Upanishads in such a slim volume. Yet they did- and it works. This translation was originally produced in 1948 for the Vedanta Society of Southern California but it still holds up as one of
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Alex
Aug 13, 2012 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is some truth in the Upanishads, a word in Sanskrit which means, "a sitting, an instruction, the sitting at the feet of a master," but there is so much which is fluff and simply not true.

Truths:
"the wise man chooses the path of joy; the fool takes the path of pleasure." p. 58
"What lies beyond life shines not to those who are childish, or careless, or deluded by wealth." p. 58
"the foolish run after outward pleasures and fall into the snares." p. 62
"There is the path of wisdom and the path
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Ben
Jan 08, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At an earlier point in my studies of Eastern religion and philosophy, I would easily have awarded this work 5 stars and would likely have placed it on my "favorites" shelf. When I first began my journey into Eastern religion with the Bhagavad Gita many years ago I was mesmerized by the ideas and was drawn in by the oneness with the universe that such works promoted. Since then and before reading The Upanishads, my understanding of Eastern religions and ideas has been influenced by the likes of ( ...more
Jeff
Mar 13, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book #3 in 2012's survey of holy shit (#2 was Confucius's Analects etc.).

Overall this collection of disparate mystical writings by long-dead Hindus is the early frontrunner for my Most Philosophically Stimulating Sacred Text award. I almost wrote Theosophically, but their ideas exercised my love of wisdom more than they conveyed to me any wisdom about god. (Screw you, too, Blavatsky! i know you're listening.)

I disagreed with most of the metaphysical claims. I quibbled frequently. I pooh-poohed a
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Kevin
Jul 01, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-books, favorites
"Om. Poornamatha Poornamitham Poornatpoornamudachyathe
Poornasya Poornamathaya Poornamevavasishyathe
Om Shaanthi! Shaanthi! Shaanthihi!"
-(The peace chant from Brahadaranyaka)

Translated by Sankaracharya as:-
"Om. That (Brahman) is infinite, and this (Universe) is infinite. The infinite proceeds from the infinite.
(Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), it remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone."

The author's translation:-
"All this is full, all that is full.
From fullness, fullness com
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Philip
Dec 26, 2008 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just discovering these early Hindu texts. Compared to the thinking of many today's mainsteram religions, the concepts put forth here are progressive, if not outright radical.

An expansive god-view/understanding is presented that is accessible. Also, a nice introduction to was what once simply my ignorance and chaotic undertanding of the complexity of Hinduism.

As far as the translation goes, since this is my first reading so nothing to compare it to...but it's certainly understandable and as acces
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Sue
Jan 15, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm such a nerd. I read this during the Packer game.
Erin
Mar 08, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this translation of the Upanishads. The translator was both a Master of English as well as Hindu himself and a religious scholar. When reading, keep in mind that every world was chosen with you in mind to convey as much as possible of the original meaning. To me, this book is full of wisdom that anybody can appreciate. It's the furthest thing from outdated or antiquated, and hints at a kind of spiritual existence and life that is 'just beyond the curtains', so to speak, and th ...more
Elizabeth
A wonderful translation of what may be one of India's greatest philophical treasures. The language in Easwaran's translation is simple, clear and understandable. It manages to convey perfectly the poetic beauty of the Upanishadic texts, without adding any unnecessary confusion to some of the intense philosophical points. As this is the first edition of the Upanishads I have read, I have no other copy to recommend or to compare it by. However, Easwaran's edition also comes with a very useful glos ...more
Philip Cartwright
A fascinating, sometimes haunting, sometimes baffling read. Of course, these sacred scriptures don't give a full picture of Hinduism by themselves - for that I'd need greater familiarity with the numerous ceremonies, chants, rituals and stories that go with them. Nevertheless, the Upanishads provide a mesmerising window onto what is (for me) a very foreign world.

I hesitate to attempt much analysis of such a venerable text - especially after just a first read-through. But I will offer this: on on
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Roxanne
Dec 01, 2011 Roxanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality, yoga
The Upanishads, translated by Eknath EaswaranThe Upanishads are a group of ancient wisdom texts. Each individual upanishad is named for the sage who delivered its teaching, long ago; each one describes in flashes of insight how to explore your own consciousness, how to come closer to the Divine. Some of the upanishads take the form of a story: a student (or a wife, or even a king) implores a great sage (or even Death itself) to share holy secrets. Most of the upanishads rely on classic natural i ...more
Czarny Pies
One really has no choice but to give the Upanisads a five star rating. They are sacred Hindu texts . One approaches sacred texts with the view of learning from them not rating them.

The big question then is when one should read Upanisad's in one's effort to learn about Hinduism. If one has not first done some preliminary research about the teaching and doctrines of Hinduism, simply leaping into the Upanisads is likely to be highly confusing and not very informative. The same could also be said of
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Kevin
Mar 07, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I actually read the Project Gutenberg release of this classic Indian text on Hinduism. It's a short 17,000 word translation by a Hindu mystic that visited Boston in 1909. Even though the translation is 90 years old it brought the message of the text to life for me, and the insightful commentary by the translator helped to get the message across of the book.
Julie Kelly
Aug 17, 2013 Julie Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
The Upanishads is an amazing book about spirituality in India. It takes you on a jorney of the self and allows you to realize and understand that the mind is what dominates the life for example what you desire is what you basically get. The Unipanishads as a book is sometimes hard to grasp but well worth persevereing with just as its sister book the Bhagavadgita
Daniel Prasetyo
Aug 25, 2012 Daniel Prasetyo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best translation of The Upanishads that I found, the author, like other great teachers, is experiencing the wisdom so deeply that he can translate the sacred text with the way that you can really understand and experiencing it's meaning. It contains a chapter introduction, and a notes. The Upanishads is the true treasure of India.
Yasmina Elhayane
If you're open to it, I think, the sublime poetry of the Upanishads will change the way you view life in the world. No more "poor little me," lost and afraid in a mechanical and unsympathetic universe, but rather "Thou art that!" You are what the entire cosmos is doing, the whole works! This really is good news.
Chandrakant Mhatre
Easily accessible translations of the greatest Indian literature! Despite a few imperfections, almost perfect rendering of the original!
Y. L
May 09, 2014 Y. L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this book in a long sit down! I've given this book a four star instead of a solid five just because I have read the Bhagavad Gita which offered a more well-explained background and foundation of Krshna.

This book does a great summary of the Upanishads but lack organisation. Some verses were repeated (some more than twice) and the one-liners especially from the Taittiriya Upanishad chapter although made me feel like I'm making quick progress with the book, also left me a little hanging.
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Jimmy
Nov 11, 2009 Jimmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While often referred to as Hindu scripture that constitute the core teachings of Vedanta, The Upanishads is really more of a collection of meditations. It is not a theology. They are the kind of meditations that are relevant in any age: what is the nature of love, of the spirit, of the unseen but always felt forces in our universe. But they are not "thoughts" about these things. If you are looking for philosophy, go elsewhere.

One does see the glimmer of the Buddhism that Hindu inspires. The onen
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Tso William
OM " 'Place this salt in water and come to me tomorrow morning.'
Svetaketu did as he was commanded, and in the morning his father said to him: 'Bring me the salt you put into the water last night.'
Svetaketu looked into the water, but could not find it, for it had dissolved.
His father then said: 'Taste the water from this side. How is it?'
'It is salt'
'Taste it from the middle. How is it?'
'It is salt'
'Taste it from that that side. How is it?
'It is salt'
'Look for the salt again and come again
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The Upanishads and Modern Science 6 87 Oct 31, 2013 01:00PM  
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“The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.
The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars. Fire and lightening and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.”
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“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. [ Brihadaranyaka IV.4.5 ]” 13 likes
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