Upanishads

The Upanishads are a collection of Hindu spiritual treatises, written in Sanskrit from ancient oral transmissions. They are said to be spiritual interpretations of the Vedas, ancient Indo-Aryan religious literature, considered to be ‘revealed knowledge’ by Hindus (“Veda” means “knowledge”). It is believed that the oldest were written around 900 B.C., and the ‘modern’ around 350 B.C. They are said to represent for the Hindu what the New Testament is to the Christian.

While there are said to be hundreds of Upanishads, only about a dozen are considered primary to Hindu belief. The different sages who wrote, or transmitted, these teachings throughout time attempted to answer life’s greatest spiritual questions, including that of a “Reality beyond ordinary knowing.”

The Supreme Being is called Brahman, transcendent and infinite, the universal spirit or sum total of all that ever was, is, or will be. It is ‘Absolute Reality’, found within all things animate and inanimate. “He moves and he moves not. He is far, and he is near. He is within all, and he is outside all.” (Isa Upanishad)

The seeker finds Brahman, the peaceful Infinite, when he/she attains ‘liberation’ from the physical; from agitation of the outside world. That part of each individual which is connected to Brahman is called Atman, and one must simply ‘Know’ this connection for ultimate fulfillment.

I have found that much of the wisdom in the Upanishads resonates with a similar tone to that in the Tao Te Ching, in Buddha’s teachings and also in Jesus’ original teachings. “When the five senses and the mind are still, and reason itself rests in silence, then begins the Path supreme.” (Katha Upanishad) “Those who follow wisdom pass beyond and, on leaving this world, become immortal.” (Kena Upanishad) Also, “He is unknown to the learned and known to the simple.” (Kena Upanishad)

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