Whether you read it in English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil or French, it does not matter until the translation is alright. Upanishads are songs, lyrics, compositions or poetry, the best called, that celebrate the eternal knowledge, secrets to union with oneself and thus the universe, gateway to the pinnacle of the spiritual philosophy established by the sages and munis in the Sanatan tradition. There have been countless commentaries, numerous scholarly editions published, many versions of interpretations of these Upanishadik texts over the centuries. However, if you can read Sanskrit (and that you should learn), the original text gives the joy of original rhythm, original and first-hand union with the text and also conveys to the readers how great those composers might have been in their prime when they composed Upanishads as long as Brihadaranyak Upanishad and as short as Isha Upanishad. No matter what the length is, you will be faced with the knowledge that will allow you to reflect upon your existence, reality and reality that we must know!
Upanishads are mostly extracted from the Vedas, ancient and philosophical as well as devotional in content. However, there are independent compositions as well. Philosophers and spiritual leaders across the world have reiterated the importance of Upanishads in order to understand the philosophical and spiritual essence of human existence. Commentary by world-renowned seers like Sri Aurobindo in modern times and ancient luminaries like Adi Shankaracharya helps greatly helps in understanding the inner meaning of the Upanishads. These are poems that serve the real purpose of literature in verse and lyric. You don’t only get the opportunity to admire the rhythms of poetry but also learn from the content.
आत्मसंज्ञः शिवः शुद्ध एक एवाद्वयः सदा । ब्रह्मरूपतया ब्रह्म केवलं प्रतिभासते ॥ १॥
For instance, Atma Upanishad, considered as a minor one among the titans of knowledge in that we encounter in other major Upanishads, offers too much of the wisdom in the verse first couple of lines or one verse. One who is capable of seeing the world and oneself as the same… and this is the union that we seek every day (those who practice dhyana and try to rise above the otherness victimhood).
Upanishads can be the true friends when one wants to enter into the depth of the ocean that Hindu scriptures offer, mostly the Vedas and super text like the Gita. Upanishads help one’s seeker attitude warm up the neurons before the real tussle with complex, paradoxical and challenging texts begin. Are you ready?
The good thing is that you can read most of these Upanishads online and for free! You don’t need to wait for the books to be delivered home. However, if you want to read the books in the traditional format, you can always order them from Gita press.
By Anand for Literature News