About the Book
There is no book in the whole world that is so thrilling, soul-stirring and inspiring as the Upanishads. The philosophy taught by the Upanishads has been the source for many, both in the East and the West. The Upanishads teach the Philosophy of absolute unity. They contain the sublime truths of Vedanta and practical hints and clues which throw much on the pathway of Self-realisation.
The Eternal Wisdom of the Sages of India is stored in the Upanishads. The Upanishads are the cream of the Vedas. Each of the four Vedas, the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. Has its own philosophical and mystical crowning teaching which go by the name of the Upanishads. The breadth of vision, the profundity of insight and the marvellous gamut of inclusiveness revealed in these holy writings, considered as Sruti, or revealed Divine Messages, are remarkable and breath-taking.
Dialogues from the Upanishads is collection of the most sublime and thrilling portions of the Upanishads, the only authentic source of spiritual knowledge, that treat of Jnana or Knowledge of the Self. The interpretation of the verses is at once appealing and original. It is hoped, however, that spiritual aspirants all the world over will be benefited to a considerable extent by this publication, for while it serves as a kindly light that leads the aspirants on through the dark alleys of Vedanta, it also contains a mine of information and knowledge to the layman as well.
About the Author
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshitar and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.
His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a health journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 Swami Sivananda started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organised. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 Swamiji undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 Swamiji convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. Swamiji is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read Swamiji's works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 Swamiji entered Mahasamadhi.
Though Upanishads treat exclusively of the Jnana-Kanda or Knowledge-portion of the Vedas, yet you will find a mixture of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma in some portions of the Upanishads. You will find in Isavasya Upanishad Jnana-nishtha, Karmanishtha and prayer to Surya and Agni as well in the end. In the closing portion of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad there is a description of a Yajna. Chhandogya Upanishad abounds in Upasana in the preliminary portion.
A neophyte is bewildered when he takes to the study of the Upanishads. I have culled out the dialogues from the Upanishads which treat of Jnana or Knowledge of the Self and have expressed the ideas in a lucid manner. The knotty, abstruse, intricate portions are nicely explained. I have made the subject matter very interesting and attractive. A book of this description has never been presented to the public yet.
The dialogues between Uddalaka and Svetaketu in the Chhandogya Upanishad, between Yajnavalkya and Raja Janaka in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad are extremely thrilling and highly instructive. The dialogues in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad contain advanced lessons.
I hope this book will prove to be a valuable companion to the aspirants who thirst for Knowledge and Self-realisation. Here is a message of hope, bliss, immortality, secret of life and Knowledge of Brahman.
Om Sri Sadguru Paramatmane Namah
The word Upanishad is formed by adding the Krip suffix and the prefixes Upa and Ni to the root Shad, meaning (1) to shatter or kill; (2) to attain; (3) to loosen. By the word Upanishad is denoted the knowledge of the knowable entity inculcated by the work which is to be commented on. By what etymological process this knowledge is denoted by the term Upanishad is now explained. This knowledge is called Upanishad by virtue of its signification that it shatters or destroys, the seed of Samsara such as ignorance and the rest, in those seekers after emancipation, who, devoid of all desires for objects seen and heard of, acquire the knowledge called Upanishad to be hereafter explained, and with their mind firmly concentrated therein meditate on it; for, it will also be said later on 'well ascertaining that he will be freed from the jaws of death'; or the knowledge of Brahman is called Upanishad because of the fact that it leads to Brahman, in that it makes the seekers after emancipation just above described attain the highest Brahman; for, it will be said later on, 'having attained the Brahman he becomes untainted and immortal'; or, even 'the knowledge of Agni' is denoted by the term Upanishad, because of its connection with the meaning of the root 'to loosen'; for the knowledge of Agni, the first born, the knower, born of Brahman-the subject matter of the second of the boons asked for-leads to the attainment of heaven and thus loosens or enfeebles the lot of misery, such as residence in the womb, birth, old age, etc., continually recurring in this world. It will also be said later on, 'having reached heaven they enjoy immortality'. It may be urged that students apply the term Upanishad even to the book, as when they say 'we shall study or teach the Upanishad'. This is no fault; as the meaning of the root sad, i.e., the killing of the cause of Samsara, etc., cannot attach to the mere work but attaches to knowledge; and even the mere work may also be denoted by that word, because it serves the selfsame purpose, as when it is said 'ghee verily is life'. The word Upanishad, therefore, is used in its primary sense when it is used to denote knowledge; but it is used by courtesy, i.e., in a secondary sense, to denote the work. Thus by the mere analytical explanation of the word Upanishad, those who are fully competent to acquire knowledge have been stated. The whole subject matter of knowledge has also been stated to be the highest Brahman, the internal Atman of all. The fruit of this knowledge has also been stated to be the thorough release from the bondage of Samsara consisting in the attainment of the Brahman.
The meaning of the Upanishad is, it may be either because it lessens the numerous evils of conception, birth, old age, disease, etc., in persons who take kindly to this knowledge of Brahman and approach it with faith and devotion; or, because it makes them reach Brahman; or, because it totally destroys the ca