The Upanishads (Spiritual Awakening)

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Preface

Not only have the Upanishads fascinated the Indian mind through ages, but also evoked the admiration of scholars and philosophers of the West. Forming the concluding portion of the Vedas--the Vedanta--the Upanishads embody the accumulated wisdom of centuries. They are neither sectarian nor dogmatic. They are the result of free thinking and interaction encouraged among the seekers by the ancient rishis. Relevant and useful at all times, they preach the spiritual unity of mankind.

The highly profound and subtle truths of Vedantic teachings were lucidly brought out by Swami Paramarthananda in a series of talks he delivered in Chennai from October 2000 to December 2001, as part of his week-end classes on the subject. A disciple of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, he has been spreading the message of Vedanta for more than 25 years and is renowned as a systematic and committed teacher of the sampradya (tradition) of Adi Sankaracharya.

This volume is a compilation of the edited extracts from the lectures, by Sri R. B. Athreya, a student of the Swamiji, and published as a series of articles in the Tattvâioka monthly issues from April 2002 to April 2005. The talks started with an introduction to the Vedanta, followed by a summary of each of the principal Upanishads.

Sri Athreya, after serving for over 25 years in banks in India and the Middle East now devotes all his time to spiritual pursuits. He and his wife are ardent Srividya Upasakas, initiated by Brahmasri Anna Subramaniam, well-known publisher of many of Sri Ramakrishna Mutt publications.

This volume, it is hoped, will be a refresher course for students of Vedanta and those desiring to get initiated into Vedantic study.

Contents

Message from Sri V. R. Gown Shankar. 5
Foreword by Swami Paramarthananda 6
Preface 7
Part I
Setting Goals in Life 9
Scriptures that Save 12
Uplift of All 15
Of Right Action and Attitude 19
Capacity and Conditioning 23
Knowledge of Self 26
Bhakti--a Perspective 30
Tattva Bodha (A Summary) 33
Part II
Understanding Upanishads 36
The Mundaka Upanishad 39
The Universal Cause 42
Aspects of Self-Knowledge 45
Kenopanishad 49
The Kathopanishad-I 53
The Kathopanishad-Il 57
The Kaivalya Upanishad . 61
Taittiriya Upanishad--Seeksha Valli 64
Taittiriya Upanishad--Brahma Vaffi 68
Taittiriya Upanishad--Bhrugu Valli 72
Mandukyopanishad and Karika 76
Mandukya Karika: Vaitatya Prakaranam 80
Mandukya Karika: Advaita Prakaranam 84
Mandukya Karika: Alatasanti Prakaranam 88
Isavasya Upanishad 91
Aitareya Upanishad 94
Prasna Upanishad 97
The Chandogyopanishad 100
Independent Meditation 104
Primacy of Prana 107
Bhuma Vidya Prakaranam 112
Prajapati Vidya 116
The BrihadaranyakaUpanishad-- I 119
The Universality of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad--Il ... 123
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad—Ill--Alma Jnanam Alone Gives Total Liberation 127
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad—IV--Pure Consciousness: The Light of All Lights 131
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad—V--Four Disciplines Vital for Liberation 135
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad—VI--The Role of Karmas and Upasanas 138