Upanishad means the inner or mystic teaching. The term Upanishad is derived from upa (near), ni (down) and s(h)ad (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishad thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. Samkara derives the word Upanishad as a substitute from the root sad, 'to loosen.,' 'to reach' or 'to destroy' with Upa and ni as prefixes and kvip as termination. If this determination is accepted, upanishad means brahmaknowledge by which ignorance is loosened or destroyed. The treatises that deal with brahma-knowledge are called the Upanishads and so pass for the Vedanta. The Upanishads more clearly set forth the prime Vedic doctrines like Selfrealization, yoga and meditation, karma and reincarnation, which were hidden or kept veiled under the symbols of the older mystery religion. The older Upanishads are usually affixed to a particularly Veda, through a Brahmana or Aranyaka. The more recent ones are not. The Upanishads became prevalent some centuries before the time of Krishna and Buddha.
The main figure in the Upanishads, though not present in many of them, is the sage Yajnavalkya. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu and Buddhist philosophy derive from him. He taught the great doctrine of "neti-neti", the view that truth can be found only through the negation of all thoughts about it. Other important Upanishadic sages are Uddalaka Aruni, Shwetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Pippalada, Sanat Kumara. Many earlier Vedic teachers like Manu, Brihaspati, Ayasya and Narada are also found in the Upanishads. In the Upanishads the spiritual meanings of the Vedic texts are brought out and emphasized in their own right.
There are over 200 Upanishads though according to Indian tradition there are only 108. There are 10 main principals but some accord it to having 18 main principals in the Upanishad.
Some of the Upanishads are Brhad-Aranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad,Isa Upanishad, Aitareya Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Prasna Upanishad, Kena Upanishad, Mundaka Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, Kausitaki-Brahmana Upanishad, Maitri Upanishad, Subala Upanishad, Jabala Upanishad, Paingala Upanishad, Kaivalya Upanishad, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Vajrasucika Upanishad.
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita more commonly known as the Gita, is part of the Itihaas scriputre Mahabharata. It is an extremely popular scripture. There are 118 chapters of Gita. If the Upanishads can be compared to the cow, the Gita is their milk. It is in the form of a dialogue between Lord Sri Krishna and the mighty Pandava warrior Arjuna. The battlefield of Kurukshetra is its place of origin. Its central message is that one should discharge one's duty however hard and unpleasant it be - bravely and with selfless dedication.
The Puranas are the richest collection of mythology in the world. Most of them attained their final form around 500 A.D. but they were passed on as an oral tradition since the time of Krishna (c. 1500 B.C.). There are eighteen major Puranas and a few minor ones. Each is a long book consisting of various stories of the Gods and Goddesses, hymns, an outline of ancient history, cosmology, rules of life, rituals, instructions on spiritual knowledge. Hence the Puranas are like encyclopedias of religion and culture and contain material of different levels and degrees of difficulty.
The most important Puranas are the VISHNU PURANA, SHIVA PURANA and
MARKENDEYA PURANA (to the Goddess). The BHAGAVATA PURANA is important to the worshippers of Krishna. Other Puranas are the Vayu, Agni, Skanda, Kalki, Linga.
The Puranas are perhaps the most important or commonly used scriptural texts of the Hindus. They were guide books for the whole of life and society. Some of the Puranas are Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Shiva Purana, Bhagwata Purana, Narayana Purana, Markandeya Purana, Agni Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Linga Purana, Varaha Purana, Skanda Purana, Vamana Purana, Kurma Purana, Matsya Purana, Garuda
Purana, Brahmanda Purana.
Ramayana is the story of Shree Rama avatar of Lord Vishnu, his consort Sita brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman and their fight against the evil of Ravana. According to Ramanuja, a famour Ramayana scholar, there are over 300 types of Ramayana, e.g., Tulsidas Ramayana, Kumb Ramayana, etc.
Unlike Mahabrata, Ramayana is the work of reknown scholar, Valmiki, who may have modified it in 3 BC.
Shree Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu oversees the battle of good vs. evil in this extraordinary scripture. It revolves around the 18 days war between the Kaurava,
which consisted of 100 sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandavas, which consisted 5 sons of Pandu.
The Kurukshetra war involved almost all of the kings in India. The result of the war was the devastation of Kauravas dan their supporters. The head of Pandavas, Yudhishthira was crowned Raja Hastinapura. His victory symbololize victory of good over evil.
Saturday, 11 August 2007