The outside world grabs our attention with its many-hued and varied attractions. Looking out at it, it is difficult to believe that there could be a world inside, too. That is why most people spend their whole lives busy in the outer world. It is a rare few who look inside and come to the conclusion that the material world is not the whole story at all. In fact, what lies underneath is so blissful that they do not like to come out again!
The Upanishads are the guiding lights for that hidden inner world, and lsha, Kena and Katha Upanishads stand at their forefront. In an endearing manner, these Upanishads hold our hands and take us gently into the Unknown - that which is beyond the visible, beyond the perceived, beyond action, beyond even Dharma! With a modicum of logic and lots of enlightened perception, the seers explain to us why this inner world indeed exists and why it is really the only world worth looking for. On the way, they give tips for living in the outer world, too, in a way that will open up the doors to that other world. For this reason, even the first-time seeker can find a world of wisdom tucked away in their verses. But bare knowledge has no meaning till it is converted into something perceptible. Devotion is the elixir that brings knowledge to life. True seers break out into ecstasy every now and then as they perceive the Divine. Their devotion will find an inner chord in you that will resonate as you chant the verses.
Phrases from these Upanishads are often quoted in different worldly settings, but they mostly have an other-worldly meaning. To find out more, delve into the beauty of these Upanishads and come out refreshed and purified.
Continuing from my earlier work, The Causeless Cause: The Eternal Wisdom of Shwetaashwatara Upanishad, a commentary on the Shwetaashwatara Upanishad, this book contains three of the most loved Upanishads - Isha, Kena and Katha. Considered the first three Upanishads, they are often read together.
The commentary follows the same style that the readers have come to expect, i.e., it presumes no prior knowledge whatsoever from the reader of the Vedas, the Upanishads, or Indian spiritual tenets in general. Also, it is brief and lucid, while not taking away from the depth of meaning of the Upanishad. It is, thus, written keeping the busy first-timer in mind.
Unlike other Upanishads that are from the Braahmanas or the Aaranyakas (ancient commentaries on the Vedas), Ishopanishad is directly from the Vedas. However, there is a slight difference between the Vaidika version and the Upanishadic one. This book covers both the versions, taking up the Vaidika one first, followed by the Upanishadic one. Being a chapter from the Yajurveda, this Upanishad is as authoritative as it gets. For this reason, it is considered first among Upanishads. This divine Upanishad covers a lot of ground - from the mundane duties of the Material world to the quest for spiritual salvation. Also, being part of a Veda, its language constructs are very unique. Mandatorily, Vedas should be interpreted by Rshis, or seers. For this reason, my commentary is based on the greatest seer of modern times, Swamee Dayaananda Saraswatee of the Arya Samaj.
Kenopanishad is a short, but oft-quoted Upanishad. It contains an endearing parable that places the Vedas as the fountainhead of all knowledge.
No-one needs an introduction to Kathopanishad! In some way or the other, the story of Yama and the boy Nachiketaa has percolated to each and every Indian. Its closeness to the Bhagawad Geeta has only added to its charm for its readers. The pull of the senses and the need to break away from them in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a human being forms the main theme of this Upanishad.
There being many layers of meaning in such texts, the new reader is strongly advised to read the Introduction before venturing forth into the Upanishad. This will provide the necessary grounding in Vaidika precepts.
I am confident the reader will be transported to a different sphere by each Upanishad and will leave her/him much enriched. I wish you an exciting journey of discovery and look forward to your reactions to these sublime Upanishads!
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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