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Upanishads

The foundation of Hinduism lies in the Veda (which was later divided into four). Vedas are “Shrutis” meaning ‘heard’. Their divine origin is described in the word “Apaurusheya” meaning, uttered by no man. In other words Vedas are the words of God – heard, remembered and later recorded by rishis. Each Veda has four parts dealing with different subjects like mantras, rituals, arts, sciences and only the last part of each one deals with Philosophy. That is why it is called Vedanta. Those philosophical concepts were explained in some detail by rishis in Upanishads. Bruhadaranyaka, Maandukya, Mundaka, Eesavasa, Chandogya, Eesa, Katha, Kena are some of the more important Upanishads. Since the Upanishads were not understood by many, Bhashyas (commentaries) were written. Again the concepts of Upanishads were systematized and summarized in the form of “Brahma Sutras”. Further the concepts of the Upanishads were explained through the stories of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata for the benefit of ordinary people. These two epics are models or all humanity. Rama symbolizes a model individual and Krishna shows how to live in a society.

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The Upanishats deal with the life of man and his relation to God and the Universe. Katha and Kena are said to be dealing with the Ultimate. The dialogue between seeker Nachiketa and Yama Dharma Raja delivers the final Truth. What I understood from reading the book “Eesa, Katha and Kena Upanishads” by Swami Ranganadhananda (read the English version, as Telugu one is not so good) is to live a life of righteousness and to be less selfish. This is what I could gather form “Gita” too. Bhagavadgita is said to be the essence of Hindu Philosophy. So one can start with it and then go for Swami Ranganadhanda(’s book) whose astounding knowledge and power of explanation stupifies us. [Swami Ranganadhananda had been a cook for 18 years in the Ramakrishna Math, Mysore, and later had been the Head of Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad].

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What we read in our school in the lesson on Buddha ‘Korikalu dukhamunaku mula karanamu’ (desire is the root cause of sorrow) pops up when we think of anything deeply. That does not mean that we should have no desire and live a saintly life. The world would stop without desire for the better. Only thing is one cannot be a slave of desire but try and be a master of it. That is possible when we realize the transitory value of things in the world. That awareness leads us to detachment which results in not bothering about the result after doing our duty.

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Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.

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