Book Reviews / Uncategorized

The Upanisahds

I appreciated and enjoyed reading the Upanisahds much more than the Confucian Analects partly because an introduction was provided to explain the different “Vedas” and what each section essentially contains. I found the explanation of the Aranyaks or “Forest Books” to be interesting as it mentions that it is intended for people who had fulfilled their duties in the world and retired to the forest for spiritual study. This seemed to remind me of the aspect of Karma, as it seems the followers go on a distant retreat to receive the teachings of the universe and then end up going back again later in life to continue studying more or to teach others. So, through the teachings and Upanishads you are supposed to gain knowledge of yourself but then you return back to keep studying and teaching others and enter a child-like state. While this is slightly less confusing than Confucian ideas, it still seems to go in a complete circle.

The one message in the introduction also appealed to me as it stated that the values of the Upanishads are meant for all times, as they are not “racial or local” and can be used in modern times just as in the early Vedic age. This seemed to make sense to me since Hinduism is mostly about finding knowledge and “Self,” and the process for finding the inside of a person won’t change as race or sexism does throughout history. A person of this time could go through the teachings and be able to easily apply them to the modern world without trying to readjust them and be sure that they still fit the beliefs (such as trying to find ways for women to become respected and true followers of Confucianism in the modern world).

The messages in the Isa-Upanishad are easier to read through and comprehend since they are not as ambiguous as the Analects and are straight-forward in stating how to live with Karma, the Self and to honor knowledge.

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