The Upanishads are a collection of religious texts, written in Sanskrit and forming part of the Hindu scriptures. They were written between the 9th and 6th centuries BCE, though the name Upanishad is sometimes also extended to cover many later writings on the Vedanta philosophy.
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- The quotations used here are primarily taken from the translation by Max Müller, first published 1879-84.
- Satyameva Jayate. (Truth alone triumphs.)
- part of a mantra from the ancient Indian scripture Mundaka Upanishad. It was adopted as the national motto of India.
- Also translated as : truth verily triumphs, “truth shall prevail”
- See how it was with those who came before, How it will be with those who are living. Like corn mortals ripen and fall; like corn They come up again.
- Katha Upanishad, 1.1.6; translation by Eknath Easwaran
- Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect (buddhi) the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer.
- As large as this ether (all space) is, so large is that ether within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever there is of him (the Self) here in the world, and whatever is not (i. e. whatever has been or will be), all that is contained within it.
- Lead us from the unreal to the real. Lead us from darkness to light. Lead us from death to immortality.
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28
- This earth is the honey (madhu, the effect) of all beings, and all beings are the honey (madhu, the effect) of this earth.
- काममय एवायं पुरुष इति
स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रतुर्भवति
यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुते
यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसम्पद्यते
- You are what your deep, driving desire is
As your desire is, so is your will
As your will is, so is your deed
As your deed is, so is your destiny
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.4.5
- You are what your deep, driving desire is
- When the speech of this dead person enters into the fire, breath into the air, the eye into the sun, the mind into the moon, the hearing into space, into the earth the body, into the ether the self, into the shrubs the hairs of the body, into the trees the hairs of the head, when the blood and the seed are deposited in the water, where is then that person?
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3.2.13. 
- The gods love what is mysterious, and dislike what is evident.
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.2.2. 
- Know that all this, whatever moves in this moving world, is enveloped by God. Therefore find your enjoyment in renunciation; do not covet what belongs to others.
- That which is not uttered by speech, that by which the word is expressed, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped. That which one does not think with the mind, that by which, they say, the mind is thought, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped. That which man does not see with the eye, that by which man sees the activities of the eye, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped. That which man does not hear with the ear, that by which man hears the ear’s hearing, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped. That which man does not smell with the organ of smell, that by which the organ of smell is attracted towards its objects, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped.
Ramacharka, The spirit of the Upanishads (1907)
Ramacharka, 1907, The spirit of the Upanishads, Cosmo Classics, New York
- Thinking evolves the objective. All the three worlds exist through thinking. The Kosmos melts away on its dissolution. This thinking should carefully be diagnosed.
- Yogavasishtha p. 44
- Knowledge of the Divine dissolves all bonds, and gives freedom from every kind of misery including birth and death. S'vetasvataropanishad.
- p. 8
- Mind being nearest mind, those who abandoning the true secret, apply themselves only to the body, are described as lost in physical attachment. Yogavasishtha.
- p. 58
- You may drink the ocean dry; you may uproot from its base the mountain Meru; you may swallow fire. But more diffucult than all these, oh Good One! is control over the mind. Panchadasi.
- p. 45
- The light breaking upon the mind should not be excluded by that false logic which puts forth unholy guesses of every kind up to the obliteration even of the facts of consciousness. Yogavasishtha.
- p. 22
- Trees continue to vegetate, and so do live on beasts and birds; he alone lives whose mind lives not in consequence of taking on a variety of forms. All holy writ is so much burden to him who has not acquired self-control, the body is so much burden to him who knows only the anatman (no-self.)
- Yogavasishtha. p. 23
Quotes about Upanishads
- On the tree of wisdom there is no fairer flower than the Upanishads, and no finer fruit than the Vedanta philosophy.
- Paul Deussen. source: History of Philosophy, Paul Deussen .Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
- The Upanishads are as old as Homer, and as modern as Kant.
- Durant, Will (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- As we study the philosophy of the Upanishads, the impression grows on us that the attainment of this path is not exactly the simplest of tasks. Our Western superciliousness in the face of these Indian insights is a mark of our barbarian nature, which has not the remotest inkling of their extraordinary depth and astonishing psychological accuracy.
- Carl Jung . source: Psychological Types, Carl G. Jung. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
- And if, indeed, in addition to this he is a partaker of the benefit conferred by the Vedas, the access to which, opened to us through the Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which this still young century enjoys over previous ones, because I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century: if, I say, the reader has also already received and assimilated the sacred, primitive Indian wisdom, then is he best of all prepared to hear what I have to say to him. My work will not speak to him, as to many others, in a strange and even hostile tongue; for, if it does not sound too vain, I might express the opinion that each one of the individual and disconnected aphorisms which make up the Upanishads may be deduced as a consequence from the thought I am going to impart, though the converse, that my thought is to be found in the Upanishads, is by no means the case.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation
- The view of things … that all plurality is only apparent, that in the endless series of individuals, passing simultaneously and successively into and out of life, generation after generation, age after age, there is but one and the same entity really existing, which is present and identical in all alike; — this theory … may be carried back to the remotest antiquity. It is the alpha and omega of the oldest book in the world, the sacred Vedas, whose dogmatic part, or rather esoteric teaching, is found in the Upanishads. There, in almost every page this profound doctrine lies enshrined; with tireless repetition, in countless adaptations, by many varied parables and similes it is expounded and inculcated.
- From every sentence deep original and sublime thoughts arise, and a high and holy and earnest spirit pervades the whole. In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads… It has been the solace of my life; and it will be the solace of my death. They are the product of the highest wisdom...
- Arthur Schopenhauer, quoted in A Look at India From the Views of Other Scholars, by Stephen Knapp , quoted in Schopenhauer on Self, World and Morality: Vedantic and Non-Vedantic Perspectives by A. Barua. Also in Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
- Also translated as: "From every sentence (of the Upanishads) deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest spirit....They are destined sooner or later to become the faith of the people." quoted in Londhe, S. (2008). A tribute to Hinduism: Thoughts and wisdom spanning continents and time about India and her culture. New Delhi: Pragun Publication.
- The Indian air surrounds us, the original thoughts of kindred spirits ... And O! How the mind is here washed clean of all its early in grafted Jewish superstition! It IS the most profitable and most elevating reading which is possible in the world. ... [Sanskrit literature is] 'the greatest gift of our century.
- Arthur Schopenhauer. quoted in Londhe, S. (2008). A tribute to Hinduism: Thoughts and wisdom spanning continents and time about India and her culture. New Delhi: Pragun Publication.
- Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries. How entirely does the Upanishad breathe throughout the holy spirit of the Vedas! How is every one, who, by a diligent study of its Persian Latin has become familiar with that incomparable book, stirred by that spirit to the very depth of his Soul!
- Arthur Schopenhauer, quoted in Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
- There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction....The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.
- Erwin Schrödinger, My View of the World (1961)
- The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West.
- Erwin Schrödinger, My View of the World (1961)
- I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.
- Niels Bohr. source: Indian Conquests of the Mind, Saibal Gupta. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
- The earliest of these Upanishads will always maintain a place in the philosophic literature of the world, among the most astounding products of the human mind.
- Max Müller. source: Hinduism Invades America, Wendell Thomas Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.