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  • The Upanishads translated by Max Müller

    Part II

    (Sacred Books of the East, Volume 15)




    Katha-upanishad xxi

    Mundaka-upanishad xxvi

    Taittirîyaka-upanishad xxvii

    Brihadâranyaka-upanishad xxx

    Svetâsvatara-upanishad xxxi

    Prasña-upanishad xlii

    Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad xliii








  • INTRODUCTION. THIS second volume completes the translation of the principal Upanishads to which Sankara appeals in his great commentary on the Vedânta-Sûtras 1, viz.:

    1. Khândogya-upanishad, 2. Talavakâra or Kena-upanishad, 3. Aitareya-upanishad, 4. Kaushîtaki-upanishad, 5. Vâgasaneyi or Îsâ-upanishad, 6. Katha-upanishad, 7. Mundaka-upanishad, 8. Taittirîyaka-upanishad, 9. Brihadâranyaka-upanishad, 10. Svetâsvatara-upanishad, 11. Prasña-upanishad.

    These eleven have sometimes 2 been called the old and genuine Upanishads, though I should be satisfied to call them the eleven classical Upanishads, or the fundamental Upanishads of the Vedânta philosophy.

    Vidyâranya 3, in his 'Elucidation of the meaning of all the Upanishads,' Sarvopanishadarthânubhûti-prakâsa, confines himself likewise to those treatises, dropping, however, the Îsâ, and adding the Maitrâyana-upanishad, of which I have given a translation in this volume, and the Nrisimhottara-tapanîya-upanishad, the translation of which had to be reserved for the next volume.

    p. x

    It is more difficult to determine which of the Upanishads were chosen by Sankara or deserving the honour of a special commentary. We possess his commentaries on the eleven Upanishads mentioned before 1, with the exception of the Kaushîtaki 2-upanishad. We likewise possess his commentary on the Mândûkya-upanishad, but we do not know for certain whether he left commentaries on any of the other Upanishads. Some more or less authoritative statements have been made that he wrote commentaries on some of the minor Upanishads, such as the Atharvasiras, Atharva-sikhâ, and the Nrisimhatâpanî 3. But as, besides Sankarâkârya, the disciple of Govinda, there is Sankarânanda, the disciple of Ânandâtman, another writer of commentaries on the Upanishads, it is possible that the two names may have been confounded by less careful copyists 4.

    With regard to the Nrisimhatâpanî all uncertainty might seem to be removed, after Professor Râmamaya Tarkaratna has actually published its text with the commentary of Sankarâkârya in

  • the Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1871. But some uncertainty still remains. While at the end of each Khanda of the Nrisimha-pûrvatâpanî we read that the Bhâshya was the work of the Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkârya Srî-Sankara, the pupil of Govinda, we have no such information for the Nrisimha-uttaratâpanî, but are told on the contrary that the words Srî-Govindabhagavat &c. have been added at the end by the editor, because he thought fit to do so. This is, to say the least, very suspicious, and we must wait for further confirmation. There is another commentary on this Upanishad by Nârâyanabhatta, the son of Bhatta Ratnâkara 5, who is well known as the author of Dîpikâs on several Upanishads.

    p. xi

    I subjoin a list of thirty of the smaller Upanishads, published by Professor Râmamaya Tarkaratna in the Bibliotheca Indica, with the commentaries of Nârâyanabhatta.

    1. Sira-upanishad, pp. 1-10; Dîpikâ by Nârâyana, pp. 42-60.

    2. Garbha-upanishad, pp. 11-15; pp. 60-73

    3. Nâdavindu-upanishad, pp. 15-17; pp. 73-78.

    4. Brahmavindu-upanishad, pp. 18-20; pp. 78-82.

    5. Amritavindu-upanishad, pp. 21-25; pp. 83-101

    6. Dhyânavindu-upanishad, pp. 26-28; pp. 102-114

    7. Tegovindu-upanishad, pp. 29-30; pp. 114-118.

    8. Yogasikhâ-upanishad, pp. 31-32; pp. 118-122.

    9. Yogatattva-upanishad, pp. 33-34; pp. 122-127.

    10. Sannyâsa-upanishad, pp. 35-39; pp. 128-184

    11. Âruneya-upanishad, pp. 39-41; pp. 184-196.

    12. Brahmavidyâ-upanishad, pp. 197-203; ibidem.

    13. Kshurikâ-upanishad, pp. 203-218;

    14. Kûlikâ-upanishad, pp. 219-228;

    15. Atharvasikhâ-upanishad, pp. 229-238;

    16. Brahma-upanishad, pp. 239-259;

  • 17. Prânâgnihotra-upanishad, pp. 260-271;

    18. Nîlarudra-upanishad, pp. 272-280;

    19. Kanthasruti-upanishad, pp. 281-294;

    20. Pinda-upanishad, pp. 295-298;

    21. Âtma-upanishad, pp. 299-303;

    22. Râmapûrvatâpanîya-upanishad, pp. 304-358;

    23. Râmottaratâpanîya-upanishad, pp. 359-384;

    24. Hanumadukta-Râma-upanishad, pp. 385-393;

    25. Sarvopanishat-sârah, pp. 394-404;

    26. Hamsa-upanishad, pp. 404-416;

    27. Paramahamsa-upanishad, pp. 417-436;

    28. Gâbâla-upanishad, pp. 437-455;

    29. Kaivalya-upanishad, pp. 456-464;

    Kaivalya-upanishad, pp. 465-479; Dîpikâ by Sankarânanda,

    30. Garuda-upanishad, pp. 480 seq.; Dipikâ by Nârâyana,

    p. xii

    We owe to the same editor in the earlier numbers of the Bibliotheca the following editions:

    Nrisimhapûrvatâparî-upanishad, with commentary. Nrisimhottaratâpanî-upanishad, with commentary. Shatkakra-upanishad, with commentary by Nârâyana.

    Lastly, Harakandra Vidyâbhûshana and Visvanâtha Sâstrî have published in the Bibliotheca Indica an edition of the Gopâlatâpanî-upanishad, with commentary by Visvesvara.

    These editions of the text and commentaries of the Upanishads are no doubt very useful, yet there are many passages where the text is doubtful, still more where the commentaries leave us without any help.

  • Whatever other scholars may think of the difficulty of translating the Upanishads, I can only repeat what I have said before, that I know of few Sanskrit texts presenting more formidable problems to the translator than these philosophical treatises. It may be said that most of them had been translated before. No doubt they have been, and a careful comparison of my own translation with those of my predecessors will show, I believe, that a small advance, at all events, has now been made towards a truer understanding of these ancient texts. But I know full well how much still remains to be done, both in restoring a correct text, and in discovering the original meaning of the Upanishads; and I have again and again had to translate certain passages tentatively only, or following the commentators, though conscious all the time that the meaning which they extract from the text cannot be the right one.

    As to the text, I explained in my preface to the first volume that I attempted no more than to restore the text, such as it must have existed at the time when Sankara wrote his commentaries. As Sankara lived during the ninth century A.D. 1, and as we possess no MSS. of so early a date, all reasonable demands of textual criticism would thereby seem to be satisfied. Yet, this is not quite so. We may draw such a line, and for the present keep within it, but scholars who hereafter take up the study of the

    p. xiii

    [paragraph continues] Upanishads will probably have to go beyond. Where I had an opportunity of comparing other commentaries, besides those of Sankara, it became quite clear that they often followed a different text, and when, as in the case of the Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad, I was enabled to collate copies which came from the South of India, the opinion which I have often expressed of the great value of Southern MSS. received fresh confirmation. The study of Grantha and other Southern MSS. will inaugurate, I believe, a new period in the critical treatment of Sanskrit texts, and the text of the Upanishads will, I hope, benefit quite as much as later texts by the treasures still concealed in the libraries of the Dekhan.

    The rule which I have followed myself, and which I have asked my fellow translators to follow, has been adhered to in this new volume also, v