Sanskrit word Upanishad comes from the verb ‘sad’ which means ‘to sit’
and ‘upa’ connected with latin ‘sub’ under. The whole word would mean
the sitting for learning at the feet of a Master or Guru.
Upanishads are part of the Vedas and the Sanskrit verbal root of “Veda” is
‘Vid” which means ‘to know’. Hence Vedas mean knowledge.
there was one Veda which was passed down by word of mouth but later the Vedas
were divided into four parts: Rigveda. Samaveda. Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.
Rigveda is the most ancient Veda. It contains a collection of hymns all sung in
praise of different objects of nature. The Samaveda contains hymns that were
meant to be sung at the Soma sacrifice by a special class of singing priests.
The Atharvaveda is a collection of hymns dealing with spells and magical charms
for the healing of diseases and
the control of evil spirits. The Yajurveda contains mantras that are to
be followed in a sacrifice.
would like to end the chapter by quoting what Schopenhauer.
the German philosopher, had to say about the Vedas:
to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all
centuries. 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-it will be the
solace of my death”.
knowledge that our Hindu scriptures have left us have tremendous educational
value for our physical, mental as well as spiritual growth.
scriptures have been likened to a compass, which is essential for the captain
(intellect) to steer away from the tempests (passions of the mind) and safely
take us across the waters of the world.
fantastic treasure in the form of literature, culture, arts and Ayurvedic
medicine is our inheritance.
is no end to the gems that can be discovered from the vast treasure left to us
by our ancestors. If only we care to look for them. Adi Sankaracharya called it
“the accumulated treasure of spiritual truths discovered by the Rishis”.
us then learn to pick out like a good jeweler, the choicest gems from our vast
heritage of which we, as Indians, are true heirs,
and apply them to our lives to make them more
all, it is in every human beings hand to make of his life what he will, and no
person or circumstance can be held responsible if he does not use his God given
faculties to the maximum use for his, as well as humanity’s benefit.