Philosophy of Upanishads & Other essays
The ‘Philosophy of Upanishads’ is an incomplete essay of Sri Aurobindo written around 1904-1906. This is available in the book Upanishads—II, from pages 345 to 399 and also as an independent book. Though incomplete, it beautifully & very logically discusses many of the key concepts of Upanishads. The original work simply has titles Chapter–I to Chapter-VII, but as in his other works contains many key topics. The topic titles I have given bring these out.
It contains excellent discussions on the concepts of Maya, Sacchidananda, Realisable Brahman, Evolution & process of manifestation, Science Vs Metaphysics Vs Vedanta, an insightful analogy of Shakespeare to the process of manifestation of Brahman, Purusha & Prakriti etc. As usual, the discussions are very insightful & appealing to the rational mind. The essay draws upon the fundamental concepts & insights from many important Upanishads and weaves them into a wonderful tapestry. It is a very useful & informative work to read & understand for students of our great Upanishads.
This same book contains several incomplete essays on the subject of Upanishads. I have provided my notes for two of them—‘An incomplete work of Vedantic Exegesis’ & ‘Means of Realisation’. The first one has a very insightful discussion of such topics as Unacceptability of Personal God Vs view of Vedanta, Limitations of Religion, Science & Philosophy and why Vedanta integrates all these & yet overcomes the limitations. The essay ‘Means of Realisation’ though quite short, discusses beautifully the power of Vedanta for all and true yoga as a means for realising the Brahman.
In his essay ‘Evolution in Vedantic view’, he discusses the concept of Nasato vidyate bhavah, Many aspects of one Brahman and the Principle of diversity in Unity governing the universe.
While this original volume, Upanishads – II contains detailed commentary of only Kena, it contains translations without commentary of many other Upanishads. However, it contains a brief write up titled, ‘Readings in Taittiriya Upanishad’, which I found to form an excellent summary or review/revision of all the essays included so far. Hence I have included this also at the end.
These essays will certainly help any serious reader to understand the essence of the Upanishads, the Vedantic cosmogony (as Sri Aurobindo calls) and the secret of Absolute Brahman & its manifestations.
As in other ‘notes’ I have provided topic titles for paragraphs where relevant, listed important points in a way they are seen prominently, have given in-line meanings of important words & Latin phrases, have made bold or underlined important sentences, generated a multi-level contents etc. to help easier reading & re-reading with better understanding.
G H Visweswara,
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