Upanishad, aka: Upaniṣad; 5 Definition(s)

Introduction

Upanishad means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Upaniṣad can be transliterated into English as Upanisad or Upanishad, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Upaniṣad (उपनिषद्) refers to the fourth section of Vedic literature.—The Upaniṣads are the philosophical texts which concern us the most.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
context information

Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

Purana

Upaniṣad (उपनिषद्).—The four Vedas are Ṛk, Yajus, Sāma and Atharva. Each of these four has a Brāhmaṇa (a treatise relating to prayer and sacrificial ceremony). Next come the Āraṇyakas (forest texts—writings meant for the forest-dwelling hermit) as appendices to the Brāhmaṇas. Then come the Upaniṣads as appendices to the Āraṇyakas. These four classes of literary works (the Vedas, the Brāhmaṇas, the Āraṇyakas and the Upaniṣads) constitute the Vedic literature proper. The Āraṇyakas and the Upaniṣads are inseparably connected with each other. The Upaniṣads are called Vedāntas (the end of the Vedas). The bulk of these Vedāntas belong to different periods anterior to the Later Vedic Period. The students begin the study of Upaniṣads only after having completed the study of the Mantras (Vedic hymns) and the Brāhmaṇas (the ritual).

The meaning of the word 'Upaniṣad' is that which is most near. Upa = near. ni = most. sad = exist. (or sit). The Upaniṣads can be called the Jñānakāṇḍa of the Vedas. They describe the nature of Brahman. The figure of the supreme Spirit (Brahman) exists in the Upaniṣads. Apparently the Upaniṣads are explanations of the mantras, but they are concerned more with the allegorical significations and the mystic meanings of the tattvas or essence, of the origin of life, the world, the soul, God etc. The Upaniṣads are the basis of the Ṣaḍ-darśanas, the six systems of philosophy. There are a large number of Upaniṣads. The most important among them are 108 in number.

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Upaniṣad (उपनिषद्).—Essence of: in śrutigītā.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 8. 45; 45. 33; 87. 43; XII. 6. 41; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 170; IV. 4. 72; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 200; 6. 22; 20. 25; 30. 231; 97. 158.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Upanishad (उपनिषद्): Part of the Hindu Śruti scriptures which primarily discuss meditation and philosophy, seen as religious instructions by most schools of Hinduism.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Upaniṣad (उपनिषद्).—f. [said to be from upani-sad 'knowledge derived from sitting at the feet of the preceptor'; but, according to Indian authorities, it means 'to destroy ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit and cutting off the bonds of worldly existence'; yathā ya imāṃ brahmavidyāmupayantyātmabhāvena śraddhābhaktipuraḥsarāḥ santasteṣāṃ garbhajanmajarārogādyanarthapūgaṃ niśātayati paraṃ vā brahma gamayati avidyādi- saṃsārakāraṇaṃ cātyantamavasādayati vināśayatītyupaniṣad | upanipūrvasya saderevamarthasmaraṇāt; Śaṅkara]

1) Name of certain mystical writings attached to the Brāhmaṇas, the chief aim of which is to ascertain the secret meaning of the Vedas; Bv.2.4; Māl 1.7; (other etymologies also are given to explain the name:(1) उपनीय तमात्मानं ब्रह्मापास्तद्वयं यतः । निहन्त्यविद्यां तज्जं च तस्मादुपनिषद्भवेत् (upanīya tamātmānaṃ brahmāpāstadvayaṃ yataḥ | nihantyavidyāṃ tajjaṃ ca tasmādupaniṣadbhavet) || or (2) निहत्यानर्थमूलं स्वाविद्यां प्रत्यक्तया परम् । नयत्यपास्तसंभेदमतो वोपनिषद्भवेत् (nihatyānarthamūlaṃ svāvidyāṃ pratyaktayā param | nayatyapāstasaṃbhedamato vopaniṣadbhavet) || or (3) प्रवृत्तिहेतून्निःशेषास्तन्मूलोच्छेदकत्वतः । यतोवसादयेद्विद्या तस्मा- दुपनिषद्भवेत् (pravṛttihetūnniḥśeṣāstanmūlocchedakatvataḥ | yatovasādayedvidyā tasmā- dupaniṣadbhavet) || In the मुक्तकोपनिषद् (muktakopaniṣad) 18 Upaniṣads are mentioned, but some more have been added to this number. They are said to have been the source of the six Darśanas or systems of philosophy, particularly of the Vedānta Philosophy. The more important Upani- ṣads are:ईशकेनकठप्रश्नमुण्डमाण्डूक्यतित्तिरः । ऐतरेयं च छान्दोग्यं बृहदारण्यकं तथा (īśakenakaṭhapraśnamuṇḍamāṇḍūkyatittiraḥ | aitareyaṃ ca chāndogyaṃ bṛhadāraṇyakaṃ tathā) ||.

2) (a) An esoteric or secret doctrine, mystical meaning, words of mystery; साङ्गोपाङ्गोपनिषदः सरहस्यः प्रदीयताम् (sāṅgopāṅgopaniṣadaḥ sarahasyaḥ pradīyatām) Rām.1.55.16. (b) Mystical knowledge or instruction; मन्त्रपारायण° (mantrapārāyaṇa°) U.6; दिव्यामस्त्रोपनिषदमृषेर्यः कृशाश्वस्य शिष्यात् (divyāmastropaniṣadamṛṣeryaḥ kṛśāśvasya śiṣyāt) Mv.2.2.

3) True knowledge regarding the Supreme Spirit.

4) Sacred or religious lore.

5) Secrecy, seclusion.

6) A neighbouring mansion.

7) A lonely place.

8) A religious observance.

9) Meditation, यदेव विद्यया करोति श्रद्धयोपनिषदा तदेव वीर्यवत्तरं भवति (yadeva vidyayā karoti śraddhayopaniṣadā tadeva vīryavattaraṃ bhavati) Ch. Up.1.1.1.

1) One that takes to (like a boat); तस्योपनिषत्सत्यस्य सत्यमिति (tasyopaniṣatsatyasya satyamiti) Bṛ. Up.2.1.2.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

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Praśnopaniṣad (प्रश्नोपनिषद्).—f. Name of an Upaniṣad consisting of six questions and six answe...
Mundakopanishad
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Brihadaranyakopanishad
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Kenopaniṣad
Like the Isavasya, this Upanishad derives its name from the opening word of the text, Kena&n...
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Ishopanishad
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Naradopanishad
Nāradopaniṣad (नारदोपनिषद्).—Name of a Upaniṣad.Nāradopaniṣad is a Sanskrit compound consisting...
Aitareyopanishad
Aitareyopaniṣad (ऐतरेयोपनिषद्).—Name of an Upaniṣad. Aitareyopaniṣad is a Sanskrit compound con...
Ashramopanishad
Āśramopaniṣad (आश्रमोपनिषद्).—Name of an upaniṣad Āśramopaniṣad is a Sanskrit compound consisti...
Ramopanishad
Rāmopaniṣad (रामोपनिषद्).—Name of a well-known उपनिषद् (upaniṣad) (belonging to the atharvaveda...
Kanvopanishad
Kaṇvopaniṣad (कण्वोपनिषद्).—Name of an upaniṣad. Kaṇvopaniṣad is a Sanskrit compound consisting...
Karmukopanishad
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Kathakopanishad
Kāṭhakopaniṣad (काठकोपनिषद्).—the Kaṭhopaniṣad.Kāṭhakopaniṣad is a Sanskrit compound consisting...
Kalpopanishad
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