The Upanishads include some of the most beloved and illuminating stories from the vast literature of the most beloved tradition. Adapted forms the original text, these tales tell the stories of enlightenment in simple, poetic language that will appeal to all. The power and beauty of vedic life unfolds in a variety of settings: a teacher and his student in a secluded forest ashram, a great seer meditating of the poor.
Thomas Egenes did his MA and Ph. D from the University of Virginia under the guidance of Dr. eshagiri Rao. He has published five books, including Introduction to Sanskrit in two volumes. Dr. Egenes lives and teaches at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.
Kumuda Reddy, M.D. practices medicine as the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health along with her husband Dr. Janardhan Reddy, in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and many other states of the U.S. She has appeared on several TV and Radio shows, is a regular columnist for several newspapers as well as hosts a website on Ayurveda, called www.allhealthytamily.com. She has authored a number of books like, Fore very Healthy: An Introduction to Maharishi A yurveda and Conquering Chronic Disease.
The Upanishads are a precious aspect of the Vedic Literature of India, the land of the Veda. It is the good fortune of the world at this time that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has gathered the scattered, thousands-of-years-old Vedic Literature into a complete science of consciousness for its full theoretical and practical value.
Maharishi has brought to light a profound understanding of Veda and the Vedic Literature—that they comprise the basic structure of Natural Law at the basis of the universe. Veda and the Vedic Literature are the unseen, fundamental impulses of intelligence at the basis of the orderly evolution of the ever-expanding universe—which includes the orderly evolution of individual life.
With this understanding, we appreciate that the full meaning of the Upanishads is not found in books. Rather, the Upanishads are structures of our own intelligence, our own consciousness, our Self, and can be directly experienced in the simplest state of our own awareness. While reading stories from the Upanishads, it is important to remember that they are about the qualities of pure consciousness. Even though the stories describe the comings and goings of people and events, at a more subtle level of understanding, these stories describe the dynamics of consciousness found within everyone.
The connection between the Vedic Literature and our own consciousness can be clearly seen in the recent discovery of Professor Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D.* Under Maharishi’s guidance, Dr. Nader has found a precise correspondence between the different aspects of Veda and Vedic Literature and the structures and functions of human physiology. This discovery shows that every one of us is Veda. Every one of us has the total intelligence of Natural Law and its infinite organizing power within our own mind and body.
The beautiful, evolutionary qualities of consciousness expressed by the Upanishads and all other aspects of the Vedic Literature—qualities such as unifying, harmonizing, enlightening, transcending, and blossoming of Totality—are enlivened in the individual through the practical technologies of consciousness of Maharishi Vedic Sciences and the Maharishi Transcendental Meditationsm and Tmsidhi® programs. The result of practicing these technologies is that our thinking and behavior become more creative, life supporting, and free from mistakes—more in harmony with Natural Law, and therefore more and more successful and fulfilling.
This is the daily experience of millions of people throughout the world who practice the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi programs—that health, happiness, mental potential, and harmonious relationships grow naturally and spontaneously. Over 600 scientific research studies conducted at more than 200 universities and research institutions in 30 countries have confirmed the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs for all aspects of life—mind, body, behavior, and society. Those who practice these technologies will find, as they read and re-read these stories from the Upanishads, deeper meaning and connection with this knowledge, which describes the reality of their own intelligence, their own Self.
The Upanishads especially focus on the ultimate reality of life; they express the full glory of the Self, Atmã, by gaining which nothing else is left to be gained. The Upanishads bring out that the true nature of the Self is wholeness, the totality of Natural Law, Brahman. From this level of experience, everyone and everything is near and dear to us as our own Self; one flows in universal love, nourishing everyone and everything.
Traditionally, the Upanishads were passed down from teacher to student. “Upa-ni-shad” literally means “to sit down near.” Maharishi explains this as “everything sits down near the Veda.” In other words, when we know the essence of everything to be Veda, then we have gained the fruit of all knowledge.
The Upanishads contain beautiful and exhilarating phrases such as “Thou art That” (Tattvam as), “I am Totality” (Aharz Brahmasmi), and “All this is Brahman— Totality” (Sarvatz khalv idaii Brahma). These phrases are nothing less than descriptions of the supreme awakening of consciousness to its own true nature. They are known as “great sayings” (mahavakya) because they describe the essential teaching of the Upanishads in compact expressions. Maharishi describes these sayings as the final strokes of knowledge from the teacher, which fully enlighten the student who is ready to receive them; then Wholeness dawns in the awareness. In reading the stories from the Upanishads,
we are thus reminded of the flow of our life towards its supreme goal.
Maharishi explains that the Upanishads, like all other aspects of Veda and the Vedic Literature, were cognized by the great enlightened Vedic Rishis, or seers; the profound truths dawned spontaneously in the silent depths of their own pure consciousness. Their cognitions are expressed in the language of nature, Sanskrit. According to the Muktikã Upanishad (1.30—9), there are 108 Upanishads, with ten principal Upanishads (Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Ma1dukya, Taittir[ya, Aitareya, Chhandogya, and Brihadara1yaka). In this book, the name of the Upanishad is written under each story’s title. Sanskrit words and phrases that appear in each story are listed at the end of the book, along with their pronunciation and meaning.
*Maharishi founded the Global Country of World Peace on October 7, 2000, and on October 12th he crowned Professor Tony Nader as the first sovereign ruler of the Global Country of World Peace with the title ‘His Majesty Raja Nader Raam.’
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