The Upanisads are among the most sacred foundational scriptures in the Hindu religion. Composed from 800 BCE onwards and making up part of the larger Vedic corpus, they offer the reader "knowledge lessons" on life, death, and immortality. While they are essential to understanding Hinduism and Asian religions more generally, their complexities make them almost impenetrable to anyone but serious scholars of Sanskrit and ancient Indian culture.
This book is divided into five parts:
Composition, authorship, and transmission of the Upanisads;
The historical, cultural, and religious background of the Upanisads;
Religion and philosophy in the Upanisads;
The classical Upanisads;
The later Upanisads.
The chapters cover critical issues such as the origins of the Upanisads, authorship, and redaction, as well as exploring the broad religious and philosophical themes within the texts. The guide analyzes each of the Upanisads separately, unpacking their contextual relevance and explaining difficult terms and concepts. The Upanisads: A Complete Guide is a unique and valuable reference source for undergraduate religious studies, history, and philosophy students and researchers who want to learn more about these foundational sacred texts and the religious lessons in the Hindu tradition.
Signe Cohen is Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Missouri, USA.