Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Upaniṣads

  • Carl Olson
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_659-1

The Upaniṣads are a body of inspired literature that is considered śruti (that which is revealed) and accepted as sacred literature because of its divinely inspired origins. This literature is not the product of a single mind but rather the result of the teachings of several thinkers over a long course of time. The term for this body of texts means to sit (upa) down (ni) near (sad) a teacher for instruction. The texts often emphasize that the teaching about to be shared is secret and must not be shared with the uninitiated and nonserious intellects. The teaching is also revelatory and thus comes from inspired minds of sages. The teaching methods include dialogue, debate, direct instructions from a teacher to a student, or even humor.

Debates are either private or public. The private debates established a relative hierarchy among Brahmin participants because the loser became the student of the winner, whereas the public debates are more akin to tournaments with multiple contestants who...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Religious StudiesAlllegheny CollegeMeadvilleUSA