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Upanishads
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 Related Terms
atman
avidya
moksha
scripture

 

Definition:
The Upanishads are the most basic and most important Hindu scriptures, completing the Vedic corpus. All othodox schools of Hinduism base their doctrines on the material found in the Upanishads. Only a few of the upanishads are considered original and authentic, but the traditionally they are numbered at 108.

The basic teaching of the earliest upanishads teach that the self (atman) is really identical to the foundation of all reality (Brahman). Most people are unaware of this and, so, remain caught in the cycle of death and rebirth. Realization of this truth, on the other hand, provides release (moksha).

The etymology of the word upanishad is a matter of some debate. Many scholars argue that the name "upanishad" means "sitting down next to," as in next to a Guru or other religious teacher in order to receiving the teachings contained in the text. Others have argued that "Upanishad" is derived from the root sad, which means "to destroy," and thus the name is supposed to signify the teachings which "destroy" untruth (avidya)

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Related Resources:

What is Theism?
What is the difference between monotheism and monolatry? Between pantheism and panentheism? How about between animism and shamanism? Or theism and deism? What the heck is henotheism? For that matter, what is and is not a religion?

What is Religion?
A system of human beliefs, ideals and practices which is harder to define than it may at first appear.

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