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The Upanishads

The Upanishads are the ultimate source of the Advaita tradition and among the oldest and most revered of India's spiritual classics. These works reflect a deep understanding of human character, the path to self-realization and a unifying view of all the phenomena of creation. The major Upanishads are graced with extensive commentaries by Shri Shankara, the great exponent of Advaita. We recommend the following:

Recommended Books

The Ten Principal Upanishads

(translated by Shri Purohit Swami): A beautiful, clear and greatly moving translation of the 10 most important Upanishads in 160 pages, this version is a great place to start. English-only. First published in 1937 by Faber and Faber, ISBN 05-7109-363-9 (paperback). This book is out of print and its copyright status is as yet uncertain. Try used book sellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Alibris.

Eight Upanishads

(translated by Swami Gambhirananda): A magnificently translated two-volume set with the original Sanskrit verse, an English translation and an English translation of Shankara's commentary. Contains Isa, Kena, Katha, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Mundaka, Mandukya and Prasna Upanishads. First published by the Advaita Ashrama in 1957, ISBN 81-7505-015-2. Available from Vedanta Press and Catalog.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

(translated by Swami Madhavananda): The best single translation of this major Upanishad, it contains the original Sanskrit verse, an English translation and an English translation of Shankara's commentary. First published by the Advaita Ashrama in 1934, no ISBN number. Available from Vedanta Press and Catalog.

Chandogya Upanishad

(translated by Swami Gambhirananda): An excellent single-volume translation, this version has the original Sanskrit, an English translation of the verse and Shankara's commentary in English with transliterated Sanskrit words. First published by the Advaita Ashrama in 1983, ISBN 0-87481-227-5. Available from Vedanta Press and Catalog.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

(translated by Swami Gambhirananda): This Upanishad is a short and beautiful summary of Indian philosophy in about 200 pages. The translation  both masterly and readable contains the original Sanskrit, an English translation of the verse and Shankara's commentary in English with transliterated Sanskrit words. Published by the Advaita Ashrama in 1986, ISBN 0-87481-418-9. Available from Vedanta Press and Catalog.

The Upanishads, a New Translation

(translated by Swami Nikhilananda): This lucid and highly readable four-volume compendium in English translation includes translator's notes and explanations based on Shankara's commentary. It covers 11 Upanishads: Katha, Isa, Kena, Mundaka, Svetasvatara, Prasna, Mandukya, Aitareya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya and Chandogya. No Sanskrit or original Shankara commentary. First published in 1949 by the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York, ISBN 0-911206-15-9. Available from Amazon.

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