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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

But only reveal the ultimate truth and reality

or prohibitions against committing

certain others (_ni@sedha_). Even the stories or episodes are to be so interpreted that the real objects of their insertion might appear as only to praise the performance of the commandments and to blame the commission of the prohibitions. No person has any right to argue why any particular Vedic commandment is to be followed, for no reason can ever discover that, and it is only because reason fails to find out why a certain Vedic act leads to a certain effect that the Vedas have been revealed as commandments and prohibitions to show the true path of happiness. The Vedic teaching belongs therefore to that of the Karma-marga or the performance of Vedic duties of sacrifice, etc. The Upani@sads however do not require the performance of any action, but only reveal the ultimate truth and reality, a knowledge of which at once emancipates a man. Readers of Hindu philosophy are aware that there is a very strong controversy on this point between the adherents of the Vedanta (_Upani@sads_) and those of the Veda. For the latter seek in analogy to the other parts of the Vedic literature to establish the principle that the Upani@sads should not be regarded as an exception, but that they should also be so interpreted that they might also be held out as commending the performance of duties; but the former dissociate the Upani@sads from the rest of the Vedic literature and assert that they do not make the slightest reference to any Vedic duties, but only delineate the ultimate reality which reveals
the highest knowledge in the minds of the deserving.


S'a@nkara the most eminent exponent of the Upani@sads holds that they are meant for such superior men who are already above worldly or heavenly prosperities, and for whom the Vedic duties have ceased to have any attraction. Wheresoever there may be such a deserving person, be he a student, a householder or an ascetic, for him the Upani@sads have been revealed for his ultimate emancipation and the true knowledge. Those who perform the Vedic duties belong to a stage inferior to those who no longer care for the fruits of the Vedic duties but are eager for final emancipation, and it is the latter who alone are fit to hear the Upani@sads [Footnote ref 1].

The names of the Upani@sads; Non-Brahmanic influence.

The Upani@sads are also known by another name Vedanta, as they are believed to be the last portions of the Vedas (_veda-anta_, end); it is by this name that the philosophy of the Upani@sads, the Vedanta philosophy, is so familiar to us. A modern student knows that in language the Upani@sads approach the classical Sanskrit; the ideas preached also show that they are the culmination of the intellectual achievement of a great epoch. As they thus formed the concluding parts of the Vedas they retained their Vedic names which they took from the name of the different schools or branches (_s'akha_) among which the Vedas were studied [Footnote ref 2]. Thus the Upani@sads attached to the Brahma@nas of the Aitareya and Kau@sitaki schools are called respectively Aitareya and Kau@sitaki Upani@sads. Those of the Ta@n@dins and Talavakaras of the Sama-veda are called the Chandogya and Talavakara (or Kena) Upani@sads. Those of the Taittiriya school of the Yajurveda

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