Aitareya Upanishad
  • Aitareya Upanishad

Aitareya Upanishad


The greatness and the sublimity of the Upanishads are well known to all the students of philosophy. There have been attempts to approach the books through various standpoints. Much has been written over the knotty problems of interpretation, by the Eastern and Western scholars. And yet the lay reader has not understood the central teachings fully well. Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, in his comprehensive volume The Principal Upanishads has given exhaustive commentary on Nine Upanishads and stressed such points clearly and truly, explaining the abstruse ideas in his own inimitable style, thus laying bare the sacred doctrine not only before the eligible pupil but also the lay reader. For the convenience of the readers, we are bringing out each Upanishad in a separate book. The present volume contains the text, translation, notes and commentary on Aitareya Upanishad.

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Other Books in This Series:

  1. Aitareya Upanishad
  2. Isavasya Upanishad
  3. Kathopanishad
  4. Kenopanishad
  5. Mandukya Upanishad
  6. Mundaka Upanishad
  7. Prasna Upanishad
  8. Svetasvatara Upanishad
  9. Taittiriya Upanishad

The Aitareya Upanishad forms part of the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rig-veda. It is divided into five sections (Khandas). If the Peace-Chant be counted as a section, the sections become six, and by such counting, this Upanishad is sometimes called ‘Atmashatka’, i.e., six-sectioned dissertation on the Atman. It is divided into three chapters. The first contains three sections, the second and the last, one section each.

The Upanishad derives its name from its author Mahidasa Aitareya, the son of Itara.

It describes, in symbolical language, the creation of the universe. It deals with the Atman as the only Reality. It treats of evolution through hunger and thirst, of food, of the entrance of the Self into the body. It deals with the conception and the three births of man.

It teaches that one is freed from birth and death and attains immortality through knowledge of Brahman. It contains the saying of Rishi Vamadeva who attained immortality through knowledge of the Self. It teaches that the Atman, and not Prana, is the last and only cause of everything. It teaches that the whole universe is manifestation of Brahman, that the individual soul is identical with the Supreme Soul, and that the goal of life lies in the realisation of the unity of the individual self with the Supreme Self. The sole teaching of the Upanishad is to inculcate the knowledge that the Atman and Para-Brahman are identical.

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