Upanishad

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The Upanishads (Sanskrit: उपनिषद्, IAST:Upaniṣad, IPA: [upəniʂəd]) are philosophical texts of the Hindu religion. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main (mukhya) or old Upanishads. The oldest of these, the Brihadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads, were composed during the pre-Buddhist era of India,[1][2][note 1] while the Taittiriya, Aitareya and Kausitaki, which show Buddhist influence, must have been composed after the 5th century BC.[2] The remainder of the mukhya Upanishads are dated to the first two centuries of the common era.[2] The new Upanishads were composed in the medieval and early modern period: discoveries of newer Upanishads were being reported as late as 1926.[5] One, the Muktikā Upanishad, predates 1656[6] and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads,[7] including itself as the last. However, several texts under the title of "Upanishads" originated right up to the first half of the 20th century, some of which did not deal with subjects of vedic philosophy.[8] The newer Upanishads are known to be imitations of the mukhya Upanishads.

The Upanishads have been attributed to several authors: Yajnavalkya and Uddalaka Aruni feature prominently in the early Upanishads.[9] Other important writers include Shwetaketu, Shandilya, Aitreya, Pippalada and Sanat Kumara. Important women authors include Yajnavalkya's wife Maitreyi, and Gargi. Dara Shikoh, son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, translated 50 Upanishads into Persian in 1657. The first written English translation came in 1804 from Max Müller, who was aware of 170 Upanishads. Sadhale's catalog from 1985, the Upaniṣad-vākya-mahā-kośa, lists 223 Upanishads.[10] The Upanishads are mostly the concluding part of the Brahmanas, and the transition from the latter to the former is identified as the Aranyakas.[11]

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