[Advaita-l] Etymology of names of upanishad-s
ananta14 at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 22 00:26:24 CDT 2008
Namaste and dhanyavAdaH
Very interesting information! There are some questions still because I was also looking at their meaning.
Admittedly one can not go to the absolute root of all words since they are shrouded in obscurity because of their antiquity, still I believe following names beg answers:
(1) kaTha or kaThaka: does it mean a story or a parable or an edge (ref: some blogs which I surfed) or some other meaning? Since it is a name of Shakha as confirmed by you, last option looks more probable. Could you shed some light?
(2) mANDUkya: I believe it is in some way connected to frog. Any connection with three stages of frog in his life cycle and the subject of the upanishad?
(3) kaushitaki: Is it related to some word kutsitaH (skeptic or sarcastic)?. I understans Shankarananda (c. 16th century) had explained its etymology in Sanskrit but was not clear to me because of my inadequate Sanskrit knowledge.
One can ask similar questions in respect of other names, but since in those cases tangible object has been identified (i.e. sage or a bird or a singer, my curiosity is satisfied).
----- Original Message ----
From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 5:34:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Etymology of names of upanishad-s
On Fri, 21 Mar 2008, Ananta Bhagwat wrote:
> I was trying to trace etymology of names of pramANa upanishad-s:
> (1) bRhadAraNyaka (bRhat = great upanishad)
The last kanda of the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Shuklayajurveda is called
Brhadaranyaka. Some sections of this are called Upanishad while the rest
> (2) chAndogya (chAndoga is the singer of sAma)
Right, because this upanishad belongs to the kauthuma shakha of
> (3) taittirIya (sage tittira, the disciple of sage vaiSaMpAyana)
Tittira means a kind of bird (I have seen sparrow or partridge as English
translations.) When Yajnavalkya quarreled with Vaishampayana who
originally learned Yajurveda from Vedavyasa, he vommited up the mantras he
had learned and went away. The other shishyas took the form of Tittiras
and took it up again founding the taittirIya shakha of krshnayajurveda.
> (4) aitareya (sage aitareya mahidAsa)
Yes. It is part of the aitereya brahmana of the bashkala shakha of the
> (5) kaTha (or kaThaka, etymology could not be traced)
Katha is a shakha of krshnayajurveda that this upanishad belongs to.
> (6) ISa (ISAvAsya the first word of the upanishad)
Yes. It is the last chapter of the Vajasaneyi samhita of the
> (7) kena (kena, the first word, by whom)
Yes. This upanishad is also called talavakara upanishad after the shakha
of samaveda it belongs to.
> (8) muNDaka (root muND = to shave of (Ignorance))
The upanishad of the shaven ones. This upanishad belongs to
atharvaveda. According to Shankaracharya, the atharvavedis had a vrata
which involved shaving their heads.
> (9) praSna (questions)
Yes. Six questions are asked to Pippalada the shishya of Vedavyas who was
taught atharvaveda. According to Shankaracharya, this upanishad is also a
sort of commentary on the mundaka which also belongs to atharvaveda as we
> (10) mANDUkya (maNDUka = toad, no further clarifications)
This upanishad belongs to mandukya shakha of the atharvaveda.
> (11) SvetASvetara (sage of the same name)
And the shakha of krshnayajurveda he founded.
> (12) kaushitaki (saMsArikam sukham yasya kushitaH eva kushitakaH...)
It is part of the kaushitaki the kaushitaki brahmana of the sakala shakha
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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