Some thoughts on iishaavaasyopanishhad

Subrahmanian, Sundararaman V [IT] sundararaman.v.subrahmanian at CITIGROUP.COM
Fri Aug 2 14:10:56 CDT 2002

> What is near or close at all times and all places is  Atman. Based on this
the term "upanishhad"
> can be interpreted in the following ways.

"upa" means something near.  The word upaniShad more than refering to "being
close at all times", it refers to "that which is CLOSEST - one's own self".

"sad" as you said has the 3 meanings you mentioned:
shithiliikaraNam - to cause to decay (karaNam is an agent)
gamanam - to know (also, to go)
visaraNam - to destroy completely

[It is interesting to note that in Sanskrit, "gam" - to go is also used in
the sense of understanding - "na avagachchaami" means 'I do not understand'.
Even in English we say: "I did not get it" for something we don't
understand.  Also here "sad" is the dhaatu - root verb.  After a series of
operations that convert a dhaatu to a noun, it still remains as "sad".
upaniShad is a noun.  "sad", due to rules of consonant conjunction becomes
"Shad" depending upon what letter precedes it.]

You have missed out "ni" in the word upaniShad.  "ni" refers to
nischayaatmakam - well ascertained.

Putting all the above together we get,

upaniShad = "well ascertained (ni) knowledge (sad - gam) about one's Self
(upa) that causes to remove ignorance (sad - shitiliikaroti) and destroys
ignorance completely (sad - visarati) [without leaving any trace/possibility
of return]".

So upaniShad really means brahmajnaana.  Just a book about geography is also
titled "Geography", so also the text that deals with "upaniShad" is also
called upaniShad.  Both the subject matter and the text's name are


PS: I hope it was not superfluous to what you have already said.

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