[Advaita-l] Etymology of names of upanishad-s
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Mar 21 19:04:11 CDT 2008
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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