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The Upanishads, Vol. I-IV (4 Volume Set) Hardcover – June, 1987

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1507 pages
  • Publisher: Ramakrishna Vivekanada Center; 4 Volume Set edition (June 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911206140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911206142
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,910,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KS on October 10, 2006
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The Upanishads are the most important text of Vedanta. The Triple Canon of Vedanta (Prasthana Traya) include: (1) the Upanishads, (2) the Bhagavad Gita, and (3) the Brahma Sutras. The Upanishads are considered the revealed scriptures and so referred to as 'Sruti Prasthana'. The Bhagavad Gita is the recollected scripture and hence referred to as 'Smriti Prasthana'. The Brahma Sutras use logic and reasoning to discuss the Sruti and so called 'Nyaya Prasthana'. The best commentary to these three was written by the 7th or 8th century Sage, Swami Adi Sankara. Any serious student of Vedanta should have all these three books with Sankara's commentary.

Adi Sankara selected 11 Upanishads and wrote commentary on them and called them 'the Major Upanishads'. This four volume set contains all the major Upanishads with notes based on Sankara's commentary. Swami Nikhilananda's translation is superb. Rather than literally translate Sankara's commentary, he has chosen to place 'notes' based on Sankara's commentary and this makes the text very readable. He has added explanations to Sankara's commentary, which I feel are essential for modern readers.

Another feature of this 4 volume set is Nikhilananda's extensive introductions on the concept of Brahman as portrayed in Vedic scriptures and also on other aspects of Veda Dharma (i.e., the religion based on the Vedas). The central message of the Upanishads is that Brahman (God) is the only Reality.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James Foard on October 3, 2001
To have a work of this philosophic profoundness translated by someone who was himself steeped in the very same tradition as the work that he is translating is a privelege.
Swami Nikhilananda was a genuine Hindu holy man who was also a scholar and he brings to this translation rare insights that can only be found from the actual experience of what he is writing of.
Be careful of premature comparisons between the Upanishads and the teachings of Buddhism: While there are similarities between both traditions, they are each distinct and have their own value and integrity as religious systems and both make a decided contribution to the wisdom of the religions of the east.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tepi on February 8, 2010
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This is a superb edition of the Upanishads and I have little to add to what other reviewers have already said except to suggest that readers ignore the insane prices being asked for these books by certain demented Amazon sellers.

Swami Nikhilananda's well-known 4-Volume Set of translations of eleven Upanishads, with detailed verse-by-verse commentaries, remains in print at the time of writing and is available as separate reasonably priced volumes from both and

I might add that these are hardback volumes (mine are bound in cloth), stitched in the traditional way so that they actually open flat as books should, and well-printed on quality paper; in other words, unlike so much of the stuff being foisted off on us today by unscrupulous publishers, they are real books that are a pleasure to handle and will last.

For alternative editions see my Listmania list on the Upanishads.
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