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Upanisads (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 15, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I was surprised to find the Oxford superior in every way. Most importantly, Olivelle's translation (while plenty literal) is simply in much more natural English. Roebuck is fond of unnatural word order. Her version includes many footnotes on each page, without which her text would sometimes make no sense; Olivelle manages to translate just as literally, but so that you don't NEED to consult his equally voluminous notes in the back. Looking at the Sanskrit text in cases of notable differences, I found that I was almost always more satisfied with Olivelle's version as scrupulously & clearly reflecting the original, too. (In any case, there's no question that Olivelle is the more authoritative scholar; Roebuck needs to cite several of his books in her bibliography and apologize for the "temerity" of offering a new version, but there is no important scholarly work of Roebuck's that Olivelle can cite in his extensive bibliography.)
Publishing is a business. Roebuck freely admits that she relied heavily on Olivelle's version in making her own. The surprise is that she did not manage to stand on his shoulders and make something better in any way.Read more ›
The Upanishads are not an easy read, and I have seen them done in verse format and in paragraph format; the latter is used here. I find it more readable, but others prefer verse. Whether you will like this translation depends largely on your preference in this area.
It does have (parenthesizations) after many words showing the original word, which helps a lot when learning to define terms like 'prana' and 'upanishad'... e.g., "... show me the hidden teaching (<i>upanisad</i>)...". This not only helps the reader to learn the meanings of these difficult-to-render terms, but points up the challenges involved in translation.
I found the foreword helpful in setting up a historical and cultural backdrop for the Upanishads. A good half of the work is taken up by a single Upanishad (the Brhadarayanka), but that was probably inevitable.
What I would have liked to have seen was a little more interpretation. As a novice reader of the Upanishads, it was really a struggle to understand what they meant in context, and I never did make head or tail out of much of it. A section at the end of each chapter (or some well-placed footnotes) would have gone far to make the work accessible to those for whom the cultural reach was a bit lengthy.
The clear introduction gives a comprehensive background of the Vedas. The history of Indian social structure when the Upanisads were written, their authorship, chronology, geography, etc. give the reader a comfortable feel as they go forth with their reading. The reader is also provided with a table dividing the Upanisads into the four Vedas.
I find the paragraph (and the divisions of chapters the author has used) format used in this edition much easier than the verse format. Each chapter is accompanied by extensive notes in the back to the book.
The Upanisads are difficult and sometimes tedious read but this translation makes it much easier for people who have no prior knowledge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some research would have saved me a purchase. That said - this is what it said it was, and I'm not srry I got it.Published on July 9, 2014 by S. Noyes
Everything Man has as divine gifts grow s with time! Our understanding of a given book when we were 17 to 25 of age is completely different if only we would give it a trouble to... Read morePublished on June 10, 2014 by johnny D
A difficulty in translating the Upanishads and other Hindu scripture is that in them the words “Atman” and “Brahman” mean both self and God because in Hindu theology and psychology... Read morePublished on November 10, 2013 by Billy Lee Harman
This translation by Prof. Olivelle is the best available for some simple reasons:
- it is the most updated ans scholarly without being arcane;
- it is intelligible... Read more
Make of this what you will.
Ambivalent, ambiguous and contradictory the Upanishads are - but only ambiguous because they say one thing and then another; up for grabs,... Read more
If you've read Easwaran's translation of the Upanishads, as I did, you'll be shocked by this version. Read morePublished on June 9, 2011 by J. Wilson