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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Upanishads (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 30, 1965

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The poetic backbone of Hinduism, the millennia-old Upanishads transcend time. The selections offered here illuminate a path that is as "narrow as the edge of a razor" but pregnant with freedom and bliss. Through vivid metaphors and timeless prose, learn how the path of yoga leads beyond the treacherous web of karma to the final, blissful union of the personal soul, atman, with the universal soul, Brahman.

About the Author

Juan Mascaro was born in Majorca, and later studied modern and oriental languages, Sanskrit, Pali and English at Cambridge University. He died in 1987, and was lauded as a great translator of our time.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (November 30, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441635
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The Upanishads, translated by Juan Mascaro, is a beautiful translation, which, like Mascaro's translation of The Bhagavid Gita, breathes simplicity and purity throughout. The Upanishads are maxims on the spiritual life, and are poetry, scripture, guidance all in one. "The truth is hidden by a circle of gold. Unveil the truth, oh God of light, that I might see!" "It is not for the love of the husband that the husband is dear, but for the soul that is in the husband." "Behold, all that lives and walks on earth. Leaving the transient, take refuge in the eternal, set not your heart on another's possession. Working thus, a man can wish for a life of one hundred years. Only actions done in God, bind not the heart of man." (I paraphrase). This collection is truly wonderful, and should be a part of everyone's spiritual library, along with the major scriptures of all the world's faiths.
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I first read the Upanishads at age 14, ploughing through the complete literal translation by Swami Nikhilânanda with its incessant footnotes and daunting commentaries. I had heard that the Brhadâranyaka Upanishad was the oldest, so I thought I should read that first. Bad choice. All the older Upanishads are packed with unexplained references to Vedic ritual, to archaic cosmologies and models of the body. I was fascinated but understood perhaps 1%.

A year later I found the Penguin Classic translated by Juan Mascaró and light shone on my mind. I suddenly understood what it was all about. His eloquent words opened a door for me, I went through and I have never gone back.

I now own 8 translations of the Upanishads, partial or complete, and I have read a number of others. Even with no Sanskrit, I can see Mascaró's versions for what they are: old-fashioned, Romantic, poetic paraphrases. My current Penguin says, First published 1965, but portions of these translations were printed under the title "Himalayas of the Soul" as early as 1938. Mascaró was writing in the era that gave us World War II, the Holocaust, Stalin's Purges, and yet in spirit he dwells with Wordsworth, Blake and Shelley, the Spanish mystics, Shakespeare and the translators of the King James Version.

I am known as a purist, a stickler, a nit-picker. Take the Mundaka Upanishad, 3:1,1. Mascaró translates, "Two birds, two sweet friends, dwell on the self-same tree". Others have, "Two birds, always united..." or "Two birds, close companions..." Mascaró has merely added the unjustified, unnecessary, weak and gooey word "sweet"... yet somehow I don't mind.

Useless for any scholarly purposes, this is still probably the best version for the general reader.
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Nice to know that some things that you have, or may have, experienced, have been around for over 2,500 years. This mind expanding translation can help one to regain focus and balance in today's much too hectic living. Putting the trivial in perspective, this is one that is not only useful in everyday life, but will stick with you forever; and then some . . .
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This is undoubtedly one of the pearls of the world's religious literature. Only a few Upanisads are included, with mere excerpts from the longer ones, but it is still well worth anyone's time. Personal union with all of being is the central theme, which will come as a welcome change from the more presriptory religious teachings of the Vedas and Hebrew Bible.
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I have read almost 12 translations of the Upanishads,including many by Indian savants and monks....By far this is the best translation for a general reader...the introduction,running to 45 pages, is an excellent summary for the 'Spirit of Upanishad' which may be easily missed by a philosphy student of Upanisahds or vedanta..the author ties up with the visions of Christian saints--a very valuable account for the western readers----After all,Truth is One--sages describe them or talk about them in different ways---
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The Upanishads are spiritual/philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so are the principal ones.

Here are some quotations from this book:

"Concealed in the heart of all beings is the Atman, the Spirit, the Self; smaller than the smallest atom, greater than the vast spaces. The man who surrenders his human will leave sorrows behind, and beholds the glory of the Atman by the grace of the Creator." (Pg. 59)
"And in dreams the mind beholds its own immensity. What has been seen is seen again, and what has been heard is heard again. What has been felt in different places or far-away regions returns to the mind again. Seen and unseen, heard and unheard, felt and not felt, the mind sees all, since the mind is all." (Pg. 72)
"As rivers flowing into the ocean find their final peace and their name and form disappear, even so the wise become free from name and form and enter into the radiance of the Supreme Spirit who is greater than all greatness. In truth who knows God becomes God." (Pg. 81)
"When a man knows God, he is free: his sorrows have an end, and birth and death are no more. When in inner union he is beyond the world of the body, then the third world, the world of the Spirit, is found, where the power of the All is, and man has all: for he is one with the ONE." (Pg. 86)
"Believe me, my son, an invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Atman. THOU ART THAT." (Pg. 117)
"This universe is a trinity that is made of name, form, and action... Those three are one, ATMAN, the Spirit of life; and ATMAN, although one, is those three." (Pg.
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