Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 17 Oct 2011 08:48 and updated at 01 May 2012 12:48

Upanishads are philosophical texts of Hinduism, that shows the depth of Hindu religion which is famous for its spread in terms of variety in ideas and concepts. Through Upanishads Hindu religion has reached the highest point of self-realization where no religion has ever gone. It contains the finest and highest thoughts humanity has ever thought. It is the highest point of theology humanity has ever seen or known. There are close to 200 known Upanishads authored as close as the first half of 20th century. Of this 108 are famous and completed by 16th century CE. Of this 10 are the most famous Dasopanishads completed before 1st century CE. Of this Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (700 BCE) and Chandogya Upanishad (600 BCE) are the oldest and the largest. Yet they each are 1/100th the size of Mahabharata.

Ten Main Upanishads

The table shown below summarizes the ten major Upanishads popularly known as Dasopanishads and as Mukhyopanishads. All of them except Mandukya Upanishad was translated to English by Max Muller. The period in which these Upanishads were authored or completed is not firmly known. The periods shown in the table below are tentative and may change subjected to further research. Each of them are associated with one of the four Vedas as Upanishads forms the final part of the Vedic tradition, that include the four Veda Samhitas and subsequent Brahmana and Aranyaka texts. An Upanishad usually forms the last parts of a Brahmana text or an Aranyaka text associated with a Veda Samhita (Rig, Sama, Yajus, Atharva).

n Name TopTen Muller Veda Period Period Period Size
1 Brihadaranyaka Y Y Yajur S Oldest Brahmana 700 BCE 170
2 Chandogya Y Y Sama Old Brahmana 650 BCE 160
3 Kena Y Y Sama Old Brahmana 600 BCE 8
4 Katha Y Y Yajur K Middle Sutra 500 BCE 24
5 Taittariya Y Y Yajur K Late Buddhist 400 BCE 28
6 Aitareya Y Y Rig Late Buddhist 400 BCE 11
7 Ishavasya Y Y Yajur S Late Mauryan 300 BCE 4
8 Prasna Y Y Atharva Late IndoGreek 200 BCE 19
9 Mundaka Y Y Atharva Late IndoGreek 200 BCE 18
10 Mandukya Y Atharva Latest Maha.Bud 100 BCE 4

Brihadaranyaka is the oldest and was created what is now called the Brahmana period of Vedic literature tradition. Similarly Chandogya and Kena too are assumed to be authored during the Brahmana period. Katha Upanishad emerged in the middle period which is considered as the Sutra period. Other Upanishads are authored later but before the Common Era, which is divided as Buddist, Indo-Greek and Mahyana Buddist period.

Size Index is an index generated based on the textual content in each of the Upanishads. Brihadarankya Upanishad is the largest. Chandogya Upanishad is the second largest. Other eight Upanishads combined together is smaller than Chandogya or Brihandaranyaka. For comparison of the sizes, Ramayana, which is 1/4th the size of Mahabharata has a size index of 3725.


108 Upanishads

There is a larger set of Upanishads authored before 16th century CE. These are listed in Mukthika Upanishad which is a member of this list and which was thus obviously the last authored in this list. These Upanishads are listed as found in Mukthika Upanishad in the table below. This list contains the main ten Upanishads (authored before 1st Century CE). There are many other Upanishads not mentioned in this list since they were authored after 16th century or due to some other reasons. Total number of known Upanishads comes around 200.

n Upanishad Veda Main10 Famous
1 Aitareya Upanishad Rig Y Y
2 Aksha-Malika Upanishad Rig
3 Atma-Bodha Upanishad Rig
4 Bahvricha Upanishad Rig
5 Kaushitaki-Brahmana Upanishad Rig Y
6 Mudgala Upanishad Rig
7 Nada-Bindu Upanishad Rig
8 Nirvana Upanishad Rig
9 Saubhagya-Lakshmi Upanishad Rig
10 Tripura Upanishad Rig
11 Adhyatma Upanishad Yajur-S
12 Advaya-Taraka Upanishad Yajur-S
13 Bhikshuka Upanishad Yajur-S
14 Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Yajur-S Y Y
15 Hamsa Upanishad Yajur-S
16 Isavasya Upanishad Yajur-S Y Y
17 Jabala Upanishad Yajur-S
18 Mandala-Brahmana Upanishad Yajur-S
19 Mantrika Upanishad Yajur-S
20 Muktika Upanishad Yajur-S
21 Niralamba Upanishad Yajur-S
22 Paingala Upanishad Yajur-S
23 Paramahamsa Upanishad Yajur-S
24 Satyayaniya Upanishad Yajur-S
25 Subala Upanishad Yajur-S
26 Tara-Sara Upanishad Yajur-S
27 Trisikhi-Brahmana Upanishad Yajur-S
28 Turiyatita-Avadhuta Upanishad Yajur-S
29 Yajnavalkya Upanishad Yajur-S
30 Akshi Upanishad Yajur-K
31 Amrita-Bindhu Upanishad Yajur-K
32 Amrita-Nada Upanishad Yajur-K
33 Avadhuta Upanishad Yajur-K
34 Brahma-Vidya Upanishad Yajur-K
35 Brahma Upanishad Yajur-K
36 Dakshinamurti Upanishad Yajur-K
37 Dhyana-Bindu Upanishad Yajur-K
38 Ekakshara Upanishad Yajur-K
39 Garbha Upanishad Yajur-K
40 Kaivalya Upanishad Yajur-K
41 Kalagni-Rudra Upanishad Yajur-K
42 Kali-Santarana Upanishad Yajur-K
43 Katha Upanishad Yajur-K Y Y
44 Katharudra Upanishad Yajur-K
45 Kshurika Upanishad Yajur-K
46 Maha-Narayana (or) Yajniki Upanishad Yajur-K
47 Pancha-Brahma Upanishad Yajur-K
48 Pranagnihotra Upanishad Yajur-K
49 Rudra-Hridaya Upanishad Yajur-K
50 Sarasvati-Rahasya Upanishad Yajur-K
51 Sariraka Upanishad Yajur-K
52 Sarva-Sara Upanishad Yajur-K
53 Skanda Upanishad Yajur-K
54 Suka-Rahasya Upanishad Yajur-K
55 Svetasvatara Upanishad Yajur-K Y
56 Taittiriya Upanishad Yajur-K Y Y
57 Tejo-Bindu Upanishad Yajur-K
58 Varaha Upanishad Yajur-K
59 Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad Yajur-K
60 Yoga-Sikha Upanishad Yajur-K
61 Yoga-Tattva Upanishad Yajur-K
62 Aruni Upanishad Sama
63 Avyakta Upanishad Sama
64 Chandogya Upanishad Sama Y Y
65 Darsana Upanishad Sama
66 Jabali Upanishad Sama
67 Kena Upanishad Sama Y Y
68 Kundika Upanishad Sama
69 Maha Upanishad Sama
70 Maitrayani Upanishad Sama Y
71 Maitreya Upanishad Sama
72 Rudraksha-Jabala Upanishad Sama
73 Sannyasa Upanishad Sama
74 Savitri Upanishad Sama
75 Vajrasuchika Upanishad Sama
76 Vasudeva Upanishad Sama
77 Yoga-Chudamani Upanishad Sama
78 Annapurna Upanishad Atharva
79 Atharvasikha Upanishad Atharva
80 Atharvasiras Upanishad Atharva
81 Atma Upanishad Atharva
82 Bhasma-Jabala Upanishad Atharva
83 Bhavana Upanishad Atharva
84 Brihad-Jabala Upanishad Atharva
85 Dattatreya Upanishad Atharva
86 Devi Upanishad Atharva
87 Ganapati Upanishad Atharva
88 Garuda Upanishad Atharva
89 Gopala-Tapaniya Upanishad Atharva
90 Hayagriva Upanishad Atharva
91 Krishna Upanishad Atharva
92 Maha-Vakya Upanishad Atharva
93 Mandukya Upanishad Atharva Y Y
94 Mundaka Upanishad Atharva Y Y
95 Narada-Parivrajaka Upanishad Atharva
96 Nrisimha-Tapaniya Upanishad Atharva
97 Para-Brahma Upanishad Atharva
98 Paramahamsa-Parivrajaka Upanishad Atharva
99 Pasupata-Brahmana Upanishad Atharva
100 Prasna Upanishad Atharva Y Y
101 Rama-Rahasya Upanishad Atharva
102 Rama-Tapaniya Upanishad Atharva
103 Sandilya Upanishad Atharva
104 Sarabha Upanishad Atharva
105 Sita Upanishad Atharva
106 Surya Upanishad Atharva
107 Tripadvibhuti-Mahanarayana Upanishad Atharva
108 Tripura-Tapini Upanishad Atharva

Further Reading

Internal Sources

  1. Upanishad
  2. Upanishad Wiki
  3. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
  4. Chandogya Upanishad
  5. Other Main Upanishads
  6. Upanishad Ganga Videos

External Sources

  1. Upanishads in Sanskrit Originals - astrojyoti
  2. Upanishads in English - sacred-text
  3. Upanishads in English - sacred-text
  4. 108 Upanishads - celextel
  5. Upanishads in Sanskrit and English - gatewayforindia
  6. Upanishads - wikipedia

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