Upanishads, translated by Swami Nikhilananda


If there is a foundational text for Vedanta, it is the Upanishads—the generalized teachings of the Vedas free from most of the historical and cultural specifics that make foundational spiritual texts appear dated.

And if there is foundational English translation of the Upanishads, this might be it.

For many years I searched for an accessible version of the Upanishads that could be read as easily as the Christian Bible or the Vedantin’s Bhagavad Gita. It took me working at a Vedanta bookshop to finally find the accessible version I had been seeking for more than a decade. After comparing several different Upanishads translations, I easily settled on this four-volume translation by Swami Nikhilananda. It didn’t hurt that Nikhilananda founded the New York Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center where I worship, but that is just coincidence.

The Upanishads are many, and just about no editon includes all the Upanishads that are in existence. Instead, the Upanishads have been separated into those that are major and those that are minor. This edition includes all 11 major Upanishads that commonly are included in such editions: Katha, Isha, Kena, Mundaka, Svetasvatara, Prasna, Mandukya, Aitareya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya and Chhandogya. The completist can track down the minor Upanishads, but practically these 11 are all you need.

Highly recommended.

-Peter Kowalke

Order Voume 1
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Order Volume 4

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