upaniṣad उपनिषद्

Definition: in the Brāhmanas normally denotes the secret sense ’ of some word or text, sometimes the * secret rule ’ of the mendicant. But in the Brhadāranyaka Upanisad it is already used in the plural as the designation of a class of writings, no doubt actually existing and similar to the Upanisads in the nature of their subject-matter and its treatment. Similarly the sections of the Taittirīya Upanisad end with the words ily upanisad. The Aitareya Aranyaka commences its third part with the title The Upanisad of the Samhitā/ and the title occurs also in the Sāñkhāyana Aranyaka. The exact primary sense of the expression is doubtful. The natural derivation, adopted by Max Muller and usual ever since, makes the word mean firstly a session of pupils, hence secret doctrine, and secondly the title of a work on secret doctrine. Oldenberg, however, traces the use of the word to the earlier sense of ‘worship’ {cf. upāsana). Deussen considers the original sense to have been ‘secret word,’ next ‘secret text,’ and then ‘ secret import,’ but this order of meaning is im¬probable. Hopkins8 suggests that Upanisad denotes a sub¬sidiary treatise, but this sense does not account naturally for the common use as ‘ secret meaning,’ which is far more frequent than any other.


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