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Upanishad means sitting before the teacher who imparts the doctrine and to receive the same. There are one hundred and eight Upanishads. The most known and distinguished are 12 Upanishads namely Aitareya, Kausitaki, Chhandogya, Kena, Taittiria, Katha, Svetsvatara, Brihadaranyaka, Isha, Prasna, Manduka and Mandukya.
The chhandogya and brihadaranyaka are considered the oldest. They are pre-Buddhist and are dated 800 BC.
The Upanishads expound and explain the concepts of the Maya meaning that the material world is an illusion, the Punarjanma, the rebirth, the karma, action and mukti, the final deliverance. The emphasis in the Upanishads is on the Jnana Kanda the true knowledge. The Upanishads open before us a new world of thought and action, of knowledge of self and the absolute self, of objective inquiry and of spirit of adventure all in the pursuit of truth with earnest sincerity demanding total disregard to dogmatism and misbelieve.
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