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THE

PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS



Printed by
Morrison & Gibb Limited

FOR

r. & T. CLARK, EDINBURGH

LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT, AND CO. LIMITED
NEW YORK : CHARLES SCRIBNER's SONS



The Religion and Philosophy of India



-THE PHILOSOPHY

OF

THE UPANISHADS



7 ;



BY

PAUL DEUSSEN

PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF KIEL



AUTHORISED ENGLISH TRANSLATION
By Rev. A. S. GEDEN, M.A.

TUTOR IN OLD TESTAMENT LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE, AND CLASSICS,
WESLEYAN COLLEGE, RICHMOND



Edinburgh : T. & T. CLARK, -i)^ George Street



Printed . . . 1906
Reprinted . , 1908
Reprinted . . 1919



//20

J 9/9



•<7 r\ c\



PREFACE



Dr. Deussen's treatise on the Upanishads needs no formal
introduction or commendation to students of Indian
thought who are familiar with the German language.
To others I would fain hope that the translation here
presented, which appears with the author's sanction, may
serve to make known a work of very marked ability and
of surpassing interest. As far as my knowledge extends,
there is no adequate exposition of the Upanishads available
in English. The best was published by Messrs. Trlibner
more than a quarter of a century ago, and is in many
respects out of date. As traced here by the master-hand
of the author, the teaching of the ancient Indian seers
presents itself in clearest light, and claims the sympathetic
study of all lovers of truth.

For the English rendering I am alone responsible.
And where I may have failed to catch the precise meaning
of the original, or adequately to represent the turn of
phrase, I can only ask the indulgence of the reader. Dr.
Deussen's style is not easy. And if a more capable hand
than mine had been willing to essay the task of trans-
lation, I would gladly have resigned my office. With
whatsoever care I can hardly hope entirely to have



VI PREFACE

escaped error. But for any indication of oversight or
mistake, and any suggestion for improvement, I shall be
most grateful. The work has exacted many hours that
could be ill spared from a very full life. If however it
conduce in any way to a better understanding of the
mind and heart of India I shall be amply repaid.

A. S. GEDEN.



PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR



The present work forms the second part of my General
History of Philosophy. It is however complete in itself ;
and has for its subject the Philosophy of the Upanishads,
the culminating point of the Indian doctrine of the
universe. This point had been already reached in Vedic,
pre-Buddhist times ; and in philosophical significance has
been surpassed by none of the later developments of
thought up to the present day. In particular the Sankhya
system has followed out lines of thought traced for it in
the Upanishads, and has emphasized realistic tendencies
already found there [infra, pp. 239-255). Buddhism
also, though of entirely independent origin, yet betrays
its indebtedness in essential points to the teaching of
the Upanishads, when its main fundamental thought
(nirvdnara, the removal of suffering by the removal of
trishnd) meets us expressed in other words (union with
Brahman by the removal of Jcdma) in the passage from
the Brihadaranyaka quoted below. ^

The thoughts of the Yedanta therefore became for
India a permanent and characteristic spiritual atmosphere,
which pervades all the products of the later literature.

1 Bi ih. 4. 4. 6, infra p. 348.



Vll



viii PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR

To every Indian Brahman to-day the Upanishads are
what the New Testament is to the Christian.

So significant a phenomenon deserved and demanded
a more comprehensive treatment than it had yet obtained.
And my hope is to remove in some measure the cloud
which hitherto has obscured this subject, and to exhibit
order and consistency in place of the confused mass of
contradictory conceptions, which alone had been supposed
to exist. If the result is not a uniform and unified
system, there is yet found a regular historical develop-
ment, the key to which is an original, abrupt and daring
idealism ; and this in its further progress by a twofold
concession, on the one hand to traditional beliefs, and on
the other to the empirical prepossessions natural to us
all, was gradually developed into that which we, adopting
Western phraseology if not always in a Western sense,
call pantheism, cosmogonism, theism, atheism (Sankhya),
and deism (Yoga). Chap, ix., "The Unreality of the
Universe" (pp. 226-239), which by its paradoxical title
attracts attention and provokes contradiction, or the final
survey at the close of the book (p. 396 ff*.), may well
serve as a first introduction to these oriental teachings.

A remarkable and at first sight perplexing feature in
this entire evolution of thought is the persistence with
which the original idealism holds its ground, not annulled
or set aside by the pantheistic and theistic developments
that have grown out of it. On the contrary it remains
a living force, the influence of which may be more or
less directly traced everywhere, until it is finally abandoned
by the Sankhya system. Adopted by the Vedanta it is
proclaimed as the only " higher knowledge" (para vidyd).



PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR ix

and contrasted with all those realistic developments

which together with the creation and transmioration

doctrines are known as the "lower knowledge" {apard

vidyd), and are explained as accommodations of the written

revelation to the weakness of human understanding.

This accommodation theory of the later Vedantist teachers

is not wholly baseless, and needs correction only in the

one point that this adjustment to the empirical capacity

of the intellect (which works within the relations of time,

space and causality) was not intentional and conscious,

but unconscious. In this shape the idea of accommodation

becomes a key which is fitted to unlock the secrets not

only of the doctrinal developments of the Upanishads,

but of many analogous phenomena in Western philosophy.

For the practice of clothing metaphysical intuitions in the

forms of empirical knowledge is met with not only in

India, but also in Europe from the earliest times. And

for that very reason no account would have been taken

of it had not Kant demonstrated the incorrectness of

the whole procedure, as I hope to show in detail in the

later parts of my work.

P. DEUSSEN.



I



CONTENTS



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS:

THE SECOND PERIOD OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY, OR THE CON-
TINUANCE AND CLOSE OF THE TIMES OF THE BRIhMANAS



INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF
THE UPANISHADS



PAQH



I. The Place of the Upanishads in the Literature op the

Veda ......... 1-15



1. The Veda and its Divisions .

2. Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishad

3. The Upanisliads of the three older Vedas

4. The Upanishads of the Atharvaveda

5. On the Meaning of the word Upanishad



1
2
5

7
10



II. Brief Summary of the History of the Upanishads

1. The earliest Origin of the Upanishads

2. The extant Upanishads

3. The Upanishads in Badarayana and S'ankara

4. The most important Collections of Upanishads



16-38

. 16

. 22

. 26

. 33



III. The Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads and its

Significance ....... 38-50

1. The Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads . . 38

2. The Conception of the Upanishads in its relation to

Philosophy . . . . . . .40

3. The Conception of the Upanishads in its relation to

Religion . . . , . . .44

xi



Xll



CONTENTS

THE SYSTEM OF THE UPANISHADS



PAOR



Introduction



51-53



FIRST PART : THEOLOGY, OR THE DOCTRINE

OF BRAHMAN

I. On the Possibility of Knowing Brahman . . 54-85

1. Is the Veda the Source of the Knowledcre of Bralinian ? . 54

2. Preparatory Means to a Knowledge of Brahman . . 60

3. Sacrifice . . . . . . .61

4. Asceticism (tapas) . . . . . .65

5. Other Preliminary Conditions . . . ,70

6. The Standpoint of Ignorance, of Knowledge, and of

superior Knowledge in relation to Brahman



74



II. The Search for Brahman ...

1. The Atman (Brahman) as the Unity

2. Balaki's Attempts at Explanation

3. S'akalya's Attempts at Explanation .

4. Six inadequate Definitions

5. Definitions of the Atman Vais'vanara

6. Narada's gradual Instruction .

7. Three different^Atmans

8. Five different Atmans





uc» — cru




85




. 87




. 88




89




90




. 92




'94




97



TIT. Symbolical Representations of Brahman



99-125



1. Introduction and Classification . . . .99

2. Brahman as Prana and Vayu . . . .101

3. Other Symbols of Brahman . . . . .111

4. Attempts to interpret the symbolical Representations of

Brahman ....... 117

5. Interpretations of and Substitutes for Ritual Practices . 119



IV. The essential Brahman



1. Introduction . . . . . . .126

2. Brahman as Being and not-Being, Reality and not-Reality . 128

3. Brahman as Consciousness, Thought (cit) . . . 132

4. Brahman as Bliss (dnanda) ..... 140

5. Negative Character and Unknowableness of the essential

Brahman ....... 146



y



V. Brahman and the Universe

1. Sole Reality of Brahman

2. Brahman as the cosmical Principle .

3. Brahman as the psychical Principle .

4. Brahman as a Personal God (ts'vara) .



126-157



157-179

. 157

. 159

. 166

. 172



CONTENTS xiii

PAQB

SECOND PART : COSMOLOGY, OR THE DOCTRINE OF

THE UNIVERSE

VI. Brahman as Creator of the Universe . . . 180-201

1. Introduction to the Cosmology .... 180

2. The Creation of the Universe and the Doctrine of the

Atman ....... 182

3. The Creation of Inorganic Nature .... 186

4. Organic Nature ...... 195

5. The Soul of the Universe (Hiranyagarbha, Brahman) . 198

VII. Brahman as Preserver and Ruler . . . 202-219

1. Brahman as Preserver of the Universe . . . 202

2. Brahman as Ruler of the Universe .... 206

3. Freedom and Constraint of the Will .... 208

4. Brahman as Providence ..... 211 "

5. Cosmography of the Upanishads .... 214

VIII. Brahman as Destroyer op the Universe . . 219-226

1. The Kalpa Theory of the later Vedanta . . .219

2. Return of Individuals into Brahman . . . 221

3. Return of the Universe as a Whole into Brahman . . 223

4. On the Origin of the Doctrine of the Dissolution of the

Universe in Brahman ..... 225

IX. The Unreality op the Universe . . . 226-239

1. The Doctrine of Maya as the Basis of all Philosophy . 226

2. The Doctrine of Maya in the Upanishads . . . 228

3. The Doctrine of Maya as it is presented under empirical

Forms .... ... 235



X. The Origin op the SInkhya System . . . 239-255



1. Brief Survey of the Doctrine of the Sankhya

2. Origin of Dualism

3. Origin of the Evolutionary Series

4. Origin of the Doctrine of the Gunas .

5. Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation



239

244
246
250
253



THIRD PART : PSYCHOLOGY, OR THE DOCTRINE

OF THE SOUL

XI. The Supreme and the Individual Souls . . 256-263

1. The Theory of the later Vedanta . . . .256

2. Originally only one Soul ..... 257

3. The Individual Souls by the side of the Supreme . . 258

4. Reason for the Assumption of Bodily Form . . . 261



XIV



CONTENTS



XII. The Organs of the Soul.

1. Later^ View

2. The Atman and the Organs .

3. Manas and the ten Indriyas ,

4. The Prana and its five Varieties

5. The Subtle Body and its ethical Qualification

6. Physiological Conclusions from the Upani^^hads

XIII. The States op the Soul



The Four States
The Waking State
Dream-sleep .
Deej) Sleep



1.
2.
3.
4.
5. The Turiya



PAOR

263-296

263
265
271

274

280

283

296-312

. 296

. 300

. 302

. 305

. 309



I



FOURTH PART : ESCHATOLOGY, OR THE DOCTRINE OF TRANS-
MIGRATION AND EMANCIPATION, INCLUDING THE WAY
THITHER (PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY) .

XIV. Transmigration of the Soul .... 313-338

1. Philosophical Significance of the Doctrine of Transmigra-
tion .......



i



V



2. Ancient Vedic Eschatology ....

3. The Germs of the Doctrine of Transmigration

4. Origin of the Doctrine of Transmigration

5. Further Development of the Doctrine of Transmigration

XV. Emancipation ......

1. Significance of the Doctrine of Emancipation



313
317
324
328
332



338-361
. 338



2. Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation . . . 340

3. The Knowledge of the Atman is Emancipation. Character-

istics of those who are emancipated . . . 344

4. The Doctrine of Emancipation in Empirical Form . . 355






XVI. Practical Philosophy

^1. Introduction .
— i^2. Ethics of the Upanishads

3. The Sannyasa .
u-' 4. The Yoga



361-395

. 361

. 364

. 373

. 382



XVII. Retrospect of the Upanishads and their Teaching . 396-412

1. Introduction ....... 396

X2. Idealism as the Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads 398

3. Theology (Doctrine of Brahman or the Atman) . . 401

'4. Cosmology and Psychology ..... 405

5. Eschatology (Transmigration and Emancipation) . . 408



Index I. Subjects
„ II. Reference



413
418



THE

PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS



A. INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY
OF THE UPANISHADS

I. THE PLACE OF THE UPANISHADS IN
THE LITERATUEE OF THE VEDA

1. The Veda and its Divisions

It will be remembered that our earlier investigations led
to a classification of Vedic literature into four principal
parts, which correspond to the four priestly offices at the
Soma sacrifice ; these are the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and
Atharvaveda, each of which comprises a Samhita, a Brah-
mana, and a Sutra. The Brahmana (in the wider sense of
the term) is then further divided by the exponents of the
Vedanta into three orders, which as regards their contents
are for the most part closely connected with and overlap
one another, viz. — Vidhi, Arthavada, and Vedanta or
Upanishad. The following scheme may be helpful in
retaining in the memory this primary classification of
the Veda : —

I. Risveda. ^ A. Samhita. , tt- ii •

TT a- 1 I «• vidhi.

II. Samaveda. I £. Brahmana. J j. Arthav^tda.

ill. Yaiurveda. \ r^ ,,^ tt i^ .u /tt • i jx

IV. Atharvaveda. J ^- ^"^^^^ ^ '' ^'^"^^"- (Upamshad.)



2 THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS

A further preliminary remark is that each of the
above twelve parts of the Veda has been preserved as a
rule not separately, but in several often numerous forms,
inasmuch as each Veda was taught in different S'dkhds
(literally, "branches" of the tree of the Veda), i.e. Vedic
schools, which in their treatment of the common subject-
matter varied so considerably from one another that,
in course of time, distinct w^orks were produced, the
contents of which nevertheless remained practically
the same. In particular, each of the three ancient
Vedas (in the case of the fourth the relations are
usually different) comprises not one Brahmana, but
several ; and similarly there exist for each Veda not
one but several Upanishads. On this subject more will
be found below.

2. BrdJwiana, Aranyaha^ Upanishad

The link between the Upanishad and the Brahmana
with its very different spirit is as a rule not direct,
but established ordinarily by means of an Aranyaka or
" forest-book," to the close of which the Upanishad is
attached, or in which it is included. The name is given
either because (as Oldenberg supposes, Prol., p. 291), on
account of its mysterious character it should be imparted
to the student not in the village (grdme), but outside
of it [aranye, in the jungle) (cp. the narrative, Brih.
3. 2. 13, and the names rahasyam, upanishad), or
because from the very beginning it was "a Brahmana
appointed for the vow of the anchorite."^ The contents
of the Aranyakas perhaps favour rather the latter con-
ception, so far as they consist mainly of all kinds of
explanations of the ritual and allegorical speculations
therein. This is only what might be expected in the life

1 AramjaJca-vrata-ruiJam hrdhmanam, Sayana : see Aufrecht, Einl. zumAit.
Br., p. iii., and cp. Deussen, Upan., ]). 7.



BRAHMANA IRANYAKA UPANISHAD 3

of the forest as a substitute for the actual sacrificial
observances, which for the most part were no longer
practicable ; and they form a natural transition to the
speculations of the Upanishads, altogether emancipated
as these are from the limitations of a formal cult. The
connectino'-link is never wantino^ where the written
tradition of a Sakha has been handed down unbroken
(as is not the case with the Kdthaka, S'vetcis'vatara,
Maitrdyantya), for both the Aitareyins and KausMtahins
of the Rigveda and the Taittirtyahas and Vdjasaneyins
of the Yajurveda possess together with the Sanihita their
Brahmana with Aranyaka and Upanishad. Even then,
if in the schools of the Samaveda the name Aranyaka is
not employed, yet there also the introductions to the
Upanishads ^ bear throughout the character of Aranyakas.
This succession of ritual allegorical and philosophical
texts, which is really the same in all the Sakhas, may
be due partly to the order of thought adopted for the pur-
poses of instruction, in which the Sanihita would naturally
be followed immediately by the Brahmana (so far as this
was generally taught, cp. Oldenberg, Pro!., p. 291); the
deep mysterious meaning of the ceremonies would then
be unfolded in the Aranyaka ; and finally the exposition
of the Upanishads would close the period of Vedic in-
struction. As early, therefore, as S'vet. 6. 22 and Mund.
3. 2. 6, and thenceforward, the Upanishads bore the
name Veddnta {i.e. "end of the Veda"). On the other
hand it is not to be denied that the order of the texts
within the canon of each Sakh^ corresponds generally
to their historical development, and that the position of
the several parts affords an indication of their earlier or
later date. If, however, these two factors that determined
the arrangement, namely, the tendency to a systematic
classification of the material for instruction and the

1 Chandogya Upan. 1-2, Upanishad brah. 1-3,



4 THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS

preservation of the order of chronological development,
do actually for the most part coincide in their result, this
is very simply explained on the supposition that in the
course of time the general interest was transferred from
the ritualistic method of treatment to the allegorical,
and from that again to the philosophical. Moreover, the
separation of the material is by no means strictly carried
out, but in all three classes, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and
Upanishads, there are found occasionally digressions of
a ritual as well as allegorical or philosophical nature.
Especially noteworthy, however, and demanding explana-
tion is the circumstance that, apart from this occasional
overlapping of the subject-matter, the broad distinctions
between Brahmana Aranyaka and Upanishad are by
no means always correctly observed ; e.g., among the
Aitareyins the matter of the Brahmana extends into the
Aranyaka, while with the Taittirtyakas the close of the
Brahmana and the beginning of the Aranyaka agree
throughout, and the dividing line is entirely arbitrary.
This state of things is to be explained probably only on
the supposition that the entire teaching material of each
S'^kha formed originally a consecutive whole, and that
this whole was first in the later times distinguished into
Brahmana Aranyaka and Upanishad, on a principle which
did not depend upon the character of the subject-matter
alone, but which, though in general correspondence with
it, was in fact imposed from without. Such a principle we
seem to be able to recognise in the later order of the four
ds'ramas, by virtue of which it became the duty of every
Indian Brahman first as hrahmacdrin to spend a portion
of his life with a Brahman teacher, then as grihastha to
rear a family and to carry out the obligatory sacrifices,
in order thereafter as vdnaprastha to withdraw into the
solitude of the forest, and to devote himself to self-
discipline and meditation, until finally in extreme old age.



UPANISHADS OF THE THREE OLDER VEDAS 5

purified from all attachment to earth, homeless and with-
out possessions, free from all obligations, he wandered about
as sannydsin (bhikshu, parivrdjaJca), awaiting only his
spirit's release into the supreme spirit. In the instruction
communicated to him the hrahniacdrin was put in posses-
sion of a rule of conduct for his entire future life. From
the Brahmana he learnt how, as grihastha, he would have
to carry out the ritual of sacrifice with the aid of the
officiating priests ; the Aranyaka, as indeed is implied
in the name, belonged to the period of life as vdnaprastha,
during which for the most part meditation took the place
of the sacrificial acts ; and finally the Upanishad taught
theoretically that aloofness from the world which the sann-
ydsin was bound to realise in practice. Therefore it is
said of him, that he should " live without the (liturgical)
precepts of the Veda," but yet " recite the Aranyaka and
the Upanishad of all the Vedas."^ And as ordinarily
Aranyaka and Upanishad were blended together, so
until quite late times, as we shall see, no strict line of
demarcation was drawn in most instances between
vdnaprastha and sannydsin.

3. The Upanishads of the three older Vedas

As the Brahmanas formed the ritual text-books of the
Vedic Sakhas, so the Upanishads attached to them wxre
originally nothing more thatH the text-books of dogma, a
fact which accounts especially for the identity in them all
of the fundamental thought, which is developed at greater or
less length and with the utmost variety. The earliest rise
of the S'akhas or Vedic schools, on which this community
of the ritual, and with it the philosophical tradition de-
pends, is to be sought in a time in which the contents of the
Samhita w^ere already substantially fixed, and were trans-
mitted from teacher to pupil to be committed to memory.^

1 Aruueya-Up. 2. * Cp. Chand. 6. 7. 2.



6 THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE UPANISHADS

On the other hand the necessary ritual allegorical
and dogmatic explanations were communicated to the
pupils extempore, and from these subsequently the
oldest Indian prose took its rise. The result was that
the common material of instruction, which in its essential
features was already determined, received very various
modifications, corresponding to the idiosyncrasy of the
teacher, not only in regard to execution and mystical
interpretation of the particular ceremonies, but also be-
cause one laid greater stress on the liturgical, another on
the dogmatic teaching. Hence it is that the Upanishads
of the individual schools differ so greatly in length.
In the course of centuries the originally extempore
instruction crystallised into fixed texts in prose, which
were committed to memory verbatim by the pupil,
while at the same time the divergences between the
individual schools became wider. It is therefore quite
credible that Indiaji writers should have been able to
enumerate a considerable number of Sakhas, in which
each Veda was studied. But it is equally intelligible that
of these many Sakhas the majority disappeared in the
struggle for existence, and that for each Veda only a few
prominent S akhas with the Upanishads belonging to them
have been preserved. We must limit ourselves here for
general guidance to a mere enumeration of the eleven extant
Upanishads of the three older Vedas, with the remark,
however, that in the case of several of these it is doubtful
whether they are correctly attributed to the Sakha
concerned. A further discussion of this point will be
found in the Introductions prefixed to my translations of
the sixty U]3anishads.

IJPANTSHAD. S'iKH^.

I. Eigveda.

Aitareya Upanisliad. Aitareyins.

Kaushitaki Upanisliad. Kaushitakina.



UPANISHADS OF THE Al^^^y|^1(^A 7

II. Samaveda.

Cliandogya Upanishad. Tandins.

Kena (Talavakara) Upanisliad. Jaiminiyas (Talavakaias).

III. Yajiirveda — (a) Black.

Taittiriva Upanishad. ) _ . . , ,

-. r 1 « ""^ /v TT •■LI i 1 aittirivaKas.

Mananarayana Upanishaa. )

Kathaka Upanishad. Kathas.

S'vetas'vatara Upanishad. (wanting.)

Maitrayaniya Upanishad Maitrayaniyas.

(6) White.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. > „^.

Is'a Upanishad. f Vajasaneyms.

4:. The Upanishads of the Atharvaveda

The case is entirely different with the numerous Upa-
nishads which have found admission into the Atharva-
veda. It is true that several of them trace back their
doctrine to S'aunaka or Pippalada, or even (as the
Brahma-Up.) to both together; and according to the
tradition communicated by Narayana and Cole brooke,
not only single treatises, but complete series of Upani-



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