Just like Vedas, study of Upnishads has been an enigma for majority of young generation. They always felt that this function belongs to some specific segment of the society. They even do not bother to know as to what the Upanishads. In fact these are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. The Upanishads constitute the end portions of the Vedas. The Upanishads form the basic string of Indian Philosophy. These form the concluding portions of the Vedas and are 108 in number. So they are called Vedanta (end of Veda). The meaning of the term 'Upanishad' is to sit close by in devotion.
It is said that Dara Shikoh, the son of the Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan sponsored a translation of fifty chief Upanishads into the Persian language. his interest in the Upanishads probably stemmed from his Sufi interests. The Persian translation of the Upanishads was in turn translated about a century and half later into Latin by a Frenchman and later into German. Thus were the Upanishads introduced into
and it was these versions that astounded Arthur Schopenhauer and Max Mueller.
Schopenhauer who read the Latin translation of a Persian rendering of the Upanishads felt so exalted by the deep philosophy found therein that he always had a copy of it on his table, and "was in the habit, before going to bed, of performing his devotions from its pages." "That incomparable book," he says, "stirs the spirit to the very depth of the soul. From every sentence, deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy spirit. In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and as elevating as that of the Upanishad. It has been a source of constant solace to me." Max Mueller on reading the Upanishad said it is like the light of the morning, pure air of the mountains, so simple, so true, if once understood.
There are more than 108 books of Upanishads. The thirteen most important Upanishads are: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Taittirya, Chandogya, Brihad-Aranyaka, Kaushitaki, Shvetasvatara and Maitri. Some of the Upanishads are named after the great sages who are featured in them. Those sages are Mandukya, Shvetasvatara, kaushitaki and Maitri. Other Upanishads are named after the first word of the work.
Here the yeoman service rendered by Dr. Mittal is praiseworthy. In a small volume of 224 pages in bold print and cheapest price of Rs, 60.00, he has given the brief but complete knowledge of 72 Upnishads. One chapter the last one has been devoted to the interpretation of concepts like atman, braham, god, relationship of god and human being, relationship between god and devotee, etc…It is like ocean of knowledge, the author has put in a small volume in a most simple and comprehensible language.
He deserves all kudos.