Free Ancient Sacred Writings Essay Sample
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The Upanishads are a series of ancient sacred writings originating from teachings and hymns of early Indian civilization. Some of the texts date back as far as 1500 BC. They were passed down from one generation to another by enlightened teachers to their students through oral tradition. These students of Upanishads were the people who desired to get knowledge and find out truth about their universe, their world, and about themselves. These sacred texts can be inspirational for any person who is looking for meaning. They take the from of stories, dialogues, narrative, chants and even hymns with poetic rhythms (Nagler, 2006). According to Alex Levin these texts “do not provide easy answers, but rather lead the reader to become conscious of the questions, (…) to experience spiritual beingness and connection to the universe”. This statement is true in a sense that teachings of Upanishads are philosophical in nature putting material things in a larger cosmic context. The latter incorporates man’s actions and reactions, physical and organic cycles, causes and effects, as well as the essence of creation as understood only through knowledge of the creator.
Despite the fact that Upanishads were written by many writers during different time spans, many themes, images and phrases are repeated in the texts. Some of the questions that Upanishads challenge readers with include the question about the force responsible for establishing order in the universe. The purpose of this question is to help them attain beingness and spiritual enlightenment. The quest to find answers to this question gives readers of the Upanishads an opportunity to become aware of the separate consciousness that exists in them. The answers to this question about who rules the world is found in the Kena Upanishad.
Further, readers are challenged by the understanding of a concept of ‘the self’, which according to Upanishads, is present in all and transcend all. This is another illustration of Upanishads’ ability to make readers seek answers to questions that lead them to spiritual connectedness. The Mandukya Upanishad, or the Medium of Awareness, shows that self is Brahman which is all. This suggests that Brahman and self are the same and, therefore, ‘the self’ is the Brahman’s aspect in humans. Also Prashna Upanishad or the Breath of Life plays a significant role in explaining the various levels of self realization as well as their importance.
Moreover, Upanishads encourage its readers to ask questions that foster their spiritual connectedness to the universe. This is achieved primarily by asking questions related to evolution and creation through acknowledging ‘the self’, or Brahman, as the driving force of the universe. A surreal and colorful story of creation is narrated in the Aitareya Upanishad, which is a celebration of the diversity of elements of human life on earth. The narration also celebrates the gifts that are needed to sustain the body and ‘the self’ such as joy, wisdom, mind, and vitality. These gifts act as a path to attaining spiritual enlightenment (Nagler, 2006). This makes readers appreciate the connection that exists between these various parts, thus, realizing the unity in life which guides them to discover ‘the self’ within human form and function.
In addition, the aspect of duality and unity is repeated throughout the Upanishads. It relates to knowing the true self, which is believed to foster self realization and lead to a Supreme source of love that transcends duality of life. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad contains the sage Yajnavalkya which is a description of self realization, which is essential for bringing perfect harmony and self control (Nagler, 2006). Meditation is another direct way that individuals can discover ‘the self’. This practice is described in Shvetashvatara Upanishad or theFaces of God. According to the texts, mediation is not an easy task, meaning that Upanishads offers no simple answers, but rather gives its readers tools that will guide them towards spiritual connectedness with ‘the self’ and with the universe.