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Upanishads are ancient sacred texts originally written in Sanskrit. Upanishads are a part of ancient holy Hindu writings Vedas, which were written by unknown spiritually motivated thinkers to express and symbolize unity with the Devine. Vedas are ancient revelations or scriptures of Hindu teachings which proclaim the Devine word contained in human speech (Nagler, 2006). These texts attempt to grasp fundamental truth of being by trying to solve problems related to the nature, origin, and destiny of the universe and mankind. Practices of Upanishads include introspection, self analysis, meditation, and inquiry of inner self to attain self realization. Since the time Easwaran Eknath discovered treasures of wisdom in his native country India, he was compelled to study, practice, and share them with aspirants from the western world.
In his translation of Upanishads, Easwaran reveals Indian spirituality through interpretation of what most scholars consider the most difficult texts i all existing religious traditions. The Upanishads portray a deep and mystifying truth regarding the various levels of attaining Brahman, self realization or the higher levels of consciousness (Nagler, 2006). These texts reflect the language of God, humans, and the divine powers that create human beings and rule over them. They were compiled at the time of Krishna in about 3500 BC. Surprisingly, even at the time of their compilation, they were not understood by many people. Just like the ancient Egyptian teachings, Upanishads require special vision and unique comprehension in order for readers to understand and appropriately use the symbolic, veiled and subtle meaning.
For the readers of Upanishads who come from the western culture, understanding these sacred texts seems to be difficult. To understand the Upanishads one has to process their meaning through the prism of Indian spiritual tradition. Westerners find it hard to place their thinking in the dominating standpoint of Indian culture in the texts. Readers from western world find it difficult to intellectually and emotionally connect with the ancient texts of Upanishads because of differences in culture and traditions. These differences are an obstacle even for the most rigorous attempts to interpret unique Indian philosophy (Nagler, 2006). For instance, an attempt of western readers to become sympathetic and gain understanding of the ideas which dominate Indian mind must necessarily be accompanied by explanations of Indian interpreter, Therefore, an interpreter who connects the western reader with the teaching of Upanishads must be a person, who is able to combine the originality and depth of the thinker with the caution of a western scholar. He must also find necessary western words to foster the understanding of the Upanishads. The texts do not connect with readers from western world easily. This is also because westerners assume that their standpoint is the indicator of mental sanity. Therefore, it is hard for them to relate and feel sympathy to the ideas that are different from their own.
Western readers of Upanishads may fail to connect with the ancient sacred texts mainly because they fail to see things in the same manner as an eastern eye does. This difficulty is attributed to the fact that there are western views that offend eastern beliefs and there are eastern views that offend western beliefs. For instance, the westerners as are unable to grasp the inner depth of yoga practice, thus, only manage to grasp its surface meaning as a physical practice. On the other hand, easterners see yoga as an integral practice of Hindu system consisting of a mental practice Zen, which forms part of the truths embodied in the ancient techniques of life prolongation. To sum up, it is evident that differences between eastern and western cultures have created a gap that has limited the abilities of westerners to connect with Upanishads,which have eastern origin and are founded on eastern culture and religion.