File Size: 701 KB
Print Length: 386 pages
Publisher: Nilgiri Press; 2nd edition (June 1, 2009)
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
For many who are very serious, however...
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is missing the complete chapter 1 (very important chapter), it starts on chapter 2. Then on chapter 3, verses 2 through 7 (very important too) are missing... this routine keeps choosing other Upanishads.
Eknath was condensing the Upanishads to make it less repeated (in a means I like it - abridge version) and many verses had missing parts/words/ideas/watered down (this repeats throughout the guide and it is my biggest complaint). I understand "selecting portions" of some of the Upanishads, but it should be mentioned, and more importantly, the best parts should've been picked (per Upanishad). Here (Brihadaranyaka), the best parts were overlooked (a main issue), perhaps because another Upanishad touches on the same topic, but this may not be described or shown where. That is apparent that he was making a very westernize translation, omitting things that would turn away any western mind, as for example: being reborn in another world (see below verse 3 of the Isha Upanishad). Our "scientific" society would laugh at this. But, I rather have it in the original context than to delude it. And still, Eknath were able to do a very good translation (my second favorite "most readable").
It would have been better if he gave the complete textual content of all the Upanishads and he did not reduce (missing words or ideas) them so much, just a little. Also, it will be much better if he gave the original Sanskrit text (for the serious student). Whenever I purchased the guide, I was under the impression that not only it was beautiful (and it is), but that this one had the complete text (almost everyone more has them incomplete).
The introduction before all the Upanishads (the one some testers complain about) is written by Michael Nagler, not Eknath, and I do enjoy it.
This book also includes 4 minor Upanishads: Tejobindu, Atma, Amritabindu, and Paramahamsa.
I do like the way Eknath writes. His style is pleasant, appealing, and easy, it keeps you interested. I actually absolutely like his other book "Essence of the Upanishads".
Of all the translation I have read and own, the best one to date is "The Upanishads, Breath of The Eternal" by Swami Prabhavanada. This one is much less elegant/stylish looking on papers as Eknath's, but it is not missing important parts and the translation is soul touching... graceful... deep... for the most serious students.
By the way, "The Upanishads: Breathing of The Eternal" also contains only selected portions of the Taittiriya, Chandogya, and Brihadaranyaka. However, they do state it as such on the table of content, and more importantly, the best parts were selected and there is no deluding of something, they rather added (to convey better the idea) than remove.
Yes, another reviewer is right: there cannot be a textual translation of the Sanskrit text (see a Sanskrit sample below). It would not seem sensible at all. It has to be interpreted. Nevertheless a good interpretation would not omit an idea, and a text so deep like this, not leaving words/ideas out or "not watering them down" is critical... if we are serious about realizing these truths.
At other places, Eknath's translation was textual, for example , most translate it as "All this is Brahma, all that is Brahma", but the original in Sanskrit actually says "All this is full, all that is full" and it is how Eknath has it.
Here is a quick comparison of Eknath's Isha Upanishad translation with other translators. Pay more attention to verse 3 on Eknath's translation to may easily notice missing words/ideas, which results in a different meaning. Also, see how simple, yet beautiful, and direct is the translation by "The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal":
ORIGINAL - Sanskrit transliteration:
kurvann eveha karmāṇi jijīviṣec chatāḿ samāḥ
evaḿ tvayi nānyatheto'sti mhh karma lipyate nare
Eknath (no original in Sanskrit in the book):
Thus working may you live one hundred years. Therefore alone will you work in real freedom. P. 57, verse 2
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada (in his book, he provides the original in Sanskrit):
One may desire to live for hundreds of years if he constantly goes on working in doing this, for that sort of work will never bind him to legislation of karma. There is no substitute for this way for man.
Sri Aurobindo (in his book, he provides the original in Sanskrit):
Doing verily works in this world you need to wish to live a hundred years. Thus it is in thee and not or else than this; action cleaves not to a person.
"The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal" by Swami Prabhavanada (no Sanskrit):
WELL MAY HE BECOME CONTENT TO LIVE HUNDREDS OF YEARS WHO ACTS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT - WHO WORKS HIS WORKS WITH PASSION, BUT WITHOUT DESIRES, NOT NECESSARILY YEARNING FOR ITS FRESH FRUITS - HE, AND HE ALONE.
asurya nama te lokā andhena tamasāvṛtāḥ
tāḿs te pretyābhigacchanti ye ke cātma-hano janāḥ
All those who denied the self are born again sightless to the self, package in darkness, utterly devoid of love for the God. P. 57, verse 3
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada:
The killer of the soul, whoever he may be, must enter the planets known as the realms of the faithless, filled with darkness and ignorance.
Self are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom best places to all they in their passing hence vacation resort who will be slayers of their souls.
"The Upanishads: Breathing of the Eternal":
WORLDS THERE USUALLY ARE WITHOUT SUNS, COVERED UP WITH DARKNESS. TO THESE TYPES OF AFTER DEATH GO THE IGNORANT, SLAYERS OF THE SELF.
anejad ekaḿ manaso javiyo nainad devā āpnuvan pūrvam arṣat
tad dhāvato'nyān atyeti tiṣṭhat tasminn apo mātarisvā dadhāti
The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is swifter than thought, swifter than the senses. Though motionless, He outruns all goal. Without the Self, never could life exist. G. 57, verse 4
A new. C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada:
Although repaired in His abode, the Personality of Godhead is swifter than the brain and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him or her. Although in one place, He or she controls those who provide the air and rain. He surpasses bushed excellence.
One unmoving that is swifter than Mind, That the Gods reach not, for it progresses actually in the front. That, standing, moves beyond others as they run. In That the Master of Life determines the Waters.
"The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal":
THE PERSONAL IS ONE. UNMOVING, THAT MOVES SWIFTER THAN THOUGHT. THE SENSES DO NOT SURPASS IT, FOR ALWAYS THAT GOES BEFORE. REMAINING NEVERTHELESS, IT OUTSTRIPS ALL THAT RUN. WITHOUT THE SELF, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO LIFE.
Bottom range: 1 ) Missing important components, 2 . not ideas are missing or have been diluted too much, or 3. changed.
I returned the book, unfortunately.
For a complete translation/interpretation (no Sanskrit or transliteration) of the key Upanishads get the F. Maximum Muller version & Swami Paramananda that can be freely obtained in PDF from "forgottenbooks" dot org. You might have to make a free bank account. I find their interpretations very accurate, and appropriate for advanced studies. Mix them with "Breath of the Eternal" and it is almost as reading the original in Sanskrit.
UP-DATE 2015-01-13: Forgotten Books has changed its membership. Now, most if not all books come with gives and missing a page after every eight page count (the free account), and if you want them with no adds and no missing pages then you must upgrade to the monthly fee membership., I actually liked it but not loved it. The majority of the Upnishads. Tells the same thing about god. Ultimately the upto you how you perceive it and practice meditation., I am reading through this book. The guide is very filled with discovered teachings from people with great wisdom., great product, After researching for a book about the Upanishads, this one is simple to understand and follow. The great to start out study the upanishads., Eknath Easwaran meaning of the Upanishads is so comprehensive and strong. He very painstakingly shows how the Upanishads are really area of the perennial beliefs of all true and good paths to Lord., Very readable and clear, Great interpretation of spectacular philosophy
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