August 6, 2017 The Katha Upanishad..."authority" in belief differs in West and East
Katha Upanishad verse 1-3-14 "Arise, awake, and learn by approaching the exalted ones, for that path is sharp as a razor's edge, impassable, and hard to go by, say the Wise"
Aurobindo called the Upanishads "The Supreme Work of the Indian Mind"
The Core of Indian philosophy (in the modern context; religion and philosophy were very separate before the 1800s)
They are a collection of writings from originally oral transmission, written down in 800 to 400 BC
Some of the over 200 upanishads have been revised since 400 BC
Meanings of "Upanishad" include "sitting down near", getting close to the mystic doctrines of a guru, one who has cognized the fundamental truths --equivalence or correlation --side by side --near approach (to Absolute Being-ness) --wisdom --sitting near the enlightened
Each upanishad is near, ie,"belongs to", one of the 4 Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva vedas)
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad gives the crux of the Vedanta as helping us come from the Unreal to the Real, darkness to light, death to immortality... by meditating, aware that ones atman is one with all things and that that One is Brahman, which can be your All
The rest of the principal upanishads are the Isa, the Kena, the Katha, the Chandogya, the Mundaka, the Mandukya, the Prasna, the Taittriyaka, the Maitri, the Kaushitaki, the Aitareya, and the Svetasvarana
Some say that Yajnavalkya, great sage of neti-neti (that Truth can be found only through negation of all thoughts about it) is the central figure of the Vedanta, which is the use of Upanishadic insight
Neils Bohr called it the science of human possibilities "We are both spectators and actors in the great drama of existence"
The Vedas are to ensure the worldly and spiritual welfare of all beings
The Upanishads take this up, and become The Science of the Self (at this point read from the Prasna Upanishad, demonstrating the northern path of ritual and study, versus the great southern path, leading to contemplation and realization)
Now then, The Saga of the Divine in the Heart of Man (read the Katha first section, up to The Razor's Edge, cited at the top of this page)
Emerson credits the Katha Upanishad as the inspiration for his poem, Brahma, and as the central story for the ending of his essay "Immortality". Yeats dedicated sonnets and essays to this Upanishad. Somerset Maugham visited Ramana Maharshi's ashram in Tamil Nadu, where the novel (followed by the two movies) "The Razor's Edge" was inspired by the Katha Upanishad..