Mukhya Upanishads

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Mukhya Upanishads, also known as Principal Upanishads, are the most ancient and widely studied Upanishads of Hinduism. Composed between 800 BCE to the start of common era, these texts are connected to the Vedic tradition.[1]


According to most Hinduism traditions 10 Upanishads are considered as Mukhya Upanishads, but some scholars now are including Śvetāśvatara, Kauṣītaki and Maitrāyaṇīya into the list.[2][3][4] The founders of the major schools of Vedanta, viz, Adi Shankara and Madhvacharya wrote bhāṣyas (commentaries) on these ten Principal Upanishads. Even though Ramanuja did not write individual commentaries on Mukhya Upanishads, he quoted many hundreds of quotations from Upanishads in his Sri Bhasya. In Ramanuja lineage one of his follower by the name Rangaramanuja wrote commentaries on almost all the ten Mukhya Upanishads in around 1600.[5][6]

The adjective mukhya means "principal", "chief", or "primary". The Mukhya Upanishads are accepted as śruti by all Hindus, or the most important scriptures of Hinduism.[7]

The 10 Mukhya Upanishads are:

  1. Īśā (IsUp), Yajurveda
  2. Kena (KeUp), Samaveda
  3. Kaṭha (KaUp), Yajurveda
  4. Praṣna (PrUp), Atharvaveda
  5. Muṇḍaka (MuUp), Atharvaveda
  6. Māṇḍūkya (MaUp), Atharvaveda
  7. Taittirīya (TaiUp), Yajurveda
  8. Aitareya, (AiUp), Rigveda
  9. Chāndogya (ChhUp), Samaveda
  10. Bṛhadāraṇyaka (BṛUp), Yajurveda

Translations and works[edit]

Here is the list of works on Upanishads:

  • The Ten Principal Upanishads (1938) by W. B. Yeats and Shri Purohit Swami translates ten of the Upanishads into English.
  • The Principal Upanishads (1953) by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan gives the text and English translation of a total of eighteen Upanishads, including the 13 listed by Hume (1921), plus Subāla, Jābāla, Paiṅgala, Kaivalya, Vajrasūcikā (Muktikā nos. 30, 13, 59, 12 and 36).
  • Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684
  • Hume, Robert Ernest (1921). The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. Oxford University Press.
  • Johnston, Charles (2014) [1920-1931]. The Mukhya Upanishads. Kshetra Books. ISBN 9781495946530.
  • Radhakrishnan, Sarvapalli (1994) [1953]. The Principal Upanishads. New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 81-7223-124-5.
  • Thalakola, Viswanatha (2020), Two Spiritual Secrets for Happiness, Amazon KDP Select, Seattle, USA. This gives a consolidated view of the many descriptions of Brahman and Atman from the Mukhya Upanishads.


  1. ^ William K. Mahony (1998). The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination. State University of New York Press. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-7914-3579-3.
  2. ^ John G. Arapura (2012). Gnosis and the Question of Thought in Vedānta: Dialogue with the Foundations. Springer. p. 57. ISBN 978-94-009-4339-1.; Quote: "These are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Taittiriya, Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya and Svetasvatara. To this list is usually added the Kausitaki and Maitrayaniya (or Maitri) to make the thirteen principal Upanisads, a canon which has found favour with most scholars of the present day."
  3. ^ Hume, Robert Ernest (1921), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press
  4. ^ Edward Fitzpatrick Crangle (1994). The Origin and Development of Early Indian Contemplative Practices. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 8, 12. ISBN 978-3-447-03479-1.
  5. ^ Madabhushini Narasimhacharya (2004). Sri Ramanuja. Sahitya Akademi. p. 32. ISBN 9788126018338. As for Ramanuja, his commentary on the Gita and the Brahmasutra are quite well known as conforming to this practice . But he did not write any regular commentary on the Upanishads as other philosophers like, say, Sankara and Anandatirtha (Madhva) did.
  6. ^ Stephen Phillips (26 June 2009). Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy. Columbia University Press. p. 309. ISBN 9780231144858.
  7. ^ Kim Knott (2016). Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-19-874554-9.

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