You must be familiar with the term Upanishads. So, what are Upanishads? Do you know the number of Upanishads in Hindu tradition? Well, Upanishads are the first source of scriptural authority. They are the final portion of the Vedas’ Aranyakas. Therefore they known as ‘Vedanta,’ which means the ‘end of the Vedas.’ However, do not take it for the literal “end”, since in most cases Upanishads appear in the midsection of the Vedas. So, let’s take a look at how many types of Upanishads are present in the Hindu tradition.
The word Upaniṣad consists of three syllables: upa-ni-ṣad, meaning, ‘near-below-sit.’ So this meaning denotes the flow of knowledge. The flow is from the higher to the lower level. Or from the Guru to the śiṣya (disciple). The word further reflects the reverential attitude of the śiṣya. Hence, tht shisya physically sits below the level of the Guru, near his feet.
Number of Upanishads and Vedas
It is essential to note that the Upanishads also occur in other sections of Vedas. But they distinguish themselves from others in their subject matter – the Supreme Reality. Upanisads are texts that deal with the highest knowledge. Therefore it talks of the supreme goal of humanity. Also, the knowledge of pure self- the ultimate teaching.
The Upanisads contain Vaidika teachings. They form the foundation on which later philosophies came into being. There is no meaningful form of spiritual thought that has not found its roots in the Upaniṣads.
Number of Upanisads in Total
The total number of Upanishads is 1179. For each branch, there exists an Upanishad. So, the Rigveda has 21 Upanishads, while Yajurveda has 108 in total. In addition, the Samaveda consists of 1000 Upanishads, and at the same time, the Atharvaveda includes 50 in number.
Mukhya Upanishads or the Main Upanishads
To answer the broad known number of current Upanishads present in the Hindu tradition, it’s 108. Hence, they are necessary and authoritative. Of these, a total of ten are the most important Upanisads. They are called Mukhya Upanishads.
Number of Upanisads – Aitreya
The Aitareya Upanishad reflects the beliefs, practices. In addition, it reflects the philosophical notions of the early Vedic period. It is regarding soul, creation, birth, and rebirth.
Number of Upanisads – Bṛhadāraṇyaka
It is one of the principal Upanishads and deals with Atman’s treatise. Hence, this included passages on metaphysics, ethics, and knowledge that influenced various philosophies.
Number of Upanisads – Chāndogya
The volumes are a motley collection of stories and themes. In addition, it is notable for its metric structure, its mentions of ancient cultural elements. Therefore the philosophical framework of this served as the foundation for Hinduism’s Vedanta school.
Number of Upanisads- Īśāvāsya
This is one of the shortest Upanishads. In addition, the final chapter of Shukla Yajurveda. The Upanishad is a brief poem consisting of 17 or 18 verses. But it is a crucial scripture of the Vedanta sub-schools. And an influential Śruti to diverse schools of Hinduism.
Number of Upanisads – Kaṭha
Katha is another type of Upanishad. It consists of the story of a little boy called Nachiketa. He was the son of Sage Vajaravasa. The boy meets Yama, and their conversation evolves into a discussion. In addition, they talk about man’s nature, knowledge, Atman, and moksha.
Number of Upanisads – Kena
The Kena type of Upanishad is a collection of philosophical poems. It discusses Brahman’s attributes. Brahman causes all the forces of nature and the universe.
Number of Upanisads – Māṇḍūkya
Mandukya discusses the syllable Om, the theory of consciousness. And the nature of Atman in just twelve verses. It is assigned to Atharvaveda.
Number of Upanisads – Muṇḍaka
It is a poetic type of Upanishad consisting of 64 verses. Mundaka is written in the form of Mantras. Teachers teach their students spiritual knowledge and meditation based on Mundaka.
Number of Upanisads – Praṣna
The Prasna type of Upanishad consists of six questions. And is asked by six seekers of truth. Sage Pippalapada answers these questions. It covers topics ranging from creation, source of life etc.
Number of Upanisads – Taittirīya
The Taittiriya type of Upanishad is divided into three sections. Theory of Oneness is the ultimate teaching of the Taittirīya Upanishad.