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Durham e-Theses
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The fundamental teachings of the early Upanisads

Banerjee, Jayasree (1987) The fundamental teachings of the early Upanisads. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this thesis is to present the most important teachings of the old Upanisads on topics which were formulated in them in clear conceptual language for the first time in the history of Indian thought. The introduction provides a picture of the historical and literary framework in which the Upanisadic texts are set out and gives a survey of the semi-mythical thinkers who were involved in formulating the Upanisadic ideas. These are presented in the thesis in four chapters. Chapter One traces the emergence of the doctrine of brahman as the essence underlying the universe and the doctrine of atman as the inmost self of man. In the course of the development of these two doctrines it was realised that brahman and atman are, in fact, one. The direct experience of their oneness in man's own heart represents liberating knowledge and secures final salvation for him. Chapter Two describes, the development of the teaching on transmigration, through successive lives, of the unliberated individual and examines the ethical implications of the law of karma which governs those lives. The liberation (moksa) from the necessity to transmigrate through the intuitive knowledge of brahman/ātman is the topic of Chapter Three and the final chapter attempts to outline the initial formulations of the practical path leading to the liberating knowledge in the Upanisads before it was turned into a systematic yoga method in subsequent teachings of the Buddha and Pataňjali.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1987
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:49

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