Upanishads and Veda Saakaas
Upanishads are found in the concluding sections of the Veda Saakaas and hence
are known as Vedanta or the end of the Vedas. There are four Veda Samhitas (Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva). The Yajur Vedam
has two Samhitas known as the Krishna and Sukla Yajur Vedas. Hence, One can say that there are 5 Veda Samhitas, if we take
into account the 2 Samhitas of Yajur Veda. Each of the 4 Samhitas referred to above has several branches or Saakaas. Each
Saaka has a Karma Khanda dealing with the actions to beperformed and is made up of Mantras and Btrahmanaas. Latter deals with
Upasana or meditation and has Aranyakas inside them for the benefit of those who have resorted to the quiet habitat of the
forest to pursue their spiritual Quest.
The Upanishads are found mostly in the Aranyaka section of the Vedas.
traditional view is that Vysa Bhagavan has classified the four Vedas into 1180 Saakaas and each of these Saakaa is associated
with an Upanishad. Hence, One anticipates 1180 Upanishads. According to this view, there must have been 21 Upanishads for
the 21 Rg Saakaas, 109 for Yajurveda, 1000 for Sama Veda and 50 for the Atharva Veda. Most of these Saakaas have been lost
with the passage of time and we are left with 108 Upanishads today. The breakdown among the 108 Upanishads according to the
5 Veda Samhitas are as follows:
1. Rg Veda : 10
2. Sama Veda :16
3. Atharva Veda: 31
4. Krishna Yajur Veda:
5. Sukla Yajur Veda: 19
The 10 Upanishads belonging to the Rg Veda are the following:
1. Aitareya* 2.Kaushitaki
3.Nadabindu 4.Atmabodha 5. Nirvana
6. Mudgala 7.Akshamala 8.Tripura 9.Saubhagyalakshmi and
16 associated with the Sama Samhita are:
1.Kena* 2.Chhandogya* 3.Arunika 4. Maitrayani 5.Maitreyi 6.Vajrasuchi 7.Yogachudamani
8.Vasudeva 9.Mahat 10.Sanyasa 11.Avyakta 12. Kundika 13.Savitri 14.Rudrakshajabala 15.Jabaladarsana and 16.Jabali
19 Upanishads belonging to Sukla Yajur Veda are:
1.Isavasya* 2.Brahadaranyaka* 3.Jabala 4. Hamsa 5.ParamaHamsa 6.Subala
7.Mantrika 8.Niralamba 9.Trisikhibrahmana 10.Mandalabrahmana 11.Advayataraka 12.Paingala 13.Bhikshuka 14. Turiyatita 15.Adhyatma
16.Yajnavalkya 17.Satyayani 18.Tarasara and 19.Muktika .
The 32 Upanishads belonging to the Krishna Yajur Veda Samhita
1.Katha* 2.Taittiriya* 3.Brahma 4.Kaivalya 5.Svetasvatara 6.Garbha 7.Narayana 8.Amritabindhu 9.Amritanada 10.Kalagnirudra
11.Kshurika 12. Sarvasara 13.Sukharahasya 14. Tejobindhu 15. Dhyanabindhu 16.Brahmavidya 17.Yogatattva 18.Dakshinamurti 19.Skanda
20.Sariraka 21.Yogasikha 22. Ekakshara 23. Akshi 24. Avadhuta 25.Katharudra 26.Rudrahrudhaya 27.Yogakundalini 28. Panchabrahma
29.Pranaagnihotra 30.Varaha 31. Kalisantaranaand 32.Sarasvatirahasya .
The 31 Upanishads belonging to the AtharvaSamhita
1. Prasna* 2.Mundaka* 3.Maandukya* 4.Atharvasira 5.Atharvasikha 6. Brahajjabala 7. Nrsimhatapini 8. Narada Parivrajaka
9.Sita 10.Sarabha 11.Tribadvibhutimahanarayana 12.Ramarahasya 13. Ramatapini 14.Sandilya 15.Paramahamsaparivrajaka 16. Annapurna
17.Surya 18.Atma 19. Pasupatabrahma 20.Parabrahma 21. Tripuratapini 22. Devi 23. Bhavana
24. Bhasmajabala 25. Ganapati
26.Mahavakhya 27. Gopalatapini 28.Krishna 29. Hayagriva 30.Dattatreya and 31. Garuda .
In the above list of 108, those
marked with the Asterik (*) sign are the ten Major Upanishads commented on by Acharyas.
Besides the major Upanishads,
there are 27 Upanishads known as Samaanya Upanishads, because they deal with teachings of general (Saamanya) interest to all.
There are 14 Saiva Upanishads dealing with Siva ; 8 Sakta Upanishads dealing with Sakti or Devi ; 14 dealing primarily with
Vishnu and hence known as Vaishnavopanishads ; 20 Yoga Upanishads dealing with different aspects of Yoga and 17 Sanyasa Upanishads
dealing with the rules and different aspects of Sanyasa or Renunciation.
The 27 Saamnaya Upanishads are: Svetasvatara(KY),
Garbha(KY), Maitrayani(S), Kaushitaki (R),Subala(SY), Mantrika(SY),Sarvasara(KY), Niralamba (SY), Sukarahasya(KY), Vajrasuchi(S),
Atmabodha (R), Skanda(KY), Mudgala (R),Paingala(SY), Mahat(S), Sariraka(KY), Ekakshara( KY),Annapurna (A), Surya(A), Akshi
(KY), Adhyatma(SY), Savitri(S), Atma(A), Pranaagnihotra(KY) and Muktika (SY). Thus 15 out of the 27 belong to the two Samhitas
of Yajur Vedam.
The 14 Saiva Upanishads are : Kaivalya(KY), Atharvasira(A), Atharvasikha (A), Brahajjabala(A), Kaalagnirudra(KY)
, Dakshinamurthi KY), Sarabha (A),Akshamaala (R), Rudrahrudaya (S), Bhasmajabala(A) , Rudrakshajabala(S), Ganapati(A) ,Panchabrahma(KY),
The 8 Sakta Upanishads are: Sita (A), Tripuratapini Annapurna (A), Devi (A), Tripura (R) , Bhavana(A),
Saubhagyalakshmi (R), Sarasvatirahasya(KY) nad Bahvrichi (R).
The Dominance of Rg Vedic connection indicates the ancient
nature of Sakti Worship.
The 14 Vishnava Upanishads are: Narayana(KY), Nrsimhatapini (A), Tripadvibhutimahanarayana
(A), Ramarahasya(A), Ramatapini (A), Vasudeva(S), Avyakta(S), Tarasara(SY), Gopalatapini (A), Krishna(A), Hayagriva(A), Dattatreya
(A), Garuda (A) and Kalisantarana (KY) . It is interesting to see 9 out of 14 belong to the Atharva Samhita.
and Sanyasa Upanishads constitute 37 of the 108.
The seventeen Sanyasa Upanishads among the 37 are: Brahma(KY), Jabala(SY),
Arunika(S), Paramahamsa(SY), Maitreyi(S), Nirvana(R) , Narada Parivrajaka(A), Bhikshuka(SY), Turiyatita(SY),Sanyasa(S),
Kundika(S), Parabrahma(A), Avadhuta(KY), Katharudra(KY) ,Yajnavalkya(SY) and Satyayani (SY).
The remaining 20 belong
to the Yoga Upanishads. Fifteen of these 20 Upanishads belong to the two Samhitas of the Yajur Vedam. Three belong to Atharva,
two to Sama and one to Rg Veda Samhita. Yoga has been defined as Karmasu Kowsalam. One wonders about the dominance of Yajur
Veda Samhita among the Yoga Upanishads.