Upanishads Quiz



9 Questions

What is the meaning of the word Upanishad?

Which of the following is true about the authorship of the Upanishads?

What is the central concern of all Upanishads?

What is the most common list of Upanishads in south India?

Which school of Vedanta deals with the non-dual nature of Brahman and Atman?

What is the meaning of Mahāvākyas?

Which philosopher praised the Upanishads in his work 'The World as Will and Representation'?

Which of the following is true about the relationship between the Upanishads and Buddhism?

What is the focus of the Vishishtadvaita school of Vedanta?


Ancient Sanskrit religious and philosophical texts of Hinduism:

  • The Upanishads document the transition from the archaic ritualism of the Vedas into new religious ideas and institutions.

  • They are the most recent addition to the Vedas and deal with meditation, philosophy, consciousness, and ontological knowledge.

  • Of the 108 Upanishads known, the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main Upanishads.

  • The central concern of all Upanishads is to discover the relations between ritual, cosmic realities (including gods), and the human body/person.

  • The mukhya Upanishads predate the Common Era, but there is no scholarly consensus on their date or which ones are pre- or post-Buddhist.

  • Around 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktikā canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE.

  • The mukhya Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Brahmasutra are interpreted in divergent ways in the several later schools of Vedanta.

  • The word Upanishad means “sitting near a teacher” and refers to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving spiritual knowledge.

  • The authorship of most Upanishads is unknown, and it is believed that early Upanishads were interpolated and expanded over time.

  • Scholars are uncertain about when the Upanishads were composed, and most scholars give only broad ranges encompassing various centuries.

  • The general area of the composition of the early Upanishads is considered as northern India.

  • There are more than 200 known Upanishads, one of which, the Muktikā Upanishad, predates 1656 CE and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads.

  • The new Upanishads often have little relation to the Vedic corpus and have not been cited or commented upon by any great Vedanta philosopher.Overview of the Upanishads

  • The "new Upanishads" were composed between the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE through the early modern era (~1600 CE), number in the hundreds, and cover diverse topics.

  • The main Shakta Upanishads discuss doctrinal and interpretative differences between the two principal sects of a major Tantric form of Shaktism.

  • All Upanishads are associated with one of the four Vedas: Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.

  • The Muktikā Upanishad's list of 108 Upanishads is the most common in south India, while a list of 52 Upanishads is most common in north India.

  • The central concern of all Upanishads is to discover the relations between ritual, cosmic realities, and the human body/person, postulating Ātman and Brahman as the "summit of the hierarchically arranged and interconnected universe."

  • The Upanishads reflect a pluralism of worldviews, with some Upanishads deemed 'monistic' and others dualistic.

  • The Upanishads include sections on philosophical theories that have been at the foundation of Indian traditions, such as Ahimsa, Damah, Satya, Dāna, Ārjava, and Daya.

  • While the hymns of the Vedas emphasize rituals, the spirit of the Upanishads is inherently opposed to ritual.

  • The development of thought in these Upanishadic theories contrasted with Buddhism, since the Upanishadic inquiry fails to find an empirical correlate of the assumed Atman, but nevertheless assumes its existence.

  • The Upanishads postulate Ātman and Brahman as the "summit of the hierarchically arranged and interconnected universe."

  • Two different types of the non-dual Brahman-Atman are presented in the Upanishads: one in which the non-dual Brahman-Atman is the all-inclusive ground of the universe, and another in which empirical, changing reality is an appearance (Maya).

  • The schools of Vedānta seek to answer questions about the relation between atman and Brahman, and the relation between Brahman and the world.

  • Advaita Vedanta is a monistic system of thought that deals with the non-dual nature of Brahman and Atman, and is considered the most influential sub-school of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy.Overview of the Upanishads and their interpretations:

  • The Upanishads contain four sentences, the Mahāvākyas (Great Sayings), which were used by Shankara to establish the identity of Atman and Brahman as scriptural truth.

  • The second school of Vedanta, Vishishtadvaita, was founded by Sri Ramanuja, who interpreted the Upanishads to be teaching a body-soul theory.

  • The Vishishtadvaita school recommends devotion to godliness and constant remembrance of the beauty and love of personal god, ultimately leading one to the oneness with abstract Brahman.

  • The third school of Vedanta called the Dvaita school was founded by Madhvacharya and is regarded as a strongly theistic philosophic exposition of the Upanishads.

  • Several scholars have recognized parallels between the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato and that of the Upanishads, including their ideas on sources of knowledge, concept of justice and path to salvation, and Plato's allegory of the cave.

  • The Upanishads have been translated into various languages, including Persian, Italian, Urdu, French, Latin, German, English, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian.

  • The first Sanskrit-to-English translation of the Aitareya Upanishad was made by Colebrooke in 1805, and the first English translation of the Kena Upanishad was made by Rammohun Roy in 1816.

  • The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer read the Latin translation and praised the Upanishads in his main work, The World as Will and Representation (1819), as well as in his Parerga and Paralipomena (1851).

  • The poet T. S. Eliot, inspired by his reading of the Upanishads, based the final portion of his famous poem The Waste Land (1922) upon one of its verses.

  • Juan Mascaró, a professor at the University of Barcelona and a translator of the Upanishads, states that the Upanishads represent for the Hindu approximately what the New Testament represents for the Christian.


How well do you know the ancient Sanskrit religious and philosophical texts of Hinduism known as the Upanishads? Test your knowledge with this quiz that covers the history, authorship, interpretations, and central themes of these important texts. Discover the diverse worldviews and philosophical theories that have been at the foundation of Indian traditions, and learn about the different schools of Vedanta and their approaches to understanding the relations between Atman, Brahman, and the world. With over 200 known Upan

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