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Upanishad Quotes and Teachings - A Collection of 108 Quotes from Upanishads

There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. (Maitri Upanishad)

As the web issues out of the spider, and is withdrawn;
As plants sprout from the earth,
As hair grows from the body,
Even so, the sages say,
This universe springs from the deathless Atman (Brahman).
The source of life. (Mundaka Upanishad 1:1:7-8)

As the ocean into which all waters flow maintains its own nature despite the water pouring in (from all sides), so, he alone attains peace into whom all desires flow in like manner; not he who seeks the objects of pleasure. (Avadhuta Upanishad)

A Collection of 108 Quotes from Upanishads

Shvetashvatara Upanishad Quotes

With earnest effort hold the senses in check. Controlling the breath, regulate the vital activities. As a charioteer holds back his restive horses, so does a persevering aspirant restrain his mind.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 2.9.

The soul is born and unfolds in a body, with dreams and desires and the food of life. And then it is reborn in new bodies in accordance with its former works. The quality of the soul determines its future body--earthly or airy, heavy or light.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 5.11-12

Than whom there is naught else higher, than whom there is naught smaller, naught greater, the One stands like a tree established in heaven. By Him, the Person, is this whole universe filled.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.9

From Brahman's divine power comes forth
All this magical show of name and form;
Of you and me,
Which casts the spell of pain and pleasure.
Only when we pierce through this magic veil
Do we see the One who appears as many. Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4:5

Upanishads Quotes on Brahman

Know Him Who is the origin and dissolution of the universe – the source of all virtues, the destroyer of all sins, the master of all good qualities, the immortal, and the abode of the universe – as seated in your own self. He is perceived as differed from, and transcending, the tree of Samsara as well as time and form.

May we realize Him – the transcendent and adorable master of the universe – Who is the supreme Lord over all the lords, the supreme God above all the gods, and the supreme Ruler over all the rulers.

He has nothing to achieve for Himself, nor has He any organ of action. No one is seen equal or superior to Him. His great power alone is described in the Vedas to be of various kinds, and His knowledge and strength and action are described as inherent in Him.

No one in the world is His master, nor has anybody any control over Him. There is no sign by which He can be inferred. He is the cause of all and the ruler of individual souls. He has no parent, nor is there any one who is His lord.

Taittiriya Upanishad Quotes

All beings that exist on the earth are born of food. They live by food, then again to the food they go at the end.

Bliss is a hundredfold greater that the satisfaction of a desire.

Brahman is bliss. He who knows the bliss of Brahman fears not at any time.

Becoming one with Brahman, the Supreme Self, is the aim of life. Knowledge of Brahman alone is the means for attaining this end. It cannot be attained by rituals.

Kenopanishad Quotes on Understanding Brahman

Brahman is not an object. It is that which is all-pervading, mysterious, incomprehensible, Chaitanya or pure-consciousness.
Brahman must be known through intuition or self-cognition.
Brahman is known when it is known as the witness of every state of consciousness.

Quotes from Mandukya Upanishad on Brahman

Beyond the waking, dream, sleep states; beyond the conscious, unconscious and memories; beyond ignorance, knowledge and intuition; beyond all thoughts, feeling and psychic modifications; beyond all qualities, definitions and words; beyond sights and forms; revealed in the silence of the pure heart I exist. In me, worlds and words resolve. I am peace absolute, goodness absolute and oneness absolute. I am the fourth dimension, the great beyond and I am Shiva.

Quotes from Subala Upanishad

He who knows this as seedless (Brahman), he verily becomes seedless.

The Self is not attainable even by a hundred expositions of the Vedas, nor by the study of the countless scriptures, nor through the means of intellectual knowledge, nor through rituals, nor through severe austerities, nor through Samkhya, nor through Yoga, nor through observance of four stages of life.

The Self is achieved only through contemplation and discipline. Having become tranquil, self-controlled, withdrawn from the world and indifferent to it and forbearing, he sees the Self in the Self. He becomes the Self of all.

Maitri Upanishad Quotes on Silence

There are two ways of knowing reality:
One is through sound and the other is through silence.
It is through sound that we arrive at silence.
And that sound is Aum (OM). (Maitri Upanishad (6.22))

Chandogya Upanishad Quotes on Brahman

This universe comes forth from Brahmn, or Brahman, and will return to Brahmn. Verily, all is Brahmn.

A person is what his deep desire is. It is our deepest desire in this life that shapes the life to come. So let us direct our deepest desires to realize the Self.

The Self, that can be realized by the pure in heart, is life, light, space, gives rise to all works, desires, odors and all tastes, is beyond words, is joy abiding. This is the Self dwelling in my heart.

Smaller than a grain of rice, smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a grain of millet, smaller even than the kernel of a grain of a millet is the Self. This is the Self dwelling in my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than all the worlds.

This Self that gives rise to all works, desires, odors, and all tastes, pervades the universe, is beyond words, is joy abiding, is ever present in my heart, is Brahmn indeed. To him I shall attain when my ego dies.
Shandilya Rishi in Chandogya Upanishad

Tejo Bindu Upanishad Quotes on Jivanmukti

He who realizes I am beyond the three bodies, I am the pure consciousness and I am Brahman is said to be a Jivanmukta.

He is said to be a Jivanmukta who realizes I am of the nature of the blissful and of the supreme bliss, and I have neither body nor any other thing except the certitude ‘I am Brahman’ only.

He is said to be a Jivanmukta who has not at all got the ‘I’ in myself, but who stays in Chinmatra (absolute consciousness) alone, whose interior is consciousness alone, who is only of the nature of Chinmatra, whose Atman is of the nature of the all-full, who has Atman left over in all, who is devoted to bliss, who is undifferentiated, who is all-full of the nature of consciousness, whose Atman is of the nature of pure consciousness, who has given up all affinities (for objects), who has unconditioned bliss, whose Atman is tranquil, who has got no other thought (than Itself) and who is devoid of the thought of the existence of anything.

Tejo Bindu Upanishad
(Source: The discussion on Jivanmukti takes place between Kumara (Muruga) and Shiva in the fourth chapter of Tejo Bindu Upanishad.)

Jivanmukti is embodied salvation. In simple terms, attaining salvation while existing on earth.

Who is a Paramahamsa? Answer from Paramahansa-Parivrajaka Upanishad

Who is a Paramahamsa? The answer to this question is found in the Paramahansa-Parivrajaka Upanishad

In this world, very rare is the mendicant monk who is a Paramahamsa. If there is one, he is ever pure.
He alone is the Purusha glorified in the Vedas.

He who is a great man (maha purusha) has his mind resting in me; I too remain in him alone.

He is the ever satisfied.

He is free from the effects of cold and heat, happiness and misery, honor and dishonor.

He puts up with insult and anger.

He is devoid of the six human infirmities – hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death – and is free from the six properties of the body – birth, existence, change, growth, decay and death.

He is without the intervention (i.e. he is not circumscribed by) of elderliness or otherwise.

Excepting the self, he sees nothing else.

Unclad, bowing to none, not uttering ‘svaha’ (as he worships no gods), not uttering ‘svedha’, free from blame or praise, not resorting to mantras and rituals, not meditating on other gods (than the supreme God), free from blame and praise, refraining from aims and their absence, with all the activities ceased, firmly established in consciousness consisting of existence, knowledge and bliss, being conscious of the one supreme bliss, he ever meditates on the Brahma Pranava, that he is Brahman alone, and thus fulfils himself.

Such a one is the Paramahamsa mendicant monk.

Mundaka Upanishad on the Desire for Fruits of Actions

Controlled by the diverse forms of ignorance, children without intelligence arrogantly feel: “We have achieved our purpose”. Because of the desires present within their minds, these performers of selfish actions fall down miserably to the field of action and to sorrow from the region of enjoyment on the exhaustion of the effects of their meritorious deeds.
Mundaka Upanishad, Second Khanda, Mantra 9
Explanation of the Verse by Swami Krishnanada
Actions, good or bad, give rise to limited results, and therefore, there is an end of the experience of the fruits of all actions. Though a person is really ignorant, he is made to feel that he is wise because of the semblance of consciousness that is reflected through his intellect. The fruits of actions are not powerful enough to give the performer of the actions lasting happiness. There is a threefold defect in the experience of the fruits of actions.

An action is generally performed with the expectation that it will bring the desired end. But in as much as desires do not have connections with anything permanently. Because they shift their centers quickly, at the time of experience of the fruit of the previous action it is no more the desired end. Not only this, it becomes a source of sorrow. This is one defect.

Secondly, the experience of happiness through the fruits of actions is not real happiness, but only an excitement of the mind temporarily caused by the desired contact with the object which appeared to give the promise of true happiness. Hence, it is more a deluded state of the mind than an experience of real happiness.

Thirdly, because it may not be possible always to fulfill all desires and reap the fruits of all actions in one birth, the individual may have to take several more births for the sake of experiencing them. Thus, all desires and actions lead to bondage. It is sheer ignorance and delusion that make one believe that one can become perfect and happy through his intellect, mind and the senses, as all these instruments of knowledge and action function in the relative plane alone.

Chandogya Upanishad Quotes

That alone which is infinite is Bliss and there is no bliss in the finite. (7.23.1).

Through purity of food comes purity of mind, through purity of mind comes a steady memory of Truth, and when one gets this memory one becomes free from all knots of the heart.’ (7.26.2)

Where one sees another, one hears another, so long as there are two, there must be fear, and fear is the mother of all misery. Where none sees another, where it is all one, there is none to be miserable, none to be unhappy.’ (7.33)

Quotes from Annapurna Upanishad

Who am I? How came this world?
What is it? How came death and birth?
Thus inquire within yourself;
Great will be the benefit you will derive from such inquiry. Annapurna Upanishad (I, 40)

Robert Ernest Hume Quotes on Upanishads

In the long history of man's endeavor to grasp the fundamental truths of being, the metaphysical treatises known as the Upanishads hold an honored place. They represent the earnest efforts of the profound thinkers of early India to solve the problems of the origin, the nature, and the destiny of man and of the universe, or – more technically the meaning and value of ‘knowing’ and ‘being.’ Though they contain some fanciful ideas, naive speculations, and inadequate conclusions, yet they arc replete with sublime conceptions and with intuitions of universal truth.

Quotes on Upanishads by Raimundo Panikkar

The Upanishads proffer an invitation to a higher life of contemplation, to the enormous and risky adventure of finding the Lord, who can neither be spoken of nor identified with any objective or subjective reality.... The Upanishads attempt to resolve the dilemma by propounding the way of self-realization, the personal discovery of the hidden treasure. The Lord is within and without, personal and impersonal, moving and unmoving, ‘Being and Non-being.’ He is the Lord precisely because he is not limited by any one pair of opposites.