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Upanishads Thoughts and Sayings

A Collection of thoughts and sayings from various Upanishads.

To many it is not given to hear of That (meaning God) which dwells in eternity. Many, though they hear of it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent is he who learns of it. Blessed is he who, taught by a good teacher, is able to comprehend it. (Katha Upanishad)

He who knows Brahman as the Eternal Embodiment of Truth and Knowledge, seated hidden in the cave (depth of the heart), in the ether above, he enjoys all blessings at one with Brahman, the omniscient. (Taittiriya Upanishad)



The syllable Om, which is the imperishable Brahman, is the universe. Whatsoever existed, whatsoever now exists, whatsoever shall exist hereafter is Om. (Mandukya Upanishad)

The senses are the horses and the roads they travel are the mazes of desire. When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable like the restive horses of a charioteer. But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein. (Katha Upanishad)

There are two ways, one of the worldly pleasure and the other of bliss. Of these two, those who take up the good are blessed, whole those who take to the evil, do not attain success. (Katha Upanishad)

An intelligent man should suppress his speech and his mind. (Kena Upanishad)

They who neglect their social duties for their individual life fall in darkness; and those who sacrifice their individuality for social popularity fall into greater darkness. (Isha Upanishad)

Whatever is performed with knowledge, shraddha and meditation becomes more effective. (Chandogya Upanishad, 1.1.10.)

Fear arises from duality. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.2)

Self realization alone makes one fearless. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.2)

Of the cows of different colours the milk is of just one colour. The wise man regards the Atman like the milk and the different manifestations like the cows. (Brahma Bindu Upanishad, 19)

This Atman cannot be attained by the study of scriptures or by intelligence or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained by Him who earnestly seeks It. To him the Atman reveals Its true form. (Katha Upanishad, 1.2.23)


As a spider moves along the thread (it produces), and as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, so from this Atman emanate all organs, all worlds, all gods, and all beings. Its secret name is ‘the Truth of truth’. Prana is truth, and It is the Truth of that. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)

Concentration of the mind on the Self after withdrawing it from the outer objects is Adhyatma Yoga. (Katha Upanishad)

Taking hold of the bow one should fix on it an arrow sharpened with meditation.
Drawing the string, O good-looking one, hit that very target that is the Imperishable, with the mind absorbed in its thought. (Mundaka Upanishad)

Unintelligent people follow external desires; they get entangled in the snares of widespread death. Therefore, discerning people, having known what true immortality is in the midst of impermanent things, do not pray for anything here. (Katha Upanishad)

How can the multiplicity of life delude the one who sees its unity? – Isha Upanishad

Om is the primordial throb of the universe. It is the sound form of Consciousness. - Maitri Upanishad

There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. – Maitri Upanishad

As pure water poured into pure water becomes the very same, so does the Self of the illumined become one with the Godhead. – Katha Upanishad

You are what your deep, driving desire is. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

The world is the river of God, Flowing from him and flowing back to him. – Shvetashvatara Upanishad

He is never seen, but is the Seer; He is never heard, but is the Hearer;
He is never thought, but is the Thinker; He is never known but is the Knower. There is no other seer but Him, no other hearer but Him, no other thinker but Him, no other knower but Him. He is the antaryami (inner ruler), your own immortal Self. Everything else but Him is mortal. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III.7:23)

The one controller of all, the inner Self of all beings, who makes His one form manifold – those wise men who realize Him as existing in their own self, to them belongs eternal happiness and to none else. (Katha Upanishad V. 12)

There the sun does not illumine, nor the moon and the stars; nor do these lightings illumine; nor does the fire. When That shines, everything shines after That. By Its light, all his is lighted. (Katha Upanishad V. 13)

In the citadel of the body there is the small, sinless, and pure lotus of the heart which is the residence of the Supreme Being. In the interior of this tiny area is the sorrowless space of Light. That is to be meditated upon continually – Mahanarayana Upanishad

Like discovering oil in sesame seeds, butter in curds, water in underground springs, and patina in copper the wise search for God as for something hidden. – Svetasvatara Upanishad

Just as rivers flowing forth merge in the boundless ocean, released from names and forms, so too the illumined ones freed from sense of separation by the diverse paths they follow all unite with ultimate reality – Mundaka Upanishad

Arise, awake and realize the atman having approached the excellent teachers. Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path, difficult to cross and hard to read so say the wise. – Katha Upanishad

That nondual essence is not void, yet it is thought of as void. In reality, it transcends voidness, and is stable and firmly fixed. Neither thinker, thought, nor the thinkable prevails at those sublime heights. Nevertheless, it is to be carefully meditated upon. – Tejobindu Upanishad


I will initiate you (into learning) because you have not deviated from truth. (Chandogya Upanishad)

Immortality comes to him who accepts the good, and he who selects the pleasurable falls from the true end. (Katha Upanishad)

There are two types of knowledge to be acquired – the higher and the lower. (Mundaka Upanishad)

The mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation of the human being. (Amritabindu Upanishad)

Knowing Brahman – Upanishads

The Self is not certainly adequately known when spoken of by an inferior person; for it is thought of variously. When taught by one who has become identified with it, there is no further cogitation with regard to it, for it is beyond argumentation, being subtler even than the atomic quantity. (Katha Upanishad, 1.2.8)

Since he is the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind, the Speech of the speech, the Life of the life, and the Eye of the eye, therefore intelligent people, after giving up (their self-identification with the senses) and renouncing this world, become immortal. (Kena Upanishad, 1.2)

This earth is (like) honey to all beings, and all beings are (like) honey to this earth. The shining immortal being who is in this earth, and the shining, immortal, corporeal being in the body, (these four) are but this Self. This
(Self-knowledge) is (the means of) immortality; this (underlying unity) is Brahman; this (knowledge of Brahman) is (the means of becoming) all.  (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 2.5.1)

The supreme is not an object of ordinary knowledge but of intuitive realization. If we think that we know Brahman and we can describe Brahman as an object perceived in nature or as the cause inferred from nature, we do not, in reality, know Brahman.
But those who feel that they do not and cannot know Brahman in this manner do have a knowledge of Brahman. Brahman cannot be comprehended as an object of knowledge. Brahman can be realized as the subject in all knowledge.
S RadhaKrishnan
(Commenting on Kena Upanishad section II Verse 3)
(Source: The Principal Upanishads page 585 – HarperCollins 2003 edition)

On Liberated While Living – Quotes from Upanishads 

Verily, while we are here we may know this. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.14

A mortal becomes immortal, attains Brahman, even here, when the knots of the heart are destroyed. – Katha Upanishad 2.3.14

He who knows that which is set in the cave of the heart, he, here on earth, cuts the knot of ignorance. – Mundaka Upanishad 2.1.10

Whosoever, O Gargi, in this world, without knowing this Imperishable…departs from this world is pitiable. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.10

If it is known here, there is truth. If it is unknown here there is great loss. The wise, realizing divinity in all beings leave the world with immortality. – Kena Upanishad 2.5