Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!)
An excerpt from the beginning of the PREFACE:
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 are replete with sublime conceptions and with intuitions of universal truth.
Here are found intimations of the inadequacy of mere nature-worship and of the falsity of an empty ceremonialism. Here are expressed the momentous discoveries that the various gods of polytheistic belief are but numerous special manifestations of the One Power of the universe, and that the supreme object of worship is this variously revealed, partially elusive, all-comprehending unitary Reality. Still more momentous are the discernments that man is of more significance than all the forces of Nature; that man himself is the interpretation as well as the interpreter of Nature, because he is akin to the reality at the heart of the universe; indeed, that the One God, the great intelligent Person who is immanent in the universe, is to be found most directly in the heart of man. Here in the Upanishads are set forth, in concrete example as well as in dogmatic instruction, two opposing theories of life: an ignorant, narrow, selfish way of life which seeks temporary, unsatisfying, unreal ends; and a way of life which seeks to relate itself to the Supreme Reality of the universe, so as to escape from the needless misery of ordinary existence into undying bliss.
These important texts, the earliest of which can hardly have taken form later than the seventh century BC, are surely finding, and will continue to find, more than a limited circle of readers. The student of the history of philosophy who desires to know the answers reached in India for the ever insistent problems of man and the universe and the ideals of the highest existence; the special student of India who strives to understand the essence as well as the externals of its culture; the religious teacher and worker in East and West who seeks to apprehend the aspirations and spiritual ideals of the Hindu soul; the educated English-speaking Hindu who feels a special affection for, and interest in, the sacred writings of his native land; and the deep thinker who searches in arcane doctrine for a clue to the solution of life’s mysteries—all of these will turn constantly to the Upanishads as an authoritative compendium of Indian metaphysical speculation. To meet the need of these varying types of readers for a faithful rendering of the original text—an English version that will enable them to know exactly what the revered Upanishads say—has been my constant aim in the preparation of this work.
It is hardly necessary to dwell here on the difficulties and perplexities that confront anyone engaged on such a task; texts such as these are among the hardest to present adequately in another language, and a completely satisfying translation is wellnigh unattainable. I trust that I have succeeded at least in being literal without becoming cryptic, and in attaining clearness without exegetical accretions. Further remarks on the plan and arrangement of the translation will be found on subsequent pages (pp. xii-xiv), which those making use of this book are requested to consult.