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What Is The Upanishads Definition? Discover The Ancient Vedic Insight

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Ever heard of the ancient Vedas? Then it’s possible you’ve also stumbled across the Upanishads.

If both words are totally foreign to you, don’t worry. We’re going to deliver a modern Upanishads definition that will help explain not just the Upanishads but the Vedas, too.

We’re going to take a look at what the Upanishads are, and why these lessons, now thousands of years old, are still being taught today.

Upanishads Definition: From Ancient Sanskrit to Modern Meaning


Let’s see if we can shed some light on these ancient, mystical texts. There’s a good reason the Upanishads not only survived to our day and age but continue to be studied today. That’s pretty darn impressive for books!

So, what are the Upanishads? And how can we look at the Upanishads definition in a modern light?

In Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India, the word Upanishads can be broken down into the following:

Upa, meaning, “by.” And ni-sad, meaning, “sit down.”

Altogether, the word translates into: “sitting down near,” or “sitting close to.” And the Upanishads are aptly named.

The lessons contained in the Upanishads were designed to be shared. Students would sit down and listen to the spiritual sages who had gleaned the truths of existential existence.

That’s what the Upanishads are. They’re a collection of ideas, transposed from the oral communications of the great gurus of ancient India.

upanishads_ gurus

What About The Vedas?

The Vedas are a large collection of chants, spells, mantras, and stories from the Vedic religion. They weren’t written and assembled until well after the Vedic period had passed, but the initial content was composed around 1,500–500 B.C.E.

The Upanishads are an important component of the Vedas and are one of the most popular and beloved of the mystic Vedic order. In fact, these texts would one day serve as the preliminary foundations of Hinduism.

Are The Upanishads Still In Use Today?

Believe it or not, they are. There are over 200 Upanishads in existence, but most scholars today focus on the 13 core teachings: Chandogya, Kena, Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Katha, Mundaka, Taittriyaka, Brihadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Isa, Prasna, Mandukya and the Maitri Upanishads.

Like the Bible, the Upanishads weren’t so much written by a single author as they were composed by a number of poets, gurus, and students of the age. There was a lot of ground to cover, and many of the teachings were transcribed from oral tradition.

Deborah King, Author of Mindvalley’s Be A Modern Master, explains,

The authorship of these sacred texts is believed to be divinely inspired. The sages who recorded the Vedas had lived the teachings and used the sacred wisdom to awaken their own connections to the Divine, the created world, and their fellow beings.

So, why are the Upanishads still so popular today? Well, the Upanishads have always been popular. They are well loved because they represent a powerful shift in the Vedic order.

Instead of focusing on physical rites and sacrifices, the Upanishads ask the student to turn inward. In a quest to unlock the spiritual essence of the Universe, the Upanishads urge practitioners to dwell within, using meditation and contemplation to find meaning.

4 Inspiring Quotes From The Upanishads


The best way to understand what the Upanishads are all about is to dive right in. Here are four powerful quotes from the Upanishads:

Those who dwell on and long for sense-pleasure are born in a world of separateness. But let them realize they are the self and all separateness will fall away. —Mundaka Upanishad

You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. —Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

When all the senses are stilled, when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not—then, say the wise, is reached the highest state. —Katha Upanishad

OM! This syllable is this whole world. Its further explanation is: the past, the present, the future—everything is just the word OM. And what-ever else that transcends threefold time—that, too, is just the word OM. —Mandukya Upanishad   

No matter your personal background or beliefs, there’s something to be gained from an exploration of the Upanishads.


Do you want to learn more about spiritual empowerment? Heal emotional wounds and past traumas that are holding you back and take the next step in your spiritual journey with this FREE Masterclass below:


What’s your experience with the Vedas and Upanishads? Share in the comments below.



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Health & Wellness

How To Make Your Meditation Practice Rock So That You Stress Less And Accomplish More

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Do you find meditation boring, time-taking, or too difficult? This interview with Emily Fletcher might just change your mind.

Emily Fletcher is the Founder of Ziva Meditation who has trained the teams of Google and Harvard on what meditation really means in the modern world.

In this interview she shares…

  • Why clearing your mind has nothing to do with meditating
  • Why top performers don’t go a day without their practice
  • What’s the difference between meditating like a monk and modern meditation
  • The science behind why meditation gives you a deeper rest than sleep and reduces aging
  • And how you can use meditation to perform better in every area of life

As Emily says,

We meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation.

If you liked this interview, check out Emily’s new book: Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance. It’s an amazing guide for everyone who wants to improve their relationships, level up at work, or heal themselves.

This is not just another meditation book. In Stress Less, Accomplish More, Emily teaches a powerful trifecta of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifesting to improve your personal and professional performance, clarity, health, and sleep.

You’ll learn how to cultivate Mindfulness through brief but powerful exercises that will help you stop wasting time stressing. Plus, you’ll get Manifesting tools to help you get crystal clear on your personal and professional goals for the future. Grab your copy on Amazon.


What’s your biggest motivation to get better at meditating? Share it with us in a comment below.



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What Part Of The Brain Controls Balance?

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Standing upright, maintaining balance, and walking are all pretty natural processes to us. We don’t consciously think about balance during our daily activities.

But have you ever wondered how you manage to stand on one foot? Or perform any sports activity? Or how you don’t fall down every time you stumble? Today we’re learning what part of the brain controls balance.

What Controls Balance In The Brain?

As your body moves , your brain grooves.

—Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Program

Maintaining balance is a very complex process in the brain. It’s performed by multiple parts of the brain and occurs as a result of the brain communicating with our environment.

The main part of the brain that control balance is the cerebellum.

But there are other parts of the brain that help out too, such as the brain stem which helps us develop healthy breathing practices.

The cerebellum or “little brain” is located in the back of your skull, above the amygdala (the part of the brain that controls emotions).

Besides controlling balance and posture, it’s also responsible for monitoring voluntary movement, eye movement, and speech.

What Part Of The Brain Controls Balance

What Part Of The Brain Controls Balance And Hearing?

The processing of sound happens in the temporal lobes which are a part of the cerebrum. The audio stimuli come through the ear and go directly into the primary auditory cortex located in the temporal lobes.

But how does the temporal lobe affect balance?

Have you ever heard a loud noise and reflexively found yourself moving away from the source of the noise?

That’s the temporal lobe at work. Your temporal lobe is directly connected to the cerebellum by neural pathways. This connection enables a quick reaction to loud noise.

Which Part Of The Brain Controls Balance And Posture?


We already mentioned that the cerebellum does not work alone. It controls equilibrium by combining sensory information from the outside world.

Those pieces of information come from the eye (visual), the ear (auditory) and muscles and joints (motor). The cerebellum sends information out to your body in order to stay balanced during movement. But that happens as a response to the information that comes in.

Consider standing on one foot. Your joints and muscles use receptors, called proprioceptors, to gather information about the spacial position of your body.

These receptors the send the information back to the cerebellum which adjusts your position by making you shift body weight, or even stretching your arms out to help maintain equilibrium.

Now, continue standing on one foot but close your eyes. It is much more difficult to stay in that position, isn’t it?

This is because you have limited the information coming to the cerebellum. It’s now unable to use visual information from the eyes and has lost a little of the spatial orientation.

Usually, we are not aware of these processes — they happen reflexively. But we often become aware of them when we exercise — especially exercise that involves a high degree of coordination.

For example, a ballerina doing a pirouette on one leg has to learn how to use surroundings in order to perform the movement without losing balance. And that’s no easy feat!

What Controls The Body’s Balance?


In addition to the cerebellum, two crucial structures in maintaining balance are the inner ear and the vestibular cranial nerves.

The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, enables you to be aware of the position of your head in relation to the floor. It’s responsible for helping you know that the object that you are looking at is not moving but that you have, for example, tilted your head.

Damage to any part of the brain related to balance can result in jerky, uncoordinated movements. Damage to any of these structures isn’t inherently life threatening, and movement is still possible. It simply requires a little more conscious attention than usual.


Are you skilled in any activity that requires good balance? Share it with us in the comments below!



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What is the Rig Veda? Behind The Veil Of History

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The Vedas are a peculiar topic of study.

They are one of the most primeval and mysterious texts known to man. They have no celebrated author and no timeline of origin… Yet, they have inspired world religions (namely, Hinduism) and their hymns are regarded as law — shaping societal, political, and economic philosophies.

The Vedas are split into 4 separate sacred texts, but are often compiled into a book referred to as the Chathurveda Samhitha.

The Rig Veda: The Book of Mantra

The Sama Veda: The Book of Song

The Yajur Veda: The Book of Ritual

The Atharva Veda: The Book of Spell

The Vedas were originally formed, recited, and passed down from generation to generation by Aryan nomads (considered “the noble ones”) in ancient India. It is most commonly believed that the Vedas were created during the Vedic Period (1,500 – 500 B.C.E.). Although, many scholars and great yogis today hypothesize that the creation of this oral tradition could have started as far back as 12,000 B.C.E.

However, it wasn’t until centuries later (long after the Vedic Period) that the Vedas were written into physical form, creating what we know today as the Vedic Texts.

The oldest and most fundamental of these texts is the Rig Veda.

What Is The Rig Veda?


Rigveda

In Sanskrit, the word Rigveda means “knowledge of the verses (or mantras).”

The Rigveda is by far the most prominent of the Vedas; it was the first Vedic text ever written and is the main source of history on the ancient Hindus.

The text is comprised of 1,028 hymns (sūktas) dedicated to various deities, including the Purusha Sukta and Creation Hymns. These hymns are all organized into 10 different books, which are commonly referred to as “circles” or “mandalas.”

The older books contain hymns that are more devoted to the praise of various gods and goddesses. The younger books are more concerned with philosophical questions, the virtue of dāna (generosity, charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues.

The hymns include praises, blessings, and sacrifices written in enchanting poetry and prose. When these beautiful words are chanted, one is transported to another state of mind.

This light hath come, of all the lights the fairest,

The brilliant brightness hath been born, far-shining,

Urged on to prompt the sun-god’s shining power.

Night and Morning clash not, nor yet do linger.

It’s awe-inspiring, to say the very least. But who wrote such wise and captivating hymns?

Here’s the thing about the Vedas — there is no acclaimed human author. They are simply a “language of the gods” in comprehensible human form.  

The Vedas were channeled by risis (the seers, the sages) from the very breath of “Source.” “Source” being the Paramātman: the “Primordial Self” or the “Absolute Atman.” The risis saw and interpreted the Vedas, but they did not compose them.

There are seven risis credited to channeling the Rigveda:  Atri, Kanwa, Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama, and Bharadwaja.

Just as one is transported to another state of mind when reciting the Vedas, it was within that same mind-state they were written — in a state beyond.

The Vedas contain universal truths that can help you understand and experience your connection to the Divine through study and practice. Sacred study reveals the practice, and practice helps you implement the powerful spiritual truths that can transform your life.

— Deborah King, Spiritual teacher and author of Mindvalley’s Be a Moder Master program.


Do you want to learn more about spiritual empowerment? Heal emotional wounds and past traumas that are holding you back and take the next step in your spiritual journey with this FREE Masterclass below:


Like the ancient sages, have you ever experienced mystical encounters with deities? Have you ever been transported to that “state beyond?” Share your experience with us in a comment below.



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