IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th June, 2023 History

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  • US President Joe Biden and the First Lady Jill Biden hosted Indian PM Narendra Modi for a private dinner.
  • Apart from the book mentioned above Indian PM gifted 7.5 carat lab-grown diamond and an exquisite sandalwood box to the first couple.

Other Details

  • PM Modi is on a visit to USA to hold bilateral talks on various interest areas like jets engine production, semiconductor chip manufacturing, and drones.
  • Earlier, during his visit to USA, PM Modi received a ceremonial welcome at the White House.
  • He also gave a welcome speech addressing US Congress.

About The Ten Principal Upanishads book

  • This book considered to have the best and authentic translated version of the Upanishads.
  • It is translated in English from Sanskrit by Irish poet WB Yeats along with Shri Purohit Swami, a scholar of Hindu scripture.
  • It was written in mid-1930s and published in 1937.

WB Yeats

  • WB Yeats was an Irish origin modern poet in English and was central to the Irish Literary Revival.
  • He was influenced by the works of John Keats and William Wordsworth.
  • In 1923, he won Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • He had an infatuation with Indian philosophy and literature, which lasted a lifetime.
  • The love towards India has motivated him to translate Upanishads.
  • His aim was to translate Upanishads in such a manner that they remain true to the original text and hence enhancing their accessibility to a common person.

Inspiration for Translation

  • Mohini Chatterjee, a recognisable name in Bengal’s burgeoning Theosophical circles influenced him and inclined him towards India initially.
  • He was most influenced by his friendship with Rabindranath Tagore and particularly with the beauty of Gitanjali, a collection of poems by Tagore.
  • Afterwards, the poor quality of English translated version of Upanishads underwhelmed him.
  • Finally he collaborated with a scholar named Shri Purohit Swami for this translation.

Hindu Scriptures

  • Hindu sacred scriptures are broadly divided in two categories Shruti and Smriti.

Shruti (the revealed)

  • These are believed to be the most authoritative texts of Hindus.
  • These include four Vedas namely –
    • Rigveda
    • Yajurveda
    • Samaveda and
    • Atharvaveda
  • These also include other important texts like
    • Brahmanas (ritual texts),
    • Aranyakas (texts associated with forests) and
    • Upanishads (philosophical texts)

Smriti (the remembered)

  • These are less authoritative text as they are considered to be derived from Shruti.
  • They include epics like
    • Ramayana
    • Mahabharata
    • Dharmashastras
    • Puranas and
    • Other post-Vedic scriptures


  • Believed to be written around 800-500 BC, these are considered one of the most important Hindu religious texts.
  • These are more popular than Vedas and are fundamental text in in several traditions of study of Hindu religion.
  • An 8th century Hindu scholar Adi Shankaracharya contributed to the popularity of Upanishads by focussing on Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualistic philosophy, tradition.
  • In modern times Vedanta philosophy was subscribed by prominent figures of India like Swami Vivekananda and S Radhakrishnan.
  • These are also known as Vedanta as they are believed to be the end of Veda.
  • They seek to establish ontological connection between humanity and the cosmos by discussing concepts like transmigration.
  • For instance Chandogya Upanishad emphasized connection between conduct and birth. For eg birth of human for good conduct and birth of a animal like dog if the conduct is evil.
  • They believe in the ultimate reality of relation between Atman and Brahman and consider everything around as illusion.
    • The Atman, or the distinct, is the unchanging self of an individual, and
    • The Brahman is the ultimate reality in the universe.
  • 10 Principal Upanishads are as below -
    • Esha
    • Kena
    • Katha
    • Prashna
    • Mundaka
    • Mandukya
    • Taittiriya
    • Aitareya
    • Chandogya
    • Brihadaranyaka

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Consider the following statements about Upanishads:

1. These belong to the Smriti category of Hindu sacred texts.

2. They are believed to signal the end of total Vedas.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (B)