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The practices and theories which are systematized in the Yoga Sûtras are known to the Upanishads, particularly those of the Atharva Veda. But even the earlier Upanishads allude to the special physical and mental discipline necessary to produce concentration of mind.

The striking difference between the earlier and later phases of Indian religious belief, between the Vedic hymns, Brâhmaṇas, Upanishads and their accessory treatises on the one hand, and the epics, Purâṇas, Tantras and later literature on the other, is due chiefly to the predominance in the latter of the great gods Śiva and Vishṇu, with the attendant features of sectarian worship and personal devotion to a particular deity.

This is the number currently accepted in India at the present day. But Schrader describes many Upanishads existing in MS. in addition to this list and points out that though they may be modern there is no ground for calling them spurious.

Devotional theism was growing in Râmânuja's time. He could not break with the Upanishads and Vedantic tradition but he adapted them to the needs of his day. The followers of Râmânuja are at present divided into two schools known as Tengalais and Vadagalais, or southern and northern.

Schopenhauer's proud injunction, indeed, that he who would understand his writings should prepare himself by a preliminary study of Plato or Kant, or of the divine wisdom of the Upanishads, indicates also paths that lead to the higher teaching of Wagner, and though in a less degree of Carlyle. The friendship of Tourgenieff and Flaubert rested upon speculative rather than on artistic sympathy.

In illustration of this, consider the profound wisdom of the Upanishads, and then look at the mad idolatry in the India of to-day, with its pilgrimages, processions and festivities, or at the insane and ridiculous goings-on of the Saniassi.

The form which the teaching naturally assumed was that of dialogue, a form later adopted by Plato and other Greek philosophers. As nothing was written and all instruction was transmitted orally, the Upanishads are called Srutis, "what is heard."

He wrote popular hymns as well as commentaries on the Upanishads, Vedânta Sutras and Bhagavad-gîtâ, thus recognizing both Vedic and post-Vedic literature: he resided for some time on the Narbudda and at Benares, and in the course of the journeys in which like Paul he gave vent to his activity, he founded four maṭhs or monasteries, at Sringeri, Puri, Dwârakâ and Badrinath in the Himalaya.

But it is obviously the precursor of the Vedânta and the devout Vedântist can justify his system from it. Instead of attempting to summarize the Upanishads it may be well to quote one or two celebrated passages.

MAY my mind be filled with devotion towards the highest Brahman, the abode of Lakshmi who is luminously revealed in the Upanishads; who in sport produces, sustains, and reabsorbs the entire Universe; whose only aim is to foster the manifold classes of beings that humbly worship him. Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman.