Book Review – Ten Principal Upanishads by Sree Purohit Swami & W. B. Yeats


Ten Principal UpanishadsTen Principal Upanishads by W.B. Yeats5 of 5 stars

W. B. Yeats found incredulous the various renditions of Upanishads from different translators, so he decided to translate one himself with help from his friend Shree Purohit Swami. The original plan was to visit India and then carry out the translation but health and money issues prevented that and both friends ultimately spent time in Majorca to translate the Upanishads. Upanishad is doctrine or wisdom literally At the feet of Master of Vedas, the most ancient philosophical enquiry undertaken by humans. Yeats wanted to make a translation that would read as though the original had been written in common English. In this he followed the advise of Aristotle who said that to write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man. In the end Yeats was satisfied that he escaped that polyglot, hyphenated, latinised muddied muddle of distorting that froze belief. For the uninitiated and English speaking masses this is an excellent primer for Upanishadic studies. The book covers only the small section of the Vedic mantras but is enough to provide a glimpse of the depth of philosophical enquiry contained in Vedic literature. Yeats ensured that his translation is as poetic as his other works which is an added bonus with this translation. The idea is that this small primer will spark the fire of philosophical enquiry within readers and that they then graduate to learn more and imbibe the ancient wisdom of Vedas to uncover the truth of life.

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