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The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad

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Chapter Summary

The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (BU) is most often read as a philosophical text centered on the mystical identity between ātman and brahman. The main character in the text is the philosopher Yājñavalkya, whose teachings about ātman and brahman emerge as superior to those of other teachers throughout this text. Among the many teachers and philosophers who challenge Yājñavalkya, the most intriguing figure is the woman Gārgī Vācaknavī. According to the BU, the wisdom teacher Yājñavalkya has two wives, Maitreyī and Kātyāyanī. The agnicayana, or the ritual of compiling the sacred fire, is of particular concern in most of the texts affiliated with the Yajurveda.

Keywords: ātman; Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (BU); brahman; Yājñavalkya

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