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Is there any particular order in which I should read the Vedas and Upanishads? If so, in which order should a starter read for better understanding of the aspects stated in them?

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    in addition of reading the vedas and the upanishads, one can read the lives of saints. This is because saints live their lives as per the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is like reading a cricket manual vs watching a cricketer play. Reading a manual can be bewildering for the newbie because of the many nuances in the game. But once one has watched enough cricket and cricketers, then reading the manual is easy and all moves make sense. Similarly reading lives of saints, who are actually living examples of Veda is a very good start, after which the vedas and upanishads make much more sense! :):) – Sai Nov 25 '14 at 20:40
  • I don't know about the Vedas but you should have a preceptor for Puranas and Geeta , I don't know about others but I read it all the while. Geeta has no restrictions and rules to read. – user5558 May 6 '16 at 12:15
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Vedas are Shruti texts. Sayanacharya in his commentaries on Rigveda, said that मंत्र ब्राह्मणात्मको वेद that means Mantra (मंत्र) and Brahmanatmak (ब्राह्मणात्मक) combined are considered as Veda. Here mantra refers to Smahita and Brahmanatmak refers to Brahmangranth. So, Vedas are composed of Samhita and Brahmangranth. The end part of Brahmangranth is Aaranyak and the end part of Aranyak is Upanishad. (Only one - Isha Upanishad is the last chapter of Shukla Yajurved Samhita)

So, Vedas are sub-classified into Samhita, Brahman, Aaranyak and Upanishad. Upanishads are also known/refereed as Vedanta (as the last parts of Veda). Upanishads are very important text/source in the philosophy of Vedanta and known as Shruti prashthan or Upadesh prashthan for Prasthanatrayi.

There is no particular sequence/order of reading Vedas but Rigveda are the considered oldest and important Veda. You can start reading anyone from four Vedas.

Also there is no strict sequence of reading Upanishads but there is a traditional sequence according to Muktika Upanishad. Eleven Upanishads are considered Mukhya Upanishads as Adi Shankaracharya and other acharyas have written Bhasya (commentaries) on them which are:

  1. Īśā (ईश), also known as Īśāvāsya (ईशावास्य)
  2. Kena (केन)
  3. Kaṭha (कठ)
  4. Praṣna (प्रश्न)
  5. Muṇḍaka (मुण्डक)
  6. Māṇḍūkya (माण्डुक्य)
  7. Taittirīya (तैत्तिरीय)
  8. Aitareya (ऐतरेय)
  9. Chāndogya (छान्दोग्य)
  10. Brihadaranyaka (बृहदारण्यक)
  11. Shvetashvatara (श्वेताश्वतर)

First ten are as listed in Muktika Upanishad. Some includes Kaushitaki and Maitri Upanishads in the list of principle Upanishads.

You can start reading the Upanishads in the traditional sequence/order listed above.
(I've also read in similar order)

Note: First two-three are easy to start and understand and develops your mind and intellect to understand next.

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The order to read the Upanishads and Vedas is different for everyone and should be determined by your teacher. Two verses from the Mundaka Upanishad:

(I. ii. 12.) - "Let a brahmin, after having examined all these worlds that are gained by works, acquire freedom from desires: nothing that is eternal can be produced by what is not eternal. In order that he may understand that Eternal, let him, fuel in hand, approach a guru who is well versed in the Vedas and always devoted to Brahman."

and

(III. ii. 11.) - "Thus the seer Angiras declared this truth in olden times. A man who has not performed the vow should not read it. Salutation to the great seers!"

'performed the vow' and 'should not read it' - a man who has not done some purification should not read the Upanishads as the study of the non-dual Brahman can injure a person not ready for it.

One should seek out a teacher, perform service to the teacher, purify oneself through some austerities and renunciation, and then ask for the teacher's direction.

I know one person who first did service to his teacher for many years and was required to first read other texts for several years and then listen to the Upanishads from the teacher and his commentary over several more years before being allowed to read the Upanishads.

Everyone is different. Seek your teacher first.

  • Do we also need to purify ourselves to read Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and Puranas also? – user12458 Nov 27 '14 at 13:45
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There is no specific order in which you can read and understand but as far as my experience is concerned, these upanishads came from the vedas. The bottom-up approach says first read the upanishads and then the vedas. The top-down approach says first read the vedas and then the upanishads.

Upanishads and Vedas are two terms that are often confused as one and the same thing. Actually they are two different subjects for that matter. In fact Upanishads are parts of Vedas.

Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva are the four Vedas. A Veda is divided into four parts, namely, Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. It can be seen from the division that Upanishad forms the last part of a given Veda. Since Upanishad forms the end part of a Veda it is also called as Vedanta. The word ‘anta’ in Sanskrit means ‘end’. Hence the word ‘Vedanta’ means ‘the end portion of a Veda’

Source: Difference Between Upanishads and Vedas

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