Some books keep mentioning that Karma Kanda is 'inferior' to Jnana Kanda. Well, Samhita in Vedas refers to ritual part. So did Adi Shankaracharya denounce Samhitas? Is there any explicit reference? Or is this the invention of these interpreters? Some sources say Upanishads are extensions and interpretations of Veda Samhitas.

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    The Upanishads are compiled from various vedas - word for word, verse for verse. It would be more useful if you can provide an exact source rather than mentioning 'Some sources'. Aug 10, 2023 at 14:03
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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE! 🙏 It is not useful to think of mārga as innately superior or inferior to one another. Consider this, if you force a fish into a tree, how will it live its dharma? And how of a monkey forced to under water? Which is superior, the tree or the water? The tree is superior for the monkey, and the tree is inferior for the fish. So it is with mārga. I could not appreciate karma or bhakti mārga, until after spending significant time in jñāna mārga. That's how my brain works. On the other hand, my grandma is better at bhakti than I may ever be, but hasn't the head for jñāna. Aug 11, 2023 at 17:11
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    Also, the above is my opinion based on my experiences, that's why it is a comment and not an answer. 😊 But, hopefully it will help you see why it's difficult to give a direct answer: the question itself seems to contain a misunderstanding. Aug 11, 2023 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


Shankaracharya did not denounce the Samhita portion of the Vedas rather he viewed them as authoritative because he refers to it within his commentaries. Here is an example:

catur-varnyam-meaning the same as catvarah varnah, the four castes; srstam, have been created; maya, by me who am god, which accords with such vedic texts as, 'the brahmanas were his face.' (rg. 10.90.12) From his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita 4.13.

Thus seen Shankaracharya did not denounce the Samhita portion of the Vedas however he did view them as being lower to the Upanishads as seen here:

Of these, what Apara vidya is, is explained. Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda, these four Vedas, the siksha, the code of rituals, grammar, nirukta, chhandas and astrology, these six angas (of Vedas), all this is knowledge called Apara; now, knowledge called Para is explained. It is that by which the “immortal” From his commentary on the Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.5

Apara here meaning lower knowledge. Para here meaning the Upanishads as it leads to immortality and too the higher knowledge.

Thus he viewed the Samhtias as authoritative (as seen by him quoting them in his commentaries) but lower (in authority) to the Upanishads or the knowledge through which one becomes immortal.

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    Thank you! My name is Samhitha, so I was curious haha.
    – Samhitha
    Aug 7, 2023 at 16:33
  • @Samhitha hope it answered your question. Yeah thats quite interesting to see your reasoning behind your question!
    – Rajam
    Aug 7, 2023 at 18:34

According to Vedanta, only the Mukhya Upanishads are Para-Vidya (Highest Science).

Mundaka Upanishad 1.4-5

And he said to him: "Two knowledge must be known," say the experts of Brahman, "higher and lower." The lowest here is the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, [knowledge of] pronunciation, rites, grammar, interpretation of words, metrics, the science of the luminaries. The highest is that by which the imperishable is comprehended.

  • how do you know that it is referring to the Mukhya Upanishads only? Why not all the 108 Upanishads mentioned in the Muktika Upanishad? Why not all the Upanishads?
    – Rajam
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:29
  • If you follow the Purva-Acharya himself, then only the main Upanishads. If you follow modern Smarta-Acharyas, then all 108 Upanishads.
    – user30874
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:41
  • Where is the source for this if I may ask?
    – Rajam
    Aug 7, 2023 at 14:52
  • The source is Adi Shankara's commentaries on the Upanishads and the opinions of the Shankaracharyas of today's Peethas.
    – user30874
    Aug 7, 2023 at 17:52
  • Could you quote some of them please?
    – Rajam
    Aug 7, 2023 at 18:33

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