The authorship of the Upanishads.
"The authorship of most Upanishads is uncertain and unknown. Radhakrishnan states, "almost all the early literature of India was anonymous, we do not know the names of the authors of the Upanishads". The ancient Upanishads are embedded in the Vedas, the oldest of Hinduism's religious scriptures, which some traditionally consider to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". The Vedic texts themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.
The various philosophical theories in the early Upanishads have been attributed to famous sages such as Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka Aruni, Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Balaki, Pippalada, and Sanatkumara. Women, such as Maitreyi and Gargi participate in the dialogues and are also credited in the early Upanishads.
There are exceptions to the anonymous tradition of the Upanishads and other Vedic literature. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, for example, includes closing credits to sage Shvetashvatara, and he is considered the author of the Upanishad. Scholars believe that early Upanishads, were interpolated and expanded over time, because of the differences within manuscripts of the same Upanishad discovered in different parts of South Asia, differences in non-Sanskrit version of the texts that have survived, and differences within each text in terms of the meter, the style, the grammar and the structure. The texts as they exist now are believed to be the work of many authors." (source)When were the Upanishads written?
"Scholars are uncertain about the exact centuries in which the Upanishads were composed. The chronology of the early Upanishads is difficult to resolve, states philosopher and Sanskritist Stephen Phillips, because all opinions rest on scanty evidence and analysis of archaism, style and repetitions across texts, and are driven by assumptions about likely evolution of ideas, and presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies. Indologist Patrick Olivelle says that "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents [early Upanishads] that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards". Some scholars have sought to analyse similarities between Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist literature to establish chronology for the Upanishads.
Patrick Olivelle gives the following chronology for the early Upanishads, also called the Principal Upanishads:
- The Brhadaranyaka and the Chandogya are the two earliest Upanishads. They are edited texts, some of whose sources are much older than others. The two texts are pre-Buddhist; they may be placed in the 7th to 6th centuries BCE, give or take a century or so.
- The three other early prose Upanisads—Taittiriya, Aitareya, and Kausitaki come next; all are probably pre-Buddhist and can be assigned to the 6th to 5th centuries BCE.
- The Kena is the oldest of the verse Upanisads followed by probably the Katha, Isa, Svetasvatara, and Mundaka. All these Upanisads were composed probably in the last few centuries BCE.
- The two late prose Upanisads, the Prasna and the Mandukya, cannot be much older than the beginning of the common era.
Stephen Phillips places the early Upanishads in the 800 to 300 BCE range. He summarizes the current Indological opinion to be that the Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya, Isha, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Kena, Katha, Mundaka, and Prasna Upanishads are all pre-Buddhist and pre-Jain, while Svetasvatara and Mandukya overlap with the earliest Buddhist and Jain literature.
The later Upanishads numbering about 95, also called minor Upanishads, are dated from the late 1st-millennium BCE to mid 2nd-millennium CE. Gavin Flood dates many of the twenty Yoga Upanishads to be probably from the 100 BCE to 300 CE period. Patrick Olivelle and other scholars date seven of the twenty Sannyasa Upanishads to likely have been complete sometime between the last centuries of the 1st-millennium BCE to 300 CE. About half of the Sannyasa Upanishads were likely composed in 14th- to 15th-century CE." (source)
The Buddhists/Hindus have gone deepest into the law of karma, applying it throughout life and death. Wikipedia also has a good background to karma and karmic law according to various Hindu sects. Here is a pro-Karmic-Theory discussion. Here is a blog post that refutes Karmic Theory. This is how the Theosophical Society evaluated Karmic Law many years ago.. Here is a Buddhist commentary on the Law Of Karma. Read this excellent article on the evolution of the law of karma.
This site expounds on the Hindu teachings regarding karma. It is necessary to present what they say, then critique it. These extracts from the article explain karmic law and how they say it works.
"The main difference between the eastern and western religions is that in Islam and Christianity you commit sin against the law of God, where as in Hinduism and related religions, you commit sin against yourself by your own actions".
"The law of karma is very much verifiable in real life. We all have seen in our own lives, and in nature too, that we reap what we sow. Our successes and failures are mostly products of our own thoughts and actions. If we think positively and act positively, very likely we will succeed. On the contrary if we think and act negatively, very likely we will bring negativity and suffering upon ourselves. Sometimes in spite of all the good work and sincere intentions, we may reap negative consequences. A student may prepare well for his exam, but may fail. A very evil and wicked person may earn the jackpot or become owner of a successful business venture. The theory of karma has a convincing explanation such situations. The current events in our lives need not necessarily be determined by our previous actions in this very life, but also by the actions we did in our previous lives. This explains why sometimes there is a disconnect between our actions and consequences, why bad people often seem to enjoy success and prosperity, while good people seem to suffer despite their best actions and intentions".
"Our successes and failures are mostly products of our own thoughts and actions. If we think positively and act positively, very likely we will succeed.On the contrary if we think and act negatively, very likely we will bring negativity and suffering upon ourselves"
"..... (the law of karma) is a self-correcting mechanism, that it binds beings to the cycle of births and deaths, that it is caused by desires and the activities of the senses, that it is responsible for the evolution of beings from one stage to another and that it is possible to reverse the bondage caused by law of karma through various means".
"The traditional view of Hinduism has been that karma is a body of obligatory duties, rites and rituals, we are expected to perform as a part of our social, moral, family and personal responsibilities."
- Nitya karma. These are the daily sacrifices, such as the morning, afternoon and evening prayers and the five kinds of sacrificial offering of food (ahuta, huta, prahuta, bali, brahmayuta, prasita). Technically, whatever duties that we are supposed to perform as human beings, come under this category such as bathing, eating, praying, sleeping and so on.
- Naimittika karma. These are the duties that are to be performed on specific occasions, such as festivals, solar and lunar eclipses, the various samskaras such as upanayana, marriage, funeral rites and so on.
- Kamyakarma. These are the optional duties that we perform in order to realize a particular goal or wish, such as going to a pilgrimage, educating one's children, buying some property, performing a sacrificial rite wishing to attain heavenly life and so on.
"Since no human being can escape the law of karma, it leaves us with anxiety, especially when we know that we cannot live without performing actions and our actions would result in consequences for ourselves and our future. When we know that the consequences of our actions may go beyond this life, we become even more concerned as we are not even sure how they are going to effect our future."
"......we can reverse the consequences of our actions through the grace and intervention of God."
After going through the various types of Yoga as a means of purifying action, exhausting karma and achieving God-realization, they conclude as follows: "Awareness of the law of karma is an important step in the religious life of any individual. Karma is responsible for our becoming and being. Our problems of existence and the law of karma becomes active only when we enter into the state of beingness. Through karma we perpetuate this state of beingness and create our own future existence. Karma is supposed to be a corrective mechanism, meant to refine us gradually through our own actions, but since we are not perfect masters, we do it rather clumsily, like blind people trying to carve a statue out of a stone. When we realize that our thoughts, intentions and actions lead to our bondage and suffering, we become more responsible in what we do and how we live. We aim to lead divine centered lives, in which our main objective would be to free ourselves from the consequences of our own actions, without escaping from our duties and responsibilities. The murma (secret) of karma (action) is to consecrate both our actions and their fruit to our personal God and cultivate purity (sattva), devotion (bhakti), equanimity and other divine qualities enumerated in the Bhagavadgita to become qualified for our liberation. The law of karma makes it abundantly clear that the solution to our liberation lies in our hands and how we go about it is left to ourselves."
The above exposition is just gross disinformation, or lies. Before I examine what they wrote, you must divest yourself of certain religious traits like 'blind faith' and 'surrender'. These are obstacles to the awakening process in which the only guideline really is.....QUESTION EVERYTHING! You just cannot innocently believe anymore. That is a weakness which is dutifully exploited by predators, religionists and politicians alike. Religion is a virus! Religion is guilty of programming human computers with malware or fake paradigms which cause 'people' to waste their lives in barren activities. Your attention is diverted into blind alleys while the real causes of your misfortunes and other experiences in life go unexamined. The people do all to get in God's good books, and then blame him, not the rulers, when things fall apart. People do not benefit spiritually from them because their knowledge-seeking capacity has been blocked or seriously compromised. The only way out of this barren state is to climb out of it and launch into an awakened state. One has to dump the theories and practices of religion, free up your brain-computer and free up your time. To do so one has to overcome the fear of betraying God and fear of the unknown. One has to also get rid of the urge to hang on to 'crutches' as one walks through life's environments and interactions. You have to create your own anti-virus and malware remover from the truths you know, or will know when you pursue it. Every bit of truth you discover removes a bit of malware within you. The more truth you discover, the more malware is removed. There is no higher pursuit in life than to remove all the malwares in your consciousness, so you, the soul, can get the fresh eyes to discover the ingredients required to take full charge of your body and your life. If you don't travel in this direction then you are traveling in directions dictated by your programmers and mind controllers. The time spent on prayer, worship, rituals and certain spiritual practices is the time that should be spent on ferreting out the truth from all possible search sources. This is what research is. Research is enquiry into the truth of the 'matrix' you live in. Research alone can give you an insight into 'what is' and 'what can be'.
Meditation cannot give you a flow of knowledge on a subject if you don't have the required basic knowledge on that subject. Meditation programs turn out to be barren exercises because of the accent on feeling good by stress relief and because its practitioners not being interested in acquiring knowledge by research. Any soul-centering exercise will energise the consciousness and produce harmony. Workers who concentrate notice this, and notice how quickly the time flies! The consciousness leaves its add-ons and extensions, which dilute its essence, and dwells on itself. Yet, that is just the beginning of the meditation highway. Meditation is the doorway to downloading knowledge from a source or dimension that has it, whether this be the Causal world of ideas, the Supersoul or God. Knowing the subject-matter of the field which you are going to meditate on is a pre-requisite. Non-knowledge meditation cannot be expected to result in a flow of ideas. But, it has its uses! Meditation by darksiders is nothing more than mental entertainment, complete with the hallucinations called 'astral travel'. Darksiders also say that they are meditating when their 'mental gazing' or 'eyeball-reading' involves live feeds from the collective darkside or satan. I have called this 'eyeball-reading' because the darkside/bacteria combo in the eyeballs transmit satan's 'inspiration'. Research on how to take care of the body is a good starting point for research. This knowledge, when practicalised, will give you the extra years you need to live as a soul, and to discover the maximum truth. You will learn how to defeat the biggest trojan/malware in your body: the darkside/ bacteria combination. This self-discovery is a necessary beginning in living life as a soul. The effect of fully becoming the soul can only be obtained if the causes of not being the soul are dealt with. This means fighting back against the dark side within and outside. They are both the same! There is no law of karma in operation which helps you or victimises you. You live in a world wherein darkside predators rule by force and deception. You live among darkside predators of different genders and potencies. What is called 'Civilisation' is just the evil vs good war with a modern flavor.