Heart in the Upaniṣads

Patrick Olivelle


Among the parts of the human anatomy, the heart occupies a central place in Upaniṣadic discourse. It deals with the space within the heart, the veins that run from the heart; with the exact function of the heart and veins, especially during sleep, dream, and wakefulness. At still another level there is the speculation concerning the “cave of the heart” as the bodily location of the immortal “self”. The epistemological function of the heart, especially with regard to memory, is another area of cardiac speculation. This paper addresses several of these issues, focusing on the perceived epistemological function of the heart in relation to memory and meditative contemplation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/RISS-2452

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