THE Kaushîtaki-upanishad, or, as it is more properly called, the Kaushîtaki-brâhmana-upanishad, belongs, like the Aitareya-upanishad, to the followers of the Rig-veda. It was translated into Persian under the title of Kokhenk, and has been published in the Bibliotheca Indica, with Sankarânanda's commentary and an excellent translation by Professor Cowell.
Though it is called the Kaushîtaki-brâhmana-upanishad, it does not form part of the Kaushîtaki-brâhmana in 30 adhyâyas which we possess, and we must therefore account for its name by admitting that the Âranyaka, of which it formed a portion, could be reckoned as part of the Brâhmana literature of the Rig-veda (see Aitareya-âranyaka, Introduction, p. xcii), and that hence the Upanishad might be called the Upanishad of the Brâhmana of the Kaushîtakins.
From a commentary discovered by Professor Cowell it appears that the four adhyâyas of this Upanishad were followed by five other adhyâyas, answering, so far as we can judge from a few extracts, to some of the adhyâyas of the Aitareya-âranyaka, while an imperfect MS. of an Âranyaka in the Royal Library at Berlin (Weber, Catalogue, p.20) begins, like the Aitareya-âranyaka, with a description of the Mahâvrata, followed by discussions on the uktha in the second adhyâya; and then proceeds in the third adhyâya to give the story of Kitra Gângyâyani in the same words as the Kaushîtaki-upanishad in the first adhyâya. Other MSS. again adopt different divisions. In one MS. of the commentary (MS. A), the four adhyâyas of the Upanishad are counted as sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth (ending with ityâranyake navamo 'dhyâyah); in another (MS. P) the third and fourth adhyâyas of the Upanishad are quoted as the fifth and sixth of the Kaushîtakyâranyaka, possibly agreeing therefore, to a certain extent, with the Berlin MS. In a MS. of the Sânkhâyana Âranyaka in the Royal Library at Berlin, there are 15 adhyâyas, 1 and 2 corresponding to Ait. Âr. 1 and 5; 3-6 containing the Kaushîtaki-upanishad; 7 and 8 corresponding to Ait. Âr. 3. Poley seems to have known a MS. in which the four adhyâyas of the Upanishad formed the first, seventh, eighth, and ninth adhyâyas of a Kaushîtaki-brâhmana.
As there were various recensions of the Kaushîtaki-brâhmana (the Sânkhâyana, Kauthuma, &c.), the Upanishad also exists in at least two texts. The commentator, in some of its MSS., refers to the various readings of the Sâkhâs, explaining them, whenever there seems to be occasion for it. I have generally followed the text which is presupposed by Sahkarânanda's Dîpikâ, and contained in MSS. F, G (Cowell, Preface, p. v), so far as regards the third and fourth adhyâyas. According to Professor Cowell, Vidyâranya in his Sarvopanishadarthânubhûtiprakâsa followed the text of the commentary, while Sankarâkârya, if we may trust to extracts in his commentary on the Vedânta-sûtras, followed the other text, contained in MS. A (Cowell, Preface, p. v).
The style of the commentator differs in so marked a manner from that of Sankarâkârya, that even without the fact that the author of the commentary on the Kaushîtaki-upanishad is called Sankarânanda, it would have been difficult to ascribe it, as has been done by some scholars, to the famous Sankarânanda. Sankarânanda is called the teacher of Mâdhavâkârya (Hall, Index, p. 98), and the disciple of Ânandâtma Muni (Hall, Index, p. 116).
I have had the great advantage of being able to consult for the Kaushîtaki-upanishad, not only the text and commentary as edited by Professor Cowell, but also his excellent translation. If I differ from him in some points, this is but natural, considering the character of the text and the many difficulties that have still to be solved, before we can hope to arrive at a full understanding of these ancient philosophical treatises.