It seems unhelpful to review the substance of a spiritual text, so here I want to focus on the impact the book had on me to help other readers determine if they want to have a similar experience.
When I was in high school we used as textbooks special versions of Shakespeare’s texts. On one side was the text itself. On the other side was a kind of contemporary Pop Up Video commentary explaining the cultural and literary references made by Shakespeare. That marginalia was so useful in understanding Shakespeare’s playfulness with language, historical allusions, and more. It enriched the text for me and kept me watching and reading Shakespeare for decades to come.
This edition of The Upanishads reminds me of that wonderful experience. In this particular book, Eknath Easwaran and Michael Nagler provide brief but illuminating explanations of each section of this spiritual text. Just like in high school, these contextual notes provided me with a deeper understanding of the text and its context and implications. However, the reader can skip over the commentary and read the various Upanishads uninterrupted if they wish.
If you’re interested in reading this collection, my suggested order is to read the introductory materials at the beginning of the book for the Upanishads as a whole, read an Upanishad (shortish individual sections – this book is a collection of them) and THEN go back and read to the introductory material for that given section. That way you can take what you can individually and then try to understand more about it through others’ interpretations. Or maybe mix up the order a bit with each one to find out what works best for you.