Essence of Katha Upanishad :Part 4C of 4: -The Concluding Part-

Nachiketas at the door of Death

Preface: Patience is essential to read this article:

  • The article is based on my studies, my concept, my thoughts on the subject. It is further supplemented  with my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE. I can be reached at : arun7663@gmail.com

Introduction: Death is a Teacher:

Katha Upanishad (Kathopanishad) is one among ten principal Upanishads and part of Krishna Yajurveda. Katha Upanishad consists of two Adhayas (Chapters). Each Chapter has three Vallis (sections). This is a legendary story of a little boy Nachiketas, barely ten years old, son of Sage Vajasravasa (also known as sage Gautama), who meets Yama (The Death God in Hindu philosophy). Through conversation, Yama reveals Supreme Knowledge to Nachiketas, the knowledge of the nature Atman and the path to gain Wisdom,  Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Earlier I have published Valli-1 to Valli-3 of Book-1 and Valli-1, Valli-2 of Book-2. The links are given below:-

1.Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-1 of 4

2.Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-2 of 4

3.Essence of Katha Upanishad: Part-3 of 4

4.Essence of Katha Upanishad : Part-4A of 4

5.Essence of Katha Upanishad :part 4B of 4

In this final part, I will discuss in details on BOOK-2; Valli -3.

The entire Sanskrit version of Katha Upanishad (Sanskrit Mantras) are available in this site: Link is Here:

Glorify The Supreme:

In the previous chapters we have seen that Lord Yama has answered to all the boons of Nachiketas, where Third Boon was the main for attaining Supreme “Brahman”. In the Book-2, Section-2, we have seen that answer to the Third Boon has two distinct stages for the attainment of The Supreme.

  1. Sadhana: The path where the seeker struggles for Self improvement.
  2. Attainment of the Goal of Non-Duality.

In this final section we will see the Glorious Vision of Life:

Eternal creation is a Tree:

Mantra-2.3.1: Eternal creation is a Tree, having its roots above and branches below; This is the ancient Ashwattha (peepul) Tree. That is verily Purity Itself, living in all things and beyond. That is Brahman. That is also called the Immortal. In That rest all the worlds; and none can Transcend That. This is verily That!

The “Terror of the Thunderbolt”!

Mantra-2.3.2: This whole Universe, with whatever is in it, emerges from Brahman and vibrates with Prana. It instils great terror, hangs like a thunderbolt overhead. Those who know this become Immortal.

Order in the Cosmos!

Mantra-2.3.3: For fear of Him, Fire burns; for fear of Him, the SUN shines; for fear of Him rain pours, proceed Indra and Vayu; for fear of Him proceeds Death, the Fifth (Panchamah).

Rebirth continues until Realization.

Mantra-2.3.4: If one does not succeed in realizing Him, before the fall of the Body, then in the worlds of created things, a rebirth for the Body is ordained.

“Four Worlds of Reality”

Mantra-2.3.5: As in the mirror, so it is within one’s own Self; as in a dream, so in the world of forefathers; as in a reflection seen in water, so in the world of the Gandharvas; as between light and shade, so in the world of Brahma.

The Dissimilarity of the Senses & Self:

Mantra-2.3.6: Having known, the senses does not belong to the Self, but to the Elements; as also their rising and setting, and that they all have separate origins, the man of intelligence does not come to grief.

Steps from Sense Organs towards Total Mind:

Mind is above Sense:

Mantra-2.3.7: The mind is superior to the sense organs; the intellect is superior to the mind; Nature (“Mahat”) is superior to the intellect; the Unmanifested is superior to the Nature(“Mahat”).

Ladder from Total Mind(Hiranyagarbha) to Attriubuteless Brahman:

Mantra-2.3.8: But superior to the Unmanifested is the Purusha; who is unconditioned,  filling all things and indeed without attributes, knowing whom, a man becomes freed and moves towards Immortality.

No Eye can see Him, nor has He a face to be seen:

Mantra-2.3.9: His Form does not exist within the range of vision; none can behold Him with eyes(senses). But, through Meditation, by controlling the mind with the Intellect, He can be found in the Feart (By intuition is He revealed ).Those who know this become Immortal.

Total withdrawal of the Senses:

Mantra-2.3.10: When mind and senses are at rest, when the discrimination of the Intellect is finished, when the “Five” come to rest, the Five senses together with the mind, and the intellect, too stops its functioning, that state (state of intuition) is said to be the highest, the Final Condition.

Yoga Brings – A Quite Mind:

Mantra-2.3.11: That is Yoga, declare the wise ones, where there is firm control over the senses, and one is freed from the fluctuations of the mind. When that condition is reached, the Yogi can do no wrong. Before it is reached, Yoga seems union and again disunion.

The Final Gate into Eternity:

Mantra-2.3.12: He can not be known through Discourse, nor through speech, nor through mind, nor through the eye can It be attained. Apart from Him who speaks of It as ” He Exists” finds Him. How can a man who does not believe so find Him?

Faith Earns Favour to go Further:

Mantra-2.3.13: i) The Self should be realized first as ” It Exists”; and then, ii) as ” It Really is” in essence. Of these two, when “It Exists” is believed or accepted on faith, then ” It Really is ” become more favourable to one, the Truth dawns.

When the Desires of Heart is finished, it becomes Immortal:

Mantra-2.3.14: When the desires are given up totally, man still in the Body, is united with the Self and the mortal becomes Immortal, and he attains Brahman even here, while living.

 This alone is the Law:

Mantra-2.3.15: When the knot of the heart is cut, the mortal becomes Immortal. This alone is the Teaching.

[Above Mantra has an inner meaning. Knot of the Heart is symbolical. It is meant to separate Ego from the Consciousness.]

Mantra-2.3.16: A hundred and one in number are the channels of the Heart; Of them, towards the crown of the Head passes through one of them (the Sushumna). Going up through that channel, one gets Immortality. The others that have different directions, become the causes of Death.

Final Teaching

Mantra-2.3.17: God, the innermost Self, Of the size of the Thumb, the Purusha, the indwelling Self, is ever seated in the hearts of men. One should separate Him from One’s body; as the arrow maker strip the reed. Him, one should know as pure and Immortal. Him, one should know as pure as Immortal.

Conclusion of the Upanishad

Mantra-2.3.18: Nachiketas has been instructed by Lord Yama. He attained the Knowledge of the Self and also the whole process of Yoga. A knower of Brahman, free from all impurities, he has become freed forever from the grip of Death. Any other seeker, too, can become the same if he knows the inner Self in the same way.

Peace Mantra:

Mantra-2.3.19: May He protect us both ( by revealing knowledge)! May He take pleasure in us both! May we show courage together! May Spiritual Knowledge shine before us. May we never hate one another! OM! Peace, Peace and Peace be everywhere.

Conclusion:

Failure to comprehend the Essential Unity of Being is the Cause of Rebirth.

Why do we take rebirth or otherwise we can say we move from death to death. Why? It is due to wish of fulfilling desires that remain till death. But if we can realize the True Reality of the Self, the Eternal Self, from whom everything manifests, the desires get vanished, get dried up. All desires melt is the light of the Self. This is Nirvana. Nachiketas wanted to know, what happens to the Souls after death. Lord of Death ” Yama ” explained the reality through conversations between them. That is the Essence of Katha Upanishad.

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  4. Commentary of Katha Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Katha Upanishad: By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. Commentary of Mandukya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  9. MANDUKYA Upanishad By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  10. A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
  11. Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya: 
  12. Information available on internet.

It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me. Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is :   arun7663@gmail.com 

 

Published by

Arun Singha

Retired from AIRPORTS AUTHORITY OF INDIA as Dy. General Manager (CNS).BSc(Mathematics Honors). Age 60years. Studying ancient Indian Philosophy along with modern physics and modern Biology. Follow Dr. Bruce H Lipton, Dr. JOE DISPENJA , Gregg Braden and Swami Sarvapriyananda among others. Writing consolidated articles on Upanishads, Advaita Vedanta and other ancient Indian Texts. Wish to work for the society to help people through personal guidance, motivation. Self has work experience of 36 years in the field of Air Navigation Service at different Airports in India. Gained vast experience in handling man and machine. Would like to reach to the people to share my life experiences, how I had overcome great challenges and difficulties at different times and positions.

19 thoughts on “Essence of Katha Upanishad :Part 4C of 4: -The Concluding Part-”

  1. Your blog is a gift for people who have queries in these areas but don’t know, to whom they can ask… So well articulated articles, you have shared.

    I am grateful to be a follower of your website 🙂🙏

    1. Thank you so much Malvika. It is a support for me that you have said. Ultimately these Texts are for higher knowledge and Swami Vivekananda took these Essence to the west for first time. Extreme happiness is there in this knowledge. Thanks again for your support and encouragement. Best wishes. 🙏😊

  2. Sir, The sketching of Lord Yama and Nachiketas is represented with perfect pictorial illustrations. I do not wish to bore you with routine appraisals which will not do justice to this empowering epic. But some places made me ponder deeply such as the mantra on eternal creation which has connotations similar like an Isavasya Upanishad mantra –
    om pūrṇamadaḥ, pūrṇamidam, pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate, pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate. Translation – Om. That is the whole, this is the whole; from the whole, the whole becomes manifest; taking away the whole from the whole,the whole remains.

    Secondly, Mantra 2.3.10 talks about withdrawal of the senses, which is common in the event of natural death as well. The only difference is that soul dissolves during the final condition for reaching higher self, whereas the soul transmigrates to another form when a person dies. Brahma Sutra 3.1.1 mentions creation of rudimentary body just before death. Brahma Sutra (chapter 3 verse) – Tadantarapratipattau ramhati samparishvaktah prasnanirupanabhyam.
    So can we understand death is divinely process which is the reason for its ritualistic in nature?
    When you observe desires are the stumble block to become immortals, but Nachiketas was adamant that he needs to know the answer to what happens after death? Was he impulsive or feeding his quest for thoughts? How to comprehend his eagerness. I truly appreciate your inputs and my hearty pranams.

    1. Thank you so much for your elaborative replies.
      1) First of all, the sketch has been drawn by my niece. I sent her original drawing copied from net.
      2) As you said, Mantra 2.3.10: from Kathoponishad, yes, you are right. In the Deep sleep, all the senses come to rest and we feel nothing. Next morning, again after waking, all senses return. The scholar says that in deep sleep our ignorance stays back which also wakes up. Deep sleep is also one kind of death. But, but if we can withdraw the senses in waking condition, then we can have “jivan mukti,” even in this life, now and here it self. Or else the death and birth will continue till the senses are withdrawal for permanent in awaking , alert and knowingly.
      3) 3.1.1 of Brahmasutra: I referred the book by Swami Gambhirananda, the physical book I do have. It is about the Departure of the body. As we know that after leaving this body the subtle body will take route according to its ultimate conditions, wishes in the last body. Untill and unless the body is going beyond causal, this transmigration will continue. That is what i understood.
      4) For the story of Nachiketas, I also understand this way that the Higher Self is teaching the lower Self this Highest Truth through the conversation. It is the same Self, teaching us through stories. We have to understand the underlying Truth of this story.

      Thank you so much for your elaboration. I will contact you later on to seek some advice regarding publishing my book, once the Ten Principal Upanishads are published here( as simplified herein blog).
      I need your suggestion and guidance.
      Stay blessed always. Thank you so much for your support.
      Best wishes.😊🙏

      1. Thank you for your detailed explanation and happy to receive inputs from you. I’ll look forward to your other works and really thankful for your consideration of my thoughts on Vedanta knowledge. Please let me know how to be part of your upcoming book. Pranam 🙏😌

        1. Thank you so much for your support. I will write you separately seeking suggestions for necessary preparations for publishing book. It will be something like *Upanishads simplified* All that I have published will be integrated into one. That is my wish.
          Thank you so much for your support 😊

  3. Again a very thoughtful and informative post. To understand about leaving this body and which route it takes…these subjects are very deep and difficult to understand. Kudos to you for providing this knowledge to us. 😊😊🙏🏻🙏🏻

    1. Thank you so much Anita Ji for sharing your thoughts on the subject.
      We need support and encouragement on these deep studies. You are also devoted in this path of Enlightenment. We are in the same path.
      We have a group of members who did a course on Upanishad. Every Sunday we meet in Google meet for more than 2 hours and present our topic of the day.
      Before that I prepare my presentation and discuss on it.
      Thereafter I publish it here in WordPress. They are all devoted to this Vedanta Darshan.
      Thank you so much for your comments which gives me support.
      Regards 😊🙏

      1. Yes, Arun Ji, I am devoted in this path of enlightenment but I understand that I can’t understand so many things in Upnishad. But my intensions and mind are pure enough in my effort to grasp it.
        It’s so nice to know that you have so much knowledge and understanding on this subject.
        My support is always there for you and I am learning so much from you here.😊🙏

        1. Thank you so much for your support and thanks for appreciation too. We will obviously learn more and more from the sacred Texts.
          You can send me your queries on Upanishads to my WhatsApp number too. I will be happy to interact.
          My WhatsApp number is +919438426139.
          My best regards.😊🙏🙏

          1. Thanks Arun Ji. This journey of understanding about these texts has just started for me. I will surely contact you for my queries. Thanks for your support.😊😊

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