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:

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.


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 : 


Exit mobile version