In the House of Death: Story of a Boy-Nachiketas: Part-2

Introduction: Death is a Teacher:

Please read the first part of this story: The link is here: In the House of Death: Story of a Boy-Nachiketas: Part-1

This is the second part of the legendary story of a little boy Nachiketa, barely ten years old, son of Sage Vajasravasa , who meets Yama (The Death God in Hindu philosophy). Through conversation, Yama reveals Supreme Knowledge to Nachiketa, the knowledge of the nature of Self (Atman) and the path to gain Wisdom, for Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Text is lengthy, since all the dialogs are covered to get the Essence of Katha Upanishad. Readers are requested to read with patience. My efforts will be successful, if you like the content.

Yama: Lord of Death!  In short, I address here as Death!

Death said: ” This question has been discussed by the gods, it is deep and difficult. Choose another gift, Nachiketa! Do not be hard. Do not be hard. Do not compel me to explain.

Nachiketa said: ” Death! you say that the gods have discussed it, that it is deep and difficult; what explanation can be good as yours?

Death tempts Nachiketa a bit more: 

Death said: ” Take sons and grandsons, all long lived, cattle and horses, elephants and gold, take a great kingdom. Anything but this; wealth, long life, Nachiketa! Empire, anything whatever; satisfy the heart’s desire. Pleasure beyond reach, fine women with carriages, their musical instruments; mount beyond dreams; enjoy! But do not ask what lies beyond death”

Nachiketa said: “Destroyer of man! these things pass. Joy ends enjoyment, the longest life is short. keep those horses, keep singing and dancing, keep it all for yourself. Wealth cannot satisfy a man. If he but pleases you, master of all, he can live as long as he likes, get all he likes; but I will not change my gift. What man, subject to death and decay, getting the chance of Un decaying life, would still enjoy mere long life, thinking of copulation and beauty. Say where man goes after death; end all that discussion. This, which you have made so mysterious, is the only gift I will take.”

Two Paths in Human Life: ” The Good and the Pleasant” # SREYAS & PREYAS Sreyas is Vidya(wisdom), and Preyas is Avidya (ignorance).

Death said: ” The good is one, the pleasant another; both command the Soul. Who follows the good, attains sanctity, who follows the pleasant, drops out of the race. Every man faces both. The mind of the wise man draws him to the good, the flesh of the fool drives him to the pleasant.

Lord Yama praises Nachiketas’s discrimination:

Death Continues: Nachiketa! Having examined the pleasures, you have rejected them; turned from the vortex of life and death. Diverging roads: One called ignorance, the other Wisdom. Fools brag of their knowledge; proud, ignorant, dissolving, blind led by the blind, staggering to and fro. What can the money-maddened simpleton know of the future? ” This is the only world” cries he thinks there is no other, I kill him again and again. Some have never heard of the Self, some have heard of the Self, some have heard but cannot find Him. Who finds Him is a world’s wonder, who expounds Himis world’s wonder, who inherits Him from his Master is a world’s wonder. No man of common mind can teach Him; such men dispute one against another. But when the uncommon man speaks, dispute is over. Because the Self is a fine substance, He slips from the mind and deludes imagination. Beloved! logic brings no man to the Self. Yet when a wise man shows Him, He is found. Your longing eyes are turned towards reality.

Lord Yama’s attainment, when He was young:

Lord Yama continues: Would that I had always such a pupil. because man cannot find the Eternal through passing pleasure, I have sought the Fire in these pleasures and, worshipping that alone, found the Eternal. Nachiketa! The fulfilment of all desire, the conquest of the world, freedom from fear, unlimited pleasure, magical power, all were yours, but you renounced them all, brave and wise man. ” The wise, meditating on God, concentrating their thought, discovering in the mouth of the cavern, deeper in the cavern, that Self, that ancient Self, difficult to imagine, more difficult to understand, pass beyond joy and sorrow. The man that, hearing from the Teacher and comprehending, distinguishes nature from the Self, goes to the source; that man attains joy, lives for ever in that joy. I think, Nachiketa! your gate of joy stands open.”

Nachiketa asked: ” what lies beyond right and wrong, beyond cause and effect, beyond past and future?”

The Goal of all Spiritual efforts- “OM”

Death said: “The word the Vedas extol, austerities proclaim, sanctities approach- that word is OM! ” That word is eternal Spirit, eternal distance, who knows it attains to his desire. ” That word is the ultimate foundation. who finds it is adored among the saints. “The Self knows all, is not born, does not die, is not the effect of any cause; is Eternal, self-existent, spelt AUM, perishable, ancient. How can the killing of the body kill Him? He who thinks that He kills, he who thinks that He is killed, is ignorant. He does not kill nor is He killed. ” The Self is lesser than the least, greater than the greatest. He lives in all hearts. When senses are at rest, free from desire, man finds him and mounts beyond sorrow. though sitting, he travels, though sleeping is everywhere. Who but I Death can understand that God is beyond joy and sorrow. Who knows the Self, bodiless among the embodied, unchanging among the changing, prevalent everywhere, goes beyond sorrow. “The Self is not known through discourse, splitting of hairs, learning however great; He comes to man He loves; takes that man’s body for His own. “The wicked man is restless, without concentration, without peace; how can he find Him, whatever his learning? He has made mere preachers and soldiers His food, death its condiment; how can a common man find Him?”

Let us put it mathematically: “smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest”. Suppose n is a number, and we consider two loops. n=n+1 and n=n-1 in two different cases.
case 1. n+1> n; in the loop n=n+1, n approaches to ∞ (infinity)
case 2. n-1 < n; in the loop n=n-1, n approaches to zero; ε (epsilon) but ≠ 0. This example will just help to imagine the vastness of Brahman.
Planck length, the smallest in size = 1.6 x 1035 meters. Planck time, the smallest time = 1044seconds. Volume of the observable Universe is 3.566×1080 m3

Conclusion:

एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ब्रह्म : = This word alone is verily “Saguna Brahman”. एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं परम्: = This word alone is verily the “Nirguna Brahman”. This syllable AUM(ॐ) is indeed Brahman. This syllable is the Highest, Eternal. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. एतदालम्बनं ज्ञात्वा ब्रह्मलोके महीयते : = This word is the ultimate foundation. Who finds it is adored among saints.

ब्रह्म` ~ “Brahman” : The Principal word in Upanishad: What is That?

Brahman: IT is That which is Absolute, fills all space, is complete in Itself, to which there is no second and which is continuously present in everything, in every being and everywhere. It is homogeneous in nature.

 

Important Reads related to this article

  1. The Four Great Sayings of Vedas:
  2. The Divine Art!!!
  3. THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS:

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 

 

In the House of Death: Story of a Boy-Nachiketas: Part-1

Introduction:-

This is a legendary story of a little boy Nachiketas, barely ten years old, son of Sage Vajasravasa. Nachiketa meets Yama (The Death God in Hindu philosophy) and get answers of his question: ‘What is Death?”

Through conversation, Lord Yama reveals “Supreme Knowledge” to Nachiketa, the knowledge of the nature Atman and the path to gain Wisdom,  Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Sage Vajasravasa wished to perform a sacrifice called Vishwajit (Sarva Dakshina), meaning victory over the whole universe. Through such sacrifice, the performer aims to gain the fruit of gaining a higher world and enjoy the pleasures there. (Vajasrava means a Giver). The boy faced wrath of his father after completion of sacrificial fire , when he found there was fault in the part of his father. As such the boy was offered to Yama, by his father in anger.

Finally he got the desired knowledge from Yama when he exhibited “Mumukshautva” (intense desire to seek Wisdom) and Vairagya(dispassion for all worldly pleasures).

The Story in details:-

Sage Vajasravasa, desiring Heaven, rewards, performed the Visvajit sacrifice, in which he gave away all his property as gift[Dakshina]. He had a son by name Nachiketa.

Gifts not worth the name:

When the gifts were being distributed, Nachiketa, who was still a boy said to himself: Joyless, surely, are the worlds to which he goes who gives away cows no longer able to drink, to eat. to give milk, or to calve. He went to his father and said: Father! To whom will you give me? Nachiketa repeated this question second and a third time. At last his father got angry and replied: ‘Unto death I offer you’.

Nachiketa then proceeded to meet the king of Death: “Yama”

Nachiketas at the door of Death

Nachiketa thought: whether I die now or later matters a little. What purpose of the King of Death will my father serve today by thus giving me away to Death? Nachiketa said: Think of those who went before, those that will come after. Man dies and born again like a blade of grass. A mortal ripens like a corn and corn springs up again.

"Man dies and is born again like a blade of grass. This means seed grows only to fall and fall only to grow. This is the cycle of human life because birth and death are correlatives."

Lord Yama’s Instructions on Hospitality: 

Nachiketa went into the forest and sat in meditation within the house of Death. Death king Yama was out of his kingdom on his job. When Death appeared his servant said: Lord! when a holy man enters a house as guest it is as if fire has entered. The wise man cools him down. So bring him water O king of Death!

If a holy man comes into fool’s house and is given nothing, the fool’s family, public and private life, ambitions, reputation, property, hopes alliances, all suffer. Thereupon Lord Yama said to Nachiketa: ‘A guest should be respected. You have dwelt in my house three nights without eating; I bow to you O holy Boy! Take from me three boons[gifts]. Choose now three boons, one for each night, O Brahmin! may all be well with me’!

The First Boon: 

Nachiketa said: ‘O Death! may Gautama, my father, be calm, cheerful and free from anger toward me! may he recognise me and greet me when I shall have been sent home by you! This I choose as the first of three boons’.

Death grants the first boon!

King of Death said:  ‘I will so arrange things, that your father, will recognise and love you as before and he will sleep peacefully at night and his grudge against you will vanish’.

The Second Boon: 

Nachiketa said: ‘ There is no fear in the kingdom of Heaven, because you are not there, nobody there is afraid of old age. man is beyond hunger, thirst and sorrow. You know, O Death! Please explain me what Fire leads to Heaven, show it, I am full of faith. I ask this as my second boon.’

Death said: ‘ I will explain it, listen! find the rock and conquer unmeasured worlds. Listen, for this came out of cavern.’

Death grants the second boon! 

Yama told him that out of Fire comes this world, what bricks and how many go to the alter, how best to build it. Nachiketa repeated all. Death encouraged ran on. I give you another gift. This fire shall be called by your name. Count the links of the chain: 

*Worship the triple  Fire: 1) Knowledge, 2) Meditation, and 3) practice.

*The triple process: 1) Evidence, 2) Inference, and 3) Experience.

* The triple duty: 1) Study, 2) Concentration, and 3) Renunciation.

Understand that everything comes from Brahman. That Brahman alone is sought and found, attain everlasting peace; mount beyond Birth and Death.

***Here, Fire means Energy-

King of Death continued: ‘ When man understands himself, understands Universal self, the union of the two, kindles the triple Fire, offers the sacrifice; then shall he, though still on Earth, break the bonds of Death, beyond sorrow, mount into Heaven.[ **This is liberation, while living on Earth]

The Nachiketa Agni[Fire]:

The perfect sacrifice is explained by Yama.

 Out of fire arises all that exists in the Universe. Mastering this, one gains mastery over any field of human activity, and acquires whatever one desires in terms of worldly prosperity and power. However, it is all within the transitory realm; all gains here are impermanent. Nachiketas very attentively listened and was able to follow what was said. He repeated all that Yama explained. Being happy with Nachiketas, Yama encouraged and said " I will give you another gift. This fire shall be called by your name." And it is known as "Nachiketas Fire". 

‘The Fire that leads to heaven is your second gift, Nachiketa! It shall be named after you. Now choose the third gift.’

The Third Boon: 

The secret of Death!!!

Nachiketa said: ‘Some say that when man dies he continues to exist, others say that he does not. Explain, and that shall be my third gift.’

It is too difficult for you Nachiketa!

Death said: ‘ This question has been discussed by the gods, it is deep and difficult. choose another gift, Nachiketa! Do not be so hard. Do not compel me to explain.

Nachiketa said: ‘Indeed on this matter, even by the gods doubts have been entertained. You also say, O Death, that this principle is not truly comprehendible easily. But a teacher like you can explain this. Another such teacher I shall never find. therefore, I have no option before me but this. No other boon equal to this there be for me to choose!

To continue in the next part….

Third gift was indeed granted and it is a great part of the story, where the words of wisdom are the main essence. To be published in the second part, or else it will be a very lengthy blog.

Interested readers may go through the following post

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

*** This story is from Katha Upanishad. Kathopanishad is part of Krishna Yajurveda and consists of two Chapters. Each Chapter has three sections. This Upanishad is a favourite one in all ages and it is placed in third position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads.

Conclusion:-

Through this dialogue between Nachiketa and Lord of Death, the response of Death has to be observed minutely! Every one is interested to know the secret of Death! But what are the conditions that an aspirant should posses to know the secret. That discussion proceeds from here onwards.

NEXT PART !!..COMING SOON…😊🙏❤️

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 

 

Essence of Katha Upanishad :part 4A of 4

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 belongs to Katha Branch of Krishna Yajurveda. Katha Upanishad is a favorite one in all ages and it is placed in third position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads.

“Kata Upanishad” is divided in two ” parts( Adhyaya). Book-1 & Book-2. I have published  Essence of Book-1 in three parts. 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

In this part, I will discuss in details on BOOK-2; Valli -1

काठकोपनिषदि द्वितीयाध्याये – प्रथमा वल्ली :–

“Path to realization of Atman”

The Nature of Atman: 

Book-2 has 49 verses in total. It is subdivided into three chapters(Valli). This part contains 15 Mantras of Prathama Valli.

Know the Power of Knowledge:– But before that let us know two obstacles to Knowledge.

We the Human face two obstacles in life. Both are obstacles in the path of Enlightenment. They are:——–

a) The External world of Senses.

b) The internal world of Mind. 

BOOK-2 CHAPTER-1 :(Adhyaya-2: Valli-1)

पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत् स्वयम्भू-
    स्तस्मात्पराङ्पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् ।
कश्चिद्धीरः प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्ष-
    दावृत्तचक्षुरमृतत्वमिच्छन् ॥ १॥

Mantra1: Lord of Death Yama Said:” The Self-Existent created the senses out-going, therefore one looks outward, not into the atman within. A rare discriminating man arises, desirous of immortality, sees the atman within.”

Mantra-2: The ignorant man runs after pleasures, sinks into the entanglement of death; but the wise man seeking the immortality, does not run among things that die.

The Cognizer of Sense Experiences:

येन रूपं रसं गन्धं शब्दान् स्पर्शाꣳश्च मैथुनान् । 
एतेनैव विजानाति किमत्र परिशिष्यते । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ३॥

Mantra-3: By , that they are cognized. whatever form, taste, smell, sound, touch and sexual joy one encounters, is by that alone. What is there unknowable to That in this world? This is verily That. (एतद्वै तत् ~This is Mahavakya of this Text)

Witness of the Three States.

Mantra-4: The wise man by meditating upon the all pervading Self, understands the objects of Dream and those of Waking State. That Great Omnipresent Atman, Having realized this , the wise man goes beyond sorrow.

[We may refer Mandukya Upanishad, from where we can know about the different states of Consciousness: 1} Waking, 2) Dreaming, 3) Deep Sleep and 4) Turiya] Interested readers may please read my blog on Mandukya Upanishad:  The Link is Here:-- 

Mantra-4 presents the Self as the Witness of the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep. The Deep Sleep state is not mentioned as no objects are perceived in it. The perceiver is indicated as being the Self.

Mantra-5: He who knows that the enjoyer of this honey is one’s own dear Atman, the sustainer of his life, the Lord of the past and the future, no more thereafter does he ” wish to save himself”

Knowing the Truth, that the Individual Self, the eater of the fruit of action, is the Universal Self, maker of past and future, knows that he has nothing to fear.

Hiranyagarbha ~ Brahman in Subtle Creation:

Mantra-6: He is the “First-Born” of the Austerity of Brahma; He is born prior to the five elements; He enters and take his seat in the heart cavity, in the midst of the elements- He now truly Sees. This is verily That! [एतद्वै तत्]

This means that: the boundless power, source of every power, manifesting Itself as Life, entering into every Heart, living there among the elements, that is Self: “Brahman”

Mantra-7: It is She (Hiranyagarbha) from whom Prana is Born; She is the Enjoyer in the form of the Devas; She enters and takes her seat in the heart of cavity, in the midst of the elements-She is now truly Born. This is verily That![एतद्वै तत्]

The essence of the Mantra-6 & 7 has to be understood minutely.

यः पूर्वं तपसो जातमद्भ्यः पूर्वमजायत । 
गुहां प्रविश्य तिष्ठन्तं यो भूतेभिर्व्यपश्यत । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ६॥

 या प्राणेन संभवत्यदितिर्देवतामयी ।
 गुहां प्रविश्य तिष्ठन्तीं या भूतेभिर्व्यजायत । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ७॥

Mantra: 6 reflects the views in the perspective of Brahman and Mantra:7 views in the perspective of Human in the Earth.

“Hiranyagarbha” is Brahman Himself in a conditioned form. Hiranyagarbha is to be known as ” the First Born”(Poorvam Jaatam). ” Pranena Sambhavati” means from whom Prana is born.

The Tapasvin in Brahman is called Ishwara, which combines with the creative power called Maya at the Causal level. The first fruit of this union is “Hiranyagarbha”, which also is known as “Cosmic Womb” at the subtle level, who represents the Female potential to produce creation.

To understand the concept of Brahman-Ishwara-Hiranyagarbha-Virat(The creation), I request to read my another blog " The Divine Art", the link is here:--

Three types of Worshippers:

अरण्योर्निहितो जातवेदा गर्भ इव सुभृतो गर्भिणीभिः 
। दिवे दिवे ईड्यो जागृवद्भिर्हविष्मद्भिर्मनुष्येभिरग्निः । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ८॥

Mantra-8: Lodged between two pieces of wood(known as Arani), is the Fire of Knowledge that signifies Omniscience. It is like a foetus that is well-protected(nourished), there in womb of pregnant women. Day by day, it is carefully tended and adored(worshipped). i) By the sleepless one (the awakened in his contemplations);ii) by the offers of oblations(the householder) and iii) by the men (Upasakas) who worship triple Fire               (Nachiketas Fire). This is verily That! [एतद्वै तत्]

Here is the mystic meaning of the above Mantra.

In ancient time, Fire was created by the ignition of two sticks-the upper and lower aranis are the two sections of the mathava which ignites fire and keeps it hidden in them. One stick can not generate Fire, but two are necessary. Jatavedas means Agni (Fire). Just as rubbing is necessary to ignite Fire, some sort of igniting force is necessary to manifest Hiranyagarbha. We have Him in us; we carry Him with us always; just as pregnant women carry the foetus in their wombs wherever they go, we move about with Him, and we cannot live without Him. The Agni (Fire) is symbolically worshipped by the householders as the fivefold Agni which has become a Ritual only. People mistake this Agni, Earthly Fire as the real, instead of recognizing it as the Universal Fire. The Agni we worship is a symbol of the Vaishvanara-agni. Prana is Life manifesting itself as energies of various kinds, just as electricity can be manifest as heating or mechanical or other works. This mysterious living Being within individual bodies is That answer to Nachiketas’ question about Hiranyagarbha.

Essence of Mantra-6,7 & 8: The whole of Virat, the gross manifestation, has to be considered as being nothing but Brahman Himself. The same applied earlier to Hiranyagarbha. Now this is extended to include that even Virat too stand for Brahman alone.

Brahman- The Absolute:

Mantra-9: That from which the SUN (Hiranyagarbha) arises, and into which it merges or sets- That upon which depend all the Deities. None ever transcends That (The Supreme Brahman). This is verily That! [एतद्वै तत्]

Brahman is Both Here & Thereafter:

Mantra-10: That which is here is thereafter; whatever is there, is likewise here. He goes from death to death[Transmigrates], who sees any difference between there and here.

One should not differentiate and categorize “Brahman”-the Supreme. Brahman is Non-Dual and therefore can not be differentiated. He can only be known as one Homogenous Whole. He is both ” There and Here” . He is both in conditioned and unconditioned state. He is transcendent as well as immanent respectively. He is beyond as well as within.

Train your Mind that– there is but ONE; he  who divides the ONE, moves from Death to Death.

Mantra-11: This is to attained through the Mind alone; There is no diversity here whatsoever. He goes from death to death; who sees any difference between “Here & There”.

The “Thumb-Sized Brahman”

Why and whom to fear?

Mantra-12: The Purusha of the size of a thumb; resides in the middle(core) of the body. He is the Lord of the past and future; knowing Him one does not fear thereafter. This is verily That! [एतद्वै तत्]

Mantra-13: The Purusha of the size of a thumb; is like a light without smoke. He is the Lord of the past and future. He Exists today, and He will exist tomorrow. This is verily That! [एतद्वै तत्]

Mantra-14: Just as water rained on inaccessible height, gets dispersed as it runs to lower regions; so also one who perceives the selves differently, cannot avoid running after them endlessly.

The Self of the wise men remains pure.

Mantra-15: Just as pure water when into pure ; it is poured, it becomes verily pure water only; so also the pure thoughts of men of knowledge, poured on the Self, remain pure, O Gautama.


  *काठकोपनिषदि द्वितीयाध्याये - प्रथमा वल्ली*

पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत् स्वयम्भू-
    स्तस्मात्पराङ्पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् ।
कश्चिद्धीरः प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्ष-
    दावृत्तचक्षुरमृतत्वमिच्छन् ॥ १॥

पराचः कामाननुयन्ति बाला-
    स्ते मृत्योर्यन्ति विततस्य पाशम् ।
अथ धीरा अमृतत्वं विदित्वा
    ध्रुवमध्रुवेष्विह न प्रार्थयन्ते ॥ २॥

येन रूपं रसं गन्धं शब्दान् स्पर्शाꣳश्च मैथुनान् ।
एतेनैव विजानाति किमत्र परिशिष्यते । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ३॥

स्वप्नान्तं जागरितान्तं चोभौ येनानुपश्यति ।
महान्तं विभुमात्मानं मत्वा धीरो न शोचति ॥ ४॥

य इमं मध्वदं वेद आत्मानं जीवमन्तिकात् ।
ईशानं भूतभव्यस्य न ततो विजुगुप्सते । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ५॥

यः पूर्वं तपसो जातमद्भ्यः पूर्वमजायत ।
गुहां प्रविश्य तिष्ठन्तं यो भूतेभिर्व्यपश्यत । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ६॥

या प्राणेन संभवत्यदितिर्देवतामयी ।
गुहां प्रविश्य तिष्ठन्तीं या भूतेभिर्व्यजायत । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ७॥

अरण्योर्निहितो जातवेदा गर्भ इव सुभृतो गर्भिणीभिः ।
दिवे दिवे ईड्यो जागृवद्भिर्हविष्मद्भिर्मनुष्येभिरग्निः । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ८॥

यतश्चोदेति सूर्योऽस्तं यत्र च गच्छति ।
तं देवाः सर्वेऽर्पितास्तदु नात्येति कश्चन । एतद्वै तत् ॥ ९॥

यदेवेह तदमुत्र यदमुत्र तदन्विह ।
मृत्योः स मृत्युमाप्नोति य इह नानेव पश्यति ॥ १०॥

मनसैवेदमाप्तव्यं नेह नानाऽस्ति किंचन ।
मृत्योः स मृत्युं गच्छति य इह नानेव पश्यति ॥ ११॥

अङ्गुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषो मध्य आत्मनि तिष्ठति ।
ईशानं भूतभव्यस्य न ततो विजुगुप्सते । एतद्वै तत् ॥ १२॥

अङ्गुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषो ज्योतिरिवाधूमकः ।
ईशानो भूतभव्यस्य स एवाद्य स उ श्वः । एतद्वै तत् ॥ १३॥

यथोदकं दुर्गे वृष्टं पर्वतेषु विधावति ।
एवं धर्मान् पृथक् पश्यंस्तानेवानुविधावति ॥ १४॥

यथोदकं शुद्धे शुद्धमासिक्तं तादृगेव भवति ।
एवं मुनेर्विजानत आत्मा भवति गौतम ॥ १५॥

  इति काठकोपनिषदि द्वितीयाध्याये प्रथमा वल्ली ॥

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.

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