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 

 

Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7B

THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE

Introduction: Seventh Chapter:

The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many verses including some stories as themes to gain Upanishadic knowledge. 

**This Upanishad directly deals with the true nature of Brahman, the Supreme Self, without a second.

ChAndogya Upanishad consists of Eight chapters. The first five chapters forms the part of Karma Kanda and Upasana Kanda. Chapter- 6, 7 and 8 form the part of Jnana Kanda.

 There are 24 sections in Chapter Seven. Here we will discuss on Chapter-7, Section-7 to Section-12 to learn profound knowledge through a dialog between: Narada (the disciple) and Sage Sanatkumar, where knowledge has been imparted in steps. Each step itself is a kind of meditation. Crossing each step, one can go higher and higher and finally to the Infinity, beyond which there is nothing. That is unlimited and immortal. 

First part of Chapter-7 has been published in my blog, where Section 1 to Section 6 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7A

The essence of the Teaching is: – The Infinite Bliss ~ “Bhumaiva Sukham”

Journey:-    Gross → Subtle → Causal → Absolute

A request to my readers: Please read my previous posts on ChAndogya Upanishad, especially 6th chapter. Links are given below:

  1. Chapter Six: Section-1 to Section-4(Khanda-1 to Khanda-4). The link is here:  Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6
  2. Chapter Six: Section-5 to Section-8(Khanda-5 to Khanda-8). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6
  3. Chapter Six: Section-9 to Section-16(Khanda-9 to Khanda-16). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6C of 6[END OF 6TH CHAPTER]

॥ छान्दोग्योपनिषत्  –  सप्तमोऽध्यायः ॥

Structure of 7th Chapter!

Mathematically, consider "Name" as an elementary set and it is subset of Speech. In this way each step are to be considered as subset of the next. Finally, all the subsets become elements of Universal set. Each stage has its significance and important to live life. Please try to understand the concept.

Part-2: Section: 6-8 (Total 6 Mantras): “DHARMA-the Universal Law”

Mantra-6.2.2: What is above Contemplation?

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Contemplation”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, than contemplation, there is something greater.”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Section-7: “Vijnaanam”- Wisdom [2 Mantras]

Mantra-7.1: What is above Contemplation?

Mantra-7.1.1 Wisdom [understanding] is above Contemplation.

**Note:   Understanding of scriptures is necessary for contemplation. Through understanding, one achieves Wisdom.

Mantra-7.1.2: All sciences are understood by Wisdom.

Wisdom is above Contemplation. By wisdom alone can the Rig- Veda be understood. This is true for the Yajur Veda, Saama Veda, Atharva Veda as the fourth. the History and Puranas as the fifth, the Veda of Vedas-grammar, the rules for the worship of ancestors, mathematics, the science of portents, the science of treasures, logic, the science of ethics, the science of gods, the ancillary knowledge of the Vedas, physical science, the science of War, the science of the stars, the science related to serpents, the fine arts(celestials)

Mantra-7.1.3: All elements and Creatures are understood.

By Wisdom also understood the following subjects: All Elements: Air and Space, Water and Fire, gods and men, all creatures such as animals and birds, grasses and trees, beasts down to worms, flying insects and ants.

Mantra-7.1.4: All values, Food and Worlds are understood.

By wisdom we understand merit and demerit (all values) true and false, good, and bad, pleasant, and unpleasant, food and drink, this World and the next.

Mantra-7.1.5: Therefore, worship Wisdom.

Mantra- 7.2: Beyond Wisdom:

Mantra-7.2.1: Fruit gained by Wisdom.

Who worships Wisdom as Brahman, attains all knowledge and experience, moves within the limits of its subject, as it may please him, provided he worships Wisdom as nothing but Brahman.

Mantra-7.2.2: What is above Wisdom?

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Wisdom”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, Power is above Wisdom”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Section-8: ” Balaam”- Strength (Power) [2 Verses]

Mantra-8.1.1:  Power (Strength) is above Wisdom.

Mantra-8.1.2: Greatness of a Powerful man:

One powerful man terrifies a hundred wise men.

Mantra-8.1.3:  Power helps on Spiritual Journey from beginning to End:

When man becomes powerful (gains great strength), he rises (gains spiritual power); as he rises, he serves (Karma Yoga). as he serves, he associates with wise (Discipleship), he sees, hears (Sravana), thinks (Manana), knows (Nididhyasana), acts (intense Tapas), and he realizes (Attains Self).

** Note: Power or Strength whatever the word be, “Balaam” is the Sanskrit word. Here strength does not mean just physical strength. Intellectual strength also is to be considered here. 

Mantra-8.1.4:  Power holds everything firm:

Through power we are masters of Earth, sky, heaven, mountain, men, gods, cattle, herbs, trees, beasts, worms, midges, and ants.

Mantra-8.1.5: Therefore, Worship Power.

Mantra-8.2: Beyond Power

Mantra-8.2.1: The Fruit gained from Power.

Who worships power as Brahman, moves within the limits of the powerful, as it may please him, provided he worships power as nothing but Brahman.

** Note: The word Power (or Strength) used here is not just the strength of the Body. It is to be understood as deep inner spiritual Power or strength. The primary means to obtain this power is ” Brahmacharya” [ Brahmacharya- celibacy:-  Right use of energy: sutra 2.38 says ” Brahmacharya pratisthayam viryalabhah”.  It is about controlled and disciplined sex. Brahmacharya does not mean cut off from sex. According to explanations of the above sutras by the scholars it is said that “Virya” , the seminal fluid is our life. If stored properly, it can generate lot of energy. When absorbed into the system it gets transformed into prana. Conserved sexual energy in woman also gets transformed. Seminal fluid gives stamina and strength to the brain and nerves. ## To know more:–Readers are requested to read my post on Ashtanga Yoga: Part-3]

Mantra-8.2.2: Is there anything above Power (Strength)?

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Power”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, than Power there is something above”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Part-3: Section: 9-12 (Total 8 Mantras):                          ” JAGAT-the Universe”

**Note: In part-1, we have seen discussion on levels from Name up to Intelligence. In this part we have seen development of Individual’s potential. In part-2 we have seen development of Principle of righteousness. In the following part, part-3 we will see how the fundamental Elements: Food, Fire and Earth contribute our development in the level of Universe. Here we will learn how to establish connection with the entire manifested Universe. This knowledge will strengthen further for smooth Spiritual journey to reach the Goal.

Section-9: ” Annam”- Food [2 Verses]

Mantra-9.1.1:  Food is above Strength (Power).

Mantra-9.1.2:  Effect of not Eating:

If a man abstains from food for even 10 days, though he may live, he cannot see, hear, think, discriminate, act, or learn.

Importance of Food: This we have seen in many parts of different Upanishads. In Chandagyo Upanishad; Chapter-6; Khanda-7 sage Uddalaka has given lesson to Svetaketu. Please read this section: Link is here: Mantra-7.1: Svetaketu was instructed to Fast:

Mantra-9.1.3:  Effect of Eating:

When he eats, he will see, hear, think, discriminate, act, and know.

Mantra-9.1.4: Therefore, Worship Food.

Mantra-9.2: Beyond Food:

Mantra-9.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Food.

Who worships Food as Brahman, he obtains Food and drink as much as he likes, moves within the limit of all that eat, as it may please him, provided he worships food as nothing but Brahman.

Mantra-9.2.2: Is there anything above Power (Strength)?

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Food”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, than Food, there is something above”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Section-10: ” Aapah”- Water [2 Verses]

** Point to be noted here: The Elements mentioned in the following sections are all equally important. Hence the sequence of superiority may be treated as secondary matter. In the process of creation, all the five basic Elements, from subtle to gross are equally important for the sustenance and maintenance of Life and the Creation.

Mantra-10.1.1:  Water is above Food.

Mantra-10.1.2:  The greatness of Rain.

In absence of Rain, creatures fall sick for lack of food. But when plentiful rain is there, living creatures become joyous, thinking, ” There will be plenty of Food.”

Mantra-10.1.3:  The greatness of Water.

All are images made of Water, Earth, Sky, Heaven, Mountain, Men, gods, cattle, herbs, trees, beasts, down to worms, midges, ants, Worship water.

Mantra-10.1.4:  Therefore, Worship Water.

Mantra-10.2: Beyond Water:

Mantra-10.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Water.

He who worships water as Brahman, he obtains all desires, becomes satisfied, and attains the sphere reached by wate. He is free to act as he wishes. Such is he worships water as nothing but Brahman.

Mantra-10.2.2: Is there anything above Water

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Water”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, than Water, there is something above”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Section-11: ” Tejah”- Energy(Fire) [2 Verses]

Photo by Bradley Hook on Pexels.com

Mantra-11.1.1:  Fire is above Water

Mantra-11.1.2:  Fire (Tejah) produces Rain.

It is this Fire that, having seized the Air, warms up the space. People then say, ” It is hot, it is burning hot, there will be rain surely. Therefore, first we see Fire and then Rain follows.

Mantra-11.1.3:  Lightning flashes before Rain.

Fire creates heat. Heat makes thunder roll, makes lightning strike, whether above or below. People say: ” There is Thunder, it will rain.” It is Fire first, then water!

** Note: ” Tejah” : Commonly we use the word Fire. Sometime the word Light is also used to glorify the Sanskrit word ” Tejah”. This fire is the symbol of knowledge as well as symbol of purity. Fire burns all impurities. 

Mantra-11.1.4:  Therefore, Worship Fire.

Mantra-11.2: Beyond Fire:

Mantra-11.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Fire

Who meditates on Fire as Brahman, becomes bright, attains the receptacles of Light, full of brilliance without darkness; moves within the limits of all that is bright as it may please him, provided he worships Fire as nothing but Brahman.

** Pointes to be noted here: The word Fire may not be alone sufficient to describe “Tejah”. Light also can be used instead. However, this Tejah is meant for SUN. Different Upanishads described the significance of Tejah and SUN. Air, Space, Water, cloud, Rain, lightning etc. all are related in the Solar System. As such SuryaLoka which is none other than BrahmaLoka is the highest world of 14 Worlds (Loka) described in Vedas. Liberation is assured for sadhakas who reaches BrahmaLoka. Of course, this Liberation is “Karma Mukti”, not the “Jivan Mukti”

Mantra-11.2.2: Is there anything above “Tejah”[ Fire]

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Fire”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, than Fire, there is something above”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Section-12:” Aakaashah”- Space” [2 Verses]

Mantra-12.1.1:  Space is above Fire.

Mantra-12.1.2:  Space makes room for everything.

In space, indeed, exist the SUN, the Moon, lightning, Stars and Fire.

Mantra-12.1.3: The Greatness of Space.

Through Space sound travels, through Space one hears, through Space the reply comes. In Space one rejoices, in space another does not rejoice. In Space a thing is born and grows after birth.

Mantra-12.1.4:  Therefore, Worship Space.

Mantra-12.2: Beyond Space:

Mantra-12.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Space.

He, who worships Space as brahman, attains the receptacles of light, free from sorrow, free from bondage, moves within the limits of Space, as it may please him, provided he worships space as nothing but Brahman.

Mantra-12.2.2: Is there anything above “Aakaashah”[Space]

Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Space”?

Sanatkumara:” Yes, there is something above”

Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”

Conclusion:-

The entire chapter is conceptual. Aim is to gain higher knowledge.

Knowledge is gained in stages. The order of knowledge given by Sanatkumara is from Gross to Subtle to Subtlest[finer to finest] and then to Causal. And finally, Causal to Absolute. It must be understood that as the knowledge goes higher, the mastery over the previous knowledge is included in the next stage. See below: How you gain height of knowledge from “Name and Fame” to Ultimate Reality:- 

Next two parts of 7th Chapter will be published soon !!!

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 ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. ChAndogya 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. A-U-M Awakening to Reality: By Dennis Waite***
  9. Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
  10. 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 incredibly 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