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The Upanishads: Katha Upanishad

  • Merin Kyo Den
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17 Apr 2008 09:02 #13754 by Merin Kyo Den
The Upanishads: Katha Upanishad was created by Merin Kyo Den
Invocation
Om. May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon
us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy
to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the
Truth! May we cherish no ill feeling toward each other!
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!

Katha Upanishad

Part One
Chapter I

1
Vajasravasa, desiring rewards, performed the Visvajit sacrifice,
in which he gave away all his property. He had a son named
Nachiketa.
2—3
When the gifts were being distributed, faith entered into the
heart of Nachiketa, who was still a boy. He 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.
4
He said to his father: Father! To whom will you give me? He
said this a second and a third time. Then his father replied:
Unto death I will give you.
5
Among many I am the first; or among many I am the
middlemost. But certainly I am never the last. What purpose of
the King of Death will my father serve today by thus giving me
away to him?
6
Nachiketa said: Look back and see how it was with those who
came before us and observe how it is with those who are now
with us. A mortal ripens like corn and like corn he springs up
again.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 4
7
Verily, like fire a brahmin guest enters a house; the
householder pacifies him by giving him water and a seat. Bring
him water. O King of Death!
8
The brahmin who dwells in a house, fasting, destroys that
foolish householder’s hopes and expectations, the reward of his
intercourse with pious people, the merit of his kindly speech,
the good results of his sacrifices and beneficial deeds and his
cattle and children as well.
9
Yama said: O Brahmin, salutations to you! You are a venerable
guest and have dwelt in my house three nights without eating;
therefore choose now three boons, one for each night, O
Brahmin! May all be well with me!
10
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 the three boons.
11
Yama said: Through my favour, your father, Auddilaki Aruni,
will recognise you and be again toward you as he was before.
After having seen you freed from the jaws of death, he will
sleep peacefully at night and bear no anger against you.
12—13
Nachiketa said: In the Heavenly World there is no fear
whatsoever. You, O Death, are not there and no one is afraid of
old age. Leaving behind both hunger and thirst and out of the
reach of sorrow, all rejoice in Heaven.
You know, O Death, the Fire—sacrifice, which leads to
Heaven. Explain it to me, for I am full of faith. The inhabitants
of Heaven attain immortality. This I ask as my second boon.
14
Yama said: I know well the Fire—sacrifice, which leads to
Heaven and I will explain it to you. Listen to me. Know this
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 5
Fire to be the means of attaining Heaven. It is the support of the
universe; it is hidden in the hearts of the wise.
15
Yama then told him about the Fire, which is the source of the
worlds and what bricks were to be gathered for the altar and
how many and how the sacrificial fire was to be lighted.
Nachiketa, too, repeated all this as it had been told him. Then
Yama, being pleased with him, spoke again.
16
High—souled Death, being well pleased, said to Nachiketa: I
will now give you another boon: this fire shall be named after
you. Take also from me this many—coloured chain.
17
He who has performed three times this Nachiketa sacrifice,
having been instructed by the three and also has performed his
three duties, overcomes birth and death. Having known this
Fire born of Brahman, omniscient, luminous and adorable and
realised it, he attains supreme peace.
18
He who, having known the three, has performed three times the
Nachiketa sacrifice, throws off, even here, the chains of death,
overcomes grief and rejoices in Heaven.
19
This, O Nachiketa, is your Fire—sacrifice, which leads to
Heaven and which you have chosen as your second boon.
People will call this Fire by your name. Now, O Nachiketa,
choose the third boon.
20
Nachiketa said: There is this doubt about a man when he is
dead: Some say that he exists; others, that he does not. This I
should like to know, taught by you. This is the third of my
boons.
21
Yama said: On this subject even the gods formerly had their
doubts. It is not easy to understand: the nature of Atman is
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 6
subtle. Choose another boon, O Nachiketa! Do not press me.
Release me from that boon.
22
Nachiketa said: O Death, even the gods have their doubts about
this subject; and you have declared it to be not easy to
understand. But another teacher like you cannot be found and
surely no other boon is comparable to this.
23
Yama said: Choose sons and grandsons who shall live a
hundred years; choose elephants, horses, herds of cattle and
gold. Choose a vast domain on earth; live here as many years as
you desires.
24
If you deem any other boon equal to that, choose it; choose
wealth and a long life. Be the king, O Nachiketa, of the wide
earth. I will make you the enjoyer of all desires.
25
Whatever desires are difficult to satisfy in this world of
mortals, choose them as you wish: these fair maidens, with
their chariots and musical instruments — men cannot obtain
them. I give them to you and they shall wait upon you. But do
not ask me about death.
26
Nachiketa said: But, O Death, these endure only till tomorrow.
Furthermore, they exhaust the vigour of all the sense organs.
Even the longest life is short indeed. Keep your horses, dances
and songs for yourself.
27
Wealth can never make a man happy. Moreover, since I have
beheld you, I shall certainly obtain wealth; I shall also live as
long as you rule. Therefore no boon will be accepted by me but
the one that I have asked.
28
Who among decaying mortals here below, having approached
the undecaying immortals and coming to know that his higher
needs may be fulfilled by them, would exult in a life over long,
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 7
after he had pondered on the pleasures arising from beauty and
song?
29
Tell me, O Death, of that Great Hereafter about which a man
has his doubts.
Chapter II
1
Yama said: The good is one thing; the pleasant, another. Both
of these, serving different needs, bind a man. It goes well with
him who, of the two, takes the good; but he who chooses the
pleasant misses the end.
2
Both the good and the pleasant present themselves to a man.
The calm soul examines them well and discriminates. Yea, he
prefers the good to the pleasant; but the fool chooses the
pleasant out of greed and avarice.
3
O Nachiketa, after pondering well the pleasures that are or
seem to he delightful, you have renounced them all. You have
not taken the road abounding in wealth, where many men sink.
4
Wide apart and leading to different ends are these two:
ignorance and what is known as Knowledge. I regard you, O
Nachiketa, to be one who desires Knowledge; for even many
pleasures could not tempt you away.
5
Fools dwelling in darkness, but thinking themselves wise and
erudite, go round and round, by various tortuous paths, like the
blind led by the blind.
6
The Hereafter never reveals itself to a person devoid of
discrimination, heedless and perplexed by the delusion of
wealth. \"This world alone exists,\" he thinks, \"and there is no
other.\" Again and again he comes under my sway.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 8
7
Many there are who do not even hear of Atman; though hearing
of Him, many do not comprehend. Wonderful is the expounder
and rare the hearer; rare indeed is the experiencer of Atman
taught by an able preceptor.
8
Atman, when taught by an inferior person, is not easily
comprehended, because It is diversely regarded by disputants.
But when It is taught by him who has become one with Atman,
there can remain no more doubt about It. Atman is subtler than
the subtlest and not to be known through argument.
9
This Knowledge cannot be attained by reasoning. Atman
become easy of comprehension, O dearest, when taught by
another. You have attained this Knowledge now. You are,
indeed, a man of true resolve. May we always have an inquirer
like you!
10
Yama said: I know that the treasure resulting from action is not
eternal; for what is eternal cannot be obtained by the non—
eternal. Yet I have performed the Nachiketa sacrifice with the
help of non—eternal things and attained this position which is
only relatively eternal.
11
The fulfilment of desires, the foundation of the universe, the
rewards of sacrifices, the shore where there is no fear, that
which adorable and great, the wide abode and the goal—all this
you have seen; and being wise, you have with firm resolve
discarded everything.
12
The wise man who, by means of concentration on the Self,
realises that ancient, effulgent One, who is hard to be seen,
unmanifest, hidden and who dwells in the buddhi and rests in
the body—he, indeed, leaves joy and sorrow far behind.
13
The mortal who has heard this and comprehended it well, who
has separated that Atman, the very soul of dharma, from all
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 9
physical objects and has realised the subtle essence, rejoices
because he has obtained that which is the cause of rejoicing.
The Abode of Brahman, I believe, is open for Nachiketa.
14
Nachiketa said: That which you see as other than righteousness
and unrighteousness, other than all this cause and effect, other
than what has been and what is to be—tell me That.
15
Yama said: The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all
austerities aim at and which men desire when they lead the life
of continence, I will tell you briefly: it is Om.
16
This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. This syllable is the
Highest. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he
desires.
17
This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever
knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma.
18
The knowing Self is not born; It does not die. It has not sprung
from anything; nothing has sprung from It. Birthless, eternal,
everlasting and ancient, It is not killed when the body is killed.
19
If the killer thinks he kills and if the killed man thinks he is
killed, neither of these apprehends aright. The Self kills not, nor
is It killed.
20
Atman, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden
in the hearts of all living creatures. A man who is free from
desires beholds the majesty of the Self through tranquillity of
the senses and the mind and becomes free from grief.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 10
21
Though sitting still, It travels far; though lying down, It goes
everywhere. Who but myself can know that luminous Atman
who rejoices and rejoices not?
22
The wise man, having realised Atman as dwelling within
impermanent bodies but Itself bodiless, vast and all—
pervading, does not grieve.
23
This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, or by
intelligence, or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained
by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Atman reveals
Its own form.
24
He who has not first turn away from wickedness, who is not
tranquil and subdued and whose mind is not at peace, cannot
attain Atman. It is realised only through the Knowledge of
Reality.
25
Who, then, knows where He is—He to whom Brahmins and
kshattriyas are mere food and death itself a condiment?
Chapter III
1
Two there are who dwell within the body, in the intellect, the
supreme akasa of the heart, enjoying the sure rewards of their
own actions. The knowers of Brahman describe them as light
and shade, as do those householders who have offered oblations
in the Five Fires and also those who have thrice performed the
Nachiketa sacrifice.
2
We know how to perform the Nachiketa sacrifice, which is the
bridge for sacrificers; and we know also that supreme,
imperishable Brahman, which is sought by those who wish to
cross over to the shore where there is no fear.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 11
3
Know the atman to be the master of the chariot; the body,
chariot; the intellect, the charioteer; and the mind, the reins.
4
The senses, they say, are the horses; the objects, the roads. The
wise call the atman—united with the body, the senses and the
mind—the enjoyer.
5
If the buddhi, being related to a mind that is always distracted,
loses its discriminations, then the senses become uncontrolled,
like the vicious horses of a charioteer.
6
But if the buddhi, being related to a mind that is always
restrained, possesses discrimination, then the senses come
under control, like the good horses of a charioteer.
7
If the buddhi, being related to a distracted mind, loses its
discrimination and therefore always remains impure, then the
embodied soul never attains the goal, but enters into the round
of births.
8
But if the buddhi, being related to a mind that is restrained,
possesses discrimination and therefore always remains pure,
then the embodied soul attains that goal from which he is not
born again.
9
A man who has discrimination for his charioteer and holds the
reins of the mind firmly, reaches the end of the road; and that is
the supreme position of Vishnu.
10—11
Beyond the senses are the objects; beyond the objects is the
mind; beyond the mind, the intellect; beyond the intellect, the
Great Atman; beyond the Great Atman, the Unmanifest;
beyond the Unmanifest, the Purusha. Beyond the Purusha there
is nothing: this is the end, the Supreme Goal.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 12
12
That Self hidden in all beings does not shine forth; but It is seen
by subtle seers through their one—pointed and subtle intellects.
13
The wise man should merge his speech in his mind and his
mind in his intellect. He should merge his intellect in the
Cosmic Mind and the Cosmic Mind in the Tranquil Self.
14
Arise! Awake! Approach the great and learn. Like the sharp
edge of a razor is that path, so the wise say—hard to tread and
difficult to cross.
15
Having realised Atman, which is soundless, intangible,
formless, undecaying and likewise tasteless, eternal and
odourless; having realised That which is without beginning and
end, beyond the Great and unchanging—one is freed from the
jaws of death.
16
The wise man who has heard and related the eternal story of
Nachiketa, told by Death, is adored in the world of Brahman.
17
And he who, practising self—control, recites the supreme
secret in an assembly of Brahmins or at a after—death
ceremony obtains thereby infinite rewards. Yea, he obtains
infinite rewards.
Part Two
Chapter I
1
Yama said: The self—existent Supreme Lord inflicted an injury
upon the sense—organs in creating them with outgoing
tendencies; therefore a man perceives only outer objects with
them and not the inner Self. But a calm person, wishing for
Immortality, beholds the inner Self with his eyes closed.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 13
2
Children pursue outer pleasures and fall into the net of
widespread death; but calm souls, having known what is
unshakable Immortality, do not covet any uncertain thing in
this world.
3
It is through Atman that one knows form, taste, smell, sounds,
touches and carnal pleasures. Is there anything that remains
unknown to Atman? This, verily, is That.
4
It is through Atman that one perceives all objects in sleep or in
the waking state. Having realised the vast, all—pervading
Atman, the calm soul does not grieve.
5
He who knows the individual soul, the experiencer of the fruits
of action, as Atman, always near and the Lord of the past and
the future, will not conceal himself from others. This, verily, is
That.
6
He verily knows Brahman who knows the First—born, the
offspring of austerity, created prior to the waters and dwelling,
with the elements, in the cave of the heart. This, verily, is That.
7
He verily knows Brahman who knows Aditi, the soul of all
deities, who was born in the form of Prana, who was created
with the elements and who, entering into the heart, abides
therein. This, verily, is That.
8
Agni, hidden in the two fire—sticks and well guarded—like a
child in the womb, by its mother—is worshipped day after day
by men who are awake and by those who offer oblations in the
sacrifices. This, verily, is That.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 14
9
Whence the sun rises and whither it goes to set, in whom all the
devas are contained and whom none can ever pass beyond—
This, verily, is That.
10
What is here, the same is there and what is there, the same is
here. He goes from death to death who sees any difference
here.
11
By the mind alone is Brahman to be realised; then one does not
see in It any multiplicity whatsoever. He goes from death to
death who sees multiplicity in It. This, verily, is That.
12
The Purusha, of the size of a thumb, dwells in the body. He is
the Lord of the past and the future. After knowing Him, one
does not conceal oneself any more. This, verily, is That.
13
The Purusha, of the size of a thumb, is like a flame without
smoke. The Lord of the past and the future, He is the same
today and tomorrow. This, verily, is That.
14
As rainwater falling on a mountain peak runs down the rocks in
all directions, even so he who sees the attributes as different
from Brahman verily runs after them in all directions.
15
As pure water poured into pure water becomes one with it, so
also, O Gautama, does the Self of the sage who knows.
Chapter II
1
There is a city with eleven gates belonging to the unborn
Atman of undistorted Consciousness. He who meditates on
Him grieves no more; liberated from the bonds of ignorance, he
becomes free. This, verily, is That.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 15
2
He is the sun dwelling in the bright heavens. He is the air in the
interspace. He is the fire dwelling on earth. He is the guest
dwelling in the house. He dwells in men, in the gods, in truth,
in the sky. He is born in the water, on earth, in the sacrifice, on
the mountains. He is the True and the Great.
3
He it is who sends prana upward and who leads apana
downward. All the devas worship that adorable One seated in
the middle.
4
When the soul, identified with the body and dwelling in it, is
torn away from the body, is freed from it, what then remains?
This, verily, is That?
5
No mortal ever lives by prana, which goes up, nor by apana,
which goes down. Men live by something different, on which
these two depend.
6
Well then, Gautama, I shall tell you about this profound and
eternal Brahman and also about what happens to the atman
after meeting death.
7
Some jivas enter the womb to be embodied as organic beings
and some go into non—organic matter—according to their
work and according to their knowledge.
8
He, the Purusha, who remains awake while the sense—organs
are asleep, shaping one lovely form after another, that indeed is
the Pure, that is Brahman and that alone is called the Immortal.
All worlds are contained in Him and none can pass beyond.
This, verily, is That.
9
As the same non—dual fire, after it has entered the world,
becomes different according to whatever it burns, so also the
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 16
same non—dual Atman, dwelling in all beings, becomes
different according to whatever It enters. And It exists also
without.
10
As the same non—dual air, after it has entered the world,
becomes different according to whatever it enters, so also the
same non—dual Atman, dwelling in all beings, becomes
different according to whatever It enters. And It exists also
without.
11
As the sun, which helps all eyes to see, is not affected by the
blemishes of the eyes or of the external things revealed by it, so
also the one Atman, dwelling in all beings, is never
contaminated by the misery of the world, being outside it.
12
There is one Supreme Ruler, the inmost Self of all beings, who
makes His one form manifold. Eternal happiness belongs to the
wise, who perceive Him within themselves—not to others.
13
There is One who is the eternal Reality among non—eternal
objects, the one truly conscious Entity among conscious objects
and who, though non—dual, fulfils the desires of many. Eternal
peace belongs to the wise, who perceive Him within
themselves—not to others.
14
The sages realise that indescribable Supreme Joy as \"This is
That.\" How can I realise It? Is It self—luminous? Does It shine
brightly, or not?
15
The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor
these lightnings—not to speak of this fire. He shining,
everything shines after Him. By His light all this is lighted.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 17
Chapter III
1
This is that eternal Asvattha Tree with its root above and
branches below. That root, indeed, is called the Bright; That is
Brahman and That alone is the Immortal. In That all worlds are
contained and none can pass beyond. This, verily, is That.
2
Whatever there is—the whole universe—vibrates because it has
gone forth from Brahman, which exists as its Ground. That
Brahman is a great terror, like a poised thunderbolt. Those who
know It become immortal.
3
From terror of Brahman, fire burns; from terror of It, the sun
shines; from terror of It, Indra and Vayu and Death, the fifth,
run.
4
If a man is able to realise Brahman here, before the falling
asunder of his body, then he is liberated; if not, he is embodied
again in the created worlds.
5
As in a mirror, so in the buddhi; as in a dream, so in the World
of the Fathers; as in water, so Brahman is seen in the World of
the Gandharvas; as in light and shade, so in the World of
Brahma.
6
Having understood that the senses have their separate origin
and that they are distinct from Atman and also that their rising
and setting belong to them alone, a wise man grieves no more.
7
Beyond the senses is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect,
higher than the intellect is the Great Atman, higher than the
Great Atman is the Unmanifest.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 18
8
Beyond the Unmanifest is the Person, all—pervading and
imperceptible. Having realised Him, the embodied self
becomes liberated and attains Immortality.
9
His form is not an object of vision; no one beholds Him with
the eye. One can know Him when He is revealed by the
intellect free from doubt and by constant meditation. Those
who know this become immortal.
10
When the five instruments of knowledge stand still, together
with the mind and when the intellect does not move, that is
called the Supreme State.
11
This, the firm Control of the senses, is what is called yoga. One
must then be vigilant; for yoga can be both beneficial and
injurious.
12
Atman cannot be attained by speech, by the mind, or by the
eye. How can It be realised in any other way than by the
affirmation of him who says: \"He is\"?
13
He is to be realised first as Existence limited by upadhis and
then in His true transcendental nature. Of these two aspects,
Atman realised as Existence leads the knower to the realisation
of His true nature.
14
When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the
mortal becomes immortal and here attains Brahman.
15
When all the ties of the heart are severed here on earth, then the
mortal becomes immortal. This much alone is the teaching.
Source: \"The Upanishads - A New Translation\" by Swami Nikhilananda in four volumes 19
16
There are one hundred and one arteries of the heart, one of
which pierces the crown of the head. Going upward by it, a
man at death attains immortality. But when his prana passes out
by other arteries, going in different directions, then he is reborn
in the world.
17
The Purusha, not larger than a thumb, the inner Self, always
dwells in the hearts of men. Let a man separate Him from his
body with steadiness, as one separates the tender stalk from a
blade of grass. Let him know that Self as the Bright, as the
Immortal—yea, as the Bright, as the Immortal.
18
Having received this wisdom taught by the King of Death and
the entire process of yoga, Nachiketa became free from
impurities and death and attained Brahman. Thus it will be also
with any other who knows, in this manner, the inmost Self.

End of Katha Upanishad

Peace Chant
Om. May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon
us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy
to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the
Truth! May we cherish no ill feeling toward each other!
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!

Invocation
Om. That is full; this is full. This fullness has been projected
from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness,
all that remains is fullness.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!

Namaste,
~Merin~

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