Katopanishad Session 9
Inspirations from Talks by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda
Om Namo bhagavate vaivasvatAya mrityave brahmavidyAchAryAya nachiketase cha
The more Yamaraj discouraged, the more encouraged Nachiketas felt. So many objects that cannot be gained in the realm of mortals, were displayed but Nachiketas was unperturbed. His Viveka and Vairagya were very clear. Indulgence only destroys our vitality, all pleasures are temporary but bondages are permanent; long life too is short ultimately; and so not worth!!!
Being mortal he had been lucky to reach the immortals who are not subject to old age and death, and knowing they are capable of giving great things; why ask for petty?
abhidhyAyan – considering all what they could give and also knowing the limitations of things
varnaratipramOdAn – all pleasurable things, that delight mind & senses through colours/complexions, etc.
All enjoyments are only nerve tickling sensations, after which the person is left high and dry. Which intelligent person will want to live long? Sorrows of long life are too many…
Another version of sloka has kva tadAsthAh?
Kva – how? TadAstha – (tad + Asthah) – humans absorbed in things and beings. Meaning how can I become like one who is preoccupied with enjoyments of things and beings and ask for such things?
Even in this world we see those immersed in serious study/research of science, literature etc. not interested in parties or other enjoyments.
यस्मिन्निदं विचिकित्सन्ति मृत्यो
यत्साम्पराये महति ब्रूहि नस्तत् ।
योऽयं वरो गूढमनुप्रविष्टो
नान्यं तस्मान्नचिकेता वृणीते ॥ २९॥
“O Mrtyu Bhagavan! Please tell us that which pertains to the other world (sAmparAyE), about which people have doubt, that knowledge of great result (mahatI).”
To summarise, Upanishad itself says “Other than this boon pertaining to the knowledge which has entered into gUdam, Nachiketas does not seek any other boon even in mind”.
The answer to this question is, Atma can be found in gUdam which means deep/ inaccessible recess i.e. in the buddhi of those people who have realized it.
Summary of 1.2
We can gather anubandha-catushtaya from this verse:
- Vishaya – Subject matter is Atma jnana which is evident from third question
- PrayOjana – Result is Moksha i.e total freedom from all bondages and sufferings
- Sambandha - Relationship – Knowledge is direct means of gaining the result so sAdana sAdhya sambandha exists between vishaya and the result
- AdhikAri – fit qualified student. Shruti gave us a clear demonstration of adhikAri lakshana through the character of Nachiketas throughout this first section. In VedAntic language adhikari is one who is endowed with four fold qualifications, they are:
a. Viveka – Ability to analyse and discriminate what is impermanent and permanent/ real and unreal.
b. Vairagya – dispassion for anitya vastu. This is born of viveka and they complement each other.
c. Shat sampathi – our six fold real inner wealth of virtues and
d. Mumukshutvam – the burning desire for liberation which is the actual motivating factor
- Apart from these, Nachiketas also demonstrated:
o Tremendous medhA shakti
o Objective introspection
o Clarity in what he wanted which is especially important for youth in this day and age.
Varastu me varanIyas sa eva I must get his boon alone. Thus Nachiketas stood steadfast even when person like Yamaraj ji is dissuading and tempting. In our case, either we do not know what we should choose and even if we know, we do not have the courage to take it up and even if we do, we have no great altar of dedication and so performance is not great.
Everybody is born with a capital of samskArAs and get some from our family, society and company we keep. Nachiketas was born with a good capital and was also born in a great family lineage, but we wonder how it became so intense. This is the necklace of grace presented by Yamaraj. When grace of Guru and God descends then only Viveka and Vairagya becomes strong and intense.
We need not be dejected comparing ourselves with Nachiketas. Bhagavad Gita says ‘UddharEt AtmanA AtmAnam na AtmAnam avasAdayet’ Lift yourself by yourself, do not despair! Do not degrade yourself!
We already have these qualities in potential, unmanifest form, in more or less degrees, and whatever we have achieved in life is because we have used these consciously or unconsciously.
We generally use our thinking faculty only in known fields, to decide whether to live in this country or that, which job, which college, subject, should I marry?, etc. We discriminate only between objects of this world and that too not fully consciously.
Nachiketas has raised the bar to an optimum level for us. We now have a standard of judgement. If our purushArtha is there, and we invoke 2G grace (that of God & Guru), it is possible. No need to be disheartened. Just put efforts to cultivate. Today I may not be like Nachiketas but I am and I can also realize.
- Either we do not know what we should choose and even if we know, we do not have the courage to take it up and even if we do, we have no great altar of dedication and so performance is not great.
- Everybody is born with a capital of samskArAs and get some from our family, society and company we keep.
- When grace of Guru and God descends then only Viveka and Vairagya becomes strong and intense.
- We already have these required qualities in potential, unmanifest form, in more or less degrees, and whatever we have achieved in life is because we have used these consciously or unconsciously.
- If our purushArtha is there, and we invoke 2 G grace, it is possible.
- Today I may not be like Nachiketas but I am and I can also realize.