Katopanishad Session 1

Inspirations from Talks by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda

Session 1 - Introduction

Katopanishad is named after kAtaka Rishi through whom the Upanishad was revealed. Hence sometimes it is called KAtakOpanishad.
Anubandha catushtaya – four aspects of a text one must know before taking up study of a text.

1.       Vishaya – Subject matter
2.       Adhikari – Fit student/ eligibility
3.       Prayojana – benefit of study
4.       Sambandha – relation between the vishaya and the text or prayojana
  • These will be dealt in the text itself
Upanishad means Vedanta. It is found in all 4 Vedas. This Upanishad is in Krishna Yajur Veda.
  • Upanishad shabdena vidyA uchyate| Upanishad means Brahmavidya, Knowledge of Self
  • Since the book contains & reveals this Knowledge by secondary meaning (gauna) book is also called upanishad (granthe tu bhaktya)
Here, Knowledge is presented as a dialogue between Guru and Shishya.

Who is Yamaraj? Or Dharma raj? One who lives a disciplined life and disciplines others. One who is established in righteousness. For all of us too, righteousness must control our life.
Om Namo bhagavate  vaivasvatAya mrityave brahmavidyAchAryAya nachiketase cha
Shankaracharya ji invokes the grace of both Guru and shishya. Only time where he salutes the disciple in his bhashya. Normally disciple goes to Guru in the same world; in Deva loka also Indra and Virochana went to BrahmA ji for Brahmavidya. But here we find Nachiketas go to Yamaloka, get Knowledge, come back and give to others.

Upanishad shabda

SadE: dAtoh: visharana- gati- avasAdana- arthasya, upa- ni- purvasya, kvip-pratyaya-antasya rUpam Upanishad iti
  • Upa – near; ni – with determination nischayena; sad – sit – That is to sit near a Guru after approaching duly with keen determination to know the Self.
  • Students’s stand point:
1.       Student must approach humbly and eager to learn
2.       Must go with determination and conviction & sit at Guru’s Lotus Feet
  • Sad –
1.       avasAdane – this knowledge causes destruction of ignorance
2.       Visharane – loosens all bondages ( agnividya api Upanishad – since it leads to svarga where pain is less and bondage is weakened)
3.       Gamayati – leads to Brahman through Knowledge
  • Teacher’s stand point:
o   Teacher gives Knowledge of something so near to us (of upadrashta)
o   Teachers gives with nischaya, ‘na atah param asti’
  • Thus upanishad shabda itself indicates Anubandha catushtaya
  • God alone brings such a Guru & Shishya together. Study begins with shanti mantra

Shanti mantra

 सह नाववतु  सह नौ भुनक्तु  सहवीर्यं करवावहै 
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु  मा विद्विषावहै 
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः 

Sham – to quieten; Peace / cessation. Peace invocation is chanted to bring about cessation of all obstacles/difficulties that can happen during jnAna vyApar.
Om – Vedic mantras start with the name of paramAtma. Om is the vachika pratIka of para and apara brahman; ishta devata can also be meditated up on OM.
o   Om iti eka aksharam brahma – encompasses all sounds/names and hence all objects
o   Om iti Brahma| Om iti sarvam
  • ØBoth pray together for rakshanam and pAlanam
o   Longing for knowledge and devotion to Guru must be protected – bhAva rakshanam
o   Noble virtues required for this Knowledge must be nourished – this will be known through N’s character; Bhuj – to enjoy; they must enjoy together the effort and result of this Knowledge
o   Vidya-svarupa-prakashanena rakshanam – Protection by giving clear comprehension of Knowledge;  phala-prakashanena poshanam – Nourishment by giving the result of Knowledge
  • Ø  May we put forth our best efforts together for nissamshaya jnana (clarity & abidance)! If wood is wet, it doesn’t catch fire immediately; similarly only when one is dried of worldly desires he catches fire of K and burns away ignorance. VIryam – samarthyam - medha uhApoha, May the Supreme bless us with abilities such as retention, logical analysis, etc.
  • Ø  Our Knowledge should be bright and brilliant –
o   Reception, Comprehension, Retention, communication, abidance
o   Life must become in accordance with that Knowledge
o   Knowledge should be ever unforgotten & ever available
  • Ø  May we not dislike each other or have any prejudice even by inadvertence.
  • Ø  Shanti is chanted thrice to appease obstacles from seen, unseen sources & from ourselves. Biggest obstacle a student can face is loss of faith!

Thus the shanti mantra summarizes ideal teach/student relationship & teaching methodology – May Lord protect us; so we enjoy the study; so we can put effort for study; guarantee the result - clarity (tejas); clarity expresses as eternal love & care & gratitude for Guru coming from within heart of the student.

Key takeaways:

Righteousness must control our life.


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