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Commentary on the Katha Upanishad

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CHAPTER 1

Section 3: Sadhana

Two Selves

  • 1.3.1
  • ṛtam pibantau sukṛtasya loke guhām praviṣṭau parame parārdhe, chāyā-tapau brahma-vido vadanti, pañcāgnayo ye ca tri-ṇāciketāḥ.
  • Yama: The two who enjoy the fruits of their good works being seated in the cavity of the seat of the Supreme, the knowers of Brahman call them shadow and light, as also the performers of the fivefold fire and those who have propitiated three times the Nachiketa fire.
  • 1.3.2
  • yas setur ījānānām akṣaram brahma yat param, abhayam titīrṣatām pāram nāciketaṁ śakemahi.
  • Yama: We are able to understand both, the Nachiketa fire which is the bridge of all sacrifices (to cross misery) and also the highest, indestructible Brahman, fearless and the refuge for those who wish to cross the ocean of Samsara.

The Parable of the Chariot

  • 1.3.3
  • ātmānaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi, śarīraṁ ratham eva tu: buddhiṁ tu sāradhiṁ viddhi, manaḥ pragraham eva ca.
  • Yama: Know the Atman as the Lord of the chariot, the body as the chariot; know the intellect as the charioteer and the mind again as the reins.
  • 1.3.4
  • indriyāṇi hayān āhur viṣayāṁs teṣu gocarān, ātmendriya-mano-yuktam bhoktety āhur manīṣiṇaḥ.
  • Yama: They say, the senses are the horses and their objects are the roads; the Atman, the senses and the mind united, the wise call the enjoyer.
  • 1.3.5
  • yas tv avijñānavān bhavaty ayuktena manasā sadā, tasyendriyāṇy avaśyāni duṣṭāśvā iva sāratheḥ.
  • Yama: He who has no discrimination and whose mind is always uncontrolled, his senses are not controllable like vicious horses of a driver.
  • 1.3.6
  • yas tu vijñānavān bhavati, yuktena manasā sadā, tasyendriyāṇi vaśyāni sadaśvā iva sāratheḥ.
  • Yama: But he who has understanding and whose mind is always controlled, his senses are under control like good horses of a driver.
  • 1.3.7
  • yas tv avijñānavān bhavaty amanaskas sadā’śuciḥ, na sa tat padam āpnoti saṁsāraṁ cādhigacchati.
  • Yama: But he, who has no discrimination, and whose mind is not under control, and who is always impure, does not reach that goal, but enters into the round of births and deaths.
  • 1.3.8
  • yas tu vijñānavān bhavati samanaskas sadā śuciḥ, sa tu tat padam āpnoti yasmāt bhῡyo na jāyate.
  • Yama: But he, who has understanding, who has his mind always under control, and who is pure, reaches that goal whence he is not born again.
  • 1.3.9
  • vijñānasārathir yastu manaḥ pragrahavān naraḥ, so’dhvanaḥ param āpnoti tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam.
  • Yama: But he who has discerning intelligence as the driver and a well-controlled mind as the reins, reaches the end of his journey, that highest place of Vishnu.

The Order of Progression to the Supreme

  • 1.3.10
  • indriyebhyaḥ parā hy arthā, arthebhyaś ca param manaḥ, manasaś ca parā buddhir buddher ātmā mahān paraḥ.
  • Yama: Beyond the senses are the rudiments of objects, beyond these rudiments is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect, beyond the intellect is the great Self.
  • 1.3.11
  • mahataḥ param avyaktam, avyaktāt puruṣaḥ paraḥ, puruṣān na paraṁ kiñcit: sā kāṣṭhā, sā parā gatiḥ.
  • Yama: Beyond the great (Mahat) is the unmanifested (Avyakta). Beyond the Avyakta is the Purusha, beyond the Purusha there is nothing, that is the end, that is the highest goal.

The Method of Yoga

  • 1.3.12
  • eṣa sarveṣu bhῡteṣu gῡdho’tmā na prakāśate, dṛśyate tvagryayā buddhyā sῡkṣmayā sῡkṣma-darśibhiḥ.
  • Yama: This Atman is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth, but it is seen by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.
  • 1.3.13
  • yacched vāṅ manasī prājñas tad yacchej jñāna-ātmani, jñānam ātmani mahati niyacchet, tad yacchec chānta-ātmani.
  • Yama: Let the wise sink his speech into the mind, the mind into the intellect and the intellect into the Great Atman and the Great Atman into the Peaceful Atman.
  • 1.3.14
  • uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata: kṣurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā; durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti.
  • Yama: Arise, awake, having reached the great (teachers), learn (realise that Atman). Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path, difficult to cross and hard to tread—thus the wise say.
  • 1.3.15
  • aśabdam asparśam arῡpam avyayam tathā arasaṁ nityam agandhavac ca yat anādy anantam mahataḥ paraṁ dhruvaṁ nicāyya tam mṛtyu-mukhāt pramucyate.
  • Yama: He, who has known that which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay, without taste, eternal, without smell, without beginning, without end, beyond the Mahat (great) and unchanging, is freed from the jaws of death.
  • 1.3.16
  • nāciketam upākhyānam mṛtyu-proktaṁ sanātanam, uktvā śrutvā ca medhāvī brahma-loka mahīyate.
  • Yama: A wise man who hears and repeats the ancient story of Nachiketas told by Yama, attains glory in the world of Brahman.
  • 1.3.17
  • ya imam paramaṁ guhyaṁ śrāvayed brahma-saṁsadi, prayataś śrāddha-kāle vā tad ānantyāya kalpate, tad ānantyāya kalpate.
  • Yama: Whoever with devotion recites before an assembly of Brahmins or at the time of Sraddha of forefathers, this highest secret, obtains thereby immortality, obtains immortality.