Sunday 7 September 2014


2014-36 Katha Upanishad : Teaching: 1] Good  and Pleasant   2] Arise! Awake!

What is an Upanishad?  It literally means "sitting down near": that is, at the feet of an illuminated teacher in an intimate session of spiritual instruction. The Upanishads record such sessions of inspired teachings.  They are Darshana, "something seen". The students to whom they were taught were expected not only to listen to the words but to realize them. That is, to make their truths an integral part of character, conduct and consciousness.

"When a person dies, there arises this doubt: "He still exists," say some; "he does not," say others. I want you to teach me the truth." 

Thus, asks Nachiketha, the ideal student, of Yama, the ideal teacher, in the Katha Upanishad [KU 1.1.20]. "Now that I have seen your face, " he says to Yama, "what can I enjoy?" 

Nachiketa represents the capacity latent in all of us to face that grim awareness and use it as a drive to deepening consciousness.  [Eknath Easwaran The Upanishads]

What I learnt from the Katha Upanishad (कठ उपनिषद्) on the Art of Living:

1] Good[श्रेय:] and Pleasant[प्रेय:]

Man has the choice of the path of the good and the path of the pleasant.
The wise man examines them both and discriminates. 
The wise man prefers the good to the pleasant. 
The foolish man chooses the pleasant through love of bodily pleasure.   [Katha U 1.2.2]

श्रेयः च  प्रेयः च  मनुष्यं एतः                         
sreya: cha preya: cha manushyam etah: 
तौ सम्परीत्य विविनक्ति धीरः ।
thou sampareetya vivinakthi dheerah: |
श्रेयो हि धीरः अभि प्रेयसो वृणीते                                                     
sreyo hi dheera: abhi preyaso vruNeethe
प्रेयो मन्दो योगक्षेमात् वृणीते ॥                                                              
preyo mando yoga kshemath vruNeethe ||             [Katha U 1.2.2]

2] Arise! [उत्तिष्ठत]  Awake! [जाग्रत]
Arise, Awake [from the slumber of ignorance] !  
Approaching the wise teachers, realize the Ultimate Truth
For, that path is sharp as a razor’s edge, 
impassable, and hard to go by, say the wise.       [Katha U 1.3.14]
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत 
uthishtatah jaagratha
प्राप्य वरान् निबोधत ।       
praapya varaan nibodhatha |    
क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया
kshurasya dhaaraa nisithaa durathyaa
दुर्गं पथः तत् कवयो वदन्ति  ||
durgam patha: that kavayo vadanthi ||                    [Katha U 1.3.14]


Swami Vivekananda's clarion call "Arise, Awake" originated from the Katha Upanishad

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