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Katha Upanishad - THE UPANISHADS TRANSLATIONS FROM THE...

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Unformatted text preview: THE UPANISHADS TRANSLATIONS FROM THE SANSKRIT WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JUAN MASCARC’) PENGUIN BOOKS THE UPANISHADS of love-longing'. As Tadvanam he should have adoration. All beings will love such a lover of the Lord. Master. You asked me to explain the Upam'shad, the sacred Wisdom. The Upanishad has been explained to you. in truth I have been telling you the sacred teaching concem- mg Brahman. O 336 KATHA UPANISI-IAD PART I VAJASRAVASA gave away all his possessions at a sacrifice; but it was out of desire for heaven. He had a son called Nachiketas who, although he was only a boy, had a vision of faith when the ofierings were given and thus he thought: ‘This Pom. sflefinggfsans that...ars.t99_dam_sive._mflk tidied Weak t6 35* $852.9!.éaielsnatgtnnst..lsad....t9-.a. .vyldfmw" ' And he thought of offering himself, and said to his father: 'Father, to whom will you give me?’ He asked once, and twice, and three times; and then his father answered in anger: ‘I will give you to Death.’ Nachiketas. At the head of many I go. and I go in the midst of many. What may be the work of Death that today must be done through me? Remember how the men of old passed away, and how those of days to come will also pass away: a mortal ripens li-lgegorn, and like corn is born again. '— Nachiketas had to wait three nights without food in the abode of YAMA, the god of death. A Voice. As the spirit of fire a Brahmin comes to a house: bring the offering of water, 0 god of Death. How unwise is the man who does not give hospitality to a Brahmin! He loses his future hopes, his past merits, his present possessions: his sons and his all. Death. Since you have come as a sacred guest to my abode, and you have had no hospitality for three nights. choose then three b00ns. Nachiketas. May my father's anger be appeased, and may 55 yla' THE UPANISHADS he remember me and welcome me when I return to him. Let this be my first boon. Death. By my power your father will remember you and love you as before; and when he sees you free from the jaws of death, sweet will be his sleep at night. Nachiketas. There is no fear' 1n heaven: old age and death are not there. The good, beyond both, rejoice in heaven. beyond hunger and thirst and sorrow And those in heaven attain immortality. You know, 0 Death. that sacred fire which leads to heaven. Explain it to me, since I have faith. He this my second boon. Death I know, Nachiketas, that sacred fire which leads to heaven Listen. That _flre which is the means .of attaining the infinite worlds, and is also their foundation ”is hidden in the sacred place of the heart. n—m Wit-n- And Death told him of the fire of creation the beginning_ _o_t_' Ithe worlds, and of the altar of the fire.- sacrifice, of h9w_1_nany_ bricks it should be built and how they should be placed Nachi- ketas repeated the teaching. Death was pleased and went on: A further boon I give you today. This fire of sacrifice shall be known by your name. Take also from me this Chain of many forms. One who lights three times this sacred fire, and attains union with the Three, and performs the three holy actions, passes beyond life and death; for then he knows the god of fire, the god who knows all things, and through knowledge and adoration he attains the peace supreme. He who, knowing the Three, builds'up the altar of fire- sacrifice and performs three times the sacrifice of Nachi- ketas, casts off the bonds of death and, passing beyond sor- row, finds joy in the regions of heaven, This is the fire that leads to heaven which you chose as the second gift. Men will call it the fire-sacrifice of Nachi- ketas. Choose now the third boon. Nachiketas. When a man dies. this doubt arises: some say ‘he is' and some say ‘he is not'. Teach me the truth, 56 KATHA UPANISHAD Death. Even the gods had this doubt in timeS'of old; for mysterious is thelaw of life and death. _Ask for another boon. Release me from this. Nachiketas. This doubt indeed arose even to the gods, and you say, 0 Death, that it is difficult to understand; but no greater teacher than you can explain it, and there is no other boon so great as this. Death. Take horses and gold and cattle and elephants; choose sons and grandsons that shall live a hundred years. Have vast expanses of land, and live as many years as you desire. Or choose another gift that you think equal to this, and enjoy it with wealth and long life. Be a ruler of this vast earth. 1 will grant you all your desires. Ask for any wishes in the world of mortals, however hard to obtain. To attend on you l will give you fair maidens with chariots and musical instruments. But ask me not, Nachiketas, the secrets of death. Nachiketas. All these pleasures pass away, 0 End of all! They weaken the power of life. And indeed how short 15 all life! Keep thy horses and dancing and singiwng Man cannot be satisfied with wealth. Shall we enjoy Wealth with you in sight? Shall we live whilst you are in pOWer? I can only ask for the boon I have asked. When a mortal here on earth has felt his own immortal- ity, could he wish for a long life of pleasures, for the lust of deceitful beauty? Solve then the doubt as to the great beyond. Grant me the gift that unveils the mystery. This is the only gift Nachi- ketas can ask. PART 2. Death. There is the path of joy, and there is the path of pleasumo'th attract the soul Who follows-“theyiirst comes to good; who follows pleasure reaches not the End. The two paths lie in front of man. Pondering on them, 57 it” THE UPANISHADS the wise man chooses the path of joy; the fool takes the path of pleasure. ‘ YOu have pendered, Nachiketas, on pleasures and you have rejected them. You have notaccepted that chain of possessions wherewith men bind themselves and beneath which they sink. There is the path of wisdom and the path of ignorance. They are far apart and lead to different ends. You are, Nachiketas, a follower of the path of wisdom: many pleas- ures tempt you not. Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thin-king themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind. What lies beyond life shines not to those who are child- -ish, or careless, or deluded by wealth. ‘This is "the only w:orld there 15 no other’, they say; and thus they go from death to death. Not many hear of him,- and of those not many reach him. Wonderful is he who can teach about him; and wise is he who can be taught. Wonderful is he who knows him when taught. He cannot be It_a_1_1ght__ by. one who has not reached him; and he cannot be reached by much thinking. The way to him is through a Teacher who has seen him: He is higher than the highest tho-,ughts in truth above all thought This sacred knowledge is not attained by reasoning; but it canhe“ Why a true TeaCher. As your purpose is steady 1mm 1.. you have fOuhd him May I find another pupil like you l I know that treasures pass away and that the Eternal _I1IsI 9.. not reached by the transient I have thus laid the fire of -._.,._,,, ...... sacrifice ofhiichiketas, and by burningII' 1_r_1_ _it the transient I have reacheitfiuggmal. 7 Before your eyes have been spread, Nachiketas, the fulfil- ment of all desire, the dominion of the world, the eternal reward of ritual, the shore where there is no fear, the great- ness of fame and boundless spaces. With strength and wis- dom you have renounced them all. 58 KATHA UPANISHAD When the wise rests his mind in contemplation on our God beyond time, who invisibly dwells in the mystery of things and in the heart of man, then he rises above pleasures and sorrow. When a man has heard and has understood and, finding the essence, reaches the Inmost, then he finds joy in the Source of joy. Nachiketas is a house open for thy Arman, thy God. Nachiketas. Tell me what you see beyond right and wrong, beyond what is done or not done, beyond past and future. Death. I will tell you the Word that all the Vedas glorify, all self-sacrifice expresses, all sacred studies and holy life seek That Word 13 OM That Word 15 the everlasting Brahman. that Word" 1-5 the highest End. When that sacred Word is known all longings are fulfilled. It is the supreme means of salvation: it is the help sup- reme. When that great Word is known, one is great in the heaven of Brahman. Atman, the Spirit of vision, is never born and never dies. Before him there was nothing, and he' 15 ONE for evermore. Never- born and eternal, beyond times gone or to come, he does not die when the body dies. If the slayer thinks that he kills, and if the slain thinks that he dies, neither knows the ways of truth. The Eternal in man cannot kill: the Eternal in man cannot die. Concealed in the heart of all beings is the Arman, the Spirit, the Self; smaller than the smallest atom, greater than the vast spaces. The man who surrenders his human will leaves sorrows behind, and beholds the glory of the Arman by the grace of the Creator. ' Resting, he wanders afar; sleeping, he goes everywhere. Who else but my Self can know that God of joy and of sorrows? When the wise realize the omnipresent Spirit, who rests invisible in the visible and permanent in the impennanent, then they go beyond sorrow. 59 THE UPANISHADS Not through much learning is the Atman reached, not through the intellect and sacred teaching. It is reached by the chosen of him— because they choose him. To his chosen H the Atman reveals his glory. Not even through deep knowledge can the Atrnan be reached unless evil ways are abandoned and there is rest in the senses, concentration in the mind and peace in one’s heart. Who knows in truth where he is? The majesty of his power carries away priests and warriors, and death itself is carried away. PART3 In the secret high place of the heart there are two beings who drink the wine of life in the world of truth. Those who know Brahman, those who keep the five sacred fires and those who light the three-fold fire of Nachiketas call them ‘light' and ‘shade'. May we light the sacred fire of Nachiketas, the bridge to cross to the other shore where there is no fear, the supreme everlasting Spirit! Know. the Atman as Lord of a, chariot; and the body as the chariot itself. Know that reason is the charioteer; and the mind indeed is the reins. The horses, they say, are the senses; and their paths are the objects of sense. When the soul becomes one with the mind and the senses he is called 'one who has joys and sorrows'. He who has not right understanding and whose mind is never steady is not the ruler of his life, like a bad driver with wild horses. But he who has right understanding and whose mind is ever steady is the ruler of his life, like a good driver with well- trained horses. ‘is He who has not right understanding, is careless and never pure, reaches not the End of the journey; but wanders on from death to death. 60 KATHA UPANISHAD But he who has understanding, is careful and ever pure, reaches the End of the journey, from which he never re- turns. The man whose chariot is driven by reason, who watches and holds the reins of his mind. reaches the End of the journey, the supreme everlasting Spirit. Beyond the senses are their objects, and beyond the ob- jects is the mind. Beyond the mind is pure reason, and be- yond reason is the Spirit in man. ' Beyond the Spirit in man is the Spirit of the universe, and beyond is Purusha, the SijitSuprenge. Nothing is be- F yond Purusha: He is the End ores—path. The light of the Atman, the Spirit, is invisible, concealed in all beings. it is seen by the seers of the subtle, when their vision is keen and is clear. The wise should surrender speech in mind, mind in the knowing self, the knowing self in the Spirit of the universe, and the Spirit of the universe in the Spirit of peace. Awake, arise! Strive for the Highest, and be in the Light! Sages say the path is narrow and difficult to tread, narrow as the edge of a razor. The Arman is beyond sound and form, without touch and taste and perfume. It is eternal, unchangeable. and without beginning or end: indeed above reasoning. When conscious- ness of the Atman manifests itself, man becomes free from the jaws of death. The wise who can learn and can teach this ancient story of Nachiketas, taught by Yama, the god of death, finds glory in the world of Brahman. He who, filled with devotion, recites this supreme mys- tery at the gathering of Brahmins. or at the ceremony of the Sradha for the departed, prepares for Eternity, he prepares in truth for Eternity. PART 4 The Creator made the senses ou_tward-going: they go to the world of matter outside, not to the Spirit within. But 61 THE UPANISHADS a sage who sought immortality logked _Mdth1_himself and found his own Soul. The foolish run after outward pleasures and fall into the snares of vast- embracmg death. But the wise haVe found immortality, and do not seek the Etegnal in thin—gs that pass away. This by which we perceive colours and sounds, perfumes and kisses of love; by which alone we attain knowledge; by which verily we can be conscious of anything: This in truth is That. When the wise knows that it is flaggighfi the great and omnipresenj gpirit in us that _we are co_nscious_ in waking or in dre_a_n1i1_1_g.__t_l_1en _h_e goes beyond sorrow When he knows the Attnanffhe self, the inner life, who enjoys like a bee the sweetness of the flowers of the senses, the Lord of _what was and 9f what will be, then he goes beyond fear: This in truth is That The god of creation, who' in the beginning was born from the fire of th_9ught__ before the _waters were; who appear emd the elements and rests, having entered the heart: This in truth is That. The goddess of_ Infinity who comes as Life-power and Nature; who was born from the elements and rests, having entered the heart: This in truth is That. Agni, the all-knowing god of fire, hidden in the two friction fire-sticks of the holy sacrifice, as a seed of life in the womb of a mother, who receives the morning adoration of those who follow the path of light or the path of work: This in truth is That. Whence the rising sun does come. and into which it sets again; wherein all the gods have their birth, and beyond which no man can go: This in truth is That. What is here is also there, and what is there is also here._ 62 KATHA UPANISHAD Who sees the many and not the ONE, wanders on from death to death. Even by the mind this truth is to be learned: there are not many but only ONE. Who sees variety and not the unity wanders on from death to death. The soul dwells within us, a flame the size of a thumb. When it is known as the Lord of the past and the future, then ceases all fear: This in truth is That. Like a flame without smoke, the size of a thumb, is the soul; the Lord of the past and the future, the same both today and tomorrow: This in truth, is That. As water raining on a mountain-ridge runs down the rocks on all sides, so the man who only sees variety of things runs after them on all sides. But as pure water raining on pure water becomes one and the same, so _becomes, 0 Nachiketas, the soul of the sage who knows. PART 5 The pure eternal Spirit dwells in the castle of eleven gates of the body. By ruling this castle, man is free from sorrows and, free from all bondage, attains liberation. “In space he is the sun, and he is the wind and the sky; at the altar he is the priest, and the Soma wine in the jar. He dwells in men and in gods, in righteousness and in the vast heavens. He is in the earth and the waters and in the rocks of the mountains. He is Truth and Power.‘ The powers of life adore that god who is in the heart, and- he rules the breath of life, breathing in and breathing out. When the ties that bind the Spirit to the body are un- loosed and the Spirit 15 set free, what remains then? This' 1n truth 15 That. A mortal lives not through that breath that flows intand 63 W 1 THE UPANISHADS that flows out. The source of his life is another and this causes the breath to flow. I will now speak to you of the mystery of the eternal ‘ Brahman; and of what happens to the soul after death. The soul may go to the womb of a mother and thus oh- if}. tam _a new b9_dy. It even may go into trees or plants, accord- There is a Spirit who' is awake in our sleep and creates the wonder of dreams. He is Brahman, the Spirit of light, who in truth is called the Immortal. All the worlds rest on that Spirit and beyond him no one can go: This in truth is That. “_- As fire, though one, takes new forms in all things that burn, the Spirit, though one, takes new forms in all things that live. He is within all, and is also outside. As the wind, though one, takes new forms in whatever it enters, the Spirit, though one, takes new forms in all things that live. He is within all, and is also outside As the sun that beholds the world' is untouched by _ea_r_thly impurities so the Spirit that' IS in all things' 15 untouched by external sufferings. _ There is one Ruler, the Spirit that is in all things, who transforms his own form into many. Only the wise who see him in their souls attain the joy eternal. He is the Eternal among things that pass away, pure Con- sciousness of conscious beings, the ONE who fulfils the prayers of many. Only the wise who see him in their souls attain the peace eternal. ‘This is That’ — thus they realize the ineffable joy sup reme How can ‘This’ be known? Does he give light or does he reflect light? There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor the stars; lightnings shine not there and much less earthly fire. From his light all these give light, and his radiance illumines all creation. KATHA UPANISHAD PART6 The Tree of Emmlhas its roots in heaven above_ and its abrenches reach dow_n_ _to earth. It is Brahman, pure Spirit, ‘ who in truth is called the Immortal All the worlds rest on that Spirit and beyond him no one can go: This in truth is That. The whole universe comes from him and his life burns through the whole universe. In his power is the majesty of thunder. Those who know him have found immortality. From fear of him fire burns, and from fear of him the sun shines. From fear of him the clouds and the winds, and death itself, move on their way. If one sees him in this life before the body passes away, one is free from bondage ; but if not, one is born and dies again in new worlds and new creations. Brahman is seen in a pure soul as in a mirror clear, and also in the Creator’s heaven as clear as light; but in the land of shades as remembrance of dreams, and in the world of spirits as reflections in trembling waters. When the wise man knows that the material senses come not from the Spirit, and that their waking and sleeping belong to their own nature, then he grieves no more. Beyond the senses is the mind, and beyond mind is reason, its essence. Beyond reason is the Spirit in man, and beyond this is the Spirit of the universe, the evolver of all. And beyond is Purusha, all-pervading, beyond definitions. When a mortal knows him, he attains liberation and reaches immortality. His form is not in the field of vision: no one sees him with mortal eyes. He is seen by a pure heart and by a mind and thoughts that are pure. Those who know him attain life immortal. When the five senses and the mind are still, and reason itSelf rests in silence, then begins the Path supreme. This calm steadiness of the senses is called Yoga. Then 65 THE UPANISHAD'S one should become watchful. because YOga comes and goes. Words and thoughts cannot reach him and he cannot be seen by the eye. How can he then be perceived except by him who says ‘He is'? In the faith of ‘He is' his existence must be perceived, and he must be perceived in his essence. When he is per- ceived as ‘He'is', then shines forth the revelation of his essence. ' When all desires that cling to the heart are surrendered, then a mortal becomes immortal, and even in this world he is one with Brahman. When all the ties that bind the heart are unloosened, then a mortal becomes immortal. This is the sacred teach- mg. One hundred and one subtle ways come from the hea...
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