Selected verses from Kathopanishad – #3

Selected verses from Kathopanishad — Verses collated from the question papers for KSOU MA Sanskrit (2007 to 2014). Part 3 with notes from the classes conducted by Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy (30-Sep-2015)


  • The Kathaka Upanishad with Shri Shankara’s Commentary, edited with notes by Sri Sri Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswati, Adhyatma Prakasha Karyalaya
Online References for Sanskrit Verses and English Translation

1.      न वित्तेन तर्पणीयो मनुष्यो २०१४.०१, २०१४.१३, २०१०.०१, २०१२-०१

Man cannot be gratified by wealth.

न वित्तेन तर्पणीयो मनुष्यो                       लप्स्यामहे वित्तमद्राक्ष्म चेत्त्वा ।
जीविष्यामो यावदीशिष्यसि त्वं                     वरस्तु मे वरणीयः स एव ॥ २७ ॥
Man cannot be satisfied by wealth. Shall we possess wealth when we see thee (Death)? Shall we continue to live as long as thou rulest? Therefore that boon alone is to be chosen by me.

न not वित्तेन by wealth तर्पणीयो satisfied मनुष्यः is man. लप्स्यामहे we shall acquire वित्तम् wealth अद्राक्ष्म having seen चेत्  त्वा now You. जीविष्यामो We shall live long यावत् as (long) as ईशिष्यसि  त्वं You will rule. वरस्तु But the boon मे worthy of my  वरणीयः seeking is स that एव alone.

मनुष्य: वित्तेन न तर्पणीय: | त्वा अद्राक्ष्म चेत् वित्तम् लप्स्यामहे । यावत् त्वं इशिष्यसि (तावत् वयं) जीविष्याम: | मे वरणीयः वर: तु  स: एव (भवति) |

Among the shlokas on तृतीयो वर:, this one is नचिकेतसा सर्वकामोपभोगनिन्दा |

तर्पण means offering libations to ancestors to satisfy them. तर्पणीय: means meant to be satisfied. We have not seen anyone be happy, just because he possesses wealth. In the world, wealth cannot satisfy men. The person who has the thirst for wealth (वितृष्णा) will get the expected wealth, if he sees you. As long as you rule and protect, we live. ईशिष = lordship / rule.
[Side note:  A guru tells his disciple who is afraid of death – मूढ | भित: किं यम: न स्पृशति ? अजात: किं करिष्यसि यम: ? अत: अजन्मनि यत्नं कुरु | Stop the cycle of birth and death ]

Having met you, how can any person have dearth of wealth or lifespan (अल्पधनायु:)? I will become prosperous with अष्टऐश्वर्यम् (wealth in various forms not limited to money) and I will also have a long life. Since you yourself have approached me and blessed me, I do not want to belittle the boon that you are offering. कथं हि मर्त्य: त्वया समेत्य अल्पधनायुर्भवेत् ? वरस्तु मे वरनीय: स एव | आत्मविज्ञानम् |

2.      अतिदीर्घे जीविते को रमेत ॥ २०१२.०२
Who will delight in long life?

अजीर्यताममृतानामुपेत्य                जीर्यन्मर्त्यः क्वधःस्थः प्रजानन् ।
अभिध्यायन् वर्णरतिप्रमोदान्         अतिदीर्घे जीविते को रमेत ॥ २८ ॥
What man dwelling on the decaying mortal plane, having approached the un-decaying immortal one, and having reflected upon the nature of enjoyment through beauty and sense pleasure, would delight in long life?

अजीर्यतां un-decaying अमृतानां immortals उपेत्य having reached the proximity जीर्यन् decaying मर्त्यः mortal क्वधःस्थः a dweller of the lower world प्रजानन् but is aware of the higher goals of life अभिध्यायन् having discriminated/deliberated on वर्ण-रति-प्रमोदान् the joys of mingling with sense objects/organs अतिदीर्घे in long जीविते life  को रमेत who indeed will delight? (None indeed will delight)

Among the shlokas on तृतीयो वर:, this one is नचिकेतसा सर्वकामोपभोगनिन्दा |

जीर्यताम् = As days pass by, the remaining time in the life of men keeps reducing. अजीर्यताम् =  one who does not decay,  अमृतानां = one who is immortal, (सखाशम्) उपेत्य = having approached, जीर्यन्मर्त्यः = a man who decays,   अप्राप्नुवन्ताम् अमृतानाम् = those who have not gained. It is doubtful if we are going to live tomorrow or not. Hence today, this moment is precious.  One who is entangled in birth and death, how can he get the knowledge of immortality? He has to approach one who has crossed beyond the cycle of birth and death. Only a man who is ignorant will ask for pleasures. Which fool will ask for children and money having approached you? A person with discrimination will not go behind the pleasures and enjoyments. वर्ण रति प्रमोदान् variety of pleasures and enjoyments (provided by Apsaraas offered by Yama). अतिदीर्घे जीविते को रमेत – who will enjoy the long life? I am not tempted by these superficial temporary attractions because even if it a very long life, these enjoyments have to end at some point.

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