Selected verses from Kathopanishad – #5

Selected verses from Kathopanishad — Verses collated from the question papers for KSOU MA Sanskrit (2007 to 2014). Part 5 with notes from the classes conducted by Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy (7-Oct-2015)

Reference:

  • 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.  सर्वे वेदा यत्पदमामनन्ति

सर्वे वेदा यत्पदमामनन्ति — तपाँसि सर्वाणि च यद्वदन्ति । यदिच्छन्तो ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति — तत्ते पदँ संग्रहेण ब्रवीम्योमित्येतत् ॥ १.२.१५ ॥

सर्वे वेदा all the veda-s यत्पदं आमनन्ति in one voice proclaim that goal तपांसि सर्वाणि all austerities च यद्वदन्ति speak of यत् इच्छन्तो desiring that which ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति aspirants practice brahmacharya तत् that ते to you पदं goal संग्रहेण briefly ब्रवीमि shall I state ओं इत्येतत् it is Om.

Yama said: The goal which all the vedas declare, which all austerities aim at and which men desire when they lead the life of continence, I will tell you briefly: it is Om.

सर्वे वेदा: यत् पदम् आमनन्ति, तपाँसि सर्वाणि च यत् वदन्ति, यत्+इच्छन्त: ब्रह्मचर्यं चरन्ति, तत् ते पदँ संग्रहेण ब्रवीमि ॐ इति एतत् |

एतेन श्लोकेन ब्रह्मोपदेश: प्रारब्यते | If there can be a word that can be given as a synonym to Brahman, that is OM.

2.     एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं परम्

एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ब्रह्म एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं परम् । एतद्ध्येवाक्षरं ज्ञात्वा यो यदिच्छति तस्य तत् ॥ १.२.१६ ॥

This Word is indeed Brahman. This Word is indeed the Supreme. He who knows this Word obtains whatever he desires.

एतद् हि एव This alone indeed अक्षरं is the (inferior) ब्रह्म brahman एतद् हि एव This alone indeed अक्षरं परम् is the Supreme brahman. एतद् हि एव This alone indeed अक्षरं the letter, symbol, ज्ञात्वा having meditated upon यः he यत् इच्छति desiring which तस्य तत् his is that ॥ १६ ॥

Among the shlokas on ओंकारद्वारेण ब्रह्मोपदेश:, this one is ओंकारस्य परब्रह्मालम्बनत्वम् |

नचिकेतसं प्रति यम: ॐ-कारस्य महत्वं वर्णयति | It is not sufficient just to know that Om and Brahman are the same. The seeker has to meditate controlling the senses. यो यदिच्छति परम् अपरं वा, तस्य तद् भवति | परं ज्ञातव्यम्, अपरं चेत् प्राप्तव्यम् | Param is to be understood. Aparam is to be obtained.

Do your tasks with Atma shakti. They will turn out well. Even if it does not result in the expected manner, accept it as something that has happened for a higher good.

Krishna says that he is the desires that are not against dharma — ‘धर्मोविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोस्मि भरकर्षर्भ’ (श्रीमद्भवद्गीता-7/11). Here Yama says that whatever be their desire, they will get it. The mother wishes to get a son with good character. Due to her good actions, it gets such a son. “सुशीलो पुत्र: मातु पुण्येन |” When Kunti blesses the pregnant Draupadi, she says “मा च सूरम् | मा च पण्डितम् | भाग्यवन्तं प्रसूयेत|” She blesses that Draupadi gets a son with good character as that will lead to all saubhagya – शीलवन्तं पुत्रं प्राप्नुयात् |

3.    न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ १८ ॥ २०१०.०३, २०१४.०३ It is not killed when the body is killed.

न जायते म्रियते वा विपश्चिन्नायं कुतश्चिन्न बभूव कश्चित् । अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणोन हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ १८ ॥

न जायते म्रियते वा विपश्चित् न अयं कुतश्चित् न बभूव कश्चित् । अज: नित्यः शाश्वत: अयं पुराण: न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ||

न जायते neither born म्रियते वा nor dies विपश्चित् this sentient Atman न अयं nor did It कुतश्चित् न बभूव originate from any cause कश्चित् nor did anything originate from It. अजः It is birthless नित्यः eternal शाश्वतः undecaying अयं पुराणः It is ancient न हन्यते It is not killed/injured हन्यमाने शरीरे when the body is killed. The knowing Self is not born; It does not die. It has not sprung from anything; nothing has sprung from It. Birthless, eternal, everlasting and ancient. It is not killed when the body is killed.

Among the shlokas on आत्मन: साक्षात् स्वरूप-निर्धारणम्, this one is आत्मा सर्वविक्रियारहित: | |

अस्मिन् श्लोके आत्मन: साक्षात् स्वरूप-निर्धारणं करोति | The atma cannot be felt by the senses. विपश्चित् = मेधावी | Don’t consider aatman to be an intelligent person. And don’t consider aatman to have come from a specific place like heaven. Nothing has originated from it. आत्मन: = ब्रह्मण: | निर्धारणम् = इदं इत्तं इति definition. अजः नित्यः शाश्वतः पुराणः |

[Side note: Panchatantra 1 Mitrabheda Tantra by Vishnusharman ययोरेव समं वित्तं ययोरेव समं कुलम्। तयोर्मैत्री विवाहश्च न तु पुष्टविपुष्टयोः॥३०४॥ Those who are equal in wealth, and those who are equal in lineage. Between them does friendship and marriage occur, not between opposites.

अपात्रे कृतम् अकृतम् | Be it giving away the daughter in marriage or sharing some spiritual experiences with the spouse, only if the recipient is fit to receive, it has to be given.

मनस्चक्षुषोर्निबन्ध: – (मनस: and चक्षुषो:) bonding of the mind and the eyes are the matching that is required for marriage – says the Vedas.]

4.     तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूँ स्वाम् ॥ २३ ॥ २००७.०१, २००९.०३

To him the Self reveals Its true nature.

नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्योन मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन । यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यःतस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूँ स्वाम् ॥ १.२.२३ ॥

न अयम् आत्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्य: न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन । यम् एव एष: वृणुते तेन लभ्यः तस्य एष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूँ स्वाम् |

न अयम् आत्मा This Atman is not प्रवचनेन लभ्यः attained through study न मेधया nor by intelligence न बहुना श्रुतेन or by much hearing of sacred literature. यम् he whom एव alone एष the Self वृणुते chooses तेन लभ्यः It is attained by such a person तस्य Its एष this आत्मा Atman विवृणुते reveals तनूं स्वाम् Its true nature.

This Self cannot be attained by study of the Scriptures, nor by intellectual perception, nor by frequent hearing (of It); He whom the Self chooses, by him alone is It attained. To him the Self reveals Its true nature.

Context: The Acharya Yama is continuing his delineation of the Self upon being asked for it by the wonderful aspirant Nachiketas.

Among the shlokas on आत्मज्ञानस्य शोकराहित्यं फलम्, this one is आत्मविज्ञानोपाय: |

वृणुते = “वृ वरणे” – whom the Brahma chooses ! ज्ञेय: = ज्ञातुं शक्य: | दुर्विज्ञेय: = ज्ञातुं न साध्यम् | तथापि उपायेन सुविज्ञेय: एव इति आह | प्रोत्साहं ददाति | (Gives encouragement). मेधया = ग्रन्थार्थधारणशक्त्या |

Krishna tells about 3 types of people who will come to hear the guru’s teachings. कुतूहली – Those who are curious. जिज्ञासुः – Those who are interested in knowing. मुमुक्षु: – One who comes with an open mind with an aim to gain the knowledge, will grasp and attain moksha. यं एव स्वमात्मानम् एष साधक: प्रार्थयते, तेन एव आत्मना वरित्रा (protect like an umbrella) स्वयं आत्मा लभ्य: | आत्मना एव आत्मा लभ्यते | स्व-याथात्म्यम् | तनूं = पारमार्थिक तनूम् |

5.    उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ।२०१४.१२

Arise, awake!  Seek the great teachers and realize the self!  

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत । क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ॥ १.३.१४ ॥ उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान् निबोधत । क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया | दुर्गं पथ: तत् कवय: वदन्ति |

उत्तिष्ठत – arise, जाग्रत – awake, प्राप्य – having received, वरान् – great teachers, निबोधत – get enlightened । क्षुरस्य – razor’s धारा – edge (अग्रम्), निशिता – sharp दुरत्यया – difficult to tread upon | दुर्गं – fortified (दु:संपाद्यम्). पथ: – road (मार्ग:), कवय: – those Brahma jnaanis – तत् – that वदन्ति – tell |

  1. Arise, awake!  Seek the great teachers and realize the self!  The wise say the path, difficult to navigate, is sharp and narrow like a razor’s edge.

The spiritual path is difficult because life is not what it seems and because as discrimination develops one discovers more and more subtle delusions. One needs to be eternally vigilant because it is easy to ‘fall off’ the path, identify with beliefs and opinions that prevent appreciation of one’s wholeness.

It may be possible to sort it out on your own but it is intelligent to realize your limitations and seek help. Associating with a teacher means that the non-dual perspective is constantly present. Additionally, your desire for liberation will grow quickly because a teacher will continually remind you of the limitations inherent in the pursuit of objects. Finally, you can present your doubts and have them cleared quickly and easily. It sometimes takes years to work though a problem that can be solved in a few minutes by a competent teacher.  

Among the shlokas on सूक्ष्मस्यात्मनो दर्शनार्थं योग:, this one is आत्म-दर्शन-यत्न-कर्तव्यता-उपदेश:

कर्तव्यं – a command that has to be abided. In the मिथ्याज्ञान, there are नाम, रूप, कर्म. ते विजृम्भितम् | हे जन्तव: आत्मज्ञान अभिमुखा भवत | निभोधत = अवगच्छत | वरान् = प्रकृष्तान् आचार्यान् तत्वविद: | अस्मिन् श्लोके शाङ्करभाष्ये “अहमस्मि” इति अद्वैतसिददान्तस्य प्रवेश: भवति | Shankara introduces the concept of Advaita as “Aham asmi” in this shloka. ज्ञेयस्य अति-सूक्ष्मत्वात् तत् विषयस्य ग्नानमार्गस्य दु:संपाद्यत्वं वदन्ति |

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