Kathopanishad is the last 8 sections of Taittiriya Samhita, Krishna Yajur Veda. It is 119 verses. When Sri Rama Chandra lists all the 108 Upanishads in Muktikopanishad to Hanuman, Rama lists this Upanishad as the third Upanishad.
The main subject of the Upanishad is DEATH. Even though I have spoken many times bits and pieces of this Upanishad, here and there I have quoted this Upanishad, I used this Upanishad to explain the truths, sacred secrets behind Death. In many of our programs, satsangs, but now formally, systematically I have to introduce this Upanishad. It looks tooo big. I am just wondering…It is like I have to chisel the whole mountain using a small chisel and hammer. Where will I start, how will I continue? It is just using my small words, now I will have to describe and introduce this whole Upanishad.
This Upanishad is not commandment of somebody who realized God, no! Even if you realized God, a little bit will be your Enlightenment experience, a little will be your brain masala. There is a possibility for corruption, misrepresentation, manipulation or missing it.
So, understand, but, this Upanishad is the direct, direct word from the being who is the Lord of Death. Understand, Lord of Death–this is directly from Him. This Upanishads are directly from Him, who is Lord of Death. Don’t even have a doubt about the authenticity of the Upanishads, especially this Upanishad.
I am the witness for the authenticity of this Upanishad. And I experienced the sacred secret of this Upanishad in this very land, Varanasi.
It is the first and foremost document about Death, where Dharma Raja, Yama Dharma Raja; Yama means naturally flow of existence. Dharma means natural law of existence. Yama Dharma who is embodiment of natural flow and natural law. Understand, flow is spontaneous, law is systematic. He is Lord of both. That is why He is called Yama Dharma–natural flow of Existence, and natural law of Existence. How anything flows by its very nature, that is Yama. What is the law of the natural flow of Life, that is Dharma.
Lord of natural flow of Existence and natural law of Existence, Yama Dharma Raja directly speaks to a Brahmin kid, Nachiketa, who is the hero of this Upanishad. And one of the greatest things, this Upanishad is kept alive by the Śaivaites. Understand, the subtle nuances and the communal feelings, Yama Dharma is a Śaivaite; he is beyond the jāti (community). Nachiketa is a Brahmin. A Śaivaite teaching Brahmin is almost a Kalabhairava removing the head of Brahma; Veerabhadra removing the head of Daksha. But still the Upanishad survived beyond the subtle community fights which goes on for ages.
This Upanishad is taught by a person who is most mysterious and most available. Please understand, who is continuously experienced can never be mysterious; who is mysterious can never be experienced continuously, but he is the only one who is continuously available, perceived, but continues to remains as mystery, that is Death.
Yama Dharma, the most compassionate teacher dimension of him is expressing in this Upanishad. You will be surprised, first ever recorded history, Yama Dharma is giving a boon, especially completely opposite to his profession—giving Life. Come on.
Actually I discovered this mind by working with so many people. I had a gold smith who as making jewels for all our deities. One sovereign gold that time was around 25,000 rupee, few years before, if you actually ask him for that discount of that 25,000 rupee, he will not say no at all, he will simply agree up for 50,000 rupee but if you ask him to reduce half gram of wastage, he will get agitated so much, he will all be worked up, stressed up, because he measures life based on the amount of gold, not based on money; so his logic does not come there at all. For him wealth is all amount the metal, precious metal, gold, that’s all. Person whose only life source is a goshala (cow shed), if you take away the money you accumulated, he won’t suffer so much, but if you take way even 2 liter milk, that’s it. He will pour 2 liter water from his eyes. Same way a farmer, just few bags of paddy or rice getting destroyed, over. He feels his life is destroyed.
With anything constantly deal with, you emotionally get attached to it and you feel the value of that much more than the regular society values, the sentimental value.
Here, Lord who always took, never gave—Lord of Death, only when his job was threatened, he has bent for Markandeya and for Savitri, there are such rare exemptions. But here, nobody is threatening him, threatening him, just out of compassion, He is giving the Life back to Nachiketa. He is not a terrorizing figure. See, see him here (backdrop of stage), a loving compassionate teacher.
I think in the whole history of humanity, this is the only book where it is recorded, Nachiketa is able to make Death respect him and this is the only time Death ever listened to somebody. I don’t think Yama Dharma has ears. Because if he has ears, if he starts listening, what will happen? Millions are constantly crying whenever he goes for job. If he has ears, what will happen, how will he able to do his job? No!
Uncompromising. Uncompromising. He is Lord of Yama, natural flow of Life and dharma, natural law of Life. Coming down as a teacher, as a compassionate God and blessing a Brahmin kid, its actually unknown dimension of Yama Dharma. This book is book of Death for Hindus and anybody who follows Vedic tradition. If you want to know about Death this is the book. It is not just book of dead, book of Death, Vedic Book of Death.
Maybe for this whole Inner Awakening, I will just be introducing Kathopanishad, because I have to introduce the author and his different dimension expressed in this Upanishad. I have to introduce the listener, and I have to introduce the context. This Upanishad has a beautiful story, which sets the context. I spoke so many number of times on this Upanishad, still the moment it sits on my tongue, it tastes so sweet, it tastes just much more than a nectar. Death becoming nectar, only in this Upanishad it can happen. Talking about Death can be so pleasant only in this Upanishad. Thinking about Death can be so pleasant only with Kathopanishad. Talking about Death can be so sweet only in Kathopanishad. Thinking about Death can be so pleasant only with Kathopanishad.
Kathopanishad. Even if you understand it intellectually, all the death fears will disappear.
First quality, first quality for a Hindu is understanding the mystery of Death. First and foremost quality for a Hindu is understanding the mystery of Death. The first and foremost commandment for a Hindus!
Listen, as an Incarnation as authority on Hinduism, I am giving this commandment, the first commandment, the foremost commandment for the Hindus is THOU SHALL NOT DIE! Thou shall not die! That is the first and foremost commandment for all the Hindus. Fools are those who die. Stupid are those who never thought about death while they are alive.