auṁ saha nāvavatu | saha nau bhunaktu | saha vīryam karvāvahai |
tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai ||
auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||
This great Upanishad, Kathopanishad, Upanishads are the essence of Vedas. Among the Upanishads, Kathopanishad is Upanishad shiromani, Upanishadasikamani means it’s one of the best Upanishads because the subject it deals is Death.
Please understand, with right understanding Death can become rejuvenation energy, energy which will rejuvenate you. Don’t think death is always a curse, when you don’t understand, it’s a curse. Actually when you don’t understand even Chiranjeevatva, eternal life is a curse, do you know the Chiranjeevis of the world Prahalad, Markandeya, Hanuman, Ashwathama, in all these Chiranjeevis, Ashvathama was cursed to be Chiranjeevi. Please understand, Ashwathama Chiranjeevatva is not a boon for him, that he will never die is not a boon given to Ashvathama, it was a curse given to him. Just imagine you are never going to die, you will literally be swallowing tons and tons of depression pills and boredom pills, if you don’t understand life, the life is not understood, life is a curse. If death is not understood, death is a curse. If you understand both, I tell you, every time death happens it is a possibility for you to rejuvenate and take a new body. Kathopanishad talks about death, so many secrets about death and how you need to live your life to understand death, have liberation when natural death happens to you.
Listen, understanding Death, actually these characters of Kathopanishad, Nachiketa, Yama Dharma, Yama Dharma’s way of radiating fear and compassion, how he makes people shiver when they don’t understand death, how he showers compassion when somebody understands and want to understand death, please understand. Yama Dharma must have been the most loneliest being on this space, no friends, nobody wants to talk to him, nobody wants to understand him, nobody wants to listen from him, maybe Naciketa is the first person who wants to talk to him, who wants to listen from him, who wants to understand death first hand. We Hindus should have taken Kathopanishad more seriously, it’s very unfortunate that Kathopanishad is not given a proper place in our day-to-day life, it is only chanted when somebody dies, it is not used as a book for our day-to-day life. It would have been so nice if Kathopanishad has become a book for day to day life, because whenever you understand the right context, whenever you understand death, the kind of a energy you radiate, the kind of a understanding you radiate, the kind of a life you live, the kind of a cognition you carry is just unimaginable, unending. Inexhaustible excitement and enthusiasm happens on a person who understands death.
Three characters appear in this Upanishad, one Nachiketa’s father Vajashravas and Nachiketa himself, hero of the Upanishad, and Yama Dharma, Rishi of Upanishad, he speaks, the major parts of this Upanishads are his words. Understand, Rajas, Tamas, Sattva, these are the three qualities of human beings, I can say in a way, everything in the world is made of these three qualities, Rajas, Tamas, Sattva.
Sattva is the pure seeking, Rajas, powerful but confused, complicated, contradicting, Tamas, literally dead, death, please understand.
Understand, Nachiketa is pure seeking, Nachiketa’s father, king, is embodiment of Rajas, powerful but confused. Nachiketa is embodiment of Sattva, pure seeking, Nachiketa’s father is embodiment of Rajas, powerful but confused. If you see his action in this Upanishads, see he is already a wealthy, rich king, who literally has everything, but even then it doesn’t feel complete, it doesn’t feel fulfilled. Not feeling fulfilled is one side, not knowing why you are not feeling fulfilled is the worst thing.
So Vajashravas, not only he is not complete, he is not able to understand why he is not complete, why he is not feeling fulfilled, this is one of the biggest problem of all, all rich men, unless you are spiritually rich, you will face this problem. You won’t feel complete and you will not know why you don’t feel complete, that is the worst thing, I tell you. When you don’t know why you feel incomplete you will try to come up with your own reasons, that is where the messing up of your life starts. You start thinking, why I am not complete, no, I know I have all the pleasures now, it may not be permanently with me, it may go away, it may be taken away. Insecurity is the name of confused incompletion, when you don’t know to find the root cause of your incompletion, the confused name you give the identity mistake happens for your incompletion, is insecurity. Listen, listen, the identity mistake when you cannot recognize, when you are not able to understand mistake, when you are not able to understand the pattern of incompletion, reason for incompletion, the mistake you do is calling it as insecurity. Here, Nachiketa’s father does the same mistake, the Vajashravas, is embodiment of Rajas, confusion. he understands he is not complete but he doesn’t understand the reason why he is not complete, because he doesn’t understand the science of completion, he thinks the fear of losing all these pleasures, status, is the reason for his incompletion so he plans for retaining all the pleasures even after death, only then you start projecting heaven. Heaven is nothing but simple, silly stupidity of your incomplete brain cooked with your confusion, finally added with the complication, understand.
Understand the concept of heaven, the concept of heaven is nothing but your confused brain trying to extend whatever you feel as important for your life and insecurity, because of your insecurity trying to extend whatever you think as security, even beyond your death is heaven. Real heaven is completion, real heaven is completion here and now.
Listen, Vajashravas embodiment of Rajas, he is not able to guide the Sattva to enlightenment because he himself is confused, how can he guide. Because he wants Heaven, he is giving away whatever he is having, can you imagine, he has some things and he feels insecure that in future all those things might be taken away from him, so he wants all of that to be permanently with him, and then the Vedas come there and tell you please give away whatever you have you will get everything in heaven. What is the meaning of it? The meaning of it is, when you give away, your insecurity also will go away, you will achieve completion, then permanently, eternally, you will be in heaven. But this guy, without understanding the context why Vedas prescribe charity, he thinks charity and heaven is a bargain. Please understand, it is not bargain. Many times your insecurity and inauthentic identity is established on what you think as yours, please listen,
the “I” and “Mine”, this two are the root of all your incompletions, “I” and “Mine”. People always think the “I” comes first and then “Mine” happens, no, “Mine” comes first, then “I” happens. Based on whatever you cognize as yours, you cognize who you are, listen, based on whatever you cognize as yours, based on that you cognize you.
Many time that “Yours”, that “Mine” becomes the source of “I” so if you give away all of them the incompletions also will disappear, you will evolve a new “I” which can be re-invented, which can be re-built based on completion.
Understand, when Rajas, even though Rajas gives birth to Sattva, when Rajas cannot guide Sattva anymore, Sattva goes to the Master, Yama Dharma. Yama Dharma is not embodiment of Tamas, he is embodiment of Master. Please understand, if you don’t understand the Master he may look like embodiment of Tamas, if you understand he is the embodiment of Tapas, when you don’t understand, he may look like Tamas, when you understand, you will realize he is the embodiment of Tapas. First rebel is Nachiketa when he saw father is not understanding the context and he is not able to guide him, he did not bother to rebel. He did not bother to stand up, he did not bother to start seeking on his own. Nachiketa, the first hero of Vedic tradition, please understand, Nachiketa is far, far, far more senior to any great incarnation or hero you know. He is far more senior to Rama, far more senior to Kapila, far more senior to any incarnation known to you in available records, in available Vedic literatures, he is the first hero we come across. The most ancient are the Vedas and Upanishads, so in the Upanishads the first hero we come across is Naciketa and even in Geeta, there are many lines repeated from Kathopanishad, not only concept, please understand, many concepts from Kathopanishad is repeated in Geeta, just copy/paste. Even the lines are repeated, this shows Krishna was full of Kathopanishad in his inner space. See whatever is in your inner space will naturally come out when you speak, for example, when you guys try to advise somebody, council somebody, what words will come out, whatever you heard in the morning satsang, about which you are full of, that only will come out. Same way by repeating, verbatim, from Kathopanishads, Kathopanishad, Bhagawan proves he is full of Kathopanishad.
Kathopanishad is the earlier literature than Bhagavatam, than Krishna’s time, Naciketa is senior to Rama, Krishna, all the known incarnations and heroes.