Musings

Nachiketa asked:

When a person dies, there arises this doubt: “He still exists,” say some; “he does not,” say others. I want to know from you, what is the truth?

Yama, The God of Death, replied:

The all-knowing Self was never born, nor will it die. Beyond cause and effect, this Self is eternal and immutable. When the body dies, the Self does not die.

If the slayer believes that he can slay or the slain believes that he can be slain, neither knows the truth. The eternal Self slays not, nor is ever slain.

Hidden in the heart of every creature exists the Self, subtler than the subtlest, greater than the greatest. They go beyond sorrow who extinguish their self-will And behold the glory of the Self.

Those who know they are neither body nor mind but the immortal Self, the divine principle of existence, find the source of all joy and live in joy abiding.

That through which one enjoys form, taste, smell, sound, touch, and sexual union is the Self. Can there be anything not known to That who is the One in all? Know One, know all.

That through which one enjoys the waking and sleeping states is the Self. To know That as Consciousness is to go beyond sorrow.

Changeless amidst the things that pass away, Pure Consciousnessin all who are conscious, The One answers the prayers of many. Eternal peace is theirs who see the Self In their own hearts. To none else does it come!

The supreme Self is beyond name and form, beyond the senses, inexhaustible, without beginning, without end, beyond time, space, and causality, eternal, immutable. Those who realize the Self are forever free from the jaws of death.

The self-existent lord pierced the senses to turn outward. Thus we look to the world outside and see not the Self within us. A sage withdrew his senses from the world of change and, seeking immortality, looked within and beheld the deathless Self.

The wise, realizing through meditation the timeless Self, beyond all perception, hidden in the cave of the heart, leave pain and pleasure far behind.

When the wise realize the Self, formless in the midst of forms, changeless In the midst of change, omnipresent and supreme, they go beyond sorrow

The Self cannot be known through study of the scriptures, nor through the intellect, nor through hearing learned discourses. The Self can be attained only by those whom the Self chooses. Verily unto them does the Self reveal itself.

The Self cannot be known by anyone who desists not from unrighteous ways, controls not his senses, stills not his mind, and practices not meditation.

None else can know the omnipresent Self, whose glory sweeps away the rituals of the priest and the prowess of the warrior and puts death itself to death.

The immature run after sense pleasures and fall into the widespread net of death. But the wise, knowing the Self as deathless, seek not the changeless in the world of change.

It is but few who hear about the Self. Fewer still dedicate their lives to its realization. Wonderful is the one who speaks about the Self; rare are they who make it the supreme goal of their lives. Blessed are they who, through an illumined teacher, attain to Self-realization.

Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an illumined teacher and realize the Self. Sharp like a razor’s edge, the sages say, is the path, difficult to traverse.

Know thyself to be pure and immortal!

Know thyself to be pure and immortal!


—Selected verses from the Katha Upanishad.

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