Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

04 – Kathopanishad | Self Transcends Birth and Death

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In this talk, Swamiji discusses one of the cardinal questions of Nachiketa. For his third boon, Nachiketa puts forward the deepest enquiry of his heart. He asks Yama, the Lord of Death, about what happens when the body falls.

Nachiketa says, “I would like to know the truth about this by being under your tutelage. I shall learn by undergoing the discipline and guidance given by you.” Nachiketa knew that this knowledge cannot be had just by listening to the statements of anybody. He understood that he had to be disciplined and guided on the path by a wise teacher and he had to undergo a certain pursuit. Swamiji emphasizes the fact that this understanding of Nachiketa shows his depth and maturity as a true seeker of Brahmavidya.

To test the deservingness of Nachiketa as a seeker of Truth, to ascertain the purity and one-pointedness of his mind, Yamaraja then goes on alluring him with all kinds of worldly and heavenly gifts instead of the third boon.

But Nachiketa remained firm in his enquiry. Through beautiful verses Swamiji discusses the Viveka (Discrimination) and Vairagya (Dispassion) of Nachiketa.

Shloka Discussed: (1.1.20 to 1.1.29)

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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.

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