kaThopaniShad Series Part – 14
In the previous mantra (1.2.12) the Preceptor Yama had given a general indication of the nature of the Self and its location. He also stated that the knower of this Self would go beyond delusion and its products happiness and misery. Now in the sequel He is saying that the aspirant who has known the Self remains established in the Eternal Bliss that is the Self.
Mantra 13 –
एतत् श्रुत्वा संपरिगृह्य मर्त्यः
प्रवृह्य धर्म्यम् अणुम् एतम् आप्य ।
स मोदते मोदनीयं हि लब्ध्वा
विवृतं सद्म नचिकेतसं मन्ये ॥
एतत् श्रुत्वा Having heard this संपरिगृह्य and assimilating the teaching मर्त्यः the mortal (jiva) प्रवृह्य upon separating धर्म्यम् that which is inseparable from dharma, righteousness अणुम् subtle एतम् this आप्य having obtained स he मोदते rejoices मोदनीयं the most delightful हि लब्ध्वा having attained/obtained विवृतं wide open सद्म the abode नचिकेतसं for Nachiketa मन्ये thus do I, Yama, consider.
The mortal who has heard this teaching and comprehended it well, who has separated that Atman, the very soul of dharma, from all physical objects and has realized the subtle essence, rejoices because he has obtained that which is the cause of rejoicing. The Abode of brahman, I believe, is open for Nachiketa.
Yama says: ‘Having heard, listened, contemplated upon what I am going to teach about the Self, the aspirant will internalize the teaching and realize himself as non-different from the Self that is the subject matter of the teaching. How does this come about? The diligent aspirant will carefully separate the most subtle Self from the various grosser associations that had come about owing to ignorance of the nature of the Self. Once this Self is realized as oneself there sets in the great peace and bliss of having attained that which is itself peace and bliss. Considering you to be the most fit to enter and occupy it, the abode of Liberation lays open its doors to you, O Nachiketa.’ Yama gives expression to the confidence he has in the unfailing attainment of the Self by Nachiketa. Such is the promising demeanor of Nachiketa that the Guru, Yama, is extremely pleased with him. So is the case with any truly qualified aspirant and his preceptor.
Here is an excerpt from the Book ‘Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection’ p.193, where an event immediately after the Enlightenment of Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha SwaminaH is recorded:
The Author: When and how did ParamacharyaL (the Guru of the above mentioned SwaminaH) react to AcharyaL’s (the above mentioned SwaminaH) establishment in the Absolute?
AcharyaL: As I was returning from the hill, I saw My Guru standing outside Sacchidananda Vilas and looking in My direction. He beckoned to Me and went inside. When I went to His presence, He was alone. Even before I could prostrate before Him, He rushed to Me and embraced Me. Then holding Me by My shoulders, He said, ‘I am so very happy.’
‘भिद्यते हृदयग्रन्थिः च्छिद्यन्ते सर्वसंशयाः, क्षीयन्ते चास्य कर्माणि तस्मिन्दृष्टे परावरे’ (munDaka Up. (2.2.8))
// The fetters of the heart are broken, all doubts are resolved and all works cease to bear fruit, when He is beheld who is both high and low. //
अथ मर्त्योऽमृतो भवति, अत्र ब्रह्म समश्नुते (bRRihadAraNyaka Up. (4.4.7))
(Then, he who was subject to death, becomes deathless and attains identity with brahman while living in this very body.)
यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः । आत्मन्येव च संतुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं ना विद्यते ॥ (bhagavadgItA (3.17))
//But the man who rejoices only in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone, for Him verily there is nothing (more) to be done.//
My Guru cited these passages and said, ‘Such declarations of the shruti and smRRiti are applicable to You who abide as the Supreme brahman.’ Altering the words of GauDapAdAchArya a little, He told Me:
तत्त्वमाध्यात्मिकं दृष्टं तत्त्वं दृष्टं तु बाह्यतः ।
तत्वीभूतस्तदारामस्तत्त्वादप्रच्युतो भवान् ॥
(The Reality has been seen (by You) in the context of the individual and in the external world. You have become identified with the Reality. You rejoice in the Reality. You are undeviating from the Reality.)
AcharyaL: On My Guru’s letting go of My shoulders, I prostrated before Him for long, placing my hands and head on His feet. Such was My Guru’s greatness that He highly appreciated anything positive in another. His instructions, blessings and grace were responsible for My sAdhana and whatever I achieved. Yet, My Guru did not take any credit. He was so thoroughly free from egoism. Where can one now find the likes of Him?
(End of the excerpt)
Manatra 14 –
अन्यत्र धर्मात् अन्यत्र अधर्मात्
अन्यत्र अस्मात् कृताकृतात् ।
अन्यत्र भूतात् च भव्यात् च
यत् तत् पश्यसि तत् वद ॥
अन्यत्र different धर्मात् from virtue अन्यत्र different अधर्मात् from vice अन्यत्र different अस्मात् from this कृताकृतात् cause and effect. अन्यत्र different भूतात् from the past च and भव्यात् च the present as well यत् तत् that which पश्यसि you see तत् वद teach me that.
Nachiketa said: That which you see as other than righteousness and unrighteousness, other than all this cause and effect, other than what has been and what is to be—tell me That.
Now Nachiketa is getting down to his core mission: Commencing the enquiry into the Self with a view to obtain a clear knowledge thereof. He is making the question so clear that this is regarded as a very refined definition of the Self that is sought to be taught in the sequel. The wording is very specific: dharma/righteousness and adharma/unrighteousness are the concern of the world. In other words the people engaged in the world continuously perform dharma or adharma driven by their tendency and the circumstance. The result of this duality called dharma-adharma is that the doer experiences their fruit here in this world or there in the other world/s. This constant engagement with dharma-adharma is the guarantee that the person will continue in the various locations in the created world. For enjoying the fruit of virtuous deeds he travels to higher worlds, that of the manes and gods. On the other hand the result of engaging in adharma, unrighteousness, is the experiencing of pain in the appropriate world, of the animals, birds, plants and insects. Swami Vidyaranya draws a beautiful sketch of this situation:
कुर्वते कर्म भोगाय कर्म करेतुं च भुञ्जते ।
नद्यां कीटा इव आवर्तादावर्तान्तरमाशु ते ।
व्रजन्तो जन्मनो जन्म लभन्ते नैव निर्वृतिम् ॥ – (pa~nchadasI (1.30)).
Man engages in works to enjoy the fruits thereof. And he engages in the experiencing the fruits of his own actions only to engage in further work. Thus perpetuating the circular motion of action and enjoyment he remains in one body or the other, in one world or the other, just as a worm caught in an eddy in a river is pushed and tossed from one eddy to another eddy. Each eddy is a birth/body/world that the person, as jIva, experiences. Thus moving from one birth to another he never sees an end to this circular sojourn. The mantra says that the Self is outside the pair of dharma and adharma, transcending both, untouched by both.
Now, the next pair of terms in the mantra is: cause and effect. These two constitute the entire creation in its unmanifest causal form and the manifest form as effect. The created world depends upon the karma, action, of the individuals, jIva-s . The totality of the result of the individuals’ karma remains in a seed form during the state of dissolution, praLaya, so as to manifest in a fresh form enabling the individuals to experience the fruit of the karma they have performed earlier. The seed state is called the ‘unmanifest’ state, not available for our perception but only inferable from the effect called the manifest state. Since this pair of cause and effect too belongs to creation, the Self that is sought to be known is differentiated from this pair.
The third pair in the mantra is: the past and the future. Contextually the present is also to be taken. The past consists of all that belongs to the bygone era. That which we experience at present will eventually skip into the past. The future is yet to arrive but when it arrives it comes to be termed ‘the present’, and following the natural course, will enter the category of ‘past’. Thus we see that the past, the present, and the future have no permanent existence; it is extremely fluid. The Self is not such a triad, and not limited by the past, the present and the future.
In a nutshell Nachiketa is asking to be taught that principle which transcends dharma-adharma, cause-effect and past-future. This transcendental entity alone is to be sought after by the one desiring immortality. While most people will be satisfied with what is offered by the dharma-adharma, cause-effect and past-future pairs, it is given to only an extremely rare individual to understand the limitations of the three pairs and appreciate the immense worth of the Self that transcends the three pairs. He is ready to pay the highest price in the form of making the highest sacrifice, no matter what that is. For such is the nature of the Self that there is an unbridgeable chasm between the finite and the infinite. By now it is clear what constitutes the finite: the three pairs. And what constitutes the infinite: the Self, also known by the terms Atma, brahman, etc.