“I’m Nachiketa, son of Rishi Vajashrava. I have been gifted to the Lord of Death by my father. I have come here to fulfil my father’s wish. May I see the Lord?” Nachiketa very calmly asked the guards outside the palace of Yamaraj, the God of Death. The guards were stunned. They’d never had such a visitor before. They tried to scare him away but Nachiketa was adamant. “The Lord is away and will be back after three days,” the taller of the two guards replied. Nachiketa waited patiently for three days. Yamaraj arrived at the palace door to find a young Brahmin boy sleeping outside. Waking him up and chatting with him, Yamaraj finds out that Nachiketa has been without food and water for three days. As a mark of repentance he offers the young boy three boons. Unlike a regular ten-year old, Nachiketa asks Yamaraj two questions. “My friends tell me that there is no old age, misery, hunger or death in Heaven. Tell me the way to reach there.” “Is there life after death?” Yamaraj was shocked at this question. He had not expected such a question from someone so young. “This subject is beyond your years, boy. Even great Rishis and sages are unsure about it. Ask for something else.” “You are the God of Death. Who else can explain about it better than you? Please tell me about it,” pleaded the eager Nachiketa. The fascinating conversation between Nachiketa, a young 10-year old and Yamaraj, the Lord of Death, is the Katopnishad. Despite being the only certainty in life, scared, awed, accepting, resigned to are various reactions people have to death. Most of our scriptures have spoken about it because the ancients regarded it with utmost respect. Is it really something to be scared of? If you knew that you’re going to be no more tomorrow wouldn’t you live life to its brim? The awareness of death makes you more alive. It can take the slumber out of you and bring heaven right there. But you have to have a master, a true Guru who can make you experience it. With his usual wit and elan, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has gifted us this supreme knowledge in the simplest of words. Become Nachiketa, innocent, childlike and open, to understand this unsurpassed text.
Katopanishad Part 1 – English
Katopanishad tells the story of young Nachiketa who goes to face the Lord of death and the extraordinary dialogue that follows. One of the highest spiritual texts, with layers of metaphors embedded therein, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar takes us through this beautiful story turning abstract philosophy into practical understanding.
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Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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