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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -8


            The kathopanisad is the third in the traditional order of the Upanisads and it is indeed a very important next step in the knowledge of Godhead or the Supreme self of all. The Isopanisad mentioned briefly that the path of Karma, that is injuncted ction (dharma), should be distinterestedly trodden faithfully and even mentioned that when followed with integral knowledge with fidelity (vidya) it does help the ‘crossing over’ Death1. The Kenopanisad showed the transcendental nature and power of the ultimate Being and its supreme “desirableness” as manifested in the activities of the senses(or gods) and mind, but which there senses and mind could never know except vaguely (or subliminally?). The Kathopanisad embraces both these facts of immortality and ultimate beneficence (amrtava2 as tadvanatva). It elaborates the cryptic statement at the end of the Kenopanisad which describes the subsidiaries of the divine knowledge tasyai tapo damah karma ca pratistha vedah sarvangani satyam ayatanam , iv.8.


            Dr. Ānanda K. Coomaraswami considers Katha to be a  Gnostic document which has to be studied as part  of the  Gnostic literature all over the world1. According to Śrī Krishna Prem2Kathopanisad is a practical treatise written to help us achieve a very real end here and now” and the explanations he has given follows the occult literature  all    over the world. Thus we have every reason to take this Upanisad seriously as a’ vidya’. According to earlier seers and teachers a vidya or a knowledge is a path to be trodden or followed in a particular manner and the fruits of such a path are indeed ultimate beatitude and realization. Thus each Upanisad I a ‘Vidya’, a clear and definite instruction of a particular path, integral to the realization of the goal, which of course could be reached by other vidyas also. Thus the Upanisads in all re said to give thirty-two vidyas, of which the Kathopanisad deals with the Naciketa-vidya or trinaciketa or Naciketa Agni-vidya.

1 The ‘crossing over’ is mentioned as something that  has efficacy after death or dying (vimukte pretya). It is so understood as counseling videhamukti. It may mean ‘occult passing on’ according to Krishna Prem, but even Śankara does not accept this latter view.

2 Sreyas is the full nature of the divine, and from this most possibly is developed the personality of Śrī who is stated to have her residence in the Divine Lord, wherefore His name ‘Śrī-nivasa’.


            The Kathopanisad is a very important Upanisad in yet another sense. It contains a general survey of the vedic ritual and philosophy and eschatology. It has had the good fortune of having been much studied and written about by scholars both occidental and oriental, and stands only next to Isa and the Gītā from the point of view of popularity Śrī Śankara commented on this work s also Śrī Madhva, and Śrī Rāmānuja has commented on this work s also Śrī Madhva, and Śrī Rāmānuja has cmmented in his Śrī Bhasya, on certain important points raised in this Upanisad, which have  been taken into consideration by Bhagavan Bādarāyana for purposes of synthesis in his Vedānta sūtras. These points have been reproduced at the end of this work. Śrī RangaRāmānuja has commented  on this work following closely the steps of Śrī Rāmānuja and his expounders like Śrī sudarsana Suri or Srutaprakasikacarya. Prof. Rawson, who is  a careful scholar of this Upanisad, has stated in his work that  he made no use of the Bhasya by RangaRāmānuja because of necessary on intricate or important points. He however considers that Śrī Rāmānuja’s explanations are more in accord with the spirit of the Upanisad than those of others.


            The Kathopanisad  belongs to the Kathaka School of the Krsna Yajur Veda. We do not possess a Kathaka-Brahmana. The Taittirīya Samhita has both a Brahmana and an Upanisad. The Taittirīya Brahmana (III.11.8 1-6) contains an  outline of the Naciketa story wit which the Kathopanisad opens and is parallel to the latter which is made more elaborate. Indeed according to RangaRāmānuja this anuvaka of the Taittirīya Brahmana is referred to by the Kathopanisad in I.17. Śrī krishan Prem considers that we can see ‘the germ of this Upanisad’ in Rg. VedaX. 135.


            No attempt has here been made to deal with the possible relations of this Upanisad to the Bhagavad Gītā-which contains much that is parallel to, if not precisely identical with the instruction in almost  the very language used here. Not to Buddhism. We have to point out that whatever may be the appropriateness in such parallels we hve always to remember that a vidya is an integral instruction and it may undergo transformation under new conditions due to subordination to other Vidyas.


            But on thing is certain that, even s in the Bhagavad Gītā, the Kathopanisad insists upon the necessity to perform ordained or injuncted karma (for that is dharma) the svadharma of each individual, and its performance is capable of leading tot eh highest abode of immortal existence, and not merely to the lower heaven. Such karma is incapable of binding the soul to samsara. The truth is that disinterested action, or action divinised or offered to the Divine, action that reveals the glorious purpose of service to God, is capable of helping achievement of the immortal status  for the  soul. The question that arises thereafter is as to the nature of that soul after mukti  or moksa, whether t continues to be separate or after lost in the One Divine variously described as the Ocean or the Nirvana state of Brahman? It is held by modern scholars that what Buddha meant by Nirvana was a state of positive nature of the supremely Transcendent and not a negative state. It is clear that it is not annihilationa s such or Pure Non-being. Any attainment of the Buddhistic metaphysical state of annihilation or loss of self or non-existence soul of as such has not formed part of the Upanisadic thought. It is particularly a feature of the rational method of Buddha, who in order to define the nature of the  soul as held by the several thinkers, had to negate all that it is not. In this sense, Buddha went to the logical extreme of Yājavalkya and insisted upon the apprehension of the futility of seeking to make permanent the impermanent congeries of affections, feelings,  habits, desires and hopes. Truly we used the permanent, but the permanent is not all that it is described  to be by materialistic metaphysics. Anyway it is not in line with the purpose of this Upanisd to investigate into the nature of the real or self as such, but only as to what becomes  of the soul of self on liberation, for  it is clearly held that the soul does persist after death.


            This Upanisad gives a definite answer to the question asked. It speaks in the first part of the Upanisad about the necessity to know the meaning of the Fire-altar as the Brahmanas had taught it, (perhaps in the adhyatmic way too), and already the promise of the highest immortal state is envisaged in that section, though some commentators think otherwise.


            But as the Upanisads are Adhyatma-sastras or vidyas which instruct the occult truth and path towards the positive attainment of Gnostic knowledge which could only be attained after a period of practice of self-control and service of the Divine (yama and niyamaof the Yoga), the nature of the Supreme Self and that of the individual soul and its progressive attainment of the former are taught along with the steps of Yoga which lead to the ultimate realization. This Upanisad even like the Isa inculcates the conjoint performance of Avidya (construction of the Fire-altar and the rituals prescribed) and  the Vidya, which is the knowledge of the  Tattva or Reality in respect of the three terms, god, soul and Nature, It  is held by some thinkers that the final verses of the Kathopanisad are not integral to the Upanisad as it concludes earlier. It may be that these final verses reveal the culmination of the Yoga of concentration at the time of departure, antyakalasmarana. The antyakala-smaranahas been shown to be very helpful by the Bhagavad Gītāin respect of determining the nature of the world that a man would reach. Or more properly if smarana pertains to concentration on any articular deity, it will be an invocation to that deity to lead him on to freedom or Bliss. This  will reveal a psychological set-up in the consciousness, a psychological set which will reveal the type of personality that the soul has been building up, whether towards liberation or towards mundne enjoyment, “preyas’ or ‘sreyas’ as the  Kathopanisad beautifully puts it. It is an act of choice made Kathopanisad beautifully puts it. It is an act of choice made under the great cloud of departure, the threat of death, and therefore revealing the inmost structure of the soul, its primary longing and conversion. That this choice could be made longing and conversion. That this choice could be made earlier and practiced with assiduity is not denied, but the crucial moment is indeed the moment of departure, death, threat of possible physical annihilation. And such moments are spiritual pointers to the status of the soul in its integral being. Man’s primary instinct is confronted with other desires and the balance of death decides  which side is heavier. Man is then alone weighed and measured.



            It consists f two (parts)  adhyayas,  each of which contains three sections (vallis). With the exception of the first two sentences in the first part, the whole Upanisad is in metrical form. Since the first adhyaya concludes with the following passage “Naciketam…” it is sometimes held that the Upanisad ends here and that the second adhyaya is a later addition. It is even claimed that the second adhyaya merely expands the teaching of the first adhyaya. The repetition of the last line (cd) in the first  adhyaya confirms the above view that the  natural conclusion  should have been  this alone. There  is some difference between what is stated there and the  conclusion in the second adhyaya. The real conclusion of the Upanisad seems be  the concluding verse of the second adhyaya (sixth valli); mrtyu  proktam……




            It appears however that importance is attached to the story of Naciketas in the first adhyaya.1 whereas importance is attached to instruction regarding reality (tattva), the means hita  and the result (fruit, phala) as a whole in the second adhyaya. From this we find that this Upanisad contains, as is usual in all Upanisads2, a the three instructions on tattva, hita and purusartha without which no vidya can be followed, not to speak of being understood.


            The story of Naciketas after his having been offered to Death by his father Vajasravas is contained in this section. After having gone to the abode of Death he had to wait for three days are Death returned and in lieu of this waiting  and fasting  for  three  days  as a guest, he was offered three boons.  The  story  after


1 It may be pointed out here that if in the Kenopanisad, the story myth is found in the third section, which illustrates the tattva, truth , enunciated in the earlier two sections, here the story myth comes at the very beginning of the Upanisad and its inner meaning elaborated in the second adhyaya. The Kena insists upon knowing that all activity proceeds from and is sustained by the Brahman: here it is shewn that all action is to be totally consecrated to the Divine alone who is the inner ruler immortal, capable of being known within the heart alone with the soul, that is also immortal, as its adorable object.

2 Cf. Introduction to Isa and Kena Upnisads.


describing  the first two boons which pertain to the earth (artha) and heaven (svarga) introduces the philosophical third, Moksa or liberation form the round of existence in earth and heaven. Naciketas refused to entertain  the third purusartha namely desire (kama), and withstood the temptations offered to him by Yama in this regard. This rejection of the kama-purusartha is shown to be of the preyas or mere pleasant which is other than and inferior to the sreyas, the good, which alone is to be sought, and this  sreyas  is liberation-getting. No true philosophical instruction can have effectiveness unless the karma-purusartha is totally rejected, as Yama himself points out in his story in the opening lines of the second valli.


            It may however be asked as to what difference there is between the second and the third boons in s much as according to RangaRāmānuja svargya  refers to a svarga that is identical with “The eternal abode of Visnu” and should be considered to be identical with the Kenopanisad’s final lines ananta-svarga-loka-jyeye. In the Tait. Brahmana-story of Naciketas, the second boon refers to dharma that is the full effectiveness of sacrificial performance, (tato vai tasyestapurte naksiyete) for the sake of which Yama teaches Naciketas the Naciketa-Fire even as in the Upanisad here. The third boon in the Brahmana however refers to Immortality=1 –freedom from redeath- punar-mrtyu- a point also noticed in the second boon in the Upanisad I.1. 18cd. Yama in the Brahmana teaches that the Naciketa-fire itself secures that end, thus confirming the view that the Upanisad has clubbed together the second and third boons there to form one here. Thus there has arisen a new questionas to whether the soul exists at all in or after attaining the state of immortality, and as to how it then exists.

            The third boon asked by Naciketas could not be answered without a clear understanding of what the question is about. The question about the existence of the soul after death does not refer to the existence or non-existence of the soul as such,1 but to the nature of existence of the soul at liberation, that is, the nature of the liberated soul (mukta) and the nature of that which it attains, and the means to that final or peak attainment (param padam). Therefore we can see that the Upanisad is a logical development of the Brahmana’s third boon. Unless we take this question in this way, Yama’s  answer contained in the II.12 cannot be held to be relevant.


            II.Valli.The first portion of this Valli up to Mantra 11 is also  an introduction to Yama’s answer to the third question, as it describes the qualifications of a seeker after this2. It lays emphasis not only (i0 on the detachment from preyas,  worldly advancement and enjoyment, but also (ii) on the necessity of having  a proper teacher to teach one that truth about ‘sreyas’’ the highest Good.


1 There is no place here for the  Buddhist view of general sunya, for it clear that it really refers to the existence of a liberated soul as a separate entity or whether it non-exists having utterly merged in the One Being.

2 Śrī Krishna Prem’s references to the Myths of Temptation are interesting and reveal a significant secret of occultism.


            The tenth mantra of this Valli contains the significant statement of Yama “that he performed or contructed the Naciketa fire-altar and the attained the Eternal by means of transitory ghings.” Śrī Śankara interprets the word ‘eternal’ as “comparatively enduring”. The meaning given by RangaRāmānuja is in accordance with the Brahmana statement tato vai so’ pa punr mrtyum ajayet.




            Yama’s answer to Naciketa’s question is very brief, It is contained in one single mantra (II.12). Thereafter Yama tells Naciketas that he had already instructed him fully about that which he prayed for. But Naciketas asks Yama to tell him about the truth known as other than dharma etc, Yama then beginst to explain in detail the answer he gave cryptically in the twelfth mantra. Firstly he speaks about the Pranava, then about the nature of the soul and lastly about the supreme soul (II.22). In verse 20 the Grace of the supreme Create  is stated to be necessary in adhyatma Yoga for be holding the hidden Being in the cave, the supreme Lord who is anoraniyan mahato mahiyan. Dhatuh-prasadais to be interpreted as the grace of the Creator (who is also the supporter and protector) and not merely as the mental peace or luminosity which undoubtedly is a necessity in Yoga for any large or     real comprehension of the Divine Nature. This idea is not merely implicitly but also explicitly stated in the 23rd verse. The text of RangaRāmānuja reads it ‘dhatuh-prasadat’. The verse 23 is interpreted by rangaRāmānuja as referring to the grace of God which is stated to result from loving devotion or  one-pointed seeking in love. The concluding verses refer to the attainment of this knowledge and presence of the Divine within. It must be remembered that the theory of the Mīmāmsākas about the  existence  of strict causality or determinism between ritual and fruits is repudiated or rather bye-passed when the individual is asked to surrender  himself for service to God through illumined love or one-pointed Yoga without seeking any fruits for his actions or dhyanas,  since this non-seeking any fruits for his actions or dhyanas,  since this non-seeking of anything for oneself is that which snaps the causal chain, and is the meaning of true love or devotion or pure wisdom or illumined understanding and serevice, This valli concludes with the intimation of certain rules of conduct and instructs certain virtues that are to be cultivated for enabling one  to receive the Supreme Grace.


            III.Valli. The third valli deals with the hita or the means to the  attainment of Supreme Grace, thus expanding the instruction given at the end of the second valli. It lays stress on the necessity to control the sense-organs. It mentions further that control is to be exercised gradually in the following order: firstly on the sense-organs, secondly on the object of enjoyment, thirdly on the mind, fourthly on the intellect, fifthly on the soul, sixthly on the body as a  whole (the Unmanifest) and lastly reach through the above stages (of dharana  cum- pratyahara) the Supreme Self, whose grace alone is capable of granting final Liberation. As many scholars hold, Yoga-sastra might have got its fundamental clues form this section.




            IV. Valli. After pointing out tire distinction between the seeker and the non-seeker or the indifferent seeker, this valli describes the nature of the Supreme self as dwelling in all creatures, thus distinguishing Him  front the embodied jiva who resides in a body (IV.5-8) . (t may be noted that on account of the indwelling of the Infinite Person in the body of the embodied soul, the Infinite Person assumes the size of a thumb (angustha-matra) in the heart for the sake of meditation or conceivability.


            V Valli. This  valli develops the instruction regarding the indwelling-nature of Brahman with special reference to  His being responsible for all the actions of the soul. (cf. first Kena I.): What may be considered to be a direct answer to the third question of Naciketas in the I valli ‘Ye yam prete vicikitsa….’ (20) is here given by Yama who says “ O Gautama, surely I shall teach you now the secret eternal Brahman and what he soul becomes after departure (release)” (V. 6-7) “Some souls enter wombs for getting bodies; others take up the form of the Unmoving in accordance with karma and in accordance with Knowledge”, with which we may profitably compare Śrī Krsna’s reply to Arjuna’s answer (Bh. Gītā VI.40-47). The point at issue is, it may be noted, regarding the seeker mainly, and should not be held to be a reply regarding the ordinary man who has not entered on the spiritual path  or Yogic evoluation.


            It may be seen here that Yama promises to  teach first this secret eternal Brahman and then as to what becomes of the liberated soul after its departure from its body. Yama however answers the second part fist in mantra 7, and the first is answered in the eighth mantra. This again shows  that the third question after all refers not only to what becomes of the liberated soul after departure but also the Nature of the Supreme self, Brahman (who is held to be the self of all souls including the departed and liberated ones). The paramam sukhamin mantra 14 may have a possible reference to the Ānandavalli of he taittriyopanisad  wherein this description of Brahman is developed at length. Thus if the Isa-Rsi described the realization of God as the indwelling Lord of all beings and things, as leading to non-revulsion, non-grief and non-fear, if the Kena-Rsi taught the Supreme Cause as the “Desirable” (Tad Vanam) knowledge of whom as such makes the realiser desirable, the Katha Seer, Yama, promises a more integral realization of the “Desirable”, as the sreyas,  transcendent Bliss, paramam sukham.


            VI Valli. This valli deals with the Yoga of attainment in 9th, 10th and 11th verses. In mantra 4, with regard to the difficulty in construction of the two lines RangaRāmānuja treats asakad as anactive participle with nan prefixed, which yields the meaning ‘unable’. Like the Kenopanisad, this Upanisad in mantra 12 also takes special care to instruct that Brahman can be grasped neither  by speech nor by mind fully; except through instruction received through a Guru it can never be grasped.


            The Upanisad concludes with the additional knowledge that has to be learnt about the hundred psychonic paths (nadis) of the heart wherein the thumb-sized Lord dwells, one of which (later on known as Susumna) leads upwards to immortality whilst others lead  to lesser goals. It is this Nadi that has to be known as the path of exit at departure. It is considered by some modern writers that this knowledge may be a later addition. This not likely since the Brihadaranyaka seems to be aware of this fact. Further the path of exist is an integral piece of instructions to be given to a Yogin.





Usan ha vai vajasravasah sarvavedasam dadau

Tasya ha Naciketa nama putra asa

Once, the son of vajasravas, desiring (some fruit) gave away all his possessions. He had a son named Naciketas.




1. Let my anjali go to the Beauty of Anjanadri,1 of the colour of common flax (atasi)-flower-bunch, with His chest adorned by Śrī.


2. Bowing to Vyasa, Rāmānuja and other teachers, I shall write this comment, according to my intelligence, on the Kathopanishad, for the delight of the learned.


usan : Desirous the word comes form the root vasa meaning desire with the suffic satr, which gets samprasarana (Panini I.i.45) as enjoined in the Sūtra beginning with grahijya (Panini.VI.i.16).


ha vai: These two are particles, (used to) indicate things that have transpired. ‘The fruit’ is to be supplied. The meaning is that the sage indeed performing the sacrifice called Visvajit (conqueror of the world).1 in which every possession is to be offered as fees for performance (daksina) (to Rtviks), gave away in that sacrifice all his possessions. By the word ‘usan’ is indicated that the sacrifice, being one that is performed for getting some fruit, the fees, must necessarily be in every way correct (and proper).


vjasravasah : son of Vajrasravas. Vajasravas is  one who has attained fame through gifts of food (vaja)2. His son is Vajasravasah. Or it may be a name, merely, Vajasravas.

1 Beauty of Anjanadris   is Śrī Venkatesvara.

2 cf… Śrī Krishana Prem yoga of the Kathopanisad p. 14 : meaning of Vajasravasa


asa : babhuva : there was. Here (bhu) has not replced the root ‘as’ as in ‘svasthaye tarksyam’ (for the well-being, Garuda), since lit (Perfect tense) is a sarvadhatuka  (Panini III 4.113) as enjoined in chandasy ubhayatha.




tam ha kumaram santam daksinasu niyamanasu

sraddhavivesa somanyayta


While the fees were being distributed, Sraddha overtook him, who was still young. He reflected thus :


Commentary :


tam : Him, Naciketas


kumaram santam : who was still young2


daksinasu niyamanasu : at the time of distribution of fees, namely, cows to the rtviks  (the officiating priests)


1  The Visvajit-sacrifice was performed by Mahabali when vamana came and asked fro three paces of ground, symbolically the earth. Heaven and self, thus completing the sacrifice fully, Vamana is stated to be the subject dealt with by this Upanisad. Cha. Visnusahasranama : visvam  (1).

2 cf. Krishna Prem “boy as he was.”


sraddha1: devotional mentality due to his wishing well for his father (pitur-hita-kama-prayukta)


avivesa : overtook.


Even though the thing which helps in procuring consent (to officiate as priests) is called fee(s) (darksina), and the consent is (given) only once in a sacrifice, since (the word fees) gains its significance on account of that consent, therefore the word fees  (daksina) has to be only a singular number ; wherefore (ata eva) it is stated  by Jaimini (Mīmāmsā-sūtra X. iii.56) “O milch cows in the passage, cow is the fee of it” (tasya dhenur iti gavam), that in the passage  “the milch cow is its fee’ read in the context of the one-day sacrifice called bhu, all the fees, the cows (112), the horse, & etc., belonging to the original sacrifice (prakrtasya) are to be substituted by it (dhenu), this word fee here signifies some wealth (bhrti). And it is used with reference to action as in “In this action this is the wage.” It is also used with reference to the agent (kartr) as in “In this action, this is the wage to this person (agent).” Since therefore the fees are many on account  of the officiating priests being many, the plural ‘fees’ (daksinasu) is proper. Therefore, it is said in the adhikaranain chapter X beginning with the sūtra “If the fight is to the Brahman (priest) the fee (to the Rk priest) will be less  by it, with the modification the fee will be the same” 2 that, if the passage occurring in the sacrifice called Rtapeya “The fee is the Soma-vessel made of Udumbara (fig-wood),” it must be given to the Brahman-priest, who is friendly and of the same gotra”, is to be one single sentence (which it is not), then, the Brahman-priest’s share alone is to be substituted, since the word ‘dakshina’ coul signify it with its primary significance without any resort to the secondary significance (jlaksana) is respect of the portion.

1 Krishna Prem translates it as Faith, but it is not”blind faith” “accompanied by hidden doubt.” It is true faith or “fair faith,” which is a form of Knowledge.

2 Yadi brahmanah tad unam tadvikarah syat. Jaimini: P.M.S. X.iii.72.


            Now therefore it can be seen that even though the fee in reference to this (Visvajit) sacrifice be one, there may be differences in the fees in reference to the rtviks, and as such, there is no impropriety in the (use of the ) plural ‘fees’.




pitodaka jagdha-tma dugdha-doha nirindriyah

ānanda nama te lokas tan sa gacchati ta dadat


He who  gives these (cows) by which the water has been  drunk, the grass has been eaten, the milk has been given (and) which have become  barren, goes  to those worlds that are well-known as delightless.




The manner of this devotional mentality (on the part of Nacketas) is thus shown:


pitodakah: Those (cows) by which (last) water has been drunk1


jagadhatrnah: Those by which (last ) grass has been eaten


dugdhadohah : Those from which (last) milk has been drawn


nirindriyah: Incapable of future progeny, worn out. In other words, ‘useless.’ He who gives (the cows) of this nature to the officiating priests deeming them as daksina (fees) (goes to delightless worlds).


1 The idea is that these cows had drunk water for the last time,  eaten grass for the last time etc., and which therefore are dying, are absolutely useless as gifts, for gifts, must be of good cows and not of worthless ones.


ānandah : delightless. Are there not worlds known from scriptures which are delightless?


tain :  to those (worlds)


sah : He, the sacrificer, goes to . Thus he (Naciketas) reflected : this is the meaning.




sa hovaca pitaram tata kasmai mam dasyasiti dvitiyam trtiyam. Tam hovaca Mrtyave tva dadamiti.


He spoke to his father : “Father, to whom will you give me,” for the second (time), for the third (time). To him spoke (the father) thus : “To Death I shall give you.”




sahovaca pitaram  The most faithful Naciketas who thought that the fees that are being given are defective (bad) and who wished to make the sacrificial performance of his father good, even through giving himself away (as fees), approached his father and said:


tata : O Father !


kasmai : to which Rtvik by way of sacrificial fee


mam : me


dasyasi : will you give.


[sah] He (Naciketas) not having been paid any attention to by his father though addressed by him thus,


dvitiyam : for the second time, (and)


trtiyam api : for the third time also spoke to him “To whom will you give me ?” The father, pressed very much, became angry and told his son that he would give him away to Death.




bahunam emi kprathamo bahunam emi madhyamah kim svid yamasya kartavyam yan māyādya karisyati


I go ahead of many, I go in the midst of many. What is that  Death has to do, which he would have done by me?1




Though thus spoken to (Naciketas) without fear or sorrow told his father thus : Off all those who go to the abode of Death I shall be either in the forefront or in the middle but never at the end. The intention is “I am not at all worried about going to the abode of Death.” (If it be asked) what is it that (you are worried) about? He replies:


Kimsvid : What purpose has Death got which He is going to have done by me? Is there any advantage with one so tender as me to Death of fulfilled desires, where the gift of me to Him will be of some use, as (the fight of me) to Rtviks (will be). Therefore it is about this alone that I am worried. This is the intention.



anupasya yatha purve pratipasya tatha pare sasyam iva martyah pacyate sasyam iva jayate punah


Reflect on how the ancestors (were); ponder how the other 9present ones are). Man ripens like corn; he is again born like com.

1 Krishna Prem : “What is the task that Yama, Lord of Death, will accomplish on me today?”




(Naciketas) looking at the father of remorseful heart who thought on hearing these words of such a son, who was free from any fear or anger, “I said, I give you to Death ‘out of anger’ but I do not wish to give away such a son to Death.” Said:


purve : grandfather and others, as they were without any false speech; so also.


apare : the good men that are now even after them; in the same manner must you behave. This is the meaning.


sasyam iva : like corn


martyah : the man becomes like corn worn out in a short while and, becoming worn out, dies, and like corn is the born again. In this mortal world which is transitory, what is the use of uttering falsehood. Keeping to truth send me to Death. This is the meaning.




yaisvanarah pravisaty atithir brahmano grhan

tasyaitam śāntim kurvsnti hara Vaivasvatodakam

The fire, the Brahman-guest, enters the house. To him (they) this appeasement make. O son of the Sun! take water (unto him, Naciketas).


Commentary :


That son (Naciketas), having been thus sent away, stayed at the gates of Death who was away, eating nothing for three nights. Then an old man at the gates (of Death’s abode) told Death (Yama), who returned after having been away, thus:


Verily the God of Fire himself in the form of Brahman-guest enters the house. To that fire good men perform this appeasement of the form of water for feet-cleansing and offering  of seat, so that they may not be burnt by their disrespect to him. Therefore, O Vaivasvatha! Bring to Naciketas water for feet-cleansing.


hara  means ahara : bring. This is the meaning.


asapratikse samgatam sunrtan ca

istapurte putrapasums ca sarvan

etad vrnkte purusasyalpamedhaso

yasyanasnan vasati brahmano grhe


Hope and expectations, contact (with good men), the true and kind words, sacrificial good deeds, beneficence, the sons and cattle of the unintelligent person at whose house a Brahman dwells starving, this (sin) destroys.1




And they showed that failing to do it honouring the guest) result in sinfulness (pratyavaya).


Yasya alpamedhasah purusasya grhe : In the house of which unintelligent person

anasnan : starving


Brahmanah : guest

1 This translation is in accordance with the commentary. But the text seems to be capable of another interpretation also  “Hope and expectations etc.etc., (all) this of the unintelligent person at whose house a Brahman remains  starving, the (starving Brahman) destroys.”


vasati : dwells


tasya : of him


asapratikse : desire and will; or else, asa means desire for the unaccomplished, and pratiksa, desire to get things which are existing.


samgatam : contact with the good


sunrtam :  speech that is true and pleasnt


istapurte : ista means sacrific and others and purta means construction of tanks etc.


putran  pasums ca : sons and cattle


etad :  the sin of the form of starving.


vrnkte : deprivas, destroys is the meaning : from vryi varjane : to deprive. (VII conjugation snam) or else this is a form from the root vrja varjane (II conjugation) which omits the conjugational sign sah.)


tisro ratrir yadavatsir grhe me

‘nasnan Brahman natithir namasyah

namas te’stu Brahman svasti me

‘stu tasmat prati trin varan vrnisva


O Brahman! Since you, the respectful guest, have stayed without food in my house for three nights, let my salutations be to you,  O Brahman! Let there be well being to me. In return, therefore, choose three boons.


Commentary :


Thus addressed by the elders, Death said to Naciketas :


me grhe : in my house, O Brahman fit to be revered, thou, the guest, have  spent three nights without food. This  is the meaning


namas te : the meaning is clear


tasmat………..therefore, for this reason


me : to me


svasti : well-being, so that I may be well


trin varan : prati : three boons in return


vrnisva  : choose.


Even though you are desireless, you should choose three boons corresponding to the three nights of fasting to favour me. This is the meaning.




santasamkalpah sumana yatha syad

vitamanyur Gautamo mabhi mrtyo

tvatprasrstam ma’ bhivadet pratitah

etat trayanam prathamam varam vrne


O Death! (please make) Gautama (my father) free from all anxieties, well-disposed, free-from anger towards me; (and) well pleased let him speak to me, sent back by you. This is the first of the three boons I elect.


Commentary :


Thus being requested, Naciketas said:


Mrtyo : O Death!


Santasamkalpah : free from anxiety of the form “having reached Death, what will ny son do?”


Sumanah : with his mind settled in peace


Mabhi : towards me


Gautamah : Gautama, my father


Vitamanyuh : freed form anger (rosa)


Yatha syat  : (make him) so as to be thus.



tvat  prasrstam : sent back (home) by you


mabhi : towards me.

pratitah : pleased as before


vadet : would speak.


Or else


abhi vadet: will bestow 9on me) blessings, since the abhivadana is used to signify the giving  of blessings in Smrti-texts such s abhivadati, nabhivadayate.


Etad…. The meaning is clear.



yatha purastad bhavita pratitah

Auddalakir Arunir mat prasrstah

sukham raytrih sayita vitamanyus

tvam dadrsivan1 mrtyumukhat pramuktam


Son of Uddalaka of Aruna-family, influenced by me will be well-disposed (towards you) as before. On seeing you released from the mouth of Death, free from anger, he will happily sleep in the nights.


Commentary :


Asked thus Death replied : he will become as before well-disposed towards you.  Auddalaki is to be taken as Uddalaka; Aruni means son of Aruna. Or else he is a descendent of the two families, or else the son of Uddalaka and of the family of aruna.1


mat prasrstah : influenced by me or as favoured by me, the meaning is ‘due to my blessing.’

1 darsivan : Nir. Sa.Ed.

Sukham: Having become free from anger in respect of you, he will sleep happily in the future nights. Lut (1st Future) Signifies that he will get (thereafter) good sleep.


dadrsivan : (darsivan) : Having seen (you) is the meaning. This is a form ending with the suffix kvasu. The suffix kvasu is preceded by it according to the Vartika (Panini VII. 2.69 Vartika). This, where there is no reduplication, is a Vedic grammatical exception to the rule (Panini. VI.1.8).


matprasrstam :  if the reading is in the accusative (i.e. matprasrstam  in the place of matprasrstah) then the construction is you who are sent back by me.’

1Dvyamusyayana  means the son of a lady who was given in marriage to an individual on the condition that her issue is to be deemed to be the son of the giver (of her). (Ānandagiri’s Commentary).


Svarge loke na bhayam kincanasti

na tatra tvam na jaraya bibheti

ubhe tirtva asanayapipase

sokatigo modate Svargaloke


There is no fear whatever in the svarge-world (heaver). You are not (present) there. One is not afraid of old age. Getting over  the two, thirst and hunger, transcending sorrow, one delights in the Svarga-world.


Commentary :


Naciketas now asks for the second boon in two mantras (beginning with svarge loke…). Here the world Svarga means the realm of liberation. How it is so, will be explained later.


Mrtyo : O Death. There you are not the Lord. One in old age does not fear (death). One does not fear old age. ‘The man that exists there’ is to be supplied there (in the verse).


ubhe:…. asanaya : Hunger. Here also Svarga means the world of liberation.




sa tvam Agnim Svargyam adhyesi Mrtyo

prabruhi tam sraddadhanaya mahyam

svargaloka amrtatvam bhajanta

etad dvitiyena urne varena


you  of such nature, O Death, knowest the Agni leading to Svarga. Teach it to me who have much faith. Those who exist in Svrga-world attain immortality. This is the second boon I choose.


sa tvam : You whose omniscience is well-known in Purana, You know the fire which is helpful in the attainment of Svarga.


yat (ya) is the suffix signifying prayojana (utility) according to the passage “yat  comes as suffix after Svarga and others” (Ganapatha Panini V.i.111). It will be clear later on that the utility of Agni of the form of fire-alter in attaining Svarga is through meditation.


sraddadhanaya : to one who has ardent desire for liberation. What is that which you will get attaining the svarga-world? The reply is:


Svargalokah (amrtatvam) : those whose world is Svarga; this means those who have attained the supreme world,  since the immortality which is called liberation (moksa) which is of the form of the manifestation (or revealment) of (ones) own nature comes only after the attainment of the Brahman in that particular place (here called Svarga) as in the passage “Having attained the Supreme Light one stands revealed with one’s own nature.”


etad… This is clear.



pra te bravimi tad u me nibodha

svargyam agnim Naciketah prajanan

anantalokaptim atho pratistham

vidhi tvam enan nihitam guhayam


I shall explain to you fully: know that of me, O Naciketas ! Knowing that fire which leads to svarga (one gets) the attainment of the world of the infinite (Visnu) and permanence. Know thou this (fire) placed in the cave.


Thus spoken to . Death speaks :


Pra te bravimi : I shall tell you who have requested. The use of the particle para separated from the root is in accordance with  Panini Sūtra : ‘They can be used separately from roots’ (I.iv.82).


me : From me : from my teaching do you know. This is the meaning. The goal of knowledge is now made known — Svargyam agnim.


anantalokaptim : the attainment of the world of the Infinite Visnu, because of the subsequent passage  (I.iii.9) “That is Visnu’s Supreme Abode.


atho : After the attainment of that


pratistham : Non-return also. ‘One gets’ is to be supplied. Thinking that Naciketas may have a doubt as to how that knowledge could have such a power (Death) says:

Viddhi : Know, This nature of knowledge that is the cause of liberation due to its being  a subsidiary to the meditation on Brahman placed in the cave, others do not know. (Thereafter) do you know it, is the idea.


Or else, the relation of cause and effect is determined when it is said “Knowing Agni do thou get attainment of he world of the Infinite and Permanence” since the root vid meaning ‘to know’, could mean ‘to get.’ The suffix (star) in prajanan is in accordance with Panini (III.2.126) “The suffixes star and sanac come after the root whose meaning signified or is the cause of another action.


lokadim agnim tam uvaca tasmai

ya istaka yavatir va yatha va

sa capi tat pratyavadad yathoktam

arthasya Mrtyuh punarevahatustah1


To him, Death taught that fire, the means of (attaining) the world (Svarga). (He also taught him) which and how many are the bricks and how (they are to be arranged). He (Naciketas) too repeated it as it was taught. Then pleased with (his) ability Death spoke again.


Commentary :


Then the Veda speaks.


lokasya adhim : means to the world; the meaning is the same as Svargya (leading to Svarga).


 tam Atnim uvaca : taught that fire. The meaning is that he taught him all this, the bricks, of what  nature, of what number and the manner  in which they have to be piled. The assimilation in yavatir (yavati as : yavatyah  must be the proper form) is due to the exception in Vedic grammer.


Sa capi : He too : and Naciketas too


tat : all that he heard exactly repeated, this is the meaning.


arthasya : Death pleased on seeing the ability to grasp (the instruction given) of his disciple spoke again.


tam   abravit priyamano mahatma

varam tavehadya dadami bhuyah

tavaiva namna bhavitayam agnih

srnkam cemam anekarupam grhana


The mahatman (Death) being pleased told him. Now I give you here one more boon. This Fire verily shall be known by your name. Also take this resonant necklace of many hues.


Commentary :


High-minded Death well-pleased told Naciketas thus “I shall grant you a fourth boon” What it is he explains:


tavaiva : This fire I have been teaching you will be known by the name of Naciketa.


vicitram srnkam : many-coloured resonant necklace of precious stones. This do you accept is the meaning.1



trinaciketas tribhir etya sandhim

trikarmakrt tarati janma-mrtyu

brahmajajanam devam idyam viditva

nicayyemam śāntim atyantam eti

One learning the three anuvakas dealing with  Naciketa and performing three actions, attaining contact (with brahmoasana) with the three (by means, of it) crosses over birth and death. Knowing and realizing the soul born-of-Brahman and conscient as the worthy Lord, one attains thorough peace for ever.

1 Krishna Prem gives a very interesting occult interpretation of this Garland of many forms in his work.




Again He (Death) refers to Karma :


Trinaciketah : One learning the three anuvakas (Tait. Brah. III.xi.7, 8 & () beginning with “ayam vava yah pavate” This verily which blows (is the Fire-Naciketas).


trikarmakrt  : One that does the actions of sacrificing and learning and giving, or else one who performs the paka-yajna (seven domestic sacrifices), havir-yajna (corn-sacrifices) and soma yajna  (soma-sacrifices).


tribhir  : with the fires thrice performed (constrtucted),


sandhim : contact with meditation on the Supreme Self


etya : attaining


janma-mryu tarati : Crosses over birth and death. This is the meaning. Since this has to have the same sense as the passage karoti tad yena punar na jayate occurring in the next mantra(d) and since this mantra has been  interpreted in this manner by Vyasarya (author of Sruta-Prakasika)1 under the Vedānta Sūtra : 6 “trayanan eva caivam  — and of three only there is this mention and question.”


Thereafter he speaks of the meditation upon the Supreme Self which is the principal (angi) mentioned in the first half of this Verse tribhir etya sandhim.


1 Commentary on the Śrī Bhasya of Śrī Rāmānuja..


This mantra has been  explained in the Bhasya under the Sūtra (I.ii.12) “Because of the specification” as follows :—


Brahmajajna is soul, since he is born of Brahman and is consicent, knowing Him as the worthy Divine. The meaning is “Knowing he soul who meditates as that which ahs Brahman as its self.”


deva :  What is meant by the Bhasya is  this: “This significance of the word deva goes up to one who has the Supreme Self as one’s self, since the word deva signifies the Supreme Self and since identity cannot be between the soul and the Supreme.


nicayya : Realizing one’s own self as one whose self is Brahman.


imam : this mentioned in the earlier part of this mantra as trikarmakrt tarati.


śāntim : means the abolition of the miseries of the form of


samsara (the cycle of Births and deaths).1




trinaciketas trayam etad viditva

ya evam vidvans cinute Naciketam

sa mrtyupasan puratah pranodya

sokatigo modate Svargaloke


He who, having mastered the performance of the three sections dealing with the Naciketa (fire) and knowing in this manner, performs the pilling of the Naciketa-alter after knowing the three.1  that person, casting away the fetters  away the fetters of death even prior to transcending sorrow, enjoys in the celestial world.


1 Krishna Prem discuss the views of Śankara and Madhava and inclines to the view that Madhav’s view is more revealing, as Krama mukti is true  of the occult development.



trinaciketa : has already been explained.


trayam etad : The nature of Brahman and the nature of the soul hving the former as its self mentioned in the mantra brahmajajnam devam idyam : (I.i.17) and the nature of the fire (altar) mentioned in the  passage “Teribhir etya samdhim” (ibid).


Viditva : having known through the instruction of gurus or from sacrifices.


evam vidvan : The knower who with this knowledge of these three, constructs the Naciketa-fire-altar.


sah : That person (casting away) the death’s fetters of the form of attachment and hatred etc.


puratah : even prior to leaving the body.


pranodya : Casting away. The meaning is being free from the attachment and hatred even while living.


sokatigah : transcending sorrow; this has been already commented upon.




            This mantra is not in other texts, and is special to ranga Rāmānuja’s Bhasya  on the Upanisads.


1 Śrī Śankara considers this to be father, Mother and Guru: Prem identifies them a Atma-Buddhi-Manas.



yo va, pretam brahmajajnatmabhutam

citim viditva cinute  Naciketam

saeva bhutva brahmajajnatmabhutam

karoti tad yena punar na jayate


whoever knowing this pilling up which is the selfborn of Brahman and sentient constructs Naciketa (fire-altar), that very person becoming the born of Brahman and sentient, does that by which (he) is not born again.


Yah……..Whoever, knowing this pilling up, knowing this to be of the form of his self, with Brahman as his Self.


sa eva : that same person.


brahmajajnamabhutah  Having the knowledge of his own self with Brahman as his Self, performs that meditation of God which is the means of non-rebirth.


Therefore the intention is that what was mentioned in the previous mantra “tribhir etya samdhim trikarmakrt tarati janmamrtyu : One learning these there anuvakas dealing with Naciketa and performing  three actions attaining contact (with Brahmopasana) by means of it crosses over birth and death,” as the means of liberation through the meditation upon the Lord, is the piling up of the fire-alter preceded by the knowledge of his own self having God as his soul and not anything else.


This mantra is not seen in some texts and was not commented upon by some. Since, however, this is commented upon by such most reliable (authorities) as Vyasarya (author of the Sdrutapraka sika) and others, the doubt as to its being an interpolation is not proper.



esa te’gnir Naciketah svargyah

yam avrnitha dvitiyena varena

etam agnim tavaiva pravaksyanti janasah

tritiyam varam Naciketo vrnisya


This is the fire, O Naciketas ! that leads  to heaven which you chose as your second boon. People will call this fire as yours alone. O Naciketas ! choose a third boon.


esa : This etc. “’has been taught’ has to be supplied.


yam : which the meaning is clear. And besides people will call this Agni by your name alone.


tritiyam varam : third boon : the meaning is clear.


If it be asked as to what authority there is for taking the word svarga frequently used in this context, to mean liberation (or the abode of the liberated), we state thus: There is no room for any doubt (in this matter since the Bhasyakara (Rāmānuja) himself 1 has explicitly and impliedly explained with reference to the mantra containing the words svargyam  and agnim (Katha .I.i.13) as follows : “It is the (above of) liberation which is the highest and, that is meant by the word svargya here, because the text “Those that live in svarga attain immortality” (Katha.I.1.13) states that one who is  there has neither birth nor death; because the reply is “One learning the three anuvakas dealing with Naciketa and performing three actions, attaining contact with the three, by means of it crosses over death and birth” (Katha. I.i.17), and because it cannot be that Naciketas whose face is turned away from perishable ends can ask for the means for attaining a svarga that is transitory, as he scorns at the transitory ends when asking for the third boon; d because the liberation of the form of the unbounded bliss can be meant by the ‘svarga’ signifying the supreme Happiness.


1 Śrī Bhasya : I.iv.6.


(Purvapaksa) Objection: If it be asked : The word ‘svarga’ is repeated four times in the two mantras concerning the second boon (Katha. I. 1.12 and 13). If it means (the abode of) liberation, is it through primary significance or through secondary significance? The first (alternative) is not acceptable, because the svarga which is well-known in the Vedic and worldly usage means the opposite of liberation (apavarga) in such passages as “Through the two paths of svarga and apavarga..”; “One of the two, svarga and apavarga..” Neither the svarga nor the non-birth”….and “It  may be svarga, since it is common to all (to be desired)” P.M.S. IV.3.15), and because, according to the (Paurnaic)  passage1 “the distance of fourteen lakhs (of miles) between the Sun and the Pole Star is spoken of by those who have studied the arrangement of that worlds as the svarge,” the word ‘svarga’ can signify that particular space that lies between the Sun and the Pole star and to that alone the Vedic and worldly usages have reference; and that is not the abode of liberation. Nor is the second alternative that is (that it means that) through secondary significance acceptable, because the primary significance has nothing to contradict it. If there can be anything to contradict it, what is it? (i) is the mention of the absence of old age, death, the attainment of immortality etc., stated in the text of the question (prasna-vakya) or (ii) (is it) the crossing over old age etc., contained in the reply or (iii) (is it) that the transitory ‘svarga’ that cannot be asked by Naciketas who is indifferent to all worldly desires?


1 Śrī Bhasya : I.iv.6.


Not the first (alternative), because the word ‘svarga’ which precedes (the word amrta) in the sentence which cannot be explained otherwise and signifies the principal (visesya) of the sentence, cannot be interpreted according to the word ‘amrta’ (mmortal) which is well-known in Vedic and worldly usages as signifying elative immortality and which stands at the concluding part of the passage; because in the Puranic contexts explaining the nature of the svarga, it is seen that those that dwell in the world of svarga are free from old age, death, hunger, thirst, sorrow etc., because there is the Smrti (passage) “Immortality is spoken of as existence till deluge (pralya)”; because in this Upanisad itself the world ‘immortal’ is used in respect of Death in the passage” Having approached those that do not grow old and that are immortal” (K.U. I.i.28); and because the statement (passage) that “they whose world is svarga attain immortality” can be explained as stated in (the passages) “Those in the world of Brahman at the time of final departure.” (Tait. Nar.) and “Those that live in the world of svarga can attain immortality through meditation upon Bsrahman” (Mund.U.III.ii.6).


Not the second (alternative), because the mantra Trinaci keta’… (K.U.I.i.17) may be taken to mean that the fire (Naciketa) that leads to svarga (Heaven) performed thrice is the means to the Brahman-knowledge that helps the crossing over birth and death, and thus it need not be  in contradiction with the primary meaning of the word ‘svarga’. For the same reason, the passage (K.U. I.i.18d) which has the same meaning as the passage  already stated, does not contradict the primary  sense of the word svarga.

Nor the third alternative, according to which it is stated that it is impossible for Naciketas who is indifferent to any other goal, to ask for the transitory svarga. Yama (Death), the beneficent replying to the question regarding the fire that leads to svarga, introduced the topic on the nature of liberation, though not asked for (by Naciketas) in the passages “The attainment of the world of the Infinite (K.U.I.i.14c) and “One, learning the three anuvakas dealing with Naciketa and performing the three actions, attaining contact with the three, by means of it crosses over birth and death” (K.U. I.i.17ab), which created in Naciketas the desire to get freed (liberated). Thus he was made stronger by Yama’s reluctance to teach (as in the passage) anyam varam Naciketo vrnisva’ “O Naciketas! Ask for a different boon” (K.U. I.i.21c). How can his (Naciketas ‘s) scorn at the transitory ends made at that stages contradict his earlier prayer for svarga? Besides, it is seen in the passages svobhava mrtyasya yad Antakaitat sarvendriyanam jarayanti tejahapi sarvam jivitam alpam eva tavaiva vahas tava nrtyagite (K.U.I.i.26) “O Death ! (all those enjoyable things) of man will be non-existent to-morrow. These will wear out whatever power  these sense-organs have. All the life is but brief. Let the conveyances, dance and music remain only for thee” and others, that the human enjoyment alone is scorned at, and svarga is not spoken of derisively. If the word ‘svarga’ refers to liberation (abode of liberation) it cannot be the result of fire (of Naciketas), it being the result of knowledge alone. The word ‘svarga’ repeatedly used at the beginning, the middle and the end will get a strained meaning.


Or let there be contradiction in the reply. Still the word ‘svarga’ that is found in the question-passage that precedes (the reply), is strong enough according to the principle of Upakramadhi-kārana (PMS. III.3.1-7). Nor can it be said that  “for the sake of many” the few found in the beginning are to be rejected according to the principle enunciated in the Sūtra “Those of the larger number must have their common subsidiaries.” (PMS. XII.ii.22); because in the Sūtra (PMS.XII.ii.23) it is said that “that alone which is  first” is stronger than those at the end, though they are larger in number. Therefore there is no reason at all for over-riding the primry sense of the word ssvarga.


Siddhānta : The reply (to the above objection) is as follows : The word svarga signifies liberation (abode of liberation) only through its primary significance. The Mīmāmsākas have stated in the Svargakamadhikarana  (PMS VI i.1) that the word svarga, according to the principle Nagrhita-visesanaNyāya (that the cognition does not grasp the principal without grasping the attributes), signifies only delight (priti) and not substance that grants delight (priti-visista-dravya).


Further they raise  the issue that thought it is true that the word svarga  signifies delight according to the principle above mentioned it is yet to be established that it signifies that delight which is enjoyable in another body at another place. It cannot be said that the supplementary passage “That in which there is no heat etc.,” leads to the conclusion that the word svarga used in the  injuncting  texts, signifies the particular kind of  delight, because here there is no room for the principle “That which is doubtful is to be determined with the help of the rest of the passage” (PMS I.iv. 29), since there is no doubt here as to the significance which has been already determined as having reference to delight in general (pritimatra) to which issue they (themselves) reply as follows:


“No doubt it is true the word svarga has its significance determined according to common usage itself. If, however, the word svarga is taken to mean the limited delight known to us, then the sacrifices such a Jyotistoma  will  have to be means to that (limited) delight. Consequently, the injunction regarding Jyotistoma and other  sacrifices will become impotent on account of there being no intelligent person to perform these sacrifices which re full of hindrances and requiring much money, men and labour,  when there are easier worldly means to achieve it, requiring comparatively little money, men and labour. When accordingly the significance of the word svarga is determined in the supplementary passage the meaning is the same even in places where there is no such supplementary passage as in the case of the words, “Wheat, pig, etc.” There is no need to accept any other significance regarding the worldly limited  delight, since secondary significance alone is sufficient.


Nor can it be stated that the word svarga may have its significance only in respect of delight in general, while yet in the Veda it may mean the unlimited delight;  because the part of the meaning (limitless) is not known otherwise, and therefore the power of signifying has to include that part also necessarily, and this will led to accepting the word as having two meanings viz. (i) one in the worldly usage and (ii) the other in the Vedic usage. When, however, the significance is in respect of the limitless delight known through the Vedic usage, then the worldly limited delight is indicated through secondary significance on account of its also having the common nature of being delight. Since thus the   Mīmāmsakas have established that the word svarga means the unlimited delight alone, it is not reasonable to question the equation of svarga with liberation (abode of liberation). Just as the word ‘Partha’ is (not) frequently used in respect of other sons of kunti as in respect of Arjuna and yet signifies others also through its primary significance, so also, though the word svarga is not frequently used to denote anything other than the delight obtainable in the world lying between the sun and the pole star, yet it does not lose its primary signifying power to signify that thing  (i.e. abode of liberation)


The words barhis, ājya and others, though they are not used by Ārya in respect of unpurified grass ghee and others, yet they retain their primary significance  in respect of them, because their non-usage by some (persons) cannot establish the absence of their signifying power. Therefore it is established  in the Barhirājyadhi karana (PMS. 1.4.10) that the words barhis etc., have their signifying power in respect of the genus, trnatva, grossness etc. This is stated in the Vārtika.1 . “In respect of a word which is seen at some places at least determined in it genusense, there is no reason to postulate any other condition  (nimitta), that word not losing that condition (i.e., genus-sense)." Therefore the word svarga is verily a common general term denoting  liberation also.


Pūruvapaksa (Objection): If it be asked: through the words  barhis, ājya and others are not used by Āryas so as to indicate unpurified  grass,  ghee and others, still they may have their signifying power  in respect of the unpurified things also, since there is such a use

_______ ___________

1 Kumarila’s Tantra-Vārtika (P.343 Poona ed.)


by non-Ārya. But in the case of svarga, its signifying power is to be accededpted so as to exclude anything other than that delight that is obtainable in the world lying between the Sun and the Pole star, since the word is never used to signify anything other than that. Otherwise1 the conclusion arrived at in the Prodgātradhikarana  (PMS. III v. 23-26) is that the word udgatr nominally means the particular rtvik who is the head of the four rtviks officiating as Saman-singers, since it is never used in respect of any other of the group. But that particular rtvik being only one, the plural in the mantra “Let the Hotr’s cup come forward, also the  Brahman’s cup, the Udgatr’s cup, the Yajamana’s cup, and the sadasya’s cup” is inconsistent. Therefore we have to assume for it a secondary significance  based upon the nominal significance, as as to make the word to mean the three in the group excluding Subrahmanya, or including  him, all the four of the group. Further  in the Ahīnadhikarana. (PMS. II>iii.15-16) it is stated that the number twelve relating to Upasad-sacrfices enjoined in the sentence “Twelve for the Ahīna” which occurs in the context  of Jyotistoma is however to be taken away to a particular group of sacrifices to be performed for many days (ahargana-visesa) because the word Ahīna is to be etymologically explained as having  been formed according to Vārtika under Pānini IV. 2.43, with Kha-suffix after the base ahan and is to be taken as meaning through nominal significance (rudhi) some particular group of sacrifices performed during a number of days ).


1. Sat. Brah IV. 2.1.29 & Apastamba Sr. S.XII. 23.13 cf. The text in the Vārtika of this sloka has the variant gamita instead of the word kalpana.


Further1 though the word ‘dhāyyā’ is formed according to Pānini  (III. I.129) and used to mean the rks called samidani (Rks used at the time of kinding the sacrificial fire), yet it does not mean the Samidhani Rks in general, nor does it mean according to etymological explanation, namely, that which is used (dhīyamāna) in all the Rks that are used (in any rite), for it (the word) is not and praise without saman (stotra and sastra) as it is not used in respect of samidhani Rks in general. But it means some particular  rks such as “Those with terms ‘Prthu’, ‘Paja’ which are specially mentioned  in Vedic Passages” The rks with prthu and  Paja are the dhāyyā ones.” This is found in the Adhikarana having  the Sūtra (PMS V.iii.3). All this will get contradicted if the word svarga could have its  primary significance (in respect of liberation or abode of liberation) as stated by you (the siddantin.) there would be no need to accept the words Udgatr etc., as having nominal significance  in respect of a particular Rtvik and others.

Reply (Siddhānta):- 

True, if the word ‘svarga’ was never used in respect of anything other than the ordinary svarga (that is the place between the Sun and the Pole star), then it would be necessary to accept a nominal  significance for it, so restricted as not to apply to it (liberation). But it is used to denote that (liberation) also. For it is found to be used in the following passages in the spiritual  scriptures (adhyatma sastresu  such as the Taittirīya Aranyaka 1.27.3 Brhadarnyaka and Talavakara Upanisads:-


1 Ganganath Jhas’ translation


1. In that city there is a world-sheath of golden colour surrounded  by light. Whoever  knows that city of Brahman surrounded by nectar (blisss), to him the Supreme Self and Brahman grant long life, fame and progeny.

2. “By it the wise, the knowers of Brahman, go up hence to the heavenly world, released. 1 (Bra U., 4.48).

3. “He verily who knows it, thus striking off evil becomes established in the most excellent, endless heavenly world……..”2  (Kena U., IV.9.)


The nominal significance (of the word ‘svarga’ postulated by the Paurankikas must be disregarded even like that of the word ‘avyakta’ postulated by the Sāmkhyas, since in the very context (of the Katha Up). In the mantra (1.i.18) the word svarga loka Which signifies the  resultant of the combined Jāna and karma is explained  even by others as meaning the abode called Vairaja,’ which is distinct from the world lying between the Sun and the Pole star.


Now, it may be said “The principle of signification (i.e., being a world that is above the world of the Sun) being the same with regard to the place of Vairaja, it is not a secondary meaning. (It is a primary one).” (To this we reply), the world of Brahman (abode of liberation) too being the one that is above is not other than the primary sense. The usage such as “By the two paths of svarga and apavarga (liberation),” can  be justified on the principle of Brahmana –parivrajaka (i.e., the general term gets restricted on  account of the particular mentioned along with it).1

            Or else let it be a secondary meaning since there is something to (contradict) its primary sense. What is it that contradicts it? Listen attentively. In the first of the questionmantras “svarge loke na bhayam kincanasti: there is mentioned the complete riddance of sin by the words ‘There is no fear whatsoever.’ The absence of such fear of the form ‘when through what sin would I fall’ indicated by the passage “There is no comfort even to one who is in svarga it being  transitory and having  the fear of fall always.” Is meant here. Indeed it will happen to one that  is alotogether free from sin. By the passages “There you are not” (K.U. 1.i.12b) and “One does not fear old age” are indicated freedom from old age and freedom from death. By the passage “Having crossed over both hunger and thirst” (K.U.1.i. 12c) are mentioned absence of hunger and absence of thirst” And so freedom from sorrow (K.U.1.i12d); by the words “One enjoys in the world of Svarga” (K.U.1.i.12) are mentioned the nature of being one whose desires get always realized and whose volition is always true (satya).This is (also) mentioned in the scriptural  passage” If the becomes desirous of the world of the fathers, verily through his volition there come his fathers (samuttisthanti) (He) attaining that world of fathers gets glorified” (Ch.U.VIII 2.1) Since therefore the manifestation of the eight Brahman-qualities (freedom from sin etc.) taught in the scriptures is found here, it is not proper to hold (that the word svarga means) attainment of relative absence of death and birth available in the ‘Svarga’- world of the Puranas.


1 It Is very similar to the Go-balivarda nyaya


For the same reason, in the Vidyantadhikarana (of the seventh Chapter of Jaimini’s Purva Mimamsa Sūtras, it is stated that vikrtis  (sacrifices that take subsidiaries from prakrti-sacrifices which have  their own establisedh subsidiaries), such as saruya (sacrifice enjoined  in the passage : sauryam carum nirvapet brahmavaroaskamah (PMS.VII.iv.1), which have nos ubsidiaries enjoined in their contexts, which therefore, need subsidiaries take only those (subsidiaries) that are Vedic and belong to Darsapurnamasa-sacrifices on account of there being the similarity of enjoinment by the three Vedas, the purpose of which is to enjoin actions to be done with the help of sacrificial fires  (vaitanika). This stated in the Sastra Dipika (of Parthasarathi Misra) thus : “The group of Vedic subsidiaries presents itself through similarity of being Vedic (to the vikrtis) but the group of non-Vedic (laukiki) subsidiaries being dissimilar cannot present itself.”


It cannot be said : “Now for the recitation of formula (manta) “Esa te
vayo iti bruyat: This is thine, O Vayu!” which is enjoined  by the passage” if one touches one sacrificial post, one should utter (the mantra) “this is thine O Vayu!” the cause must be the touch of the post, ‘ that is made according to Vedic injunction, on account of the similarity of being Vedic. Now one cannot accept this view as this will refute the adhikarnana of the  ninth chapter beginning with the,  Sūtra “(It is) in connection with  ordinary (touch) since it is connected with win (dosa)…” (IX. 3.9.).


(Reply): the recital enjoined as stated above  in the passage “If one touches the sacrificial  post he should say ‘This is thine O, Vayu!, is preceded by the prohibition ‘Verily the sacrificial post puts on itself what went  wrong during the sacrifice. Therefore the sacrificial  post puts on itself what went wrong during the sacrifice . therefore the sacrificial post puts on itself what went wrong during the sacrifice. Therefore the sacrificial post must not be touched.’ Therefore the recitation enjoined must have reference to ordinary tough which is prohibited and required expiation”. Though thus there is no possibility of having anything to do with things that Vedic, it is only reasonable to accept reference to things that Vedic where there is nothing going against it.


For this very reason, it is concluded in the asvapratigrahestyadhi karana that the sacrifice (isti) enjoined in the passage (Yajurveda Sam. Krsna ll.iii.12) “As many horses as he accepts (as gifts), so many (oblations cooked on four pans) (offerings) to Varuna should he offer”1 is on account of only the gift on horse during the performance of Vedic sacrifices and not in respect of gift of horses to friends out of  love etc., which is forbidden by the passage “One should not present animals with manes-na kesarino dadati”, and so requires expiation. Similarly it has been said others in the sūtra “The rules as to dying by day and so on in order not to return are given by smrtis for Yogins only. And those two viz., yoga and Samkhya are mere Smrti, not of what is enjoined in the Smrtis. Now therefore in the mantra beginning with “Svarge loke” it is only proper to take it to mean the eight qualities of Brahman, voidness


PMS III. iv. 28 and 29. This is the translation that one can make but according to PMS III.iv.31 the word ‘pratigrhniyat’ in the passage means ‘would give’ rather than ‘accept.’ The oblatios are to be offered by him gives and not by him that receives or accepts. The above is the translation of MM Ganganatha Jha.

2The Vedanta sūtra IV. Ii.21,Sankara Bhasya.


Of  sin etc., which are established by the mystic literature (adhyatma sastra). Further, (i) since in the second question the attainment of immortality is mentioned thus “svargaloka amrtatvam bhajante : those living in the world of svarga attain immortality,” (ii) since the word amtava-immortality is used in the Upanisadic (adhyatma) literature, in the sense of liberation ‘immortal’ in the passage (K.U.I.i.28)”Having gone to those who never grow old and are mean immortal’ means only the freed (souls) and therefore could not mean ‘relatively immortal’ (beings) (iii) since later on in the passages “Therefore the Fire (altar) Naciketa was piled by me. I have attained the eternal by means of the transitory things’ (K.U.L.ii.O); and Let us be capable of meditating upon the fire that to which Naciketa (altar) leads which is the fearless shore for those who went to cross (the ocean of samsara)” (K.U.I.iii.2); and only the Brahman is said to be attained by means of the Naciketa Fire altar, the word ‘svarga’ cannot the ordinary svarga


Moreover it is not consistent on the part of Naciketas who is described as one has turned away from everything other than Brahman-Naciketas would not choose anything but that” it is firmly established by the Mīmāmsakas in the Sūtra “Mukhyam va purvacodana lokavat; on the other hand, the flirst, by reason of the first command as in ordinary life” (PMS. XII. Ii.25) that what is mentioned first is strongonly where there is mutual contradiction  between things that are equal in number, since the enjoinment (prayogavacana or prayoga-vidhi) does not permit non- performance of greater  number of subsidiaries when  it is possible to abandon only a smaller number of subsidiaries. Where therefore things that are mentioned at the end are of greater number the principile that is taught in the Sotra “Bhoyasam syat svadharmatvam” alone is to be accepted. And it is said in the vedanta sūtra (l.i.34) regarding the characteristics of the Soul, (jiva-linga), mentioned in the text, that it is to be renounced on account of there being many more qualities pertaining to the Supreme Self which arementioned in the text (of the Pratardana Vidya) at the end. “He verily makes one do the right act”; “This is Over Lord of the world”; “This is the protector of the world”; The bliss, the Unaging, the Immortal.” Enough now of this lengthy exposition.


I .i  20.

yeyam prete vicikitsa manusye

stityeke nayam astiti caike

etad vildyam anusistas tvayaham

varanan esa varas trtuyah


The doubt which exists inrespect of the man some hold he is and others he is not-I wish to know this taught by you. This is the third of the boons.



Let me take up the subject. Naciketas says “Yeyam prete….” What follows is stated by Bhagavan Ramanuja touching this mantra in the adhikarana beginning with “The eater because of the mentoin of the mobile and the immobile’ (Sri Bhasya I.ii.9). He writes1 “it is evidentthat his question isprompted by the desire to acquire. Knowledge of the true mature of the highest Self-which


1The entire passage is quoted from Sri Bhasya I.ii.12. It is here extracted from Thibaut’stranslation of the Sri Bhasya (pp.270.271).



Knowledge has the form of meditation on the highest Self,-and by means therof knowledge of the true nature of final Release which consists in obtaining the highest Brahman. The passage, therefore, is not merely concerned with the pronblemas to the separation of the soul from the body, bur rather with the problem of the Self freeing itself from all bondage whatever, the same problem, in fact, with which another scriptural passage also is concerned, viz., “when he has departed there is no more knowledge” (Brh. Up. II. 4. 12). The full purport of Naciketas’s question, therefore, is as follows; When a man qualified for Release has died and thus freed himself from all bondage, there arises a doubt as to his existence of non-exitence-a doubt due to the disagreement of philosophers as to the truenature of Release; in order to clear up thisdoubt I wish to learh from thee the true nature “of the state of Release.” Philosophers, indeed, hold many widely differing opinions as to what constitutes Release. Some hold that the Self is constituted by consciousness only, and that Release consists in he total destruction of this essential nature of the Self. Others while holding the same opinion as to the nature of the Self, defin Release as the pasing away of Nescience (avidya). Others hold that the Self is in itself non-sentient, like a stone, but possesses, in the state of bondage, certain distinctive qualities, such as knowledge and so on. Release then consists in the total removal of aall thesequalities,the Self remaining in a state of poure isolation (kaivalya). Others, again, who acknowledge a highest Self free from all imperfection, maintain that through connexion with limiting adjuncts that Self


Thibaut has wrongly translated the Brh. Up . quotation, for it should be translated visistadvaitically as “There is no more confusion of the individual soul with its body.”


enters on the condition of anindividual soul; Release then means the pure existence of the highest self, consequent on the passing away of the limiting adjunct. Those, however, who understand theVedanta, teach as follows; There isa highest Brahmanwhich is the solecause of the entire universe, which is antagonistic to all evil, whose essential nature is infinite knowledge and blessedness, which comprises within itself numberless auspicious qualities of supreme excellence, which is different in nature from all other beings, and which constitutes the inner Self of all. Of this Brahman, the individual souls- whose nature isunlimited knowledge, and whose only attrilbute is theintution of the supreme Self- are modes in so far, namely asthey constitute its body. The true nature of these souls is, however, obscured by Nescience, i.e., the influence of the beginning lesschain of works; and by Release then we have to understsand that intuition of the highest Self, which is the natural state of the individual souls, and which follows on the destruction of Nescience. WhenNaciketas desires yama graciously to teach him the true nature of Release and the means to attain it, yama at first tests him by dwelling on the difficulty of comprehending Release, and by tempting him with various worldly enjoyments.”


It is also stated under the Sūtra “And of three only there is thils mention and question” (S.B.I.iv.6) thus; “As his third boon he, in the form of a question refrring to final release, actually enquires about three things, viz., the nature of the end; to be reached, i.e., Release; the nature of him who wishes to reach that end; and the nature of the means to reach it, i.e., meditation assisted by certain works1.”


And also  in the  Srutaprakasika, it is  stated  thus: “ The  question of the nature of liberation is expressly  stated as contained in the question- passage “Yeyam…” (K.U.  I. i. 20).


The question relating to meditation and others  is implict in it from   the manner  of the  answer  given. If liberation is the attainment of a qualitiless state, the  means  to it would be the congnition of the sentence-meaning (vakyartha). If  the attainable is  that  possessing two characteristics  ( ubhayalingaka)  the  means  would be the   meditaion  of it as such.  Therfore  knowledge of the nature of liberation  requires  the knowledge  of what it related to  it.”


Therfore  the mantra “ Yayam  prete…”  has  reference  only   to the  question pertaining  to the nature  of the  freed  but not merely  to the nature  of the individual  soul, who is the  agent and enjoyer required for the performance  of actions, which  have  results enjoyable in the other  world,  and  (who is) district  from  its body. Otherwise  it must be noted tht the test of allurings, offers of provisions, manifold  enjoyments  and the  showing that the object  of his ( Naciketa’s)  quest   is extremely difficult  to attin, will be   foiled. Verily. What   Naciketas means here is  as folows; Having  heard from goodsouls that the individual soul on  departing from its   last  body, becomes as on manifest with eight   sualities of   freedom from sin, &etc., “I” questioned( Yama)  about  the  Fire leading to liberation by the two  questions beginning with ‘Thee is no fear  at all in the world of  Svarga’. But  now  oving to contradictory statements   of the disputants  there  arises  the doubt in respect  of it.  Some  maintain there is that   soul  of   the form of one that  is free   sin  which  is described in the mantra  “Svarga loke…” But there are otherswho  assert “He is not.” Taught by you I would  know this.” This is the interpretation   with  which  the passage in the reply “having  heard   of   this Self  and well   studied  it the knower enjoys abandoning  his body  which is the result  ofhis  actions, attaining  this subtlest (anumatra) and attaining  his own  nature  with the eight  characteristics  of freedom  form   sin  and etc.”(K U. I. ii. 13), is  in full accord. The meaning  therefore   is the   same as  is given  below.


But  some say that it is  seen  “In  the  Vedanta  Sūtra (III.  ii. 4): It ( the  nature of the  individual  soul) is hidden  on account  of the Will of the Supreme.   Bondage  andits  reverse    are truly   due  to It,” that the  concealment  subordinately  mentioned  it the past participle (  tirohitam—hdden)  in the  Sūtra  is seen to be   subsequently referred   to  in the  Sūtra (III.  ii.  5) “Or  it is through  conjunction with its  body,” by the pronoun in the masculine the   Vamana’s  Sūtra (Kavyalankara V. i. 11)  “ Reference by a pronoun  to what  is hidden  is   samasa  (compound) (is permissible).” The  reference to that  which  is    subordinatel  mentioned  in words  formed  with   Krt and  Taddhita  and  other   vrttis  is accepted.  Therefore  let  there   be   reference by the  word ‘I am this’ in the  passage “Nayamasti ..”  (K.U. I.i.20) to prayana  liberation,  subordinately indicated  in the past  participle ‘preta’ in the mantra Yeyam prete….”etc., It cannot  be said  that the  raising    of such  a  doubt  as to whether  there is liberation   or not  in respect   of  one  who   is liberated is self- contradictory,  even as the doubt  as to whether there is   or   is not   eating  in the man  who has  eaten, because we  can  accept  that  there  is liberation  in general  but we   can reasonably raise  a doubt  in respect  of the   particular  nature of liberation; and so  the word ‘this’ can refer  to that  particular nature.  Now  if it  be asked  where is the word ‘prayan’seen as  signifying liberation, as it singnifies  only  departure from  one’s   body. In the  Sūtra –prakaksika,   the word  prayana  is interpreted  as  signifying  departure from the final  (or  last karmic) body, accepting  the word as singnifying  departure  from  its body  (in  general ). (We reply) Be  it  so. However  let  the doubt  be only  in respect  of the departure  from one’s   final body, since  the  word ‘this’  could  refer  to it.  If further   it  be said  that it  having  been  well  determined already  there can be no  doubt about it. ( We reply) True. But it would be reasonable  to raise  the doubt  as the whether departure from its final  body  happens  just  before the  manifestation  of the  nature  of Brahman   (in  him) (or  after).

I .   i.21


devair atrapi vicikitsitam  pura

nahi suvijneyam  anuresa dharmah

anyam   varam Naciketo  vrnisva

ma  moparotsir  ati  ma   srjainam


In  respect  of this,  even by  Gods doubts  where  entertained  before. Verily  this  is not easily comprehensible. This truth (dharma) is subtle. O Naciketas, ask  for a  different  boon.  Press me not. Please press me  not. Leave  me please. 

Commentary :


Having  been thus  asked  (to explain)   the nature  of the  freed (mukta) Death ( Mrtyu),  deeming that  one    is not  capable  of reaching   it since   the thing   to be taught  was very  difficult  (to  understand) but  is likely  to  fall  down    in the middle   (of the  stream),  speaks  thus  “Devair  atrapi…”


  devair  api : Even by those  Gods  who know   much,

  atra asmin : in respect of the soul   that  is freed.

  vicikitsitam : doubts  were entertained.

  nahi  : the truth  about  thesoul is not easily  comprehensible


 anuresa  dharmah:  (because it is ) a very  subtle    truth  (dharma).  Dharma  (truth) in general  itself is difficult  to comprehend. This is  particularly  very  much  so. This  is the intention.

anyam varam :  different  boon. The  meaning  is clear.


ma moparotsir :  ma ma  means  prohibition. Duplication signifies vipsa, emphasis. Do  not press   further.


Enam ati srja :   This, leave   me.


I .  i.. 22



devair  atrapi  vicikitsitam  kila

tvan  ca mrtyo yan na  suvijinevam  attha|

vakta casya  tvadrganyo  na labhyo

nanyo  varas tulya  etasya  kascit.  || 22||


Did  not  even  the Gods  entertain  doubts  about  this, as Tou sayest? O  Death, that  which  thou   sayest is not  easily  comprehensible, non  else  like  Thee to teach  could be  got. No other  whatever  is equal  to this.




Spoken  to thus  Naciketas says :

devair  atrapi : the  meaning  is clear.

tvan ca : evenm  you O  Death  who have  spoken  of the  nature of the soul as not easily  comprehensible


tvadrk: Like  you,  such  as you. The rest is clear.


I. i.  23


satayusah putrapautran vrnisva

bahun pasun hastihiranyam  asvan |

bhumer mahadayatanam  vrnisva

svayan  ca  jiva  sarado  yavad  icchasi  || 23||


Choose sons and  grandsons that live  a hundred  years; a great  number  of cattle,  elephants, gold, and  horses. Choose  big  empire  on the earth. You  yourself live as many years  you  wish.





Choose   sons Thus  spoken  to by Naciketas, Death (Mrtyu) , having  made it  certain  that he (Naciketas) will not  be  leaving it in the  middle on  account  of the  subject  being   difficult and thinking that in spite of his having (the power or) ability to understand, the truth of the freed  soul such as this is not  fit to be  imparted  to one whose  mind  is bent  on worldly pleasures, spoke seductively so that the  desire to be liberated (on  the  part of Naciketas )  may get  confirmed and  steady.

Satayusah : the meaning  is clear

bhumeh : of the earth

ayatanam: wide  area  or  kingdom

vrnisva  : choose.

or bhumeh: on the earth

 mahad ayatanam : abode  with beautiful halls  and stairs

 vrnisva: choose

svayam  ca …. For  yourself : as  many  years as you wish  to live is the meaning.

I. i. 26


etattulyam  yadi  manyase  varam

vrnisva  vittam cirajivikan ca  |

mahabhumau  Naciketas  tvam  edhi


kamanam tva  kamabhajan karomi || 24||


if you  think  of any bbon on a par with  this , choose  wealth  and long  life. O Naciketas ! Be  you on   the   wide earth. I shall  make  you the  object of desire  of all desirable  ones.


etat tulyam : If you think  even of any other  boon   similar  to the one mentioned, ask  for   that   also. Enormous gold, precious stones and   the like  and long  life;  this is the  meaning.


edhi: Become; ‘a king’ has  to be supplied. (This is the  form of)  Second  person  singular of the  Imperative  (lot) of the  root as : to be.


kamanam: Objects  that are  desired, that is, divine, maids etc


kamabhajam: kama  means desire; kamabhak means  one  who  comes  into  contact with desire  as its  object. The  meaning  is “I shall make  you one who will  be the  object of desire  on the part  of those  such  as divine  maids  who  are  themselves objects of desires.”


I. i. 25

ye ye  kama  durlabha  martyaloke

sarvan kamamschandatah prarthayasva |

ima ramah  sarathah  saturya

na  hicrasa lambhaniya  manusyain|

abhir matprattabhih paricarayasva

Naciketo  maranam manu  praksih ||25||


What ever  desirable  things  there are rare  in the mortal world, ask  for all those  desirable things freely; these   damsels with chariots  and with  musical instruments. Verily, things like  these could  hardly  be attained by men. With  these  given  by me get  yourself served. O   Naciketas ! do not  put any  question  regarding  after- death.



Chandatah :  As  you  please  is the meaning.

Ima  ramah : Damsels  with  chariots  and musical instruments given  by me are difficult  to get  by men. This is  the meaning.


Abhih:  with  these servent- women gifted  by me get  service  done, such  as shampooing  the feet,etc


Maranam  anu :  After- death. In other words, the nature  of the freed soul. It may  be seen   that there  is no harm  if the word  ‘death’  though  signifying  departure  from  one’s   body in general, signifies the particular  one (departure) according  to the  context.

I.  i.  26


Svo’bhava  martyasya  yad  Amtakaitat

sarvendriyanam  jarayanti  tejah |

api  sarvam  jivitam  alpam  eva

tavaiva vahas  tava  nrtyagite || 26||


  • O  Death  ( all those  enjoyable  things) of man  will be  non-existent tomorrow. These  will  wear  out  whatever  power the sense-organs have.  All the  life is  but  brief. Let the conveyances, dance and music d and be only  for  Thee.



Though  thus  allured Naciketas  with unswerving  heart   speaks :


‘svo’ bhavah :  O Death  these  enjoyable  things of the man explatiated of thee  are such  that they  will  becomenon-existent tomorrow. They will  not last  for two  days. This is  the  meaning.  Whatever  power  all the  sense   organs  have, they will  destroy. The enjoyment of celestial maids etc., will bring  about   weakness of all  senses. This is what  is meant  here.


api sarvam: even the life of Brahman  is very   brief, not to speak of  the (tenure  of ) life of  those like ourselves. The intention is that  even the longest life  is not  fit  to be  courted.


vahah: chariots  etc.

Let be:, this  is to  be supplied.

I. i. 27


na vittena tarpaniyo manusyo

lapsyamahe vittam  adraksam  cet  tva |

jivisyamo yavad isisyasi tvam

varas tu me varaniyah sa eva || 27||


man  is not to be   satisfied with wealth. We  shall  have  wealth if we saw  Thee. We shall  live so long as Thou art  lord. But  the boon  to be chosen by me is that  alone.



na vittena : Truly no satisfaction is seen  in any  on account  of wealth  amassed since  there is  the axiom   “Never has  desire  been  quenched through  enjoying  the desired  objects.” This  is meant.


lapsyamahe vittam: If   we have seen  you we  shall  get wealth. What is meant  is if  there  is seeing  of you   what  difficulty is there in  getting  wealth? Then  if it besaid that long  life may be  sought, he (Naciketas) replies.


jivisyamo …. During  which  time you sit  (preside) as the Lord on the seat  of Yama. (The  Parasmaipada) isisyasi is according to Vedic exception (vyatyaya),All that  period  our life will last. Verily  there  is nobody who transgressing  your   command  will bring  about termination  of our life.  What is meant   is that    life will be the same whether  a boon is   got or not (to  this  effect). Therefore  the boon  mentioned already in the mantra ‘yeyam prete…’ is the only  one  to  be sought.



I.  i. 28

ajiryatam  amrtanam upetya

jiryan martyah kva  tadasthah prajanan|.

abhidhyayan  varnaratipramodan

anatidirghe jivite ko rameta  || 28||


Having  become  aware  (of the  nature) of those  never age and are  immortal, how can  a man that  ages  have consciously any  desire  for that   (which is transient enjoyment)? Who  realizing  the splendour and ecstasies  (of  the immortal) will have delight  in life  that is none  too long?


Commentary :

ajiryatam : Knowledge  the nature of the  freed  who have   neither  old age nor  death.

prajanan : discriminating

jiryan  martyah :  afficted   with   old age   and death:  this being


Tadasthah   : Desirous  of the  objects such  as divine  damsels, which get afflicted with the  old age  and   death and others.


kva: How  can  be?   is the meaning.


abhidyayan  varna …..:  The  splendours  of the form  of those of the  solar  orb.


ratipramodan  : Different  sorts  of ecstasies  caused  by the  enjoyment of Brahman ; all these


abhidhyayan : intelligently understanding.

aihike jivite : with (or in) this  wordly  life (which is too brief) who  can be pleased?   is the  meaning.


I.  i.  29

Yasminnidam  vicikitsanti  Mrtyo

Yat samparaye mahati  bruti nas tat |

Yo’ yam varogudham anupravisto

Nanyam  tasman Naciketa  vrnite || 29||


  O  Death !  Tell  me  that  regarding  which (they)   have  doubts thus and which  exists in the  great  After- death. Naciketas will not elect  anything  other  than the boon which   concerns  the  most  esoteric.


Commentary  :

Yasmin : About  which : concerning  which the great  and other-worldly nature of the  freed  souls ,(they) have  doubts that alone  teach  me.


Yo’yam : Other  than the  boon  which relates  to the esoteric  truth of the truth,  Naciketas  did not  elect  (to have) (na vrnite) This is  the  word of the scripture(as it  is neither  the word   of Yama  nor of  Naciketas).


This  concludes the First  Valli of the  First  Adhyaya

of the Kathopanisad.




I.  i.  1

Anyacchreo’nyad utaiva preyas

Te ubhe nanarthe  purusam sinitah |

Tayoh sreya  adadanasya sadhu bhavati

Hiyate’rthad ya u preyo  vrnite .1|| 1||


 (What  is ) good is different  and verily (what  is) pleasant is different; these two with different ends bind  man. He  who  takes  up the  good among them does the right. But he who elects the peasant  verily falls  away from the  supreme end.



Having thus  tested  the disciple (Nciketas) and ascertained his firmness in the desire for liberation Yama, deeming him fit fir   instruction, praises  the desire  for liberation.


Anyat sreyah : The way of liberation that is  praiseworthy is different, the way of enjoyment that  is pleasant  is quite  different.

Te: The Good  and the Pleasant.

Nanarthe: having ends  distinct  from  each other

Purusam : the man

Sinitah : bind. Make  the man  subject  (ashyatam) to themselves.

Tayoh: Among  these two

Sreyah: the good, liberation

Adadanasya :  to him who  strives  after


Sri Krishna  Prem  translates ‘Sreyas’ as ‘better’


Sadhu bhavati : Whell –being  happens


Ya u  preyo  vrnite : But he  who  chooses the  pleasant


U: eva:alone,  indicates emphasis (avadharana)


Arthat hiyate :  falls  down  from the  supreme end  (purusarthat)


I.  ii. 2

sreyas  preyas  ca manusyam etah

tau sampariitya vivinakti  dhirah |

sreyo hi dhiro ‘bhipreyaso  vrnite

preyo mando yogaksemad  vrnite || 2||


The good  and the pleasant approach  man. These the  courageous (brave)1  one contemplating discriminates. Verily the  brave prefers  the good to the  pleasant. The dull- witted  the pleasant  for the  sake of  worldly  welfare.




sreyas  ca  preyas  ca : the good  and the pleasant

manusyam etah:  approach  the man

tau: these two things, the  good    and the pleasant.

sampartya: discriminating, critically  considering.

vivinakti: divides (separates), as the swan  (separates) milk  and water.


dhirah: Brave, --  One  that is  pleased  with   his  intellect,  one  who  is  intelligent.

preyasah abhi: preferable to the  pleasant.


It can also  be the “wiseman” as the  commentary  indicates  that aspect  also.


sreyah hi : the  good  alone


vrnite :chooses.


mandah : one of dull- wit


yogaksemat : for the sake  of worldly welfare 1 (literally : earning  welfare). Yoga  means  the increase  of the  body  and  ksema its  protection).


preyah : the  pleasant


vrnite: chooses

I.   ii.   3

sa tvam  priyan  priyarupamsca Kaman

abhidhyayan naciketo tyasraksih|

naitam srnkam vittamayim  avapto

yasyam  majjanti bahavo  manusyah ||3||


You   O Naciketas ! who  are such  a one  deeply  considering, left the delightful enjoyments  of delightful forms. You did not accept this  path of riches  in which  many  men are lost.



sa  tvam : You  of such  nature.

priyan : pleasant  in themselves and (delightful) in respect  of their  form.


kamam: the  desirable, women and others  is the meaning.



 cf. Ananda K. Coomaraswami: Notes Kathopanisad, New  Indian  Antiquary Vol. I. p. 85 holds  Yoga and ksema are “two very different  habits”  ‘Its is between Yoga  and ksema that the  sluggart  makes  his choice,” ch. T.S..V.2.12.: yoga ‘nyasam Prajanam manah--  Therefore  it means  Yogac ca Ksemac ca. But  see Gita’s usage “Yogaksema.”


abhidhyayan : understanding  as having  the faults of  being  followed  by pain  and mixed  with pain.


atyasraksih: left, is the meaning


etam: this,


vittamayim :  of riches,


srnkam: low path trodden  by foolish  men.


na avaptah: have not  taken up.


yasyam etc.,: in which many men are lost; the meaning  is clear


I. ii. 4


duram ete  viparite  visuci

avidya ya ca vidyeti jnata |

vidyabhipsinam Naciketasam manye

na tva kama  bahavo  lolupanta . || 4||


these two are far apart and mutually contradictory : that  which is known as ignorance and that  which is  knowledge. I think  (you) , O Naciketas, as one that   seeks  knowledge. Many  enjoyments  did not  allure you.



Avidya: That which  is known  as non-knowledge having the from  of actions  leading to enjoyment.


ya ca vidyeti jnata : and htat  which  is  known   as knowledge  having the form  of the awareness  of truth.


ete: Two.

duram: altogether.

visuci : (are) having  opposite directions,  viparite : contradictoryto each other.


vidyabhipsinam : Him  that seeks  knowledge. In case the  reading  is vidyabhipsitam (the meaning is)one by  whom  knowledge is desired. The Past   participle   becomes  the second  member of the  compound  word, since  it is included   in  Ahitagni gana (Pānini, II. ii. 37), or else  it is a case of Vedic  exception (vyatyaya).


kamah: enjoyment

Bahavah: though many

tva: you.   


na lolupanta : Did not detract from the  path of the Good  (sreyah). You are not  subject to temptation : this is the  meaning. Lolupanta:  is an Imperfect from the root  lup with the  suffix  yan  according  to Pānini (III.  i.  23). But the omission of  ya   is a case of Vedic  exception. Or  else  this is the   Vedic form of  Atmanepadi  derived  from the  root with the suffix  yan omitted; also the absence  of at (is to be explained  in the same way).


I.  ii. 5

avidyayam  antare  vartamanah

svayam  dhirah  panditammanyamanah|

dandramyamanah  pariyanti mudha

andhenaiva niyamana yathandhah || 5||


Being  amidst  ignorance, considering themselves as intelligent and learned, fools  wander  afflicted (with pains, such and old age,illness  etc.,) even as the blind led by  the blind.


Of the  two paths  referred to (in the previous  mantra) “ Avidya ya ca vidyeti ….”  he (Death) denounces  the path of  desireful actions.


avidyayam :  Non-knowledge of the form of desireful actions


antarae: in the midst of


vartamanah:  existing as   in the  dense  darkness.


svayam (eva):   by themselves.


dhirah panditammanyamanah: considering themselves  as intelligent and proficient  (learned) in the  scriptures.


Dandramyamanah: suffering from pains  caused  by old  age   diseases and others.


mudhah: fools.


pariyanti :  wander. The  rest is clear. But  some give  the meaning  taking  the reading  “dandravyamanah”  (instead of  “dandramyamanah”) as  “those  whose  minds  are melted by the fire  of lust for  objects.”


I.  ii. 6

na samparayah  pratibhati balam

pramadyantam vittamohena  mudham|

ayam  loko  nasti paraiti mani

punah  punar vasam apadyate  me || 6||


The seeking  for the other  world  never happens  to the   immature, the inattentive  and the  deluded  by desire  for wealth. One who thinks  that this  world  is  and  no other,again and  again  comes  under  my subjection.



samparayah : Seeking the means  to the other world.


balam: to one who  is incapable  of discrimination.


pramadyantam : with inattentive mind

vittamohena mudham : one whose mental activities are subject to  desire  for objects.

na pratibhati :  does not occur.


ayam eva loka’ sit : there  is this  world alone; no other world exits. One who thinks  thus  becomes subjects to extreme torture  done by me. This is  the meaning. That there  is neither is this world  nor the  other  world  is the meaning given under  the Vedanta  Sūtra   III. I. 13. “In respect  of others, there are ascent  and  descent   after  experiencing  at the command of Death  (samyamanam) because it is seen  (in the  scripture) that they  go there “by Vyasaraya1 who  adopts the reading “ayamloko nasti  parna uta  mani .”  In  that  case ‘to him’  (tasya) is to be supplied. So   also the  particle ‘and’ (ca).


mani: means  the  arrogant  (durmani). The  explanation for the  statement  that this world coes not exist for him,is to be  gleaned  from the  fact of the his excommunication from society by the  orthodox  (sista). The  word durmani  goes  with the  passage  punah punar vasam apadyate me --  again and again  comes  under my  subjection.2


1 This   reading  is not  found  in the text   of srutaprakasika. Referring  to the passage quoted  in the Sri B. ayam loko nasti para iti  mani,” the author  of the  Sruta P. gives the intended meaning in the words “atra amutra ca sukham nasti ityarthah.”  

2 Rangaramanuja thinks  that to have this meaning  the text must read  ayam loko nasti para uta mani.  So  he  says  that  the author  of the   Srutaprakasika  followed 



I. ii. 7.

   Sravanayapi bahubhir  yo na labhyah

srnvanto’pi  bahavo yan na vidyuh|

ascaryo  vakta  kusalo’sya  labdha-

scaryo  jnata  kusalanusistah. || 7||


Who is not attainable  by men   even for  hearing, whom  many  though  hearing  about   cannot, know, of  whom  rare  is an able  expounder and  rare is one that  attains Him, and rare  is one  that knows Him,  guided by  well- trained (men).



Yah:  the  well- known supreme  Self

Bahubhih: by many men

Sravanayapi  :  for even  heard


Na  labhyah : could  not   be  attained; this is the meaning. The  intention  is  that  even the again  in hearing of about  Him is itself the fruit  of great  and good  deeds.


Srnvanto’ pi: Though  hearing etc. The  intention  is , surely it is not easy  for  all those  that hear to attain clear  knowledge of Him.


Ascaryo vakta: an able   expounder and an able attainer  of Him  are  rare. This is  the meaning.


Ascaryo jnata: A  knower  (of Him) also  taught by a proficient teacher (Guru) is rare  since it is  stated (in the  Gita II. 3)  “ Among  thousands  of men a certain one stries  after  realization : among


this reading. It must  noted here that in all the editions of the  Sri Bhaysa  and  the  Sr. P. the reading  of the mantra text  is   ayam loko nasti  na para  iti mani. The  negative  particle  na  before  para is undoubtedly  a scribal  error.


those that  have made attempts and realized, a certain  one knows Me as I am. “This is the intention.


I. ii. 8

na  narenavarena prokta esa

suvijneyo bahudha  cintyamanah|

ananyaprokte  gatir atra nasty-

aniyan  hyatarkyam anupramanat .||8||


This  (supreme self) as not  knowledge easily when taught by a manof inferior order (since it is) considered in different  ways 1 (by disputants). There  is no   access to it when   it is  not taught by  another, since  it is more subtle than anythings of the  subtle measure and  is beyond reason.


Commentary :

avrena:  by any  of not  superior  order; by  an ordinary person, by one the  result of whose study of Vedanta is only  scholarship


narena: by one  who deems  his body  to be himself


esah: the (Supreme) atman (self)


suvijneyo na: is not easily knowable


What is the reason?

bahudha cintyamanah: considered in different ways; vadibhih : by disputants, is to be supplied

ananyaprokete : ananyena: by one who is not other  than (who is one  with) the  soul that  is  taught, that is, whose  sole subject of knowledge  is the Supreme alone (ekantin)—who has the   perception of his soul  as Brahman. 


Sri Bhasya  I. ii. 9


proke : when the soul is  taught


gatih:  what  understanding there will be that  understanding  will not  be there  when it  is taught by a person  of  inferior understanding. This  is  the meaning. Or  else.

atra:  here in the  cycle of  samasara

gatih:  wheeling  about  nasti: there is not;  this    is the   meaning. Or else


ananyaprokte: when  it is  not taught  by another  but known by oneself.  Atra  gatir nasti: there is   no understanding.


When  the reading is  anayaprokte:  taught  by another, the meaning  is that when  it is   taught  by an  inferior by an  inferior person  there  is no   understanding of the ( nature  of the ) Self. If it  be said   that by whomsoever it is  taught  it is possible (to know) for one well  versed  in reasoning  (uhapohasalinah), the  answer is,  aniyan  etc.,  because the soul  is more  subtle  than the  subtle, therefore  its nature  is beyond reasoning.  


I. ii. 9

naisa tarkena  matir  apaneya

proktanyenaiva  sujnanaya  prestha|

yam tvam apah satyadhstir  batasi

tvadrn no bhuyan Naciketah  prasta || 9||


this  knowledge  cannot be obtained through  reasoning. Only when   it is  taught by another, O my  dearest ! it is  capable of being  well known. The  same   knowledge you have  attained  to !  You are  one of  firm  resolution.  O  Naciketas !  pray   enquiries  of us   may   be  like you.



The same  is said  again.


esa matih : This  knowledge  relating  to the Self


tarkena  prapaniya na : Is no attainable   through   reasoning. Therefore  it is  not possible to knowit by himself, even  by one  who is well- versed in reasoning: this is  the meaning.


prestha : Dearest, Only the knowledge  imparted  by a  Guru different  from  one’s  self  brings about    that knowledge  that leads to liberation., What  is that knowledge? This is  said  in the  words yam tvam apah. What knowledge you  have  got; that is you  have  decided  as one  that is to  be  acquired. This is the meaning.


satyadhrtih  asi; You are one   whose  resolution is firm


bata : indicates  sympathy


tvadrk : Let  there be disciples  like you. 

I. ii. 10.


janamyaham  sevadhir ity anityam

na hy  adhruvaid prapyate  hi dhruvam tat|

tato maya  Naciketas cito’ gnir

anityair dravyaih praptavan asmi nityam. ||10||


I know wealth  is transitory, Verity that  eternal is not  attained    through   things  that are  transitory. The  fire  (altar) Naciketa was constructed  by me  with  transitory  things. I have  therefore attained  the eternal.




And  again (Death) pleased  says:

  sevadhih : treasure. The  lordship  such as  that of Kubera and others, i.e.,  are similar  to (what  I have  shown), which are  results of actions, and  transitory. This I know.

dhruvam tat:  the truth  of the  Self  that is  eternal


adhruvaih : By actions that  are  means  of (getting) transitory ends, or that  are  performed  with  transitory things. This  is the  meaning.


tatah: therefore

maya: by me  who know this

naciketah aging: The fire- alter Naciketah


anityaih  dravyaih :  with trasitory  things 


citah: was  constructed with a  view  to acquire knowledge  leading  to the  attainment  of Brahman.


nityam : the knowledge which leads to the imperishable  goal 


praptvan asmi: I have attained ; this is the meaning.

For this reason  there is  no  contradiction with the fact that the attainment of  Brahman  is brought  about by knowledge (inana) alone.

I. ii. 11

kamasyaptim  jagatah pratistham

krator anantyam abhayasya param |

stomam mahad  urugayam   pratistham

drstva dhrtya  dhiro  Naciketo’ tyasraksih || 11||


having  perceived  the attainment  of desires  by the world  which is the result of action  and the far  shore  of fearlessness endless, full of great  qualities, famous and eternal, O Naciketas ! you, the  intelligent, rejected  the desirables with firmness.



Death  describes  Naciketas’ fitness  for hearing (for being taught). Which mentioned  in the  previous mantra. I. ii. 9d)

kratoh: of karma, action ( sacrifice)

pratistam : the result


jagatah kamasyaptim : the attainment by the world  of its  desires of the form  of objects  such  as women, existing in all the worlds  upto the abode or     the  fourfaced Brahman


drstva : having  perceived (this)


Now   he speaks of the nature of Liberation  (moksa)


anantyam ---  avinasitvam: non – destructibility


abhayasya param: atyantanirbhayatvam : absolute freedom  from fear1


stomam mahat : The  group of great qualities  such as freedom  from sin, unfailing desires & etc.,


urugayam2 ---- urukirtin : Fame and stability


Perceiving all these  also as belonging  to liberation,you have rejected the  worldly desirables due  to your  keen discrimination. This  is the  meaning. Or else  all these  (adjectives) may be construed  as belonging  to the Supreme Self. Seeing the attainment of all desires in the nature  of the Supreme  Self it self


1        Ananda K. Coomaraswami :  ibid abhayam param  abhayam  titirsatam param in III,--- that  is svargaloke (yatra)na bhayam kinca nasti I.12 cf. A.V.X. 8, 44; T.V.. : 119—Prs. Up. 1.10.

2        Cf. Ananda K. Coomaraswami: stoma mahadyurugayam – “ The exceedingly praised far-going(stride or step) of Vishnu


Which is of the form of liberation (moksa) and that it is the support of all the worlds and  that   it is itself of  the  form of infinite results of sacrifice (youhave rejected the worldly desirables).

II.  ii. 12.

Tam durdarsam gudham anupravistam

guhahitam  gahvarestham puranam |

adhyatmayogadhigamena  devam

matva  dhiro  harsasokau jahati || 12||


the brave (soul), knowing, through,  the realization  attained   by meditation upon the Self, theGod difficult of being  perceived, hidden, entering (and) residingin the cave  (heart), inwelling, ( and), beginningless, abandons both  pleasure and sorrow.


Commentary :

(Death) answers the  third question with the  following  two  mantras:--


durdarsam :  incapable  of being  perceived as statedin “Who is not attainable  by men even  for hearing …(i. ii. 7a)


gudham :   hidden by non-knowledge which is of the form  of action that obscures.


Anupravistam :  that has entered  into all  beings


guhahitam :  residing  in the cave  of the heart


puranam : beginningless (ancient)


adhyatmayogadhigamena : by means of  adhyatmayoga ,  that  is concentration  of the mind, having  withdrawn it from  objects, on   one’s  self  which is to be  described (hereafter) in passages “An inteligent person  should put  his speech  into his mind” (I. iii. 13) and “ When  these five  sense – organs along with the  mind  are still”  (I. iii. 10) By  means of that means, by means of the knowledge of the  individual self.


devam : the  Supreme Self  matva :  knowing; this is the intention. What is meant is   that is the  knowledge  of the individual  soul is the  means  to the  knowledge  of the Supreme Self.


Harsasokau: both  pleasure  and grief  incident  upon the  attainment   and non-attainment of the desires  of objects of sense.1


I. ii. 13

 etacchrutva   samparigrhya   martyah

pravrhya  dharmyam  anum  etam  apya |

sa modate modaniyam  hi  labdhva

vivrtam sadma Naciketas am manye.  || 13||


Having  thus heard    this is, the man,  ponderingover, abandoning the body   and  others  resulting from action, and attaining the subtle  self, enjoys achieving the enjoyable.2 I think  the abode  has been  open  to  Naciketas.



 etat :  the truth  of the  Self

srautva:  having  heard

samparigrhya :  having  pondered over. The a is the  meaning.

dharmayam:  the result  of action, body etc.,

pravrhya :  having separated; abandoning is the meaning.



Ch Isa Up. Comm.. by Venkatanatha

Ananda K. Coomaraswami : ibid “ I consider  Naciketas an opened house” prof. Rawson “An open house I think  is Naciketas.”  Prem  ; “ For Naciketas, I think, the Dwelling is open.”


etam :  this, one that is one’s  self

 anum :  subtle, beyond  the reach of the eyes etc., on  account of subtlety; the Supreme Self  mentioned as “ subtler and beyond  reasoning” (I. ii. 8d)


apya :  having  attained in a particular  place

sah:  the knower

modaniyam:  enjoyable,  viz ., one’s  nature   with the  eight  qualities such  as freedom  from sin etc.


 labdhva :  having got


modate:  enjoys ;  becomes  delighted, is the   meaning.


Here (in this  context) is to be remembred the meaning  of the  scriptural passage “The  individual soul, departing from  this (its)  body  and attaining the Supreme Light gets its  own nature  manifested. (Ch. U. VIII. 3.4.) There he moves  about eating  and playing  and enjoying.” (Ch. U. . VIII. 12.3.)


Having  thus replied to the question, Death praises  Naciketas as one fit  for liberation:


Vivrtam  sadma:  I think the  abode of the form  of Brahman is open, fit for entry   of    Naciketas,1 is the meaning, since there is  the  scriptural passage: “ This soul  of his enters the Brahman  abode.” (Mu. U. III. 2.4.)


If it be asked : In  order  to be in  accord  with (the passage) “ Knowledge   and realizing  the soul  born  of Brahman”  (I. i.  17c), let  the individual  soul   with the supreme Self as  its Self  be meant  in


1 See foot note I at page 65


the passage “adhyatmayogadhigamena matva ---realization attained by meditation  upon his Self” (I.  ii.  12), and  consequently, let the previous portion “ Him that is unperceivable” (ibid) also refer to the individual soul. And further  let the previous  context “ Who is not attainable by men  even for hearing, whom many though hearing could not know…” (I. ii. 7) also  refer   to the nature  of the  purified  individual  soul. Thus it will  that  this will   be in  accordance  with the  Gita  passage:


Some one  sees this which  is wonderful:

Some  other  speaks of this which is wonderful:

Yet some  ither hears  of this  which  is wonderful:

And even  after  hearing nobody knows this.”        (B.G. II. 29)


 which    applies to the  purified  soul  alone.


(We reply) Not so. Thought  in the  mantra  Brahmajajna ..  (I. i. 17c.) on account  of this  characteristic (lingam) of the  individual soul of  the form  of having  birth  from  Brahman which is mentioned at the beginning. We take  the word ‘deva’  mentioned at the  end  as  meaning  one whose  self is the Lord (God),there  is no  reason for taking the word  ‘deva’ in the  mantra “Tam durdarsam (I. ii.  12) as  meaning one whose soul is God, since  there   is  no mention of such a characteristic  of the individual soul here. Holding   this very  view,  Sri  Ramanuja has  stated under  the Sūtra “Guham pravisthau ---  the two  that  have  entered  the Cave”  (I. ii. 11). “The  entry  into the   ‘Cava’ (of the  heart) by the Supreme  Self  is seen  (mentioned in the Scripture) “tam durdarsam….” (K.U.I. ii. 12). In the same manner  this mantra  has been explained as referring  to the  Supreme Self  by Vyasarya. But  the Supreme Self in indicated by  the word  gahvarestham  as  one whose body is the nature  of the  purified  soul difficult to be known  here  mentioned as  gahvara. But  the difference  is as  follows: In  the  mantra “Brahma  jajnam…”  (I. I. 17c) the nature of the  purified individual  soul with the  Supreme  Self  as its  soul  is meant,  whereas  in the  mantra “Tam  durdarsam …” (I. ii. 12) the nature of the Supreme Self with the individual  as its  body is referred  to. Thus  there is  no lack  of identity in meaning.


I. ii. 14


Now (Naciketas) asks, in order   to get  clear knowledge, for instruction regarding theNature of that (Self) which has to be attained, mentioned as that which is distinct from the result of sacrificial works (dharma) in the passages: adhyatmayogadhigamena devammatva dhiro harsasokau jahati: (l. ii. 12cd); etacch rutva sa modate modate modaniyam hi labdhva…(l.ii.13abc); na hy adhruvaih prapyate hi dhruvam tat (l.ii.10b.);and the nature of the means (to the attainment of that) indicated in the same places by the word ‘matva’ (pondering over) as distinct dharma (sacrificial works) and the attainer indicated as ‘courageous’ (dhirah) in the passage ‘dhiro harsasokau jahati”(l.ii.12d.) (thus):-


anyatra dharmad anyatrahharmad anyatrasmat krtakrtat l

anyatra bhutacca bhavyacca yat tat pasyasi tad vada. ll 14 ll


Tell me that which verily thou seest that which is other than the right (dharma) other than the non-right (adharma) other than this whichis done and is not done and other than the past as well as the future.anyatra dharmad etc.


If it be asked : When it is said in the Sri Bhasya (l.iv.6) that (Naciketas) asked again (of yama) for getting clear knowledge of the nature of the Godhead to be attained and mentioned as the objectof meditation in (the passage) “devam matva”  (l.ii.12) and of the individual soul the attainer,mentioned as one who is to be known in (the passage) ‘adhyatmayogadhigamena…(l.ii.12), and of the meditation on Brahman mentioned in “matva dhiroharsasokau jahati”(l.ii.12), how could it be said in contradiction to it that, attainer isindicated by  the word ‘dhirah’ we reply, do not say this. That which is mentioned asthat which is to be known (meditated upon) in the passage ‘matva’  (l..ii.12c) and which is signified by the word atman (self), is only that of the purified nature taught in the Prajapati-Vidya which is the object of meditation and which is to be attained. Therefore it (passage) also is one which instructs that which is to be attained. Since it is in reality non-different from the attainer, the Bhasya words (aforesaid) praptuh pratyagatmanasca” are not in contradiction. Therefore the subsequent Bhasya passage to begin with… who is the attainer in the mantra” na Jayate mriyate va vipascit : “the intelligent is neither born nor dies” (l.ii.18) too is not in contradiction (eith this). Verily it cannnot be that the nature of the purifiled (soul) mentioned as the intelligent (vipascit) which is taught in the mantra “the knower is neither born nor dies” (K.U.I.ii.18), is of the formof the attainer, since that which is taught in the passages “The learned call as the enjoyer the soul 


1 Prajapati Vidya  is in the last  part of Chandogya Up. VIII. describing  the  instruction of Prajapati to Indra and Virocana.


together   with its body, senses, and  mind  “But the man  who has  intelligence, for charioteer and mind as bridle attains the final  end  of the  path that  Supreme abode of Vishnu” (I. ii. 4and 9)is one  who is  of the  nature  of the  attainer. And so  it is  explained in the Sri Bhasya   under the Sūtra  “Because   again of the qualification”    (I.  ii.12.)    


For the  same reason in the Guha  (Cave) Passage (I. ii.1) which  refers  to the identity  of the place  of residence of  both attainable  and attainer, it  is seen  that  reference is made (to the individual soul) as  chaya  which means  the non-intelligent, but  not as vipascit (intelligent).  The  meaning therefore is the same  as said  above. This   mantra has been explained   by   Vyasarya  under  the Sūtra (I. iv. 6)” Of the three.”


dharma : upayah : the means 

dharmad anyatra: different from the  well- known means  is the  meaning


adharmah: other than  dharma, means that which  is t  be attained.


adharmad anyatra : the  result  which  is different  from  the well – known  results

asmat : by this  term is intended the practiser who is kept  in mind. The same  (person) is the attainer. He indeed is different from the  well- known practiser-attainer. (viz., he who performs yagna and attains svarga  etc.,) since   he is   detached from any  other  ends when practicing (yoga), and  since at the attainment  of the Ultimate End he  is of the  nature  that  manifests  eight  qualities (such as  freedom  from  sin etc,); 


krtakrtat : done  and not  done ;  qualifies  means  (dharma) and others. The meaning  is “which  is different  from means  and others  which are done   and not  done  and which  is different  from dharma  and others, past  and future.”


Having  thus  commented  upon ( this passage) in one way” (Vyasarya) gives anotherexplanation beginning with “Or else in consideration  of the fact  that  in that   case one ‘different from’  (in the 3rd  line) becomes superfluous in as much as the three   ‘different forms’ viz., (1) different   from means    done and not-done, and past  and future; (2) different from results  of the same  kind and  (3) different from this  practiser of the same  qualification, are   sufficient and of the fact  that  since  the  means  is conditioned by  the three  times it cannot  be  qualified as   one  distinct from all  that  is   conditioned  by the  three  times. Now  it will be   stated  : Or else  “ that  which   is  different  from   dharma and adharma”  is the   question    regarding  the meditation  (upasana), since  the meditation  is different from the  means of the form of merit  and demerit (punyapapa). By  the  passage “ That  which is different  from  that which  is done  and not done”  and from   the past  and  future,  what is  enquired  is the attainable (end), that is not  conditioned  by time  (kalaparicchinna).  The  question of the attainer also is  implicit  in it,  since the conscious attainer also  is eternal and included in the  attainable. It  will be said (in the Sri Bhasya) that the nature of the attainer is also included in it. What  is meant  is that the  words  ‘which’ and  ‘that’ refer to  the traid (the means, attainer and  attainable).


If it  be said  that even according  to this  view  the acceptance of the statement as referring to the two  propositions is strained, because it appears  that as  the double usage    of the  word ‘anyatra’ appearing at the beginning is co-ordinate  (samanadhi-karanya), even so the subsequent double usage of the same  is co-ordinate. If there the particle ‘and’ (ca) was used twice and which is different from dharma and adharma and which is different from the three times  (past, present and future),’ then the natural co-ordination of the word different from used  four times subsequently could co-ordination  that appears to be in accordance with the method of expression (of this twice-used word anyatra at the beginning prakrama riti anusari), let the portion ‘different from dharma and different from adharma’ be one referring to Brahamn. The attainable. If it be asked (by any objector of the objector) since  the question of the particular means of attainment  is to be included here on account of there being a reply in respect of the means of  attainment in the mantra “This self is attainable neither by thinking  nor by meditation nor by good deal of hearing (I. ii.23), the co-ordination of the word ‘anyatra’ used four times (sabda yugadvayasya)  must be rejected, in spite of the absence of the  particle ‘and’ (ca); (we reply) No. Because  in the reply to only teaching in respect of a particular  quality of the  attainable, that is the attainability only  through such knowledge as has become of the form of ‘Love; (priti-rupapanna), is seen in the passage “This self is not to be means is not seen. (Otherwise) since such a reply as “nor one whose mind is not quiet could attain this through knowledge” (1.ii.24). “But who is  without knowledge absent-minded and always impure does not  attain that abode” (I.iii.7) is seen, why should not the question ‘anyatra dharma anyatra, refer  to the opposite of the  commonly known means.  If it be said that the saying  that the means  to the attainable tis only  the knowledge  that has become  of the  nature  of love, results in saying that the means must become  of the nature  of love, (we reply) so let it be. But this would not lead to the acceptance that the question and the answer have reference chiefly to the means.


Nor can one accept either the question “which is Devadatta’s house? Or the answer to it  “That is Devadatta’s house  has a garden full of many campaka trees, and with  conch, disucs and lotus inscribed on the sides  of doorway,” as chiefly referring to the garden  or the sides of the doorway.


Now therefore that part of  the passage “anyatra dharmad anyatradharmad”  must be (taken as) one referring only to Brahman, different from the result of dharma and adharma, with a view to make the four- times-used word ‘anyatra,’ co-ordinate.


Siddhānta : We reply: it is not seen that the statement  “Do inform me of him whom you see to be other than Devadatta” said after the  statement  that this (man) is not born of Devadatta but of  Yajnadatta, is a question  that refers through  secondary  significance  to one othe than Devadatta’s son just as it is a  question referring to Yajnadatta who is other than Devadatta. Even so (it is) proper  to say that the question  dharmad anyatra etc., which  follows the instruction that  (it is) not the result  of action, refers to the means of the  form of knowledge, that is different  from dharma but not that the question  refers through  secondary  significance  of dharma, to Brahman which is different from the  result of dharma. So also it is determined  by co-ordination in the passage ‘adharmad anyatra’ that it  referes to the means only. But in respect of the following  twice-used word ‘anyatra’ which signifies  that which is different  from that which  is conditioned by The threefold time it is reasonable  to accept that it refers to the attainable alone, rejecting co-ordination because it is impossible that it attainable alone, rejecting co-ordination because it is impossible that it refers to a means that is not conditioned by the threefold time. When it is said that ‘Who (is) the black-tall redshort” there is co-ordination between black and tall because red and short because of lack of mutual contradiction. But co-ordination is not seen between all the four (i.e., black, tall, red, short), in spite of the absence of the particle ‘and’  (ca). But the words form questions relating to two persons (one who is black and tall and the other who is red and short). Similarly here too since the particle ‘and’ (ca) is not used twice, no co-ordination is to be accepted. Or to the second interpretation of the question and reply the means also, like the attainer, is included in the question pertaining  to the attainable, the question and reply pertaining to the means and attainer referred to in the Sūtra (l.iv.6) ‘the reply and questions are in reference to three things alone’ are appropriate and thus there is nothing wrong. Also therefore it is apparent that what is explained in the reply is only the attainable which is mentioned as ‘padam’ in the passage” that abode I shall teach you briefly” (I.ii.15d).


This long discourse is enough. Let us now proceed with the commentary.

1.ii. 15.

Thus asked (by Naciketas), Death with a view to teach it in detail beginning with “Neither is (one) born nor dies” now to intensify the attention of the hearer introduces the brief exposition revealing the greatness of the attainable thus:

Sarve veda yat padam amananti

Tapamsi sarvani ca yad vadanthi

Yadichanto brahmacaryam caranti

Tat te padam samgrahena bravimi  omityetat     15


Which abode all the Vedas speak of, which abode all the Aranyakas and Upanisads mention, desiring which (they) observe brahmacarya (celibacy), that abode I shall briefly teach you. This is OM.


Sarve vedhah…: The word ‘pada’ (abode) signifies the nature of the attainable as according to etymological derivation ‘padyate’ means is attained (gamyate). “Which nature all the Vedas directly or indirectly (paramparaya) deal with, this  is the meaning.


By this the following doubts or hypotheses are replied : Let this Upanisad like the Prajapati-Vidya (Ch. U. VIII.) refer to the nature of the purified individual soul because (i) it is accepted by all that “Na jayate mriayte va vipascit” and Hanta cenmanyate hantum” both the  mantras (I.ii.18 and 19) refer to the nature of  the purified individual soul, (ii) because the (two) mantras (I, ii.20) “anoraniyam mahato mahiyan…”  well apply to the individual soul described in it as so subtle as to be capable of entering into all (things) and as omnipresent, by the Smrti passages “Know that Unpersihing by which all this is pervaded” (Gita II.17) and “Actionless, unnameable, merely pervading, Unequalled” (?) , (iii) because in accordance with the Gita passage “It is unknowable because subtle it is far and near” (XIII. 15) the passages here’’ Sitting wanders after and lying goes all round” (K.U.I.ii.21), is also  compatible with it, (iv) because the mantra (1.ii.25) “To whom the Brahman and Ksatriya both become food.” Is capable  of referring  to it in consonance with the Uupabrahmana) explanatory passage  “The devourer and begetter” (Gita XIII. 16), (v) because the mantra (1. iii.9) “He attains the end of the way that Supreme Abode of Visnu” also can have reference  to the nature of the purified soul as stated in the Smrti passages “The second is the transcendent abode of Him whose name is Visnu, meditated upon by Yogins”; “You alone are the Lord, the case of creation, destruction and existence, and which is the most supreme Abode (and) nothing else.” (vi) because according to the Smrti (Gita VIII. 21) “Unmanifest, Imperishable, they say that it is the ultimate end” the mantra “That is the Ultimate Means, that is the Ultimate End” (K.U.I. iii.11), also can refer to the purified soul, (vii) because according to the Smrti (Gita XIII.27) “The Hidden in all beings” (I. iii.12) can refere reasonable to the nature of the purified soul, (viii) because according to the Gita (XIII.27), the mantra “The Lord of the past and future” (K.U.II.i.5) signifies a meaning that can go with the nature of the purified  soul, (viii-b) because the individual  soul alone is indicated as the subject-matter in the context in the mantra (II.i.1) “The senses are extraverted.” Through despising outward things, (ix) because even  the negative statement ‘There is nothing distinct here” can be reconciled with the same nature of the individual soul were there is a chance of making distinction, (x) because also the mantra “Just as the one wind recalls the Smrti text “The difference of the wind which blows uniformly caused by (its passing thorugh) the different holes of the flute is named sadja etc., the same is the case with the  difference of the supreme self (when it enters the things”1 can refer possibly to the nature of the purified soul;, (xi) because there is nothing incongruous in the mantra “Who makes manifold the  One seed.” (K.U.V 12) having reference to the purified soul since in the Gita Bhasya under the passage. It has its feet and hands every where” (Gita XIII 13) it has been explained (by Sri Ramanuja) that the purified  soul that has attained Supreme Equality with Brahman (parama samya) is the agent  of the actions done by hands and feet etc., every where (xii) because the mantra “There the sun does not shne” (K.U.II.ii 15) is compatible with the nature of the purified soul on the strength of passages of the Gita “The Sund does not illuminate” (XV.6), and “That light of lights is mentioned as being  beyond darkness” (XIII. 17); (xiii) because the mantra at the end (K.U.II. iii.17) “One should discrimante Him from one’s own body’ naturally can refer to the purified  soul, and (xiv) because while the whole of this Upanisad could  like the Prajapati-passages (Ch.U.VIII.) be taken as referring to the purified  soul alone, it is quite unnecessary to take the trouble  of explaining it is referring to two attainables, namely, the individual soul and the Supreme Self (these above doubts are replied). It may be seen that the statement “That abode I shall teach you briefly” is to the effect that what is dealt with in all the Vedas is going to be taught; and the nature of the purified soul cannot be that which is dealt with in the  portions of the Vedas that deal with the nature of the Supreme Self, though the nature of the Supreme Self which is the Inner


1 Visnu Purana : Venurandhradhibhedena bheah sadjadi Samjnitah adhedavyapino vayostatha’ sau paramatmanah.

Varient reading in Sastra Dipika (Nirnaya Sagar ed. P.125 : tasya mahatmanah:  Anandasrama ed. Gives the reading Paramesvarah.

Ruler (antaryamin) of the purified soul can be dealt with in the portions that deal with the nature of purified  soul.

Tapamsi : This is explained by Vyasarya as meaning later portions of the Veda which are chiefly concerned with penances.

Yad incchantah : desiring which


Brahmacaryam : continence of the form of stay at the Teacher’s residence,  abstinence from sexual life, etc.

Caranti : observe.

Sangrahena : brifly

It may be noted  that since this mantra which is chiefly a statement in respect of the teaching of the attainable, means by implication a praise of Pranava (Om), there is no incongruity when the Bhasya says’ after preaising Pranava,’ and (when) the Srutaprakasika says “after praising Pranava’, and (when) the Srutaprakasika says “after praising as that which indicates the Brahman spoken of in the first three lines (of the mantra) beginning with “All the Vedas’ is the meaning.

What is that (word) which indicates that briefly? The  reply is Om ittetat: Om that is. According to (the Gita) “The mention of Brahman is traditionally spoken of as of three forms. Om Tat Sat.” Pranva is the word that indicates Brahman. It may be noted that since the parts of pranava akara and makara indicate the Supreme Self an individual soul respectively, there is instruction  also with regard to the means and the attainer.


Now he (Yama) praises Pranava with the following tow mantras:

Etaddhyevaksaram Brahma etadhyevaksaram param

Etadevaksaram jnatva yo yadicchati tasya tat  16


This very syllable indded is Brahman ; This very syllable is indeed supreme; whoever, knowing this syllable indeed, whatever wants gets it.



This very syllable is Brahman on account of its being the means of attainment of Brahman, since in accordance with the text “One should mediate on the Transcedent Person with this very same Syllable Om” (Pr. U.V.5), this is the object of meditation which  leads to realization of Brahman.


Etadevaksaram Param :  The best among those (words) fit to be muttered and fit to be meditated upon.

Etadevaksaram Jnatva :  He who practices this syllable through this practice whatever  he desires (of the form) “Let this fruit be attained by me” he realizes. This is the meaning.


etadalambanam srestham etadalambanam param

etadalambanam jnatva brahmaloke mahiyate 17


This is the best support; this is the highest support : knowing this support, one is  glorified in the Brahman world.



This support means, of the form of OM is the best, better than meditation etc., is to be supplied.

For this reason Etadalambanam param : Meditation and others having this as their object are the best. This is the meaning. The meaning of the second half is clear.


na jayate mriyate va vipascin-

nayam kutascinna babhuva kascit |

ajo nityah sasvato’yam purano

na hanyate hanyamane sarire  || 18 ||

The knower  is neither born nor dies: he comes from out of nothing nor was he  ever born. This birthless, endledds, everlasting  ancient is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.


Commentary :

To begin with He (Death) teaches the nature of the individual soul with two mantras. In connection with this the following has been said by Vyasarya; These two mantras deal with one subject matter. Since the second (mantra) is only an explanation of “is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.” The following mantra (verse. 19) also refers only to individual soul, because in respect of the Supreme Self the world has no idea of his being the killer or the killed. Surely the Supreme Self transcends perception. How could  there be any idea or being killed etc., in respect of Him? The idea of egoism such as the killer and killed as expressed in statements “I kill this.” “This seeks to kill me” in embodied souls, is only with reference to the individual soul.


If it be asked : the negation relating to killing is quite reasonable in respect of the supreme Self as there is the negation in “It does not get old through its body getting old,” (We reply) True. The negation of change which was suggested by daharakasa (subtle ether) dwelling in the body is reasonable. But here the common false notion is referred to and rejected. Surely  there is no false notion on the part of any one of his being killed or the killer in respect of the Supreme Self. Therefore there is no place for either assertion or negation (of killer or killed). Also the mantra “Neither is one born nor dies” has the same meaning as that. Therefore both the mantras refers to the individual soul. Now to the literal meaning:-


vipascit: Being fit to be omniscient. This (being) who is even now free from birth and death. This is the meaning.


Nayam kutascit : having no cause (utpadaka).


na babhuva kascit : even in old times having no  birth in the forms of man etc.,


He gives the reason for the statement “Neither is born nor dies.”


Ajah : having no birth. He than gives the reason for his, non-death.


nitya : having no end. He next gives the reason for his coming out of Nothing as sasvata : eternal. Then he gives the reason for his never having been born as Purana : ancient. If it be asked : How could it (the individual soul) be deathless, since its death should necessarily follow on  the destruction of its body, due to its dwelling in the body. He (Death) replies:


na hanyate:  is not destroyed when his body is destroyed. The meaning is clear.



The same is explained further.


hanta cenmanyate hantum hatascenmanyate hatam |

ubhau tau na vijanito nayam hanti na hanyate. || 19 ||


If the killer thinks that the shall kill him, and if the killed  thinks that he is killed, both these do not know (the nature of the soul). (He) does not kill nor (is the other) killed.



hanta cet : The meaning is if one taking the body for the soul thinks ‘I shall kill this.’


hatascencanmanyate hatam : the meaning is if one whose body and libs are cut off, deeming his body as soul, thinks with himself “I am mortally injured.”


ubhau tau na vijanitah : Both of them do not know, ‘The nature of the soul’ is to be supplied.


nayam hanti : He does not kill. ‘The soul’ is to be supplied.


na hanyate : Is not killed. ‘The nature of the soul’ is to be supplied.


It could not be said “How could there be any suggestion and negation of killing etc., in respect of the purified soul taught in the Vedanta, since it may be seen that he himself is the possessor of the body (ksetra), and they (suggestion and negation) could be on account of this very fact (of embodiednes).”


A  discussion in carried on in the Vedanta Sūtra’s  (II.iii.18.) touching these  two mantras. The objector’s view is that  “inspite of the scriptural text “The wind, and other (antariksa) – these are immortal” (Brh.U.II.3.3), which teaches the (immortality of) wind and atmosphere, because there is the scriptural passage, “The ether comes from out of the soul (and) the wind from out of the ether” (Tait. Up. II. 1). Indicating the origination of them and their origination is accepted, and because it must be accepted that all things are modifications of  Brahman so as to explain (the passage) “from the knowledge of the One the knowledge of all occurs” (taught in the scripture). So also, inspite of there being texts describing individual souls as eternal, as there are texts “He created the individual souls on earth with water” (Tai.U.II) “The Lord of creatures (Prajapati) created the creatures,” which teach that individual souls are created, one has to accept creation even in respect of the individual souls, with a view to explain “the arising of knowledge of all from the knowledge of One.”


Against this (objection) it has been established in the Vedanta Sūtra (II.iii.10) “The soul is not created because of the Scripture (statement), and because of its endlessness,on account of scripture (statement)” that the soul does not originate, since the texts “The knower is neither born nor dies” (K.U.I.ii.18). “The texts “The knower  and the ignorant are birthless.” (svet. Up.I.ii.) negate origination. And therefore from the scriptures themselves it eternity is known. Nor should one doubt that therefore there will result contradiction to the passage (already quoted) from the texts which tech origination and make the assertion that all is known when that One is known’ because though its nature is eternal yet it undergoes changes of state of  the form of contraction and expansion of knowledge  And  thus the text teaching its origination and the statement regarding all knowledge can well be in accord with each other and because the text negating its origination can be reconciled (with it) as referring to its not having origination of the form of its very nature (substance) undergoing any change.


The different is this much. There is undoubtedly  change of the form of getting into different states in respect of all the three  (categories), consent inconscient  and the Ruler but then the inconscients have origination of the form of substantial with facts. It is increadible that Badarayana who has written the Mahabharata for expounding the Vedas  and who has established in it at many places the authority of the  Pancaratra, should refute the authority of the Pancaratra in the Brahma Sūtras. (The statements in the Mahabharata are) (i) “This has been extracted like ghee from curd from the extensive Epic Mahabharata of a hundred thousand (verses) using His mind as a churning-rod.” (ii) “Just as butter (is) extracted from curd, Brahmana form bipeds, the Aranyaka form the Vedas, and chyle from plants (this Sastra had been extracted)” (iii) “This is the great  Upanisad equal to the four Vedas with views similar to Samkhya and Yoga, and is called Pancaratra,” (iv) “This is beneficial, this is Brahman, this is good without a superior” (v) “Associated with Rg, Yajus and Saman, as well as Atharvangirasa, this very teaching will become the authority indeed.” This alone is the instruction (vi) By Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, vaisyas and Sudras, wearing  signs, is (Madhava) to be adored, worshiped  and served; who is sung by Samkarsana in accordance with Satvata  Injunction (Pancatatra). (vii) From this, Svayambhuva Manu is going to promulgate the Dharmas.


If it be asked. (i) since similarly  in the passage such as “This is the complete truth of the learned Sāmkhyas, which has been taught by chief ascetics such as Kapila   and other accomplished souls, where O best of men there appear no false ideas, where there are very many excellences, with absolute  absence of faults, “ the absence of all faults such as wrong notion is mentioned in the Mahabharata with regard to the  School of Kapila, and (ii) since it is declared that Narayana is the ultimate Object of Samkhya, Yoga Pasupata and others in passages such as : “O Best among Kings, in all these sciences of Ultimate Object is the Lord Narayana according to Scripture and Reasoning;” and (iii) since itisstated in (the passage) “The intelligent authors of the Sastras speak of Him alone” that the authors of these schools (sastas) also deal with Narayana; and (iv) since it is stated in (the passage) “The samkhya Yoga, Pancaratra, the Vedas, Pasupata, these authorities on the Self should not be destroyed (with the help of reasons.)” that all these are authorities on the self, and (v) since according to the example of Pancaratra, other schools also are said to be authorities as (in the passage) “all are authorities as this excellent sastra is,” in that pada (V.S.II.ii.) the authority of such scriptures (agama) such as Samkhya, and Pasupata is not refuted; (we reply) the absence of illusion and deception and refuted; (we reply) the absence of illusion and deception and others and the having of Narayana as the Ultimate Object on the part  of the authors of (these) sastras are common. Against those who however owing to insufficient study not knowing the heart of the propounders of these sastras and taking as true only their surface-features, come forward (with objections), the author of the Sūtras granting that the schools of Samkhya and others refer only to those surface-features made the refutation. But the Pancaratra school even superficially appears to teach the Supreme Truth, the contradiction with Vedas such as difference between  material and efficient causes, it is wholly authoritative,  and  there is no room for doubting the contrary, in respect of any portion of it. This can be seen.” This is what Vyasarya has said (in the Srutaprakasika). Let us now  proceed.


Thus having clearly expounded the nature of the individual  by thepreceding two mantras, (now Death) teaches the nature of the Supreme Self who is the self of that (individual soul) (thus):

Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan

Atmasya jantor nihito guhayam

Tam akratuh pasayti vitasoko

Dhatu prasadan mahimanam atmanah   20

Subtler than the subtle, vaster than the vast, the Soul of this creature is put in the Cave (of the heart); Him the greatness of the individual  soul the actionless sees, bereft of sorrow, through the grace of the Sustainer.


Anoraniyam:  More subtle than the  conscient (soul) which is subtle when compared to all the unconscient things  Subtler than that. That is, He is capable of entering into it.

Mahato mahiyan:  Greater than the ether etc., that is, there is nothing not pervaded by it.

Asya jantoh: Of the individual soul spoken of by the earlier two mantras (defining Jiva) as Neither born nor dies.’

Atma: One that enters and controls-this is the meaning.

It is  clear therefore that he who is dealt with in this mantra “Subtler than the subtle” is different from the nature of the individual soul, mentioned in the two previous mantras. It should not be presumed that ‘asya jantoh’ “of this creature” need not be construed with ‘Self”, since it qualifies ‘guha’ meaning the cave of the heart, which requires a possessor (sambandha (-1) sapeksa because there is no harm in construing the words ‘asya jantoh’ along with something other than the word ‘atma’ though it is construed with that also, according to the maxim of ‘crows’ eye’ (kakaksi-nyaya), for in the passage “Cutting the branch at the bottom, he makes the upavesa (a small stick used in the sacrifice)’ (P.S IV. Ii.8). The word mulatah at the bottom is taken as going with makes an upavesa while it is taken also as going with cutting, cutting the branch at the bottom, one makes upavesa from the bottom.” Besides even though the passage means that it (Brahman) resides in the heart-cave of the jiva (individual soul), there results  the difference. Indeed there is no use in teaching  that the  jiva  (the individual soul)  is himself resding in his heart-cave.


If it be asked that the self mentioned above as one that is placed in the jiva’s cave may be the jiva himself, because ‘asya jantoh’ is to be accepted only as referring to its body which is made known by perception and other (sources of knowledge) due to the fact that individual soul who has been described as ‘Neither born nor dies’ cannot be spoken of as a creature  (jantu)’ which means the created. It cannot be held that the subsequent contexts “Who other than myself is fit to know that God who is free from both pleasure and sorrow” (I.ii.21b). and “How He is, this who can know” (I. ii.25b), which describe the difficulty of knowing, cannot be compatible with the individual soul who always is known as ‘I’ and as one who possesses agency and enjoyerness etc., because, though he is known by all the world as one who  possesses agency etc.,… he could be such as to be difficult to be known as one who is of the nature of Brahman that is to be attained by the Freed, (we reply) No. Because the word ‘jantu  being a synonym for sentient (cetana) according to the Lexicon (of Amara Simha)- “prani tu cetano janmi jantu-janya sariranah”  can signify the individual  soul, and the pronominal ‘asya’ can be taken to refer to the individual  soul, spoken of  in the  previous context and so should  not be taken to mean the body known through perception and other (sources of knowledge). And  since as stated in the (passages) “This Self is in my inner heart, smaller than corn, barely or mustard or millet or their kernel, this self (is) in my inner heart greater  than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than Heaven, greater than these worlds” (Ch. U. III. 14.3) the extreme subtlety and vastness, are qualities  of the Supreme Self, there can be no doubt that what  is described in this mantra “Subtler than the subtle..” is the Supreme Self.


If it be asked since in the Sri Bhasya under the Sūtra “Not the individual  soul because of incompatibility” (I. i. 17), the state of being intelligent mentioned  in the mantra “With Brahman the intelligent” (Tait. U ) is said to be the unique characteristic of Brahman, the mantra  the “intelligent is neither born nor dies” may be construed as referring to the Supreme Self. Whilst it is so, there is no resort to the  difficulty in explaining the question and answer “Differnet from dharma” (I.ii.14) as referring to two attainables, and the mantra “neither born nor dies” as referring to the nature  of the attainable individual soul and the present context “subtler than the  subtle” as dealing with the Supreme Self: we reply No. Because it is necessary to reject  the primary meaning (mukhyartha)  of the word. “Intelligent”, as otherwise the negativation of killing etc., would be irrelevant. Therefore the mantras the “intelligent neither  is born nor dies…” and “if the killer thinks  to kill..” on the one hand and the mantra in this context  namely ‘subtler than the subtle..’ on the  other hand and the mantra in this context namely ‘subtler than the subtle..’ on the other hand, cannot refer to the same topic.


The rest will be clarified  later on.

Tam : such a Supreme Self.

Akratuh : Actionless, remaining without performing any kamya action, action done for getting any result.

Dhatoh: of the supreme Self who supports.

Prasadat : due to the Grace.

Atmanah mahimanam : One that brings  about greatness to the soul; that is the self who is the cause of manifesting the qualities such as omniscience etc., of the individual  soul – that is the Supreme Self.

Yada pasyati : When one sees.

Vitasoka : bereft of sorrow. Then one becomes  bereft of sorrow.

In the dyubhavadyadhikarana (Sri Bhasya I, iii.1)  introducing  the portion of the mantra “When one sees the Lord  distinct and pleased” (Svet. U. iv. 7), the Bhasyakara (Sri Ramanuja) makes the following  comment: “When this (self) sees the Lord of all, as distinct from himself and pleased and also (sees) the Lord’s greatness of the form of control over all existence, then he becomes bereft of sorrow.” Following that the meaning  here may also be “ He who sees also the Supreme Self’s greatness of the form of control  over all existence, becomes bereft of sorrow.”


Or else the construction may be : (he) becomes bereft of sorrow due to the Grace of the Supporter, since it may be seen there is the Smrti-passage of “Acyuta (He who falls not nor  permits others falling) is pleased with him, when He is pleased there is banishment of sorrow”.


When the reading (of the Upanisad text) is as follows : akratum pasyati dhatuh prasadat mahimanam isam : akratum means void of superiority and inferiority  due to action.


Dhatuh : of the Lord.

I.ii. 21

Death shows that the truth of the Supreme Self on account of its being fully transcendent is difficult of being grasped by one who is lacking the grace of the Lord which is described (in the previous mantra) as the Grace of the Supporter.


Asino duram vrajati sayano yati sarvatah

Kastam madamadam devam madanyo jnatum arhati   21


Sitting he goes after, lying down he moves everywhere. Who except me can know Him the God free from pleasure and unpleasure.


asino duram … Sitting… what is meant here is that functions such as sitting and going after which ordinarily appear to be contradictory  elsewhere, can be present in Him through the individual  souls whose Self He is.

Kas tam: Who Him who remains between (i.e., free from) the pairs of opposite qualities  such as pleasure and unpleasure, who can know except a person like me who is favoured with the Grace of the Supreme Self. This is the meaning.


Asariram sariresvanasthesvavasthitam

Mahantam vibhum atmanam matva dhirio na socati          22



Asariram : With out a body brought  about by actions

Anavasthesu : in the transitory

Avasthitam: being eternally established


Mahantam vibhum: possessing vast powers, Meditating upon the Self (as described above) the intelligent (man) does not grieve.


Death shows the means of attaining that (Supreme) Self:

Nayamatma pravacanena labhyo

Namedhaya na bahuna srutena

Yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas

Tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam.   23


This Self is attainable  neither by thinking nor by meditation nor by good deal of hearing . Whom He chooses by that very person is He attainable. To him this Self reveals His form.1


Pravacanena…. Since here it is only  reasonable to render the word pravacana as manana, thinking, and since  there is no


1 Cf U.VI 12.2 : Mund U H.2.2


likelihood of pravacana which means teaching being considered as the cause  (of attainment) and since this is explained by Vyasarya (author of the Srutaprakasika) in this manner alone, pravacana means thinking.

Esah : The Supreme Self.

Yam : which practiser

Vrnute : chooses


Tena labhyah: By the person sought by Him, is attainable. The state of being sought after  by Him (the Lord), can only be in respect of a person who is His Beloved. To be His Beloved can happen only to one who loves Him alone).Therefore the Love of God on the part of the practiser  creates love of him on the part of God and thus it becomes the cause of the attainment of Him. This is the meaning.

Tasya esah: To him, to that practiser, the Supreme Self.

Tanum1 : svarupam, His nature (form).

Vivrnute :  revelas. The meaning is (He) gives Himself. The same is the meaning when the reading  is vrnute.

1.ii. 24

Now Death teaches certain functions (dharmas) as subsidiaries to meditation that leads to the attainment of the Supreme Self.


1 Tanum Svam : Svarupam : Svarupam : ch. Rv. V.72.4  Some writers like Anand K. Coomaraswami and Dr. S.K. Maitra write “It hardly appears that any doctrine of “Grace” is necessarily involved.” But it appears to the writer here that it is inescapable.


Navirato duscaritan nasanto nasamahitah\

Nasantamanaso v-api prajananenainam apnuyat. ll 24 ll

No one who has not abstained from bad deeds, attains This through knowledge, nor he who is not free (from desire, anger and others) nor one who is not self recollected, nor one who has controlled his mine.


Commentary :

Commentary ;


Duscaritat avilratah : One who has not withdrawn from seducing other’s wives and stealing other’s properties.

Asantah : one whose passions of desire and anger have not subsided,

Asamahitah ; one whose mind is not attentive due to distractions by manifold actilvities.

Asantamanash : one whose mind is not restrained

Enam : The Supreme Self.

prajnanena : through knowledge.

Napnuyat : will not attain. This is the meaning.

It is quite proper to enjoin abstention from evil deeds, and others as the subsidiaries of the meditation, though all these are purusartha (i.e., there are already injunctions prescribing abstention from all these things, the transgression of which will result in sinfulness); just as there is pronibition (negative injunction) “One should not speak falsehood” which, though a purusartha  is again prescribed in the context of the Darsapurnamasa-sacrufuces as a subsidiary to them.

Now therefore if one, transgressing this negative injunction, which is purusartha (that which when transgressed result in sinfulness to  that person), wants to perform correctly the meditation on the supreme self, then to that one, the meditation will not bear fruit, since this subsidiary is not acted upon. This is the meaning.


yasya  brahma ca ksatram ca ubhe bhavata odanah

mrtyur yasyopasecanam ka ittha veda yatra sah.    25

To Whom the brahmana and ksatriya both become food, to whom Death is curry spice, this, (Person) who knows as to how He is?


Brahma ca ksatramca : means the whole world of the form of movables and immovables through secondary significance, the primary meaning being the two castes brahmana and ksatriya.

Yasya odano bhavati: means by whom it is destroyable.

Yasya mrtyur upasecanam: for whom Death is helper in eating of others while he (Death) himself is eaten.

Sah:  He, the Supreme Self, that destroys all the movables and the immovables.

Kah.yatra:  in which manner He is, that is how he is, that manner who knows

Ittham : (So as to be able to express it) it is this. This is the meaning.

If it be asked what is there to necessitate taking the words ‘brahma’ and ‘ksatra’ to mean the entire world consisting of the moving and unmoving we shall explain.


When it is said that brahmana and ksatriya are food, it is necessary that the word  ‘odano’ (food) should  through its secondary  significance  mean enjoyableness or destructibility , since the castes, brahmana and ksatriya, cannot be literally food to anybody. There is not indeed any individual self or supreme self who is the eater of only the brahmanas and ksatriyas or destroyer of them alone.


If it be objected that this can be injunction prescribing the destruction of brahmanas and ksatriyas for the sake of meditation, though He is the destroyer of all, just as in the passage “He is Lord of all these words of which are beyond Heaven” Antaraditya vidya “(Ch.Up.II). only overlordship in respect of some particular world is being taught for the sake of meditation though the Supreme Self is the Lord of all the worlds. Not so, because, like that, this is not a context of meditation. Therefore it is proper that the mention of the brahmana and ksatriya  should refer by secondary meaning to the  moving and the unmoving.This is said by the author of the Vedanta Sūtras “The eater, because of the mention of moving and unmoving” (1. ii. 9)


If it be asked, even so, how is it that the word ‘Food’ is taken to signify secondarily destructibility, (since) even the attribution of secondary significance to a word must be based upon a particular quality and not  on a general one? Indeed in the sentence “This pupil is fire” by the word ‘fire’ the substance-ness is not denoted unlike the golden colour and other qualities (which, are recalled to mind) . For this reason in the Ahavaryu’s command (praisa) (P.M.S. III. 6)  “Let the Hotr’s cup come forward, also the Brahman’s cup, the Udgatr’s cup, the Yajamana’s cup,” where the word ‘udgatrinam,’ because of the plural, is to be taken as  referring to many, it is so accepted (in the Purva Mimamsa) through the secondary significance  as referring only to the group (of four) of Udgatr priests, and not as referring to the common characteristic of (rtviks who are sixteen. Similarly, here also, though1  Brahma and Ksatra cannot be what are primarily signified by ‘food’ yet it is only reasonable to take them through secondary significance  as things edible or enjoyable and not as destructible, which is a remote meaning, and which will make the sentence refer to the Supreme Self, the destroyer  of the mobile and immobile creatures.


We reply’2 even if  the quality of destructibility is a general one (sadharanakarah), even then, it is only reasonable to accept it as being  referred to through secondary significance, since  it accords with the remainder of the passage “For whom Death is curry spice.”


If  it be asked,  since the word ‘food’ precedes ‘curry-spice,’  according to the primary significance of that word (odana), the particular3  characteristic  of being  enjoyable alone must be accepted as indicated by it through  secondary significance and the latter term ‘curry-spice’ may be taken as meaning “that which does not obstruct”. Therefore “He who enjoys brahmanas and ksatriyas and to whom Death is no obstructer (in this enjoyment)” is that which is dealt with in this mantra, And the enjoyer can only be the individual soul; therefore let it be the subject –matter of this mantra.


1 All editions other than the Poona ed. Omit the two lines at this point, without which the  whole thing reads as a puzzle.

2Yadyapi is only found in the Poona ed. Other editions have omitted it.

3 It should be asadharana in the text but in all the editions it is found as sadharana  which  is obviously a mistake. Ch. Earlier  sentence.


The reply is: (if so) there will result the total rejction of the relation that is indicated between Death who is spoken of metaphorically as ‘curry-spice’ and brahmana and ksatriya, who  are metaphorically spoken of as ‘food’, as between curd and rice. If it be said that (it means) ‘to Whom brahmanas and ksatriyas are enjoyable and to whom Death is no obstructer’ then indeed no relationship between Death on the one hand and the brahmanas and ksatriyas on the other hand, could be  discerned. Therefore though the word ‘curry-spice’ is relatively a  subsequent term in relation to the word ‘food’ (in this passage), it must be taken to mean only the particular  thing which helps  eating other things whilst it is also eaten up (along with them) rejecting the general meaning (of being not an obstructer). Consequently, according to the word ‘food’ also should signify in a secondary sense destructibility alone.  It is decided in the Attradhikarana (1. ii.2) that it is only correct to  accept a sense that is indicated by another  word occurring in the same  sentence in preference to what is particularly indicated by the consideration of the word in question alone, because there is economy of intellectual  activity  (buddhilaghavam) and because it harmonizes the other parts of he passage (in question). Enough of this discussion that sprouts  like tender leaves on a branch (alam pallavitena.)

This concludes the Second Valli

Of the First Adhyaya

Of the Kathopanisad



Rtam pibantau sukrtasya loke

Guham pravistau parame parardhye

Chayatapau 2 brahmavido vadanti

Pancagnayo ye ca trinaciketah   1


Knowers of Brahman who have five-fires, and who have studied the three anuvakas (beginning with ayam va va yah pavate) speak of shade and sunshine, which drink Rta and which have entered the cave in the most supreme excellent place in the world of good deeds.



If the Brahman is difficult of knowing as was stated in he last mantra (1 ii. 25.d) “Who knows this as it is?” one cannot understand where and how he is and so we cannot  meditate on Him. To Naciketas who thought thus, (Death) shows by two mantras that since  the meditator  and the  meditated upon have  entered the same cave  (of the heart) and so the Supreme Self can be easily meditated upon, we can therefore mediate on Him.


Rtam pibantau : rta : the inevitable result of action  which is spoken of as truth (satya), pibantau : enjoying.


Sukrtasya loke: existing in this very world which is attainable through good deeds.

Parame : in the most supreme ether


1 cf.RV .X. 177. 1-2

2 cf. K.U.VI.5

paradha : means the ultimate  number: fit for it is parardhyam  That means the excellent, existing in such a heart-ether (hrdayakasa)

chayatapau: indicate through secondary significance the ignorant and the intelligent. The idea in mentioning the individual soul as ignorant is this . There may be a doubt that if the mediator and the mediated  upon dwell in the same cave and they are (as indeed they are) attainer and attainable cannot be said to be existing in the body which is metaphorically spoken  of as a chariot helping attainment of That (attainable Brahman), as the thing that is approached with the help of the chariot cannot indeed be in the chariot itself. This doubt need not be. Though the attainable Supreme Self is thee (with in the body-chariot), since on account of the individual soul being enshrounded in the ignorance of the form  of action, due to the will of the Supreme self, as stated in the Vedanta Sūtra (III. ii.4) “Hidden on account of the Will of the Transcendent”, the attainment of the form of the experience of Him is lacking. Therefore there is no incongruity in saying that the individual soul and the Supreme Self, attainer and the attainable, dwell, in the same cave, which is within the body, denoted by the metaphor ‘chariot’.

Pancagnayah: Those whose mind is purified through  service (worship) of the five fires.

Trinaciketah:  This has been already explained.

Brahmavido vadanti:  Such knowers of Brahman speak of, is the meaning. Since merely those who have worshipped (served) the five fires and mastered the three Naciketa –anuvakas, have  no  ability to describe such  a transcendent Self, these (pancagni and  trinaciketa)  are qualifications going with the knowers of Brahman.


That this mantra refers to the two, the individual soul and transcendent Self, is said in the Vedanta Sūtra. “Those two that have  entered the cave are souls’ (I. ii. 11). If  it be asked 1 (i) since there cannot happen the state of being an enjoyer  of action mentioned in this mantra, that is drinking Rta, by the Supreme Self who is free from (any) enjoyment of results of actions, (ii) since delimitation by a cave, are impossible for the transcendent  Brahman which is omnipresent, (iii) since the  descriptions (in this mantra) as shade and sunshine (chaya and atapa) that  is non-luminous and luminous, are not consistent  if referred to the individual  soul and  supreme self; (iv) since if the reference is to the intellect (buddhi) and Jiva (the individual soul), all these (different views) will harmonize, and (v) since indeed the use of the word pibantau with reference to the organs of enjoyment of fruits of actions can be explained by taking it as an agent through secondary significance, it is only proper to hold that this mantra refers to buddhi (intellect) and the jiva (individual soul):


We reply : - There is no room for the doubt raised by you since in the sūtra (I. ii. 11) “Both entered the cave,” the same  questions  has been raised and answered in the following  manner: “When there is (dual) number mentioned and one of them determined  and the second requires determination. It is only reasonable to decide it as belonging to the same genus (jati) (as the former)


1 A.K. Coomaraswami holds that these ‘two’ refers to Mitra and Varuna “Mitra is the day, Varuna the night “ (P.B. XXV 19-10, apara and Para Brahman, the immanent and Transcendent selves, God and Godhead.


since there is parsimony of thought, when the genus already known is adopted and the particular  alone is to be determined. If, on the other hand, it is said to be a thing of a different  genus there is heaviness (gauravam) of thought, due to acquiring tow ideas, one of the genus and the other  of the particular . Even  in common usage in the statements such as “The second to cow is to be sought,” is it seen to be similar, Consequently the second to the individual soul who definitely known  through  its characteristic of drinking Rta , is to be determined to be the Supreme Self alone who  belongs to the same genus as the individual soul, being conscient.


Since (i) the Supreme Self being the casual agent can be spoken  of as one of the two who  drink, since (ii) the inner organ (buddhi) is neither  an independent  agent nor a causal one, and so the word ‘pibantau’ ( the two who drink) can in no way include it; since (iii) it  is possible that the omnipresent Brahman does exist even in the world that is attained through good deeds, since (iv) the entering into the Cave also happened  to (the Brahman) who in this very context  is mentioned as having  entered into the Cave “Guhahitam gahvarestham”  K.U. (I. ii.12b), and since (v) the word “chayatapa” can indicate the a-little-knower and the All knower,  this mantra refers only to the individual  soul and  Supreme Self.

Further  the doubt that “because according to Paingirahasya Brahmana the passage” Of these two the one eats the sweet pippa (Mund. U. III.i) refers to the sattva, the mantra Dva’ suparna : the two birds (Mund. U. III. 1) refers to the intellect and  soul (and) because in the adhikarnana containing the Sūtra  (V.S.III. iii.34) “This much for the sake of meditation.” This mantra  is said to bear the same meaning  as the mantra “The two birds,” this mantra has also to refer to the intellect and soul, is cleared by the author  of the  Vedanta Sūtra s himself by the Sūtra (I.ii.1)  “The two that have  entered the Cave are souls.” Besides the entering into the Cave on the part of the individual souls, is stated to be due to the instrumentality or conditioning by intellect. Its comention as entering the Cave with the intellect which itself has entered  into the Cave is not valid. Though in respect  of its base (apasthambhaka), the statement “gold and the base are heavier/’ are not made. For this reason according to the apponent’s view the  explanation given to this mantra is consonance with  the Sūtra (Guham pravisthau) (1.2.11) is not reasonable For, though according to the scriptural passage “With the form of jiva (soul) entering into” (Ch.U.VI. 3.2), the Supreme Self enters with the form of the soul (Jiva), yet, it does not enter (in His own nature), as supreme Self. The mention of the Supreme self and individual  soul as the two that have entered the Cave cannot be correct . Indeed though one can say that Brahman is a samsarin (i.e., one who is caught up in the chain of births and deaths), meaning by that, that the  Brahman is caught  up in samsara in his form as Jiva, still one cannot say that the two, individual  soul and Brahman, undergo samsara. With regard to the two views accepted in accordance with the scriptural statements (i) “(it) makes through its manifestation (abhasa) the particular soul and the God” and itself becomes Maya and avidya, (Nrsimha purvatapaniya Up.9) and (ii) “conditioned by the effect is this Jiva, conditioned by the cause is God,”  that either avidya or the inner organ (antahkarana) is adjunct (upadhi) of the jiva, it is not correct (to hold) that avidya and the  antahkarana (inner organ) are the reflection containing  reflective adjuncts (pratibimba-upadhitva). Because it is not correct to hold that the individual soul is either the reflection in avidya or in the inner organ, since the consciousness (caitanya) which is non-perceptual (acaksuasa) cannot be reflected. And reflection means that which is grasped by one through the rays of light in the eyes deflected on account of obstruction by a transparent substance. Therefore only two views remain; that the jiva (individual soul) is that which is delimited by avidya or by antahkarana.1

Neither the scripture which descibres the unconditioned Supreme Self as entering the Cave nor the Antaryami Brahmana is in accord with regard to these (two views) since (the soul) in the heart cave is (indeed) delimited by Avidya or antahkarna (inner organ). Enough of this discussion. To proceed with the Commentary.



yah setur ijananam aksaram brahma yat param

abhayam titirsatam param Naciketam sakemahi 2

Which is the bridge  of  sacrificers, which changeless is the supreme Brahman, the fearless shore for those who intend crossing (the samsaric ocean) which is to be attainedby Naciketas (fire), that let us be able to meditate upon.


1 A.K. Coomaraswami writes: Sukrtasya loke means righteous world…. The Empyrean Brahma-world is more truly ‘non-made’ (akrta uncreated) than well made (Sukra), unless we understand by ‘well made’ ‘self made’ (Svakrta) in accordance with Tai. Up. II. 7. He contends that Sankara’s interpretation and incidentally Rangaramanuja’s as Kama Phala are impossible in this context with the paramaparardha…”  The Plarama Vyomans :ch. RV X. 129, 7 ch. RV. VII. 164, 10 and Prasna Up. 1.11.




Yah setuh :1 which is our bridge, that is the supporter that is the graner of fruits of sacrifices (karma).

Ijananam : Of those that have performed sacrifices ; (this is) a form with the suffix kanac (Pānini III 2. 106)

Aksaram Brahma yat param: changeless supreme Brahman.

Abhayam titirsatam param : to those who intend to cross the samsaric ocean the shore, firm  and fearless.

Naciketam sakemahi : The meaning is that we are able to meditate upon that which is attainable through Naciketa-fire

Sakemahi : this is a case of first conjugation, sap, according to Vedic exceptional rules (vyatyaya)

This part of the Mantra has been explained by the Sri Bhasya kara (Sri Ramanuja) is this very manner.

Therefore one need not be afraid that it is difficult to meditate upon.


The following (mantra) beginning with “Know the soul as the occupant of the chariot” teaches  the nature of the attainer , with a view to instruct the requirements for the attainment of the supreme abode of visnu, which is the farther and (terminus) of the road of samsara.


1 A.K. Coomaraswamay writes : Sukrtasya loke means ‘righteous world…. The Empyrean Brahma-world is more truly ‘non-made’ (akrta uncreated) than well made (sukrta), unless we understand by ‘well made’ ‘Self made’ (Svakrta) in accordance with Tai. UP. II. 7. He contends that Sankara’s interpretation and incidentally Rangaramanuja’s as Karma phala are impossible in this context with the paramaparardha…” the Parama Vyomans : cf. RV. X. 129, 7cf. R.V. VII. 164, 10 and Prasna Up. 1.11.

atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva tu

buddhim tu sarathim viddhi manah pragraham eva ca   3

Know the self as the occupant of the chariot, the body as the chariot itself, know the intellect (buddhi) to be the charioteer and the mind (manas) as the rein.s


Atmanan rathinam : Him who presides over the body know as the occupant of the chariot.

Sariram….: know this body itself is the chariot.

Buddhim : since the activities of the body are dependent upon or due to determination called budhi (intellect), the nature of being a charioteer (is attributed) to it. This is the idea.

Pragrahah : rein (or bridle, rasana).


indriyani hayanahur visayamst su gocaran

atmendriyamanoyukam bhoktety ahur manisinah   4

(The intelligent) speak of the senses as the horses, their objects as their fields : (and they) speak of the soul along with its body, senses and the mind, as  the enjoyer (bhokta).



Indriyani Hayan ahuh : the intelligent speak of the senses as the horses;1 the meaning is clear.


1Bh.Gita. III.6.


Visayan tesu gocaran : tesu : in respect of the senses which are expressed by the metaphor of horses. Gocaran : as the paths (roads): know the sense-objects of the should etc., to be these. This is the meaning.

Now (Death) shows as a quite well-known fact that in the absence of its body, senses, mind and intellect which are metaphorically  referred to as chariot, charioteer, horses and reins, there is no  agency on the part of the inactive self who is metaphorically spoken of as the rider in the chariot in respect of actions, both mundane and scriptural, of the form of movement.


Atmendriya…… The word (atman) refers to the body. The word manas refers through secondary significance also to the intellect, which is its effect, since in the previous mantra buddhi also is mentioned as the charioteer.

Bhokta: One who is the agent as well as enjoyer (of experiences). The idea is that the pure self has neither agency nor enjoyment.

1.iii.5 and 6

Now He (Death) speaks of the purpose of the metaphor of chariot etc., in respect of the body etc., in the following two mantras.

Yas tv avijnanvan bhavaty ayuktena manasa sada

Tasyendriyany avasyani dustasva iva saratheh     5


Yas tv avijnanvan bhavaty yuktena manasa sada

Tasyendriyany avasyani dustasva iva saratheh     6


For him, who always remains ignorant with his mind un-concentrated, his senses become uncontrollable just  as wild1 horses for the charioteer; but for him who becomes intelligent always with his mind concentrated, his senses become controllable, just as trained horses for the charioteer, (are controllable).


In this world indeed to the who has got a good charioteer and reins, the horses become obedient. In the same  manner only when the intellect and mind, metaphorically spoken of as  charioteer and bridle are good (trained and disciplined), the senses, metaphorically spoken of as horses, become obedient and not otherwise.

1.iii. 7 and 8

With the following two mantras (Death) reveals the effect of subjugating or non-subjugating the senses mentioned as horses.

Yas tv avijnavan bhavaty

Amanaskah sadasucih

Na sa tat padam apnoti

Samasaram cadhigacchati     7


Yas tu vijnanavan bhavati

Samanaskah sada sucih

Sa tu tat padam apnoti

Yasmad bhuyo na jayate   8


He who remains ignorant, always absent-minded and impure, he  does not attain that abode but gets more entangled in in samsara. But he who becomes intelligent and vigilant (in mind) and pure attains that abode, as he is not born again.


Amanaskah : he whose mind is unsubjugated etc.

Asucih :  impure for the same reason because of his constant inclination towards thinking evil. This is the meaning.

Samsaram ca adhigacchati: the meaning is that not only is there the failure to attain the  desired abode but on the contrary it leads to the same dense jungle of samsara.


He (Death) concludes answering the question (viz., which is the abode?)

Vijnanasarathir yas tu

Manahpragrahavan narah

So’dhvanah param apnoti

Tad  visnoh paramam padam 9

But that man who has his intellect as charioteer and mind as bridle, he attains the supreme abode of Visnu, which is the goal of the path.


Vijnana…. The meaning is that he who has a trained intellect and mind attains  the nature of the supreme self which is the end of the path of samsara.

Now those among body and others, metaphorically spoken of as chariot and others for the sake of controlling, as to which are relatively more important than others in respect of controlling, are being mentioned in the following two mantras.


1.iii.10 and 11

indriyebhayah para hy artha

arthebyyas ca param manah


manasas tu para buddhir

buddher atma mahan parah 10


mahatah param avyaktam

avyaktat purusah parah

purasan na param kincit

sa kastha sa para gatih    11

The objects are more important than the organs, and more important indeed that the objects is the mind (manas), and more important than the mind is the buddhi (intellect), and more important than the  buddhi is the Great soul.

More important than the Great (soul) is the unmanifest (body), more important than the unmanifest is the purusa (person). More important than the purusa there is nothing. It is the ultimate (means for the means). It is the final goal.


The meaning of those two mantras has been stated by Bhagavan Ramanuja in his Bhasya under the Anumanikadhikarana (1. iv. 1). The text of the Sri Bhasya is as follows:-

“ It thereupon proceeds to declare which of the different things1 enumerated and compared to a chariot, and so on, occupy a superior position to the others in so far, namely, as they are that which require to be controlled – more important than the senses are the objects,’ and so on. More important 2  than the senses – compared to the horses, - are the objects – compared to roads – because even a man who generally controls his senses


1 Thibaut’s translation of the passage is given here. Thibaut has stated here  ‘beings,’ it should be ‘things’

2 Wherever, in Thibaut’s translation, ‘Higher’ occurs ‘More important’ has been substituted as Rangaramanuja renders Param as more important.


finds it difficult to master them in presence of their objects ; more important than the objects is the mind-compared to the reins because when the mind inclines towards the objects even the non-proximity to the latter does not make much difference; more important than the mind (manas) is the intellect (buddhi) compared to the charioteer- because in the absence of decision (which is the characteristic quality of buddhi) the mind also has  little power; more important than the intellect again is the (individual) self, for that self is the agent whom the intellect serves,  And as all this is subject to the wishes of the self, the text characterizes it as the Great (self). Superior to the self again is the  body, compared to the chariot, for all activity whereby the individual self strives to bring about what is of advantage to itself depends on the body. And more important finally than the body is the highest person, the inner Ruler and Self of all, the term and goal of the journey of the individual soul, for the activities of all the beings enumerated depend on the wishes of that highest self. As the universal inner Ruler of that self brings about the meditation of the Devotee also; for the Sūtra (II. Iii.41) expressly declares that  the activity  of the Ultimate means for accomplishing the mediation upon that which is to be made amenable (vasikarya) and that which is to be attained ultimately; hence the text says “More important than the person there is nothing – It is the Ultimate means. It is the final goal”2

Analogously scripture, in the Antaryami Brahmana, at first declares that the highest self within witnesses and rules everything, and thereoupon negatives the existence of and further ruling  principle There is no othe seer but He &c.


1 This sentence has been modified in this translation, as Thibaut’s is incorrect.

2 Our translation of the Katha, text is substituted in the place of Thibaut’s


Similarly in the  Bhagavad Gita : The abode,  the agent, the various senses, the different and manifold functions, and fifth the Divinity (i.e., the highest Person)” (XVIII. 14)1 The  Divinity meant here is the Highest Person (purusa) alone, because of the Gita –Statement “1 dwell within the heart of all; from me happen memory, perception, apoha (absence of consciousness)”… (XV. 15)2, and making him amenable means complete surrender to Him, as stated in “The Lord dwells in the heart of all creatures as is mounted on a machine (body), causing them to turn round the round by His Maya. Surrender upto Him alone with all your being, Arjuna…” (Bh. G.XVIII. 61-2)3


esa sarvesu bhutesu gudho tma na prakasate

drsyate tv agrya a budhya suksmaya suksmadarsibhih  12

This person residing in all beings as their Self does not shine being hidden (by His Maya), but He) is perceived by those subtle seeing seers with their intellects one pointed and subtle.



Gudhah : hidden; because of being hidden by the Maya of triple qualities.

Na prakasate: does not shine; (as he is ) to those who havenot controlled both their inner and outer sense – organs.


1 Bh. G. translations  is ours. And the sentence is modified by us.

2 Bh. G. translations is ours. And the sentence is modified by us

3. Bh. G. trans. Is modified to suit Sri Ramanuja ‘s meaning

finds it difficult  to master them in presence of their objects; more important than the objects is the mind-compared to the reins because when the mind inclines towards the objects even the non-proximity to the latter does not make much difference ; more important than the mind  (manas) is the intellect (buddhi) compared to the charioteer-because in the absence of decision (which is the characteristic quality of buddhi) the mind also has little power; more important than the  intellect again is the (individual) self, for that self is the agent whom the intellect serves, And as all this is subject to the wishes of the self, the text characterizes it as the Great (self). Superior to the self again is the body,  compared  to the chariot, for all activity whereby the individual self strives  to bring about what is of advantage to itself depends on the body. And more important finally than the body is the highest person, the inner Ruler and self  of all , the term and goal of the journey of the individual soul, for the activities of all the beings enumerated depend on the wishes of the highest Self. As the universal inner Ruler of that self brings about the highest Self. As the universal inner Ruler of that self brings about the  meditation of the Devotee also; for the sūtra (II.iii.41) expressly declares that the activity of the individual soul depends on the supreme person. He 1alone is the Ultimate means  for accomplishing the meditation upon that which  is to be attained ultimately; hence the text says “More important than the person there is nothing – It is the Ultimate means. It is the final goal.”2

Analogously scripture, in the Antaryami Brahmana, at first declares that the highest Self within witnesses and rules everything, and thereupon negatives the existence of and  further ruling principle There is no other seer but He ‘&c. Similarly in the Bhagavad Gita: “The abode, the agent, the various senses, the different  and manifold functions, and fifth the Divinity (i.e., the highest Person)” (XVIII. 14)1 The Divinity meant here is the Highest Person (purusa) alone, because of the Gita-statement “I dwell within the heart of all; from mehappen memory, perception, apoha (absence of consciousness)”… (XV. 15)2, and making Him” amenable means complete surrender to Him, as stated in “The Lord dwells in the heart of all creatures as is mounted on a machine (body), causing them to turn round the round by His Maya. Surrender unto Him alone with all your being, Arjuna…” (Bh. G.XVIII.61-2).3


1 This sentence has been modified in this translation, as Thibaut’s is incorrect.

2. Our translation of the Katha, text is substituted in the place of Thibaut’s


I. iii. 12.

Esa sarvesu bhutesu gudho tma na prakasate |

Drsyate tv agrya a budhya suksmaya suksmadarsibhih ||12||


This person residing in all beings as their Self does not shine being hidden (by His Maya), but He) is perceived by those subtle seeing seers with their intellects one and subtle.


Gudhah : hidden; because of being hidden by the Maya of triple qualities.

Na prakastate : does not shine; (as he is) to those who have not controlled both their inner and outer sense-organs.


1 Bh. G.translation is ours. And the sentence is modified by us.

2. Bh. G.translation is ours. And the sentence is modified by us

3. Bh. G.trans is modified to suit Sri Ramanuja’s meaning

agryaya : being one –pointed, that is having no outer or inner activities.

Suksmadarsibhih :  by those experienced in perceiving intuitively

Drsyate: is seen ; this is the meaning.

I. iii.13.

Yacched van manasi prajnas tad yacchejjnana atamani |

Jnanam atmani mahati niyacchet tad yacchec chanta atmani ||13||


The intelligent (man) must integrate his speech with mind, integrate the mind with the intellect in the soul, integrate the intellect with the soul that  is great, (and) integrate the soul with the quiet self.


Now the (Death) shows the manner of making  one’s inner and outer organs actionless, and manner of knowing the nature of the individual soul mentioned in the mantra (K.U.I. ii.12) “through attaining the Yoga of one’s inner self.”

Yacched: In respect of this mantra Sri Ramanuja has stated as follows: “The following describes the manner of controlling the senses, metaphorically described  as horses and others yacched vanmanasi: (One) must integrate one’s speech with one’s mind, that is, place one’s organs speech etc., and the organs of sense in the mind. The objective case after the noun vak is omitted according to the (Pāniniah) rule supam suluk (VII. I. 39). The locative case in manasi is lengthened according to Vedic exception. Tad yacched jāna atmani: tat :that mind one should integrate with the intellect. Jāna : here indicates intellect mentioned before. Jnane atmani: these are two locatives which are not coordinate (vyadhikarana). The meaning is : with the intellect that is in the soul. Jāna atmani mahati niyacchet : (one) should integrate (one’s) intellect with the soul that is great and agent. Tad yacchet santa atmani: That agent one should integrate with the intellect. Jāna : here indicates intellect mentioned before. Jnane atmani : these are two locatives which are not coordinate (vyadhikarana). The meaning is : with the intellect that is the soul. Jāna atmani mahati niyacchet: (one) should integrate (one’s) intellect with the soul that is great and agent. Tad yacchet santa atmani:  That agent one should integrate with the Supreme Self, the indwelling Ruler of all. The center ‘tat’ is according to Vedic exception. That abode belonging to Visnu is to be attained by such an occupant of the chariot (the body). This is the meaning.”


This (above passage in the Sri Bhasya) has been explained by the author of the Srutaprakasika (as follows). “Integration of speech with mind means making (speech) indifferent towards activities that are contrary to the mind. Integration of mind with intellect means making mind act in accord with the decisions of the intellect. Intellect is of the form of decision that he objects are renounceable (heya).The integration of that intellect with the soul means impelling the intellect towards the soul with a view to perceive it as something that has to be sought after. Quiescent means the stat of being always opposed to the six waves of desire. Integration of the soul that is great (mahat) with the quiescent self means the consciousness of its being subservient to that (Supreme) Self.”


Since the word atman is masculine, the word ‘tat’ must be used as such, but it is used (as the Bhasya says)  in the neuter according  to Vedic exception.


If it be asked that the statement in the Bhasya-that the two locatives jnane atamani are not co-ordinate, (and that) the meaning is that (one) should integrate (the mind) with the intellect with is in the soul-is not correct, since the qualification ‘which is in the soul’ serves no purpose, there being no knowledge which is not the soul. It cannot be stated that in case this much is said that one  should integrate that with the intellect (that is, if in the mantra the word atmani’ is omitted), there is a possibility of mistaking this jāna for the nature of the soul (atma-svarupa or dharmi-bhuta-jāna); therefore it is said (in the mantra) will get strong by taking them ie., jnane and atmani as co-ordinate words. Verily the word atmani cannot exclude the acceptance mistakenly of jāna to be the soul. Nor can it be said that the meaning of the Bhasya “which is in the soul” is that which is in the soul in the relation of cognition and cognized (visaya-visayibhava-sambandha), that is jāna atmani means jnane that has the soul as its object; since thus it serves the purpose of distinguishing this from the substantive consciousness there is no fault of pruposelessness; because then the mantra-passage “jānam atmani mahati niyacchet” becomes superfluous, this meaning being already implicit. We reply: This is what Ramanuja means. In the statement “tad yacched jnane atmani” the locative ‘atmani’ has the meaning of the cognized (visaya).And that knowledge of the soul i.e., with a soul as its object is of the form ‘the soul is that which is to be sought after.’ All others are to be renounced.” And this means that this knowledge is of the form of decision that the objects are to be renounced. This is clear from the ‘Srutaprakasika. The integration of the soul which is great, of such knowledge that is of the form of decision to seek after the soul and renounce all else that are other than that, means to direct the consciousness to turn towards the purpose of seeing the soul alone, which is the object to be sought after. This is also clear from the Srutaprakasika. Since thus both the passages have their respective  purposes, there is no room for doubting that they are superfluous as maintained by you (the objector).


Uttisthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata |

Ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya

Durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti  ||14||


Rise up! Be awake! Approach Superiors (and) learn! The  knife edge is sharp and difficult to walk on. The learned speak of this path as difficult to attain.


Having thus instructed the manner of attracting (Him), He (Death) now calls the attention of the well-equipped persons (adhikari purusah):-

Uttistata : Rise up : become inclined towards the knowledge of the self.

Jagrata : Be awake : bring about destruction of the sleep of ignorance.

Varan prapya: approaching great teachers.

Nibodhata: learn the truth of the self. Or else

Varan prapya: Obtaining boons from the Godhead who has been well-meditated upon, or from those that know the boons, such as those mentioned in the passage “You will correctly understand the real nature of God.”

Nibodhata: learn the nature of the self that is to be known. The intention is that one should not be indifferent (to the knowledge of the Self)

Kavayah : knowers.

Tat : the truth of the Self

Durgam pathah : as the difficult path

Vadanti : speak of. For what reason? For the reason the truth of the Self is.

Ksurasya dhara: edge of a particular weapon

Nisita: sharp

Duratyaya: difficult to walk upon.

What is meant here is that just as he who walks on a knife edge has to lost his life if there is least inattention (on his part), even so at the time of knowing the nature of the self if there is committed the blunder of inattention there happens loss on one’s self.


asabdam asparsam arupam avyayam

tatharasan nityam agandhavac ca yat |

anadyanantam  mahatah param dhruvam

nicayya tan mrtyumukhat pramucyate ||15||


Having perceived that (Self) which is eternally soundless, touchless, colourless, imperishable and tateless, odourless, and beginningless  and endless, and higher than the great (soul), fixed, one gets released from the mouth of death.


Now he (Death) concludes here (with this mantra). The word ‘eternally’ goes with every one of the adjectives, viz., soundless etc. For the same reason of being soundless etc. It is imperishable like time (kalavat). It means having no diminution of parts.

Mahatah:  the soul. With the word mahatah reference is made to the individual  mentioned in the previous mantra (K U. I. iii. 13).

Dhruvam : Fixed (mmutable)

Nicayya: Having perceived, i.e., having contacted Igod) through the medication of the form similar to perception

Mrtyumukhat:  from the mouth of Death, means from the  terrible samsara.


naciketam upakhyanam Mrtyuproktaim sanatanam |

uktva srutva ca medhavi brahmaloke mahiyate || 16||

Having spoken or heard this eternal story (vidya) of Naciketas told by Death, the intelligent is glorified in the world of Brahman.


To conclude : Naciketam :  This vidya (upakhyanam) received by Naciketas.

Mrtyprotam : taught by Death , that is, Death is only the teacher and not the author (of his vidya). Therefore

Sanatanam : eternal. The meaning is being of non-human origin, it is eternal because of uninterrupted transmission (of this instruction)

I. iii.17.

Ya idam paramam guhyam sravayed brahmasamsadi |

Prayatah sraddhakale va ad anantyaya kalpate tad anantyaya

Kalpae ||17||

If one who purfied makes this extreme estoteric heard in an assembly of Brahmanas or at the time of Sraddha (then) that is capable of granting infinite fruits.

Commentary :

Brahmasamsadi : in the assembly of Brahmanas.

This concludes the Third Valli of the First Adhyaya

Of the Kathopanisad.




Paranci khani vyatnat svayambhus

Tasmat paran pasyanti nantaratman  |

Kascid dhirah pratyagatmanam aiksad

Avrttacaksur amrtavam icchan  ||1||

The self-born (independent lord) condemned the senses (to) extraversion : therefore they see (outward objects) and not the inner self: some intelligent man with his eyes turne inward seeking immortality sees the inward self.


(Yama) seeing those that are indifferent to the nature of the Self in spite of the inspiring instruction  ‘Rise up and be awake .. (I. iii. 14.) expresses (his) (thus):

Khani : senses

Paranch :  means paran ancanti : which are extraveted, that is those which reveal outer objects but not the self.

Then he gives the reason (for their extrovert-ness).

Svayambhuh : Self-born : independent Lord

Vyatnat : tortured (condemned): from root  tr: to torture (himsa). Or else the meaning is (the Lord) has created the sense-organs which reveal objects, since roots have more than one meaning.

Tasmat : therefore

Paran : is the same as paracah (objective plural). The meaning is they see or grasp the outward objects and not the inner self. Or else “Paran : becoming extraverted (they) see the objects alone” is the meaning.

If the reading is paran pasyati: the singular refers to the world (in general).

Death says that though the nature (svabhava) of the world is like this, there is some extraordinary  person who inclines  towards the inner self like one who is swimming upstream in a river.

Kascit dhirah etc. : The meaning is someone sees the self that is inward (pratyancam atmanam). The Parasmaipada  is Vedic usage. The same is the reason for the use of the imperfect tense instead of the  Present tense.

Caksus :  eye; refers to or stands for all the sense-organs. This  (avrttacksus etc.) means one seeking after liberation with all his sense-organs withdrawn their respectives.


Paracah Kaman anuyanti balals

Te mrtyor yanti vitatasya pasam

Atha dhira amrtatvam viditva

Dhruvam adhruavesv iha na prarthayante // 2  //


The immature follow the outward objects of desire. They get into the noose of the omnipotent Death. But the intelligent knowing the immortality, the everlasting, seek ont (for anything) among the transitory (objects) here.


Commentary :


Balah : those of small intelligence

Paracah Kaman : outward objects of desire alone

Anuyani : know1

Te mrtyor …: They get in the wide samsara; or else the meaning is that they fall into the noose of mine (Death) whose authority is unquestioned everywhere.

Atha : the word ‘atha (then) means takings up a different aspect of the present topic.

Dhirah : the intelligent

Dhruvam amrtatvam viditva :  knowing the everlasting immortality in the inner self alone.

Iha : here in this world of samsara

Adhruvesu : among the transitory (objects)


1 anuyanti is rendered as avagacchanti by R.R. But in no edition do we have the reading anugacchanti : follow, which is better than the commentator’s reading


na prathayante : hanker after nothing. What is meant is one who has known the truth of the inner (pratyak) self has to abhandon everything else. It must be noted here that since the I-ness (ahamtva) of all the individuals has reference to the Supreme Self and Consequently the Supreme Self is denoted primarlily by ‘I’ (aham) He (the Supreme Self) has the (quality of) Selfness (pratyaktva)


Yena rupam rasam gandham sabdan sparsama ca maithunan |

Etenaiva vijanati kim atra parisisyate ! vai tat  ||3||


With regard to this by which alone one perceives colours tastes, smells, sounds and touch on account of contact between two what remains there? This verity is that.


Maithunan :  the particular  pleasures brought about by union

Yena etenaiva vijanati :  the meaning is by which this means alone one knows completely (i.e. without remainder). The idea is that the sense organs which reveal colour and others are able to do their  functions only when permitted by Him as in (the passage) “Him, the light of lights, the Gods adore” (Br. Up.IV.iv.16)

Kim atra partisisyate : The idea is what is there is not revelaed by Him.

Etad vaitat: This is that. The supreme abode which was already mentioned as that which is the attainable is This alone, that is, the nature of the Supreme Self which is described in this mantra

Svapnantam jagaritantam ca ubhau yenanupasyati  |

Mahantam vibhum atmanam matva dhiro na socati  || 4 ||

By which (one) perceives both the worlds of dream and waking consciousness, meditating on the Self, (Him), great and infinite, the intelligent (one) does not grieve.

Commentary :

Svapnantam :  (the state of dream) : the meaning is by which the Supreme Self having the form of the senses, mind and others, men (lokah) perceive  all the dream and walking worlds. Him has to be supplied before mahantam’ – the great.  This has been already explained (under K.U. I. ii. 22.)

II.i. 5

Ya idam madhvadam veda atmanam jivamantikat |

Isanam bhutabhavyasaya na tato vijugupsate eted vai tat || 5||

Him who knows this (individual soul) the eater of honey (results of actions) and the lord of the past and future near (it), one should not despise. 1  This is that.


Idam: this, the neuter usage is Vedic exception. (It has to be taken as imam :this 2


1 ch. Isavasyopanisad 6 d. which is repeated here. Venkatanatha has rendered it thus: tato na vijugupsate kvacid api nindam na karotity arthah.

2 Reading given in Katha, text : Aurobindo (trans) is imam

madhavadam :the eater of the results of actions mentioned in the passage rtam pibantau  (K.U.I. iii. 1.a)

jivam atmanam : the individual soul as jiva

antikat isanam bhutabhavyasya   : and  the Lord of all conscient and inconscient at all three times, that resides near him (the jiva) as said in the passage “guham pravistau” (I. iii.1.b)

yo veda : who knows

na tato vijugupsate : him even though a doer of bad actions one should not despise. The word jugupsa is stated to mean despise under the Sūtra (Pānini III. i.50) “which enjoins the employment of the suffix ‘san’ after three roots gup, tij and kit.” The Ablative case tatah is in accordance with the the Vārtika under II. iii.88


etad vai tat : the meaning is as explained before.

II. i. 6

Yah purvam tapaso jatam adbhyah purvam ajayata |

Guham pravisya tisthantam yo bhutebhir vyapasyata

Etad vai tat  || 6||

Who was born first from waters, that Brahman first born out of will (tapes) residing after entering into cae (of the heart) with the elements, Him who sees. This is indeed That.


Commentary :

Adhyah : from waters : as stated in Manu “First He created waters alone. In them he caste his seed. That become the golden egg brilliant like the sun. Brahma the grandfafter of all the worlds. Himself, was born from it.” This adbhyah in the Ablative case (apadana : Pānini I. iiv. 24).

Purvam : before individual creation (or particular creation, vyasti)

Yah ajayta  : who was born.

Tam :  Him

Tapasah puram jatam   : first born out of sheer will alone as stated in the scriptural text (Tail. Nara. 19.) “That divinity greater than all the worlds Rudra, the chaser out of the diseases of samasara,  the unlimited omniscient  (maharsi) saw Brahma,  the first among the Gods, while being born before the creation of anything else.”

Guham pravisya tisthantam : having entered the cave of the heart and established (himself) there

Bhutebhin : with the  elements, that is having body, sense organs and inner organs etc. – such a Brahman, the fourfaced

Vyapasyata :  He saw with the benediction “This must be the creator of the world.”

Etad vai tat : This indeed  is that : (this) already been explained.

IV. 7.

Ya pranena sambhavaty Aditir devatamayi|

Guham pravisya tisthanti ya bhutebir vyajayata etad vai tat || 7 ||

Which Aditi (eater) remains with breath possessing many sense-organs (devatamayi) remaining in the cave after entering into it : (and) which (Aditi) is born with elements. This indeed is that.

Commentary :

This mantra has been commented upon by Sri Ramanuja under the Vendanta Sūtra (I. ii. 11) “The two have  entered the Cave. “To  quote the Bhasya : “Aditi means jiva (the etymology being) he who eats (atti) the fruits of actions. Pranena sambhavati : remains with the breath ; devatamayi : having  enjoyments dependent upon the sense-organs Guham pravisya tisthanti : residing in the hole in the lotus of the heart;  bhutebhih vyajayata : having contact  with elements earth etc., is born with the manifold form of gods and others.”

Etad vai tat : This indeed is that, this is tat : That. This means that this is one which has That as its self. It may be noted that since in this very context in the passage (KU. I.i.17) “the word devam  was explained as meaning that which has the Supreme Self as its self, since in the Gita passage elucidating this  scriptural passage (XIII.2.) ksetrajna etc. : know me also as the knower of the body” the word mam has been explained by Sri Ramanuja himself to mean madatmakam : that which has me as its self, and since just as the word indicating the insepearable quality  is capable of denoting the  substance, even  so the word indicating a substance  having inseparable attributes also is well known as capable of denoting (signifying) its quality, therefore the explanation of the  word ‘tat’ (that) as meaning that which has that as its self is appropriate.


II. i. 8

Aranyor hihito jataveda garbha iva subhrto garbhinibhih  |

Dive diva idyo jagravadbhir havismadbhir manusyebhir agnih

Etd vai tat ||8||

 Fire, called jatavedas, is placed in the two aranis adorable day by day by devoted men with oblations, kept carefully like foetus in the  womb by pregnant women. This indeed is That.


Aranyoh : Fire, that is in the two aranis

Garbha iva…. Like the foetus carefully kept (protected by pregnant women, with food and drink. This goes with the preceding nihita; is  placed.

Dive dive : day by day

Jagrvadbhih : by the wakeful that is not inattentive

Havismadbhih :  such as offer oblations like ghee etc.

Idyah:  fit to be praised by such Rtviks

Agnih :  Fire, one who takes (praisers) to the forefront.  This is to be construed as going with (palced in the aranis)

Etad vai : This nature of Agni indeed.

Tat : is that which has Brahman mentioned before as its Self.


Yatas codeti suryo stam yatra ca gacchati |

Tam devah sarve arpitas tad u natyeti kascana eted vai tat  || 9 ||

From which rises the Sun and where he sets ; in Him all the gods are set. That nobody can transgress. This indeed in That.

Commentary :

Yatah… From which Brahman the sun rises and in which he merges.

Tam devah….  The meaning is that all the gods are established in that Self.

Tad u natyeti kascana : tat :  That Brahman, the Self of all, nobody transgresses, since it is like (one’s own) shadow that cannot be jumped over. This is the idea.


U. eva : emphasizes the point

Eta vai tat : this has been already explained.

II. i. 10.

Yad eveha tad amutra yad amutra tad anv iha |

Mrtyoh sa mrtyum apnoti ya iha naneva pasyati ||10||

This same indeed which is here is yonder. The same that is yonder is here. From death to death goes he who sees here as if there is any difference.


If it doubted that since it is not apossible for the Supreme Self to be the Self of all for the self is that which is experienced as possessing ‘I-ness’ that is ‘I’, and the self is experienced as absent from other  places (in such statements as “I am here alone.)” how can such a self be the self of all things at all places and at all times? The reply is as follows:

Yad eva : which truth of the Supreme Self.

Iha : here in this world is experienced as ‘I’ and therefore is the Self.

Tad eva : that every same.

Amutra : is the self of all those that exist in the other worlds. Consequently  there is no diefference in self. This is the meaning.



To elucidate further : the question here can be considered   in  two  ways : (i) whether the experience  that I am  here alone which  has been sated as opposed  to the Supreme  Self being  the self of all things aat all  places  and times, is that of those  who know  the truth  of the  Supreme Self (ii)  that of those  who do not (know): Not the first (view), since  there cannot be such  an experience on their part as ‘I   am  here alone.’ One the other hand, their  experience  is of that  Being  as in all things  as stated in the passage “I was the Manu   and the Sun.” Nor the  second view, for the experience of the non-knowers of the truth being  limited  to  them, the  individual souls alone, their  experiences having  reference to their  being  absent  at other  places  cannot  contradict  the supreme  Self  being  the self of all things. He being  not grasped  by them.


Mrtyoh …..: iha : In  this Supreme  Self.


Naneva :   as if there is difference


Yah pasyati : who  sees

 Sah :  He

Mrtyum apnoti :  goes   from  samsara to samsara. This is the meaning .


II. i 11

 Manasaivedam  aptavyam naha nanasti  kimcana |


 Mrtyoh sa mrtyum  gacchati  ya iha  naneva pasyati || 11 ||


This  is to be attained by the mind slone. There is no difference  whatever here. From  death to death  he goes  who sees  here as  if there is   difference







If it be asked how is this truth of  the Supreme  Self that is the self  of  all,  attainabnle by us, He (Death) replies:


  Idam:  The nature of the Self


  Manasaiva : graspable  by the purified mind alaone. This is   the meaning. The same  thing already mentioned  he repeats for the sake  of emphasis.  Ya  iha   etc. : the meaning is clear.

||. i  .12


 Angusthamatrah puruso Madhya atmani tisthati |

Isano bhutabhavyasya  na tato  vijugupsate  etad vai tat ||  12 | |


The person  of the size of the thumb, the Lord of the   past and the future,  resides in the middle  of the body. He  therefore   does not  despise. This indeed is that :

Commentary :


 Isano  bhutbhavyasya: the Lord  of all the conscient and the  inconscient existing  at the three  times.


 Madhya  atmani:  in the  middle portion of the meditator’s body


Angusthamatrah  tisthati: resides having the size  of the  thumb.


Na tato vijugupsate: tatah :  Therefore, for the  same  reason that he is the Lord of the past  and the future, due to exptreme kindness benevolence  (vatsalya)  na vijugupsate :  He takes all the defects that pertain to the body as enjoyable things.


Objection  (1) If it  be asked whether  (it is not) the individual soul alone that is described in this mantra because  he is described as having the size of the thumb in the Sruti  texts such as ‘lord of the Breath, wanders about (bound) by his  actions;” “having the size of  the thumb  and with  brilliant  form similar to the Sun”(Svat, Up. V. 7,8)  and  Smrti texts  (such  as) “Death pulled  out forcibly   the man  of the   size of the thumb”  (MhB. Vena  284.16); it cannot  said  that the  Lordship over all  the past  and the future  cannot  go with him (the  individual soul),since in accordance with the  characteristic  first  mentioned  the   said   overlordship mentioned at the end  can be  explained  (to be) relatively (so); we reply Not (so) Because  in the  Adhikarana  beginning with the  Sūtra (Vedanta) “Sabadad eva pramitah--  On  account  of the word  (Isana) itself, the  measured”  (I . 3.24.), raising   the same objection (purvapaksa)  it has been establised that since the measure  ‘thumb’ due to delimitaion by the heart  can  happen to the Supreme  Self also,  and since  such a measure, is mentioned also in connection   with the Supreme Self  in the Taittirīya passage “ The  person   is  of   the   size of the thumb  and resting  on the thumb (heart) (of that size)”  ( Tait Narayaniya 53) and  in the  Svetasvataropanisad  “The  person of the  size of the thumb, the  inner self,  is always  residing in the  heart   of the  people” (III. 13), and since  the unlimited lordship over the past  and the future  is the unique characterisitc of Brahman  alone, this mantra  refers  only to the Supreme Self.


Objecction  (2) But what some here say is “The measure of the  thumb is the characteristic of the individual soul alone; however, the first half  of  this   mantra  simply  restates  the ( nature  of the ) individual soul,  and the third  quarter  informs  that the  is  himself the  Supreme Self.” This is not  correct, since  in that case   the next Sūtra (I.  iii ,25) “In  relation  (to the  human  heart since he resides) in the heart , this  is so  since human beings are qualified  (for the  meditaion)’ the purpose of which is to show that the measure of the thumb can   apply to  the Supreme, will become  incongruous.


Objection  (3) If it  be asked “One  may doubt  that in  this   mantra there is  no mention of   jiva  being the Brahman, since there is no  reason to postulate  the measure  of the thumbe  to the    individual   soul who  is known  as having  the  measure  of  “ the point of the  awl  ( aragra),  to clear  which  doubt   this  Sūtra has come  into  existence  to  prove its thumb- size”,  we reply that this  explanation is a strained one.


 Objection (4)  If  it be asked “Since on account of the lexicographical passage”  “ Isavaras sarva Isanah ……”  the word  Isana  is established as signifying a particular god, and since  the author  of the  Srutaprakasika,  who  has commented upon the   Sri Bhasya    passage under the same  Sūtra   Sabdad  eva  pramitan”  “On  account of the word   Isana bhutabhavyasya : verity the Lordship  over all the past  and the future  cannot  belong  to the individual who is   subject to   karma”  as follows  “Since by the word   sabda, the word  (in the  Sūtra  I . iii .24) Isana  itself    is   referred to, the  conclusion arrived at here   is  not   due to any characteristic  (linga), but  due to the particle ‘eve’ (itself),”  accepts the word   Isana  as  Sruti ( one  of the   six  pramanas  of  Jaimini  such  as Sruti , linga etc.,) the same  Sūtra (i.e. word Isana) excludes Narayana  and the individual soul,  and so this  mantra has reference to Rudra alone. (We reply) Not so. When   a word  that has  both  Yoga and Rudhi (etymologico-nominal) significance, has a word   which qualifies  that which  is indicated  by the Yoga-signficance   of the  former  ( yoga-rudhi word), the nominal significance  is not entertained, as  seen in the  examples  such as the passage.


 Padmani  yasyagrasaroruhani

Prabhodhayaty  urdhvamukhair  mayukhaih |


[This  Lotuses in the lakes  on the top of which  (Himalayas ) (the Sun) makes  blossom  forth   with his  rays tha shoot upwards]   (Kumarasambhava). Here  in this passage it is seen  thaton account  of the use word  ‘agra’  (top) which qualifies the   saras  (lake) indicated  by the    first member    of   the    compound   saroruha,  the nominal  singnificance of the word   saroruha  is  rejected. Otherwise  the word  padmaniI  need not be,  used. Therefore  the word Isana is  not   a Sruti  (of Jaimini). Only on  acccount  of lack of  naturalness  (in the interpretaion) the author  of the   srutaprakasika  himself  has resorted  to an  alternative   way of  explanation  beginning with  “Or else”, in accordance  with the  natural  trend of the  Sri  Bhasya. This discussion  is enough. To proceed.


 Etad vai tat: The  indeed  is That; this has been already explained.


II .  i   13


Angusthamatrah puruso jyotirivadhumakah |

Isano bhutabhayasaya sa evadya sa  u    svah |  etad  vai  tat  ||13||


 The person of the size  of  the  thumb   like  thelight  without  smoke, the lord of  the  past  and the  future, He (is) alone  today and He himself  tomorrow. This  indeed  is that.



 Jyotih…..:  Light. The  meaning  is He is shining  like  fire with dry fuel.


 Sa eva :  He himself. The group of things  of today and the group of things  of tomorrow,  the    group  of things  that exist   in the   three  times,all  these  have  Him as self. This  is the  meaning.


Etad vai  tat :  This   indeed  is  That, (the meaning ) as before.


II. i  .14


Yathodakam  durge vrstam parvatesu  vidhavati |

Evam dharman  prthak pasyams  tan evanuvidhavati || 14||


 As the water  rained on the top  of the  mountain  flows  on all sides of the hills, even  so  one who  sees dharmas  differently runs after them  alone.




Just  as the   rain water  showered on the  top of the  mountain  flows  on the  adjacent hilloscks  falling  downin cascades, being  scattered, so also, one who  perceives  the states of  being   (dharman) of   the   inner rules  of gods  and of men,  which  belong  to the Supreme Self, as those  that pertain  to different  substrata, falls  into the abyss of samsara after the mannerof   the fall of    mountain – streams. This is  the meaning.


II . i  15.


  Yathodakam suddhe suddham  asiktam tadrag eva bhavati|

Evemmuner vijanataatma bhavati Gautama ||15||


 Just  as pure water  poured into pure water  remains the ame, even  so  becomes the soul of the  intelligent  meditators, O Gautama!




He (Death) speak of the result  of knowing all   as having  One Self.


Yethodakam ….: Just as  pure  water  mixed with pure water remains  like that alone, that is in no way  different , even so


Vijanatah  muneh: Of the intelligent one that practices meditation


Atma:  the soul becoming  pue on account of the knowledge of the Supreme Self.


havati : become similar  to the Pure Supreme  Self. This is the meaning.


Gautama !  O Gautama ! He (Death) addresses him  (Naciketas) as O Gautama,out of gladness , indicating  the greatness of the  Attainable .


This  concludes the First Vali of the   Second  Adhayaya  of the Kathopanisad




II. i..1


Puram  ekadasadvaram    ajasyavakracetasah|

Anusthaya na socati  vimuktas ca vimusyate || 1||


There is the City with eleven  gates of the undevious minded, unborn: One discriminating this does not grieve. (He) being free gets freed. This indeed is That.



Puram:  There is the city called the body with eleven  gates for going  out, which are the  form  of  eleven  organs.


ajasya :  of the  soul that suffers no change of the kinds of birht  etc.


avakacetasah :having  his mind uncrooked, tha is, strainght –minded, that is, capable of discrimination.


Just  as the city is distinct form is the its owner, so also  the body becomes  distincity  known  from its  self. The idea  isthat  for the undiscriminating  person the body itselfisthe soul. (That is the suffers from dehatmabharama).


anusthaya :knowing  distinctly


na socati:  does  not  grieve. The meaning  is he is free from  grief, desire etc. , which  are related to the  body.


Vimuktas  ca vimucyate : Being  free one gets freed. Getting  free  from  sorrows, desires, hatreds , etc., which areof the body and others (ahyatmiked), while living according to the maxim enuncitated in the   Vedanta Sūtra.  “That  exhausting the others (merit and  demerit) through experience one attains  union” (IV.i.) at the end  or lapse of  prarabdha karma1 attaining  the river  Viraja, through  the path of the  Arcis  etc., ione becomes freed from all contact with matter (prakrti). This is the meaning.


Etat vai tat :  This  indeed is That. The nature of the freed  described  in the  mantra is one that  has the Supreme  Self as its  Self. This is the meaning.


Once again He (Death) emphasizes the Selfness  of Brahman of all.


II.ii. 2


2 hamsah sucisad vasur antariksasad dheta

vedisad atithir duronasat|

nrsad varasad rtasad vyomasad

abja goja rtaja adrija rtam  brhat ||2||

The  Sun, the brilliant, the wind in the  atmosphere, the fire on the   altar, the guest in the house, the dweller  in man, and dweller in those  above  them,  resident   in the  world of truth, dweller in the celestial sky, there


1 karma that has begun to bear fruit  is prarabda karma

2 this is a most used  Mantra belonging as  it does to  all  Vedas and sakhas : Cross references tothis  Mantra are given  according  to the  VEDIC CONCORDANCE : Bloomfield  RV.IV. 1.5; Vaj . Sam. X. 24; XII.14; Tait . Sam : I . 8. 15.2: IV. 2.1.5; Mait. S .Ii.6. 12; II. 71. 14 ; III .2.1; III .16.1; IV. 4.6; IV. 57.3; Kath, S  15.8: 1608 Ait. B.4. 12.5; Sat. B. 504.3.22;; Tait. Ar. 10.10.2.: 10.50.1; Mah. Naar Up.


This  Mantra is known by the following  names  Durohana rk, Hamsavati,  and  Angirasapavitra



Water-born, earth-born, sacrifice-born, mountain-born,--these are the great   Truth.



hamesh: The Sun

suciest:suchau:  in the  Summer, sidati: There is, In others wprds, the brillant.

Vasuh :  The wind : vasayati : makes one live.


antariksasat: antarikse sidati: That which is in the atmosphere


hota vedisat : The Hotr-priest or the Fire  who is  in the  altar. 


atithir duronasat:  the guest that has come  to the house,


nrsat :One that redsides in men as  their  self.


varasat: One that resides similarly in  those  above men , that  is the Gods


rtasat : One that  resides in the Worldof Truth (Satyaloka of Brahman)


vyomasat: Vyoma means the celeestial sky. The individual  soul  that is there  also


abjah : water-born


gojah  : earth-born 


rtajah: sacrifice- born, i.e.,  Svarga and other worlds  brought  into  being  by actions. Or else, born of the air which is  mentioned here  as rta  on  account of its  long-lastingness


adrijah:  mountain-born


All these  are rtam Brhat, that is, are of the nature  of the Brahman which  is unlimited Truth. This is the  meaning 


II . ii..3.


Urdhvam  pranam  unnayaty apanam  pratyagasyati |

Madhye  vamanam  asinam  visve  deva  upasate     || 3||


(Brahman) uplifts the Prana and presses   down   the apana. The  Visvedevas  meditate upon (that ) Dwarf  sitting  in the middle.




The Supreme Self  resting  in  the  resting  in the heart  of all  lifts the  prana-breath upwards the  throws the apana-breath downwards


madhye asinam: sitting  in the middle  of the heart- lotus


vamanam :The  adorable and worshippable. Or else the meaning  is onw who  has  the small  size  on account of limitation by the heart-lotus.


tam : Him


visve devah:  All those of the  harmonious nature  (sattvaguna)


upasate : Mediatate upon. This is the meaning.




asya vosra,samanasya sarirasthasya dehinah  |

dehad  vimucyamanasya kim  atra parisisyate, etad vai  tat || 4 ||


For  this embodied (meditator) whether  he is in a good  body or enfeebled body or is departing  form it, what  remains here? This  indeed is That.




(Death) says  that for  the  mediator  who thus  meditate upon the Supreme Self there is only  that much delay  as the fall of the  bodyas statec in the Scriptural text “For him there  is only so much delay as the departure from the body” (Ch.U.VI. 14.2) and that  there is nothing  more to be  done.


Asya dehinah : For  the meditator


Sarirasthasya : whether  he  is established in the body that is strong, that is,  strong- bodied, whether he is in this  state.


Visramsamanasya: or else whe he is enfeebled (in body) or dehad vimucyamanasya   : or  whether  he is departing  from the  body


Kim atra parisisyate : What is  three that remains? The  idea is he has done his duty (krtaakrtya), there is nothing  more to be done  (by him )


Etad vai tat: This  indeed is  That :  (this  has been) expleained previously. (that is, the  individual soul  described  here has  the  supreme Self  as its  self).


II.                   ii.  5


napranena napanena  martyo  jivati kascane |

itarena tu jivanti  yasminn etav upasritau  || 5 ||


No man whosoever  lives  by prana or by  apana :  but  all live be something other  on which    these  two  depend




(Death)  here  speaks  of His greatness in being  the cause of the  breathing  of all creatures:




Who is  that another  by whom   they live? The  reply is


Yasmin etau upasuitau : On whom  these two  depend, that on which  the very functioning’s  (jivanam) of prana  and  apana  depend on that   very  same   depend  the lives  of all  else. This is   the   idea. The rest  of the mantra  is clear.




(Death) says   I shall again  teach  you the Brahman, the most secret and eternal.

hata ta idam pravaksyami guhyam Brahma sanatanam |

yanta  ca maranam prapya atma  bhavati Gautama || 6||


        O   Gautama! Surely I  shall teach you now the  secret eternal Brahman and what  the soul becomes  after departure.




hanta: exclamation indicating wonder


O Gautama atma etc., : The soul  after departure, that is after  liberation


yatha  bhavati: of what   nature it becomes


tatha: of that  nature


punar api : Once again, to you seeking liberation uninfluenced by  desires and others (and  therefore)  fit  for the  instruction, I shall  teach, this is  the meaning.

II. ii. 7.


(Death) explains now as to what is  meant  by ‘hanta te’ in the  previous  mantra  which has  reference to a particular fit  person.


yohim  anye prapadyante sariratvaya  dehinah |

sthanum anye ‘nusamyanti yathakrma yathasrutam || 7||


some  souls enter  wombs  for getting bodies, (and) others  take up the form of the unmoving, in accordance with karma and  in accordance with  knowledge.






Anye: those  unlike  you who are  indifferent  towards leaning. The truth  about the Supreme Self


Sariratvaya: in order to take up  bodies




Anye :others


Sthanum: the state of being  unmoving (trees etc)


Anusamyanti: attain


Yathakarma  yathasrutam : in accordance with the  actions and sacrifices and meditations  performed by each, sincethere are the passages “Those ofgood  conduct “  (Ch. Up .V. 10.7) “Him follow  knowledge and action” (Brh. Up. IV. Iv .2). This  is the idea.


He (Death ) now takes  up the  question on hand  after  calling  the attention of the  discipe (Naciketas) by creating interest (in it)


 Ya esa suptesu  jagarti

Kamam kamam puruso nirmimanah|

Tad eva sukram tad brahma

Tad evamrtam ucyate|

Tasmin lokah sritah sarve

Tadu natyeti kascana || etad vai tat|| 8||  


That person  who is   awake  whilst others  are asleep creating  through his  willing and willing, that  very same  (being) effulgent  is that  Brahman. That  same  alone  is spoken  of as  immortal. Therein  rest  all the words. That indeed  non oversteps. This  indeed is That.




Suptesu : Whilst  the individual souls  are  asleep


Kamam kamam : This is a form with  the suffix namul. It means  willing  and willing (again  and again  or successively, but this word does not   mean  desired objects such as  sons etc.,) mentioned  in the sarvan kaman (K.U. II. 23.etc) This meaning is clearly (seen) in the  Sri Bhasya and the  Srutaprakasika under the adhikarana Sandhye (III. iii.1)


tad eva : That very same which  is the person  creating  according to His  personal desire  willing  and welling.


sukram :  effulgent , revealing (objects)

tad eva:   That itself, that is, not dependent  upon anything  else.

tad eva amrtam  : That  itself is the Immortal


He is spoken  of as  Immortal. The  rest (of the  mantra) is clear. It may be noted that though those  that are eternally free (nityamyktah)  are also  immortal, yet  because they areaa not independently so (that is, their immortality  is dependent upon the Divine Grace as it is), the emphasis  tad eva amrtam that alone is immortal is not  incorrect. This enables  the rejection of the view that the  freed  souls  and the Divine Lord are identical, because of the exclusion of any other immortal, since the word  amrtam here  means  only the Unconditioned Immortal Person.



(Death) once again  teaches  that the One Self is the  ‘i’ of all  beings  with a view  to emphasise that   fact, since it is difficult  to comprehend.


 agnir yathaiko bhuvanam pravisto

rupam rupam  pratirupo  babhuva |

ekas  tatha  sarvabhutantaratma

rupam rupam pratirupo bahis ca  ||9||


just  as the one fire  having entered to the world  has become   such whose  form  is present  in every form,  even so the one  inner  self of all beings  has its  presence in every form and outside.




Agnih: just as the one  element fire on account  of its  presense in  everything  due to  triplication, having  entered  the world  with its  cosmos


rupam rupam : in every form, that is , in all  material things. Duplication means  vipsa (pervasion in all that  belong  to that  class or genus)


pratirupah  : one  with its form  engraved in each. It may be  noted that since  on account  of the element fire  being  mixed with all the material forms  it is one  with  its form  present  every where, he is pratirupa (in every form).


Similarly  being One alone,the Supreme Self  is such that His  form  as antaryamin is present  in every form.


bhia ca : He  pervades them  outside  too. This is the meaning.




Death  gives another instance:


Vayur  yathaiko bhuvanam parvisto

Rupam rupam prpatirupo babhuva|

Ekastatha sarvabhutantaratma

Rupam rupam  pratirupo bahis ca ||10||


 Just  as the one  air  having  entered  the world has become such whose  form is present in every  form, even so, the one inner  self   of all  beings  has its  presence in every  form  and  outside.




The meaning  is same as that of the previous mantra.




He (Death) then  teaches by means of an  example that though there is no difference  between the Supreme  Self  and the   individual soul  as soul , still the defects (of the individual souls) do not touch Him.


Suryo  yatha sarvalokasya caksur

no lipyate caksusair bahya dosaih|

ekas   tatha sarvabhutantaratma

no lipyate  lokaduhkhena bahyah ||11|| 

just  as the sun  in  the   eye of all the world but is not smeared by the ey- defects  which   are outside, even so the one  Inner Self of all  beings is not  smeared  by the  grief’s of the world, He being   outside   them.


Commentary :


Suryo  yatha …: Just as the Sun though  within  the eye  as its  divinity, according to the Scriptural passages “This (Sun) with his  rays is established in this  (eye)” “The sun becoming  the eye entered the eye-ball”,  is not  touched by the  impurities that have  come  out (of it), even so  the Supreme Self  though  residing  in all  souls, is  not  touched  by the  defects  that are in them  since  He is beyond  everything  other  than  Himself, on account  of  His unconditioned  unique  nature of being free from all sins etc.




eko vasi sarvabhutantaratma

ekam  bijam 1 bahudha yah karoti |

tam atmastham ye’ nupasyanti  dhiras

tesam sukham sasvatam netaresam || 12||


That  one controller  the InnerSelf of all beings, who makes one seed manifold, Him    residing  in the soul, those  intelligent ones who see, to them  there is  eternal  bliss (falicity), to none  others.



Ekam : One who has  neither  an equal nor superior,


Vasi  : vasah  :  will : He  who has  it is Vasin or else it means  one who has  the universe at His  command  as stated  in the  passage  “The world  remains at His  will.” Or  else it means  that He is at the  command  of His  devotees as stated  in the (Ramayana  Balakanda) passage “We  the two  servants ,  O  best of Seers  , are here.”


 Ekam bijam : The (one) seed of the form  of the   ultimate Unmanifest  (tamas) which is  undistinguished, being  one with Him  as stated  in the  passage “The Darkness  becomes one with the  Divine.” (pr. Up. IV.1.)




some editions  of the text have rupam  intead of bijam


bhudha  yah  karoti: He who makes  it into the forms  of the  manifold  matter  such as Mahat and other  (categories)


tam : Him


atmastham : the inner ruler as stated in the passage “Who residing in the Self” (Sud. Up)


ye pasyanti :Who  see


tesam ….: To them there is liberation. This is the meaning.




nityo  nityanam cetanas cetananam

eko bahunam yo vidadhati  kaman |

tam atmastham ye ‘nepasyanti dhiras

tesam samtih sasvati netaresam || 13|| 


Eternal of the eternals, conscient of the conscients,one of the many, who accomplishes  the desires, Him dwelling in the soul, which  intelligent  ones see, to  them  there is  everlasting peace; to none others



(The  Supreme Self) being eternal, conscient and one  alone, grants  with facility the desiried  objects  to the  many, eternal conscients.


The rest is clear.



Here also most texts of others schools  have  it as Nityo ‘nityanam, the Eternal in the many transient .(cf. Anandasrama ed)


II. ii. 14


Spoken  to thus (by Death), the  disciple (Naciketas) asks:


tad  etad iti manyante’ nirdesyam  paramam sukham |

katham  nu tad vijaniyam  kim u bhati vibhati va ||14||



(The knowers) think   the supreme  bliss  as fit to be pointed out as “ this is that”. How  can I know that? Does   it shine? Does it shine  luminously too?




paramama sukham tat: That  transcendent Brahman, the Supreme Self  on the nature  of Supreme  Bliss.


etad iti:  perceptible like  myrobalan fruit  on the  palm of the  hand


manyante:  those  with accomplished  - Yoga, like  you, think. This is persons, like you, are  able to  perceive.


Katham:  How  can I who  is incapable of perceiving  know the Brahman  void of colour  etc.


Does  it shine having  rays of light? Even  then does it shine indistinctly due  to mixture  of some other light (such as that of the Sun  of other luminaries)?


II.  ii. 15


na tatra Suryo  bhati  na Candratarakam

nema vidyuto  bhanti kuto  yam  agnih|

tain  eva bhantam  anubhati sarvam

tasya  bhasa  varam idam  vibhati ||15||


There  the Sun  shines  not  nor the  moon  and stars  nor do  these  lightnings shine. How (then) can the fire? Him  shining  only, all else  shine  after, with  His  light  all these  shine.



(Yama) replies  that for the sake  of having  an object  for the yogins there is  a form  of the Supreme Lord, beneficent, on His divine, auspicious, as known  from  the scriptural  authorities such as  “Having  the colour  of the Sun He is beyond darkness”; To Him  whose  form is ever the same”; and the Supreme Self  with that  body shines  distincty  with His  luminosity  transcending all.


This mantra  has been explained under the  Vedanta Sūtra  (I.  iii. 41.) “ Because of seeing  light” with  the following  commentary:  There  is seen the light of Him   that is  measured  with the  size  of thumb, the light  eclipses  all other  lights and is the cause of all  other lights and helps  (them to shine.)” And  the Commentary (Bhasya) has been elucidated  by Vyasarya (author of the  Srutaprakasika) (thus): “Thus  first  half  of the mantra  is stated  thus:”  That  hides (eclipses) the other  lights. The  meaning  of the first  quarter  of the second  half ( of the  mantra) is stated  (that) it is  that  which  is  the cause of the other light. Anubhanam  shining  after : by this is indicated the cause-effect relation (between Him and other  lights). The idea is that   the  unfailing antecedent-consequent relation is indeed  is the  cause-effect   relation. The meaning  of the  fourth  quarter (of the  mantra) is stated  to be  “helps others  to  shine.” This  (meaning) is supported  by the passage “Having whose  light  the Sun  shines” (II ?) 1 In the  same work (Sruta prakasika) there  is seen  another  interpretation  which is  as follows:  The  first  half means  that if and  when  His  effulgent  Light  is perceived  all other  liminaries  get eclipsed;the third quarted  means  that He  is the efficient  cause, that is,  when  the luminaries


1 The word  others  here  refers  to the  Mayavadins.


come  into existence He helps the  meterial – causal substance of those luminaries. The fourth  quarter means that He helps  the luminaries  even  after   they have come  into  existence by giving  them   them   through His contact (indwellingness) the power  to perform  their  functions as the rays  of the moon  (candra) help the rays of  the eye.


Others says that the third quarter  means  that the  illusory  world has  no separate  appearance (bhanam) from that  of the  Brahman  which is (its) substrate. But  this is not  correct, because though the  active  suffix (satr) meaning  agent  in the word  (bhantam) can somehow  be   explained   inspite  of there being no difference (between action and agent), as in the statement “The knowledge  of  the  disciple shines,” yet  the word  anubhati” (shines after) is  wrong, for  when  Yajanadatta stands  having  no action of going  apart from the action of Devadatta, we  have not seen any one  making the statement  that  yajnadatta  follows  Devedatta who goes.


 If it  be said  that   we have  seen   the  statement that the iron  burns after  the fire   (there), No. The   statement  is not accepted as a correct one, if it is  intended  to convey  that idea by one who already knows  that the iron  has no  separate  agency   of the action ‘buring’


If it be said: that the   meaning  accepted  by you  that  ‘if and when  His  Light is perceived the luminaries  get eclipsed,.’is not appropriate, since the liberated ones  who have  got the  perception of His  light, yet  perceive  other  luminaries, and therefore  in their



TheTelugu  and Tamil Grantha printed texts and very corrupt here. The Poona  ed. Gives the following  text which is followed  here:

na  hi devadattagamane  Kriyavyatiriktagamanakriyasunye tisthati yajnadatte  gacchantam….


Cases there is   no eclipsing  which  means the non-perception due to commungling of   identical natures, (we reply) this question has reference only to bond  souls (baddhas)


If it be said that it cannot  be the  case, since there is no  perception  (saksatkara) of Him by bond  souls, (we reply) No, Arjuna and others had the vision of Him and they were  bond souls.or else (it means) when  the Brahman  is considered, other  luminaraies such as the  Sun  do not shine, just  as in comparisosn with   kalidasa.  Lesser ones  are bad poets or no poets  at all. The meaning  ofhe first   half  (of  the mantra) (thus)is “That Brahman, therefore has the Form the Supreme Light.” The  Statement  “That hides the other  lights’ also means  the same.


This same idea is re-enforced by the  second  half (of the mantra) which shows that the coming into existence and the  capacity to perform  their   functions by the other luminaries require the help of the Supreme  Self. Thus it can be  seen  that there  is no inconsistency here.


Or else, the first  half has the  same meaning as is apparent (that is,  they  do not shine  literally speaking).


If it be asked when the very effulgent Sun and others are experienced through  perception,  how  can it be stated contrary to perception  that  they  perception, how  can it be stated contrary to perception that they do not shine? The replay  is given in the second  half (of the mantra): Tam eva bhantam …..This seen effulgent  Form of the Sun is not his own  but it is the Light  given to Him by  the supreme Self, and belongs to  that   Supreme Self alone. This is  stated in the  Gita (XV.12) by  Bhagvan Himself. “That light  which  is in the Sun and reeals  the whole  world and that light  that is in the  Moon fire, that light  do thou know  as Amine.” This  is has   been explained  by Sri Ramanuja in His  Gita Bhasya: “Which  light there  is of the  Sun and others  revealing the whole  that Light is Mine, and  given  tothem   by Me  pleased  with the  worship  done (individually) by one  and all of  them (to me ).”


 The idea therefore  is that is  it is  quite  correct   to say  in respect  of  them (the  luminaries) that they  do not  shine, their  effulgent forms being  like glow- wprms  in the  darkness.




II .iii.1.


udhvamulo  aksakha eso svatthah sanatanah

ta eva sukram  tad  brahman  tad evamrtam ucyate |

tsmin  lokah sritah  sarve tadu  natyeti kascana etad   vai   tat.  ||  1||


This  eternal pippal tree has  its roots  above and branches  downward. The  same is  effulgent, that is Brahman. That same is said  to be  immortal. On Him all the worlds  depend. That  indeed  none  oversteps This indeed is that.




The (first) part of the mantra has been   commeted upon by Sri Ramanuja when explaning  the Gita passage (XV.1.) The Bhasya  passage is as follows:”The pippal  tree called samsara  which the scriptures  describe  as having its   roots above and branches  below  and eternal ,” The  scriptural passages  are “This eternal  pippal tree has its roots above  and branches   below (K.U.II. iii.1.)and “He  who knows  exactly the tree with  roots  above and branches below (Tait. Ar. I. II.5.) The state  of being  with its  roots  above  is on account  of beginnign   with the  fourfaced  Brahman  who is  above  the seven  worlds, being the first  Cause,  and   its having   branches below  is on  account    of  ending  with earth-dwelling men, cattle, bests, worms,  insects, birds, and trees, Now  the shows that Brahman is different from  that. This  mantra  has already been explained . (K.U. II.ii.8.)


II.  iii,  2.


Yad      idam   kinca   sarvam

Prana ejati nihsrtam  |

Mahad  bhayam vajram  udyatam

Ya etad vidur  amrtas  te  bhavanti || 2||


All this  world  whatsoever existing  in the  breath and emanating  from  it trembles  with extreme fear  as if form the uplifted  thunder-bolt. Those know  this  become  immortal.


Yad idam…  udyatam : This part of the  mantra  has been commented  upon  by Sri Ramanuja under the  Vedanta Sūtra  ‘Kampanat’  (l .iii. 40). Introducing  this mantra  he has  said : “There  is mention  in the Sruti  of trembling due to  great  fear  of Him of the  entire  world, that is of all  creatures  residing  in the person  of the  size of the thumb, who is here  mentioned  as Breath (Prana), having  emanated from Him. The meaning  is that  the  entire world  trembles  with great  fear as  if there   is the uplifted  Vajra with the feeling  as to what   would  happen  if His  command  is disobeyed. Mahad, bhayam, vajram, udyatam these  Nominatives have the  sense of Ablatives, since the meaning  is the same   as bhayad asyagnis  tapati (K .U.II.iii.3.)


This  Bhasya is elucidated in the  Srutaprakasika  thus: “The word   ‘existing’ is supplied on account  of the   Locative case ‘prane’, in order  to reply to the question “Where  from it (jagata) has emanated?” The  author of the  Bhasya (Sri  Ramanuja) mentions  that  He  Himself  because of the context, the He Himself is the  sourse..1 Ejanam is  explained as  kampana, i.e., trembling, for  the root is  ejr: kampane : to  tremble. Trembling here means the  performance of one’s  own actions  for fear  of evil effects… On  account of fear caused  by the Supreme Person, as if by  the  uplifted  Vajra-weapon, the whole world  trembles. This is the  meaning Here, in this  mantra, it  may be  noted that the four words  Mahad, Bhayam, Vajram, Udyatam  in  the Nominative  case have  the  sense  of Ablatives. The first   two wordsin the Nominative case  having  Ablative sense indicatefear, the latter two words indicate the   Brahman, called  Breath, the cause of the   fear.


But some explain  this mantra  also as follows:--- Bhayam   means etymologically that of the  which  one is  afraid. That is that which causes fear. Like   the uplifted  highly fearfulVajra, the Supreme  self, herein called Breath,  makes everything  tremble. The  verb ejati  has here  the causal   sense.


Yas tad..:  The meaning  is clear,  it may  be noted  according  to the maxim enunciated in the adhikarana with the Sūtra “For  the same reason  Breath--- ata eva prana” (I.ii. 24) the word prana refers to Supreme Brahman  alone. On  this  point  there is no  controversy   (between  the several   schools).


II. iii. 3



bhayad  asyagnis  tapati bhayat tapati Suryah |

bhayad indras ca Vayus ca Mrtyur  dhavati pancamah ||3||


for  fear  of Him  fire burns, for  of  Him  the Sun  heats,  for fear of Him  Indra,   Vayu, and Death  the fifth, run


1 The  lacuna in the quotations   is Rangaramanuja’s



Dhavati :  The root dhavu:  to go. When  referring  to Indira and  other (gods) indicates their respective  functions. The  rest of the mantra  is clear.


II.iii. 4


iha  ced asakad  bodhum  prak  sarirasya  visrasah |

tatah sargesu  lokesu sariratvaya  kalpate||4||


if one  before  the body  gets  loosened here is  not able  to know  (Him), then  he  becomes  liable to take  body  in the created  worlds.




sarirasya  visrasah  prak : before the  falling  apart  of the body.  Visrasah : visramsanat.iah like :  in this  world


boddhum : to know Brahman

asakat cet : asaknuvams cet : if unable: the  change of conjugation is a case  of Vedic exception.


tatah:  for that  reason


sargesu  lokesu: in the created  worlds.


sariratvaya  kalpate:  become  subject to dissolution of the form  of birth,old  age,  and death etc.: this is the  meaning. The idea  there is that one should  attempt to know the Self before  the fall  of one’s  body ( i.e.  one’s death)


II.iii. 5

That  the Self  is difficult  to know (Death) says:


yatha darse  tathatmani

yatha svapne tatha  pitrloke |

yathpsu pariva dadrse  tatha gandharvaloke

chayatapayor  iva brahmaloke ||5||


As on  the  new moon day so in the body (atmani) : as  in the  dream  so  in the  world of the  fathers : as  in the  waters  as if appearing  on all sides  so in the world  of the  gandharvas: as between  the shade and sunshine   so in the  world  of Brahman



Yatha darse: the meaning  is “jst as on the  new-moon day there  being  no moon-shine  the appearance  (pratibhasa) (of things) is not clear, so in this  world  with  regard  to the  Self.” Or  else  the meaning is : yathadarse : just  as the thing   seen  in the mirror is not seen  as  (it is) when  seen  directly, free from   any  modifications  such as facing in the opposite  direction, so is the  cognition of the  Self here  (in this  world).


Now hw (Death) says  that the same is the  case  in the other  world :  yatha svapne : just  as the experiences in dream are, unlike the experiences  in the waking  state, incapable of being  reviewed, so  as to be  free from  all doubt  in respect  of them  even  so, is  it  (the  experience of the  Self) in the  world  of the fathers. The is the  meaning.


Yathapsu…..: just as the  thing  under  water  is not  clearly  perceptible as the   things  (out side water), even so


Paridadrsaiva : looks  as if perceived. The meaning  is that  it is   not  seen all round.  That is  even  in  the  world  of  Gandharvas  the appearance  is superficial


Chayatapa …. Just  as  in the  admixture of shade  and  sunshine, the  appearanc  is not  such as  would  be in the  unmixed sunshine, so  also  in the world of Brahman (the fourfaced), the appearance  is not  perfect. The  idea is  that  therefore the truth  of That  (Supreme) Self  is difficult  to know. Or  else , the  idea  is that though  in the world  of Brahman there is  perfect  discrimination between  the self  and the non-self , just as between  shade  and sunshine, still the Truth of the Supreme Self  is not  attainable for those  that  live  here.


II.iii. 6.

Indriyanam  prthagbhavam  udayasta Mayau ca yat |

Prthagutpadyamananam  matva  dhiro na socati || 6||


The  intelligent  man  knowing  the distinctness, origination dissolution are of the  sense organs  which   are  separate and come  into  existence  does not grieve.


Commentary :


Indriyanam: of the sense organs  which  are separate and come  into existence. The sense  organs  stand  for the body and   others  also.


Udayasta Mayau cayat :  yat :yat  is  an   indeclinable, meaning yan : which  origination and destruction are there , and which distinctness of  the  form of  mutual  difference, all  these, the intelligent  person knowing  these  as belonging  to  the  sense  organs, does  not grieve. This  means  that  one who  knowing  that mutual difference,  origination and dissolution do not  happen  to the soul which is  of  the  form  of  consciousness, (does not grieve).


Now Death  describes with the  following  two  mantras  the very surrender  of the  soul already mentioned, since even  with  regard to  knowing  the truth  of the individual  soul as distinct  from  its body the    only means  is the  surrender to the  Divine Lord.


II. iii. 7 and 8.


Indriyebhyah  param  mano  manasah  sattvam  uttamam |

Satvadadhi  mahan  atma  mahato’ vyaktam uttamam  ||7||

Avyatat tu parah puruso vyapakao’linga eva ca |

Yam jnatva mucyate jantur  amrtatvan  ca gacchati ||8||


Superior to the sense  organs  is the mind,  superior  to the  mind  is the   intelligence, superior  to the intelligence even  is the great  soul,   superior  to  that  great  is the  unmanifest.


Superior  to the  unmanifest  is the person, the perader, and verity un-inferable  which knowing, the creature  gets liberated  and attains  immortality.




Indriyebhyah : stands here  for objects also  this  has to be in  accordance  with  a previous mantra (K..U.I.iii.10.). “Very  the objects are   greater   than the   sense- organs and greater than the  objects is the mind,” The word   ‘sattva’ (in the text) means  intellect, since it was  stated before  that  “greater than the  mind is intellect” (ibid).


Alingah : Unknowable . Superiority is intended  in respect of making  Him to condescend  (to listen to our  prayers). To make  Him  condescend means   to surrender (to  Him) alone.


The rest is clear.


Cf.Prof. Maitra’s  denial of  Prapatti :Vedanta Kesari  1943.



na samdrse  tisthati rupam asya                        

na caksusa pasyati kascanainam |

hrda manisa  manasabhik  Ipto

ya etad  vidur  amrtas  te bhavanti ||9||



His  form  is   not  for  perception, no one else  sees  him with  his eyes. He is attained  by mind  through  devotion, steadfastness. Those  who know  Him  they  become  immortal.




Asya rupam : His form, or else  it  means  His body. The meanign  is that  being  omni-pervading He does not stand  as an  object  of  perception. Or else  there is  (for Him) no perceptible colour   such as blue  etc, For  this very  reason (it is next  said)


Na caksusa pasyati :  with the eye  no one  sees  Him. The meaning   is clear.


Hrda  manisa …..: This  part (of the  mantra) has been  explained by  Vyasarya under  the Sarvatra prasiddhi adhikarana (of the  Sri  Bhasya) (I .iii.1.) as follows : By the  word  hrda is signified  devotion;  by Manisa : steadfastness. In  the Mahabharata (?) taking  the first  half  as it is here, the following  is read  as the second  half:


Bhaktya   ca dhrtya  ca  samahitatma

Jnanasvarupam  paripasyatha.


“Through   devotion  and steadfastness one with one’s  mind  concentrated  , here  perceives that of the  form  of knowledge.”


abhiklptah : graspable, attainable  The following  is in the  vedarthasangraha  “The  meaning (of the above quoted   Bhasya   passage ) is that , one with one’s  mind concentrated  through   stead—fastness sees  the Supreme Person with devotion. “Sees’ means attains, since  it has  to be in  accord  with the  Gita passage “Through  one pointed  devotion is capable…..(XI.54).


ya enam  viduh :,the  meaning  is clear,




yada pancavatisthante  jnanaji  manasa  saha |

buddhis  ca na  vicestati tam ahuh  paramam  gatim ||10||


when the five sense  organs  with mind  are static  and the  intellect  does not  move, that (state) they say  is the  Supreme  movement.


Commentary :


jnanani  : organs, according to derivation from jna to know,  with the  suffix lyut (ana): meaning instrument. This  has been so explained  by Vyasarya (Srutaprakasika)  in the   Sapta –gaty-adhikarana  (II. Iv.).  The mind itself with the  function of determination is indicated by the word itself  with the  function of determination is indicated  by  the  word  ‘buddhi’  So  is it in the  Sri Bhasya. “The mind itself is  mentioned  by the words ‘buddhi’  ‘ahankara’ and citta,  due  to is different functions, such as   determination, egoity and  reflection.” It  is clear  there itself   that  the “paramagatim”  mentioned   here means  movement  towards liberation abandoning  movements   within  the body.


II., iii. 11


tam yogam  iti manyante sthiram indriyadharanam  |

apramati  as toda bhuvati  yogo hi prabhava pyayau || 11||


The state of  steady  concentration  of the sense-organs they deem as Yoga. Then  one should  be vigilant, since  Yoga is the  means  to life –ends (namely) attainment, and removal (of evil).


Commentary :

tam : That  (state) mentioned  in the previous  mantra


indriyadharanam:   the supreme  movement  of the nature of concentration of outer  and inner organs.


yogam:iti manyate : ( they deem as Yoga : Vyasarya says  that the meaning of paramagati  is Yoga.


apramattah  tada bhavai : Then that  is when  the organs  are motionless, there  happens the state  of vigilance  of the mind.


Of what  use  is  this   vigilance of the mind ? (To this  enquiry) he  (Death) replies : Yoga hi prabhavapyayau : Yoga is indeed   origination and cessation. The idea  is that  since Yoga is in  constant  peril,   vigilance is necessary.


Or  else  , the idea  is that  one shoul  be vigilant  in respect of Yoga  since  it is the  means  of all  the form  of attainment  of desired  things  and removal  of all  undesirable things.


II. iii.12.


naiva vace na manasa praptuam sakyo na cakusa |

astiti bruvato’ nyatra katham tad upalabhyate|| 12 ||


That  is capable of attainment  neither   by speech nor  by mind  nor by the eye. How  can that  be realized except  from one who teaches that it is?




naiva vace : the   meaning  is clear. The following  discussion is found  in the Pranapada  of the Vedanta Sūtras) (II. iv. 8) “ Saptagater  visesatvac ca : the organs  are only  seven  since  only  seven  are mentioned in the  scriptures as going  to the other  world.”  There  are seven  worlds  in which  the seven  organs  lying  in the cave (placed in their  respective places )move” (mund .U. II. 1.8), and since  only seven organs are enumerated when  referring to the Yoga state   in the Mantra (K.U. II. iii.  10) “ when  the  five sense organs with mind are statec and the intellect …..” Against  this  prima facie view the siddhānta is as  follows :  “ But  while living these  are  hands  and others,  therefore not so” (V.S. II. iv . 6), whn   there is the body, since  hands  and others  are also   useful in respect of  taking up (things) and other  activities hands    hands  and others   also are  organs. Therefore  it is not so. Because  of the  sruti  and smrti  texts. “There are ten organs in person and the ‘atman is the  eleventh.” (Brh. U. III.  1x4) where  the  word ‘atman’ means  the ‘mind’  “The  organs are ten and one: the eleventh here is the mind”

(Gita.  XIII.5) Statement  of lesser   number  have  reference to  particular  uses : and  statement  of larger number  are due  to differences  in mental  function.  Functions. This state (stated in the first  half of the mantra) is explained.  


asuti ….: except from the  statement that “It is,’ this is the  meaning. The idea is that it is attainable only from the Upanisad.


II.                   iii.  13.


astity evopalabhavyas tattvabhavena cobhayoh |

astityevopalabdhasya tattvabhavah  prasidati || 13||


it is  known through  statement  “it is” as  well as  through  the mind:  when  one has  known through   these two that “it is”, the mind  becomes  clear  (lucid  calm)



tattvabhavena : the  etymology is tattva bhavayati : helps knowing  the truth :  tattvabhavah:inner organ. By  this also  the Supeme.


Self  is to be known as “It is”, What  is menat is,  after  knowing  Him as ‘It is’ by  Vedanta  passage. It is  to be  contemplated  and  meditated  upon  as ‘ it is’  with the mind also.


ubhayoh : of the two  means, that is by the two menas  of knowing  the statement above and by the  mind.


astiti eva upalabdhavyah :   Of one who  has known   that   it is: the   use  of the past participle in the word ‘upalabdha’ is similar  to that in ‘bhukta’ in the statement ‘ bhukta brahmanah : brahmanas have  eaten’ ( that is its meaning is active and not passive)


tattvabhavah prasidati :  the  mind  becomes  clear, that is, free from old  faults.


II.                   iii.  14.


yada  sarve pramucyante  kama  ye’ sya   hrdi  sritah |

atha martyo’mrto bhavaty atra brahma  samasnute || 14||


when  all  the desires that are  in the heart of   this (soul) are  removed, then  the mortal  becomes immortal  and enjoys  Brahman here alone.




kamah : desires for bad  objects that are in the  heart


yada pramucyante : when  they get  removed, then


atha : immediately,


martyah: this meditator (upasakah)


amrto bhavati :  attains immortality. The meanins is that  he “ becomes one  whose  past and  future sins  get removed and do not  touch  him respectively.”


Atra brahma samasnute : this means here itself, at the time  of meditation he enjoys Brahman.


The following is the Sri Bhasya under the sūtra “ And  the same( is the departure) upto the beginning of the movement, and the immortality (is that which  happens) before the burning up of the  Body” (IV.  ii  7).  The meaning is anuposya means notburingup of the contact with  the body  of sense-organsand others.which  immortality is  of   form of  freedom   from the destruction of the  future and  past sins,  that  same is  mentioned  in the  scriptural  passage beginning with  “ yada sarve pramucyante….”

(K.U.II. iii. 14.)

In  respect    of  the (statement)  atra brahman  samasnute : here  (he)  enjoys the  Brahman ; the  idea is that   has reference to  that  experience   of  Brahman  which happens  at  the   time of meditation.


Repeating  that  which  was   already  said  for the  purpose  of  emphasis, He (Death)  concludes that what  is to be taught  is only  this much:--


II. iii.15.


yada sarva prabhidyante hrdayasyeha  granthayah  |


atha  martyo mrto’  bhavaty etavad anusasanam ||15||


when  all the knows  of the  heart  are here broken, then  man becomes immortal. This much  is the  teaching.




Granthayah : likes and dislikes and others  which  are not  easily untieable like  knots.

yada prabhidyante : that  is when  they are  removed


etaved  anusasanam:  that   which is to  be  taught  so as to e pracitced  by the meditator  is this  alone. What  is to be stated  namely which  is the going  out (of the body) through the nadi in   the   crown of head  and passing through  (the path of the) arcis  and others is  not    of the meditator, but  of the  word of God, pleased with his meditation. This  is the idea.


Now Death  speaks  of the final  Liberation which  is the second already   referred  to in (K.U.II.ii)”Vimuktas ca …”


II.  iii. 16.


   satam caika ca hrdayasya  nadyas

tasam murdhanam abhinihsrtaika |

tayordhvam  ayann  amrtatvam  eti

visvann  ya utkramane bhavanti  || 16||


Hundred and one are the  nadis  of the  heart. Of these   one is  stretched to the crown (of the head): through that   one (nadi) one going  upward gets  immortality. The  others (nadis) are such as help  going   towards.




satam “ca….:  there are hundred and one   important nadis of the  heart, among  them the  one Brahmanadi called  Susumna  goes up towards  the crown of  the head. Through  that nadi


urdhavam gacchan: going  to the  world  of Brahman 


amrtatvam eti : means attains liberation of the  form ;of the manifestation  of his own  nature following  the attainment of Brahman  together  with the   particular  place .


anyah : the other  nadis


visvn utkramane   bhavanti : are useful  for going out towards  the path of the  diversified  samsara. But  Vyasarya (in the Srutaprakasika) interprets this as follows “Other nadis  are scattered  all round  (the body). These are  useful  for those  who  seek not liberation  to get out (of  the  body) (at the time of death)”  (Iv. ii . 7.).  This  passage is considered by Bhagavan  Badarayana in the Utkrantipada  (IV. ii). To explain  ( the prima  facie  view  is this) “The  restriction   that  the  going   out happens , and  to a non-knower through the head-nadi,  other  than the hundred , and  to a  non- knower through  the others   is not proper,” since  the nadis  are very many  and are too subtle  to be  distinctly seen, and   on  one cannot  select. It is  quite proper to hold  that the statement  tayordhvam  ayannamrtatvam  eti visvann ya  utkramane  bhavanti – through  that one  (nadi)  one going  upward   gets  immortality.  The  other   (nadis) are such  as  help  going   towards  all sides” (K.U. II.  iii 16cd.)  merely refers to the chance-going out. Against  the prima facie  view  the reply  is given  in the  following Sūtra (IV.  ii. 16.) “The  place  of the individual soul that   is the heart  becomes  illuminated  just in  front of it, having  the passage revealed by it,  favoured by  the  Grace  of the Harda ( the Supeme Dweller in  the Heart), on account  of the capacity of the  Knowledge (on the part of the soul),  and of the  continuation  of remembrance  of the path  which  is a subsidiary of it through  the one other   than the  Hundred. “And  the  meaning  of this (sūtra) is as   follows.:


tadokah : the place of the individual soul that  is, the heart,


agra jvalanam: in front of which there  is illumination


tatprakasitadvarah : one becomes  such that to whom   the passage  (of exit) is revealed by  it, since there   is the scriptural passage.


“ The  top of the  heart is illuminated ;by that illumination the soul goes  out either  through the eye or the  crown  of the head  or  other  parts of te body.” (Brh. U. IV. iv.13)


This  much is common  to both the knower  and the non- knower But the knower  gets  up only  through the  head-nadi, different from the   hundred (other nadis). It is  not that  the nadi  is not  distinguishable  by at the knower,   since the knower is favoured  by the Supeme  Person resident in his heart, being  pleased  with   his  knowledge (upasana) which  is extremely blissful  to him,  and which  is an adoration of the Supreme Self, and  on  account of the continuous  recollection   of the  Path  highly pleasant to him, as the  subsidiary to the Knowledge. Therefore  he knows  that nadi  anda so his   going   out through it, is  quite  appropriate.


Now  to proceed :---


II. iii.17


angusthamatrah  puruso’ nataratma

sada jananam  hardaye sannivistah |

tam svac charirat  prevrhen

munjad  ivesikam  dhairyena

tant  vidyacchukram amrtam

tam vidyacchukram amrtam iti || 17||


The person  of the size  of the thumb, the inner Self  is always established  in the heart  of men. Him, one should pull out with  courage  from  one’s  own  body as the stalk from the  manja grass. Him  one should  know as the brillant immortal. Him  one should  know as  the brillant immortal.




argusthamatrah ; the meaning  is clear


tam svac charirat : just as  in the  statement “Devadatta is distinct from  his own body” the pronominal word  ‘sva’ (his own) refers to a thing belonging  to Devadatta indicated  by the co- mentioned word (Devadatta).  even   like that   word ‘sva’  (in the  present  mantra)  tam svac  charirat) refers  to that   which  belongs  to the  inner  Self  mentioned  previously. Consequently  the meaning  is as follows:  Him, the inner   self of all men,  one should  pull  out  ( that  is, know  distinctly) from the  individual soul, mentioned  here as  men, as that  which  is His body. That  is after  the manner  mentioned  in the scriptural text “When one sees  the  Lord as  different  from  oneself, and pleased,”     (Sv. Up. IV 7), one should  know (Him) as distinct on account of His  being the supporter, controller and master (sesi)


manjat : from the  munja-grass


iskam iva: like the stalk  in its  midst.


dhairyena : (with courage) with  skill in Knowledge. This  (word ) goes  with  what  precede  (i.e., pravrhet : should pull out)


tam  vidyat ….: (This  has been) already  explained. Repetition indicates   the    conclusion of the teaching.




Now  concludes the subject – matter of the Story (of  Naciketas):


Mrtyuproktam Naciketo’tha labdhva

vidyam etam yogavidhim ca krtsnam|

brahmaprapto virajo’ bhud vimrtyur

anyo’pyevam yo  vid  adyatman   eva ||18||


Then  Naciketas  having   attained  this knowledge  taught  by  Death together  with the   method  of Yoga  completely  attained  brahman  become  free from rajas (desire) and from  death.  Any  other  who knows (this)  esoteric doctrine will become  also such  an  one.





mrtyu ….: Naciketas  having  attained  the knowledge  of the Self  taught  by  Death  and also  the method  of Yoga  mentioned  in the   passage “ yada panca …”  (K.U. II.  iii. 10) after  the manner mentioned  in the scriptural  passage. “Attaining the transcendent Light  one becomes  manifest  by His  own  nature” (Ch, Up. VIII. 34), attaining  Brahman become one in whom  His  eight  qualities  got  manifested.


yovid …:  The knowledge  relating to the  Self  whoever  else knows  he also  becomes  like  Naciketas. This   is the  meaning.


Om sa  ha  navavatu sa ha  nau  bhunaktu.

Saha  viryam  karavavahai

Tejasvi  nav  adhitam  astu  ma  vidvisavahai

 Om  santih  santih  santih.


May  He  protect  us. May  He  protect us  together. Let  us bring about the power  together. Let  our  learning  be  luminous. Let  us not  hate (one  another). Om  Santih  Santih Santih




Now the  santi  (peace chant) is recited  in order  to abolish on the  part of the   taught  and   the   teacher.


sa ha nau avatu…  sa  ha : The  Supreme Self  revealed by  Knowledge .. ha indicates (His) well-knownness.


nam: Us, the disciple and the  teacher


avatu : May protect  revealign His  form 


saha  nau  bhunaktu : May (he) protect us together  through  increasing knowledge. Or  else May He  protect us so  that we may  be together  without  parting


saha viryam  karavahai :May we bring  about   the power  of  knowledge by imparting  it in accordance with  rules. The idea  is knowledge becomes  in effective when  the rules  are not  observed.


tejasv nau ….: This  means  may what we  have  now  learnt  be very  luminous (effective) 


ma vidvisavahai : May there  be no hatred : which means  let there  be no  hatred  between  us due  to learning  and teaching  in any  unsanctioned way, as  stated  in the Smrti text : “One  who  teaches  not in accordance with   rules ( dharma) and  one  who  questions in contravention  of rules, one  of them   dies of develops animostly.”


Santih…: The  triple repetition is  for the  prupose  of doing   away  with   all sins of commission and omission in  thought,  word and deed.


Thus  concludes the Sixth  Valli

in the Second Chapter   of the Kothopanisad 




That  this  Upanisad  has reference only  to God is determined  by  Bhagavan Badarayana  in three  Adhikaranas  of the  Samanvayadhyaya.







In the  passage “yasyabrahma ca ksatram ca.”.(K.U. I.  Ii. 25)” To whom  the Brahman and Ksatriya  both become  food; to whom Death  is curry  spice:  this  who knows how He is?”  the person  indicatead  by the pronoun in the  possessive  ‘yasya’ is an eater or enjoyer,  since Brahmana and Ksatriya are spoken  of on account  of their  being  spoken  of metaphorically as ‘rice’, are to be taken  as eatables or  enjoyables. Now  who is that  eater (bhokta)? The  prima facie  view is that  He  is the individual soul alone , since the Supreme Self  cannot  be the  eater. Against  this the  Siddhānta  view  is expressed in the  four sūtras :  (1) Atta caracargrahanat : (II) Prakaranac ca:  (III) Guham  prvistavatmanau hi  taddarsanat : (IV)  Visesanac ca :  ( Vedanta  Sūtras : I . ii. 9,10,11, 12,)  


 The meanings  of   these  are as  follows


The eater  indicated in respect  of rice  mentioned  in the passage “ the two are  rice” is the Supreme  Self alone   since in the  mantra (K.U .I. ii. 25) it is  said  that  He  is the killer  (destroyer) of all the  mobile  and immobile , which are indicated by  the words  Brahma and ksatra which through secondary significance signify  all the  mobile and the  immobile , and  now that   the word  ‘odana’ rice  secondarily signifies  the destroyable , has been  shown  when  commenting  upon  this  mantra, and way  may be seen  there  itself.

II. And  also because  (this  mantra)  is in the context  of Brahman  which   begins with ‘The Great  Omnipresent Soul..” (K.U.I. ii. 29).

If it be said  that since  in the succeeding mantra “During rta. (I.iii.I) only  the two that   are capable of enjoying of  fruits of actions are mentioned and the Supreme Self  cannot  have any thing  to do with that  (enjoyment  of the  fruits  of actions) either  as Agent  like the individual  soul  nor as instrument  like  the antahkarana  (inner organ), the  eater  is   not  in the context  dealing  with the Supreme Self,   the reply is  ‘ guham  pravistau’ (I.ii.12) the two  that have entered the cave  are only the two, the  individual soul and the   Supreme Self”, because the  two   alone  are  mentioned  as having   entered  the cave. In the  passage “The brave   (soul) knowing  through  the  realization attained  by meditation upon  this self, that  God  difficult  of perception, hidden, entering, residing in the Cave,  indwelling, beginningless,  abandons both  pleasure and sorrow”,  entering of the  Supreme  Self  into the  Cave is mentioned. And  also   the entering  into the heart   cave   by the  individual soul is mentioned  in the passage “yapranena sambhavati”.. That  Aditi (eater) which  remains  with breath  possessing many sense-organs remanining  in the cave after  entering  into the  it is born  with  elements.” (K.U. II. 1 . 7.)”  Since thus both  of them  are seen to have entered into the Cave  and these  two can  be referred  to as the   ‘two drinking  rta’ (I.iii.,) according  to the  maxim of ‘Chatri’(one  who has  the umbrella) 1 no  break in the context  pertaining  to the  Supreme  Self  can be  doubted on account of the  mantra “rtam pibantau…. “ (I.iii.1)


In the  statement  chartrino  gacchanti made in  respect  of a group of persons going together, afew of whom  are carrying umbrellas, the  word  chatrinah refers  to the entire group  including  those   that have   not got  them   ch.  Purvamimamsa sūtras I. Iv.


IV. (Visesanac ca)   Since  int  the context  in the  passage  “Brahmajajnam  knowing the soul born  of Brahman  and conscient as the   worthy Lord, one attains throguh peace of ever.” (K.U. I. I. the  individual soul and the  Supreme  Self  are specified as the meditator  and the  meditatable,  the purpose  of the  mantra “rtam pibantau ….” (I.iii.I) is only  to describe   them in  order to facilities  meditation  as those  resting  in one  and the  same place. So  the mantra is that  which  only deals  with  individual soul and the  Supreme Self, it  is concluded  therefore  that the  Mantra  “ Brahma ca ksatram ca  …..” (K.U. II. 25.) has  reference only to  the  Supreme  Self.







(Vedanta   Sūtras I. iii  6.)


Again  in the  mantra  “Angusthamatra ….. the person of the size  of the thumb, the Lord of the past and the future, resides  in the  middle  of the  body” (K.U. II.i..12), the prime facie view is that  he who is  mentioned  as of being of   the size  of the thumb is the individual soul alone, since   the measure of the thumb  is well-known only in respect of the  individual soul in the following


“The master of breath (Prana)  wanders about with his actions” (Svet U.V.7) ; “One  of the size of the thumb and having  a form  like  that of the Sun”  (Svat, U.V..8); and  “Death pulled  out with force the person   of the  sixe  of the thumb” (Mh. B. Vanaparva).   This is  replied to by the  siddhānta  given in the four  following 


Sūtras :

I.     Sabaad  eva  pramita:                                    V. S.   I.   iii.  24;

II.   Hrdyapeksaya  tu ma  usayadkikaratvat           “        I.   iii.  15;

III.  Kampanat:                                                        “         I .  iii.  39;

IV.  Jyotirdarsanat :                                               “         I.   iii.   40;     


The  meaning of these is  as follows


1.      One that is  measured be the  size of the  thumb is the Supreme Self  on account of he   term itself,that is the term  Isana,  which  indicates lordship in the   passage “Isano bhuta- bhavyasya --- Lord of the  Past and the Future” (k.u.II. i. 13.)

2.      If  be asked  how  then the delimitation  to the  size of the thumb   can go with     the Supreme Self  (Badarayana) replies tha since the  Supreme Self is in the heart  which  is of this size, on that account,  the Supreme self  can be of that size. It cannot be doubted that the  Supeme Self  residing  in  the hearts  of the horse  and the  ass and  other  (animals) which have  no thumbs, and  consequently that the  Supreme Self cannot be  measured by their thumbs, how the Supreme Self within  them  can have  tha size for, the  scriptures that enjoin  meditation  are only  in respect of the human  beings  because  of their  fitness   for meditating; and the have  thumbs.  There is thus  nothing  to prevent postulation  of this size  on account of the delimitation  of the Supreme Self  residing  in the heart  due to its size, which   is of the  size  of the thumb.

3.      kampanat (I.iii.39). Since  the scripture “Yad idam  kinca  jagat  sarvam  prana  ejati … Ati  this world  whatever  existing in the  breath and emanating from the  it trembles, exxtreme  fear as if from  the uplifted  Vajra… (K.U. II. iii. 2) , mentions this one having  the size   of the thumb as being  and  the cause  of the fear which  makes all creatures to tremble and  this  quality is known  from  scripture “Afraid  of Him  the wind blows” (Tait  Upanisad) and others, as  belonging to the Supreme Self, the person of the size  of the thumb is the  Supreme Self

4.      jyotirdarsanat (I. ii. 43.) :  Since in respect  of him of the  size of the thumb, there  is mentioned in the passage “Na tatra Suryo bhati…There  the Sun  shinesnot nor the  Moon and stars nor do these  lightings shine.” How (then) can the fire?3, a light  exlipsing by the  all luminaries , and the possession  of such  a light  has been  stated  by the  Atharvana  Upanisad as  belonging to Brahman ,this  one of the size of the thumb  is the Supreme Self. This is the  meaning. 



Since  in the passages  “Indriyebhyah…. Superior th the sence  (I. iii. 10),”  the Sankhyan  method  (of  enumeration of categories) is  recollected  and since  a Person other  than  the twenty-five in  negatived, here (in this mantra   I. iii. 10) by the word  ‘Avyakta’ is indicated  only  the  primeval Matter accepted by the  Sankhyas which has  not got  the Brahman as its soul. This prima facie  view is  expressed  by the first  part of   the sūtra (V.S.I.iv.1) “anumanikam apyekeam iti cet ----  If it be said  that in some  (recensions) also the primeval Matter is (also  stated  as the original  cause)” --- and  the reply  is given  by the laataer  part of the same  Sūtra “sarira”….and the following  seven sūtras : They mean as  follows.

1. Since  the word  ‘avyakta’  can  indicate  the body which is  metaphorically   spoken of the  chariot  in the passage  “…sariram  rtham eva  tu… (K.U.I. iii. 13). Which  among  the individual soul,  body,  intellect,  mind,  organs, and  objects metaphorically  spoken of as the occupant  of the  chariot etc, in the passage  beginning with’   Atmanam  rathinam viddhi…..(I. iii.3), accordingly  the word  avyakta  means  the body  alone.

2. If  it  asked  how the body  that is  manifest  can be   referred  to   as   avyakta (unmanifest), the  reply is  Suksmaim  tu  tadarhatvat  (I. iv. 2) ---  the subtle (matter) on account  of certain  states, the  body”. Therefore  by the  word  avyakta  which  the cause, is meant through   secondary  significance , why should  there  be a  secondary significance,  (and), it should have  the primary significance, it  says “ It  is relevant” to  accept  the secondary  significance  namely the  gross  body,  for the word  avyakta,  since the  gross  body  is fit for  the activities  and its  mention alone is  required  here for the purpose  of controlling. 

3. If it be asked  if the unman fest subtle Matter is accepted, why  should  there be  rejection of the Master propounded in the Kapila’s  system? (Badarayana) replies:Tadadhinatvat arthatvat” (I. iv. 3)—in our system  there is  always  purpose, since it  is controlled and governed  by the Supreme  Self”, but  according to the sankhyan view  this is not accepted and so  (matter)  is purposeless.

4. If Matter  accepted  by Sankya  is that which is  meant  here, it must have  been mentioned here as  fit to be known; since  by the  Sankhyas  who state  that liberation arises  out of the  knowledge  of the Unmanifest and the  Manifest and the   conscient  being, all  these   are accepted as things  that must  be known. But it is  not   stated  as that  which  must  be known (here). Therefore  what is  established in the Sankhya is  not   to be  accepted here.

5. Vadatiti cen  na prajno  hi  prakaranat  (V. S. I.iv. 5). “ If it be stated that the Scripture immediately after  the previous mentions  it as a thing to be known “Asabdam… Having perceived that (Self) which  is soundless, touchless, colourless , imperishable eternally and tasteless,  odourless and  beginningless and eldless and higher than the great (soul)fixed, one gets  released  from the  jaws of death “(K.U.I.iii. 5) Not  so,  since , on   account  of the context of Omniscient Supreme Self “He  attains  the Supreme abode Visnu which  is the goal of the path” (K. U. iii. 5), He  alone is  mentioned in this  mantra  as the one  to be known  and not the unmanifest accepted by the Sankhyans.

6.  “Trayanam eva  caivam upanyasah prasnac  ca”  (V.S. I. iv. 6)--  “ In  this context there is mention only of the  three” the means  and the goal  and the attainer  and , “also the question”, is seen  only in relation to these  three  as in  the passage “Anyatra…. Tell me  that which  verily  you see that which is other  than the  right  either  than  the  non-right…” (K. U. I. ii. 14) and  not in  respect of the  Unmanifest  and others. 

7. “Mahatvac ca “ (V.S.I. iv. 7). Just as in the  passage  “By the word  Mahan is not taken  as meaning  “ the mahat  category  called    buddhi (K. U. I. iii. 10) accepted in the Sankhya  system  due to the  co-ordination  (samanadhikarnya)  with the   atman ( self) , even so  it  is that the Unmanifest also cannot  be taken  to be the  category accepted  in  the  Kapila  system, since it  is mentioned  as higher than the  individual  Soul.

Thus by these  three Adhikaranas  it is determined that the  whole of  this Upanisad has  reference to the  Supreme Self .