The Katha Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary
नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन ।
यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यस्तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूँ स्वाम् ॥ २३ ॥
nāyamātmā pravacanena labhyo na medhayā na bahunā śrutena |
yamevaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyastasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūm̐ svām || 23 ||
23. This âtman is not to be attained by a study of the Vêdâs, nor by intelligence, nor by much hearing, but the âtman can be attained, only by him who seeks to know it. To him, this âtman reveals its true nature.
Com.—This text says that though this âtman is hard to know, still he can certainly be known well by proper means. This âtman is not attainable by the study of many Vêdâs, or by intelligence, i.e., a retentive memory of the import of books, or by any amount of mere learning. By what then can he be attained is explained. That âtman (self) whom the neophyte seeks, by the same self, i.e., by the seeker, can the âtman be known. The meaning is that, of one who seeks only the âtman, being free from desire, the âtman is attained by the âtman alone. How it is attained is explained. To the man who seeks the âtman, the âtman reveals its real form, i.e., its own true nature.