Katha Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary

by S. Sitarama Sastri | 1928 | 23,822 words

The Katha Upanishad is a collection of philosophical poems representing a conversation between the sage Naciketas and Yama (god of death). They discuss the nature of Atman, Brahman and Moksha (liberation). The book is made up of six sections (Valli). This commentary by Shankara focuses on ‘Advaita Vedanta’, or non-dualism: one of the classical ort...

यदेवेह तदमुत्र यदमुत्र तदन्विह ।
मृत्योः स मृत्युमाप्नोति य इह नानेव पश्यति ॥ १० ॥

yadeveha tadamutra yadamutra tadanviha |
mṛtyoḥ sa mṛtyumāpnoti ya iha nāneva paśyati || 10 ||

10. What indeed is here, is there; what there, that here again; from Death to Death he goes; who here sees, as if different.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—This is said in order that the doubt may not arise in anybody; that what exists in all from the Brahma down to the immovable and appears, being subject to particular conditions, as something other than Brahman and subject to samsara, he is different from the highest Brahman. What indeed is here subject to conditions of causes and effects and appears to the ignorant as possessing the attributes of samsara, he is indeed the Brahman there centred within the body, in his nature dense with eternal knowledge and devoid of the attributes of all samsara; again, what there is centred with self is itself here subject to conditions of name, form, cause and effect and is no other. This being so, he who here deluded by ignorance, which consists in seeing difference by the nature of the conditions sees in the Brahman which is one, a variety, thinking thus ‘I am other than the highest Brahman and the highest Brahman is other than I’, goes from death to death, i.e., is again born and dies; so, one should not see thus. The drift of the text is that one should see thus. ‘I am indeed the Brahman, the one unalloyed intelligence, all-pervading, filling all space like the akas’.

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