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...

यदिदं किंच जगत्सर्वं प्राण एजति निःसृतम् ।
महद्भयं वज्रमुद्यतं य एतद्विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ २ ॥

yadidaṃ kiṃca jagatsarvaṃ prāṇa ejati niḥsṛtam |
mahadbhayaṃ vajramudyataṃ ya etadviduramṛtāste bhavanti || 2 ||

2. All this universe evolved (from prana) moves while Prana is; a mighty terror, the thunderbolt uplifted; those who know this become immortal.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—If it be said that Brahman, the source of the world, by knowledge of which men are said to become immortal, does not exist and that all this has come out of nothing, it is not sound; all this universe, the highest Brahman existing, moves; and having come out of that alone, acts regularly. This Brahman, the cause of the origin, etc., of the universe is mahatbhaya, i. e., great and terrible. It is like the thunderbolt uplifted; as, at the sight of the master with the thunderbolt raised in his hand, the servants regularly keep his commands, so this world, with its lords and with the sun, moon, planets, constellation and stars, etc., regularly and without a moment's respite obeys the law. This is the drift. Those who know this, this highest Brahman, the witness of all the modifications of one’s mind, become immortal.

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