Namaskaar. We continue to part 7 of our Kathopanishat commentary series by Shri V. Subrahmanian available at Vedanta Academy. The dialogue between Lord Yama and young Nachiketas is getting more interesting and gives a deep insight into the teachings of the Upanishad.
Towards the end of this Part, the author gives a wonderful example by quoting a very powerful verse from Vairagya Shatakam, another ancient text. Its a profound statement and stands much truer today than any other time. Just shows that these teachings are valid as much in this age and time as any other.
Having offered a number of enjoyable objects to Nachiketa, Yama continues to coax the young but determined spiritual aspirant to give up the quest to know the Self:
एतत्तुल्यं यदि मन्यसे वरं
वृणीष्व वित्तं चिरजीविकां च ।
महाभूमौ नचिकेतः त्वं एधि
कामानां त्वा कामभाजं करोमि ॥
एतत्तुल्यं equal to these (offered in the previous mantra) यदि if मन्यसे you think वरं boon वृणीष्व ask वित्तं wealth चिरजीविकां च and long life. महाभूमौ in this vast region नचिकेतः O Nachiketa त्वं you एधि become कामानां delectable things त्वा you कामभाजं a fit enjoyer करोमि shall I make.
If you deem any other boon equal to that, choose it; choose wealth and a long life. Be the king, O Nachiketa, of the wide earth. I will make you the enjoyer of all desires.
Yama is giving greater leverage for Nachiketa for seeking, expanding the list of enjoyments and the objects and the conditions conducive thereof. One’s imagination is the limit. Mind is compared to a kalpataru, the wish-fulfilling celestial tree. It grants one whatever one wishes for. A person seeking pleasure can attain anything he wants provided he desires strongly and has the determination to give up whatever to attain it. Here, we have Yama in front of Nachiketa ready to grant anything the latter could seek. Yama, the symbol of immense power that could grant anything, from worldly to heavenly to spiritual, makes this offer and it is just for Nachiketa to ask for anything. He could ask for wealth, plenty of gold, ornaments, etc., and a long life to enjoy these. He can become the king of the vast dominion that Yama offers him. He is assured of the necessary physical power to be able to sustain the enjoyment coming from these things, this and other worldly. Yama implies that as He is a powerful devatA, celestial lord, his will never fails. Continue reading