सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Kathopanishad"







In General

Kathopanishad belong to Kathaka school of Krishna Yajurveda Samhita. The Kathaka section of TB (11.8) have the story of Nachiketa and the three boon he ask. It is in poetry form.

The Kathopanishad consists of two chapters (Adhyāyas), each divided into three sections (Vallis). The first section has 29 verses, the second section 25 verses, and the third have 17 verses. The second chapter first section is the fourth valli of the Kathopanishad and has 15 verses, while the fifth valli also has 15 verses. The final section, the sixth valli has 17 verses.


Once Vajashravas performed a sacrifice in which he gave out all his possessions. Nachiketa, 9 year old Son of him by his innocence irritated Vajashravas by the repeated query as to who whom he plan to give his son as an offering. In an angry mood what came out from the fathers lips is ,” I give you to the death”. The young boy left for the abode of Yama and waited for Yama without a drop of water or food. Yama came after three days and apologized to his guest and offered him three boons.

The first boon he ask of Yama is to return to his father and find him tranquilized and prepared to recognize him. By second boom Nachiketa chooses to know about the celestial fire – the ire by which one goes to heaven where the soul get rejoices having crossed over sorrow, hunger, old age and where one achieve immortality. By third boon Nachiketa asked “ there is this doubt that when a man has passed away, some say he is (something survive after physical body cease to exist) and some say this he is not , taught by thee I would know this”. The third boon is interesting for it is the question about the death and the answer it form the central theme of the Upanishad. The answer to this question cannot be answered in single sentence as the answer is in the spiritual domain. The atman which survive death can be perceived on many levels. The teacher then discuss the intricacies involved in Death and rebirth, vidya and avidya, the importance of shraddha, immortality of Purusha, the Brahman.

The sukta by Rishi Kumara Yamayana in RV (10.135) having a conversation between a child and Yama is a close parallel to the Nachiketa story


Varaha purana talk about the visit of Nachiketa in Yamaloka

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