Katha/Katho Upanishad---1

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Katha Upanishad
Translaetd by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli

Om ! May He protect us both together (by illumining the nature of knowledge).
May He sustain us both (by ensuring the fruits of knowledge).
May we attain the vigour (of knowledge) together.
Let what we learn enlighten us.
Let us not hate each other.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !

1-I-1. Out of desire, so goes the story, the son of Vajasrava gave away all his wealth. He had a son named Nachiketas.
1-I-2. Though young, faith possessed him as presents were being brought; he thought:
1-I-3. Water has been drunk (for the last time by these cows), grass has been eaten (for the last time); they have yielded all their milk, and are devoid of (the power of) the organs. Those worlds are indeed joyless where he goes who offers these.
1-I-4. He then said to his parent, "father, to whom wilt thou give me?" A second time and a third time (he said it). To him he (the father) said, "To Death I give thee."
1-I-5. Of many I go the first; of many I go the middle most. What purpose of Yama could there be which (my father) will get accomplished today through me?
1-I-6. Think how your ancestors behaved; behold how others now behave. Like corn man decays, and like corn he is born again.
1-I-7. Like Vaisvanara (fire), a Brahmana guest enters the houses. Men offer this to propitiate him. O Vaivasvata (Yama): fetch water (for him).
1-I-8. Hope, expectation, association with the effects (of these two), pleasant discourse, sacrifice, acts of pious liberality, sons and cattle – all these are destroyed in the case of the man of little intellect in whose house a Brahmana dwells without food.
1-I-9. O Brahmana, since thou, a worshipful guest, hast dwelt in my house for three nights without food, let me make salutation to thee. O Brahmana, may peace be with me. Therefore, ask for three boons in return.
1-I-10. O Death, let Gautama (my father) be relieved of the anxiety, let him become calm in mind and free from anger (towards me), and let him recognise me and talk to me when liberated by thee. Of the three boons, this is the first I choose.
1-I-11. Ouddalaki, the son of Aruna, will recognise thee as before and will, with my permission, sleep peacefully during nights and on seeing thee released from the jaws of Death, he will be free from anger.
1-I-12. There is no fear in heaven; nor art thou there; nor is there any fear from old age. Transcending both hunger and thirst and rising above grief, man rejoices in heaven.
1-I-13. O Death, thou knowest the Fire that leads to heaven. Instruct me, who am endowed with faith, about that (Fire) by which those who dwell in heaven attain immortality. This I choose for my second boon.
1-I-14. I will teach thee well; listen to me and understand, O Nachiketas, I know the Fire that leads to heaven. Know that Fire which is the means for the attainment of heaven and which is the support (of the universe) and located in the cavity.
1-I-15. Death told him of the Fire, the source of the worlds, the sort of bricks (for raising the sacrificial altar), how many, and how (to kindle the fire) and he (Nachiketas) too repeated it as it was told. Then Death, becoming delighted over it, said again:
1-I-16. The exalted one, being pleased, said to him: "I grant thee again another boon now. By thy name itself shall this fire be known; and accept thou this necklace of manifold forms".
1-I-17. Whoso kindles the Nachiketas fire thrice and becomes united with the three and does the three-fold karma, transcends birth and death. Knowing the omniscient one, born of Brahma, bright and adorable, and realizing it, he attains to surpassing peace.
1-I-18. He who, knowing the three (form of brick etc.,), piles up the Nachiketa Fire with this knowledge, throws off the chains of death even before (the body falls off), and rising over grief, rejoices in heaven.
1-I-19. This is the Fire, O Nachiketas, which leads to heaven and which thou hast chosen for the second boon. Of this Fire, people will speak as thine indeed. O Nachiketas, choose the third boon.
1-I-20. This doubt as to what happens to a man after death – some say he is, and some others say he is not, – I shall know being taught by thee. Of the boons, this is the third boon.
1-I-21. Even by the gods this doubt was entertained in days of yore. This topic, being subtle, is not easy to comprehend. Ask for some other boon, O Nachiketas. Don’t press me; give up this (boon) for me.
1-I-22. (Nachiketas said:) Since even by the gods was doubt entertained in this regard and (since) thou sayest, O Death, that this is not easily comprehended, no other preceptor like thee can be had to instruct on this nor is there any other boon equal to this.
1-I-23. Ask for sons and grandsons who will live a hundred years. Ask for herds of cattle, elephants gold and horses, as also for a vast extent of earth and thyself live for as many autumns as thou desirest.
1-I-24. If thou thinkest any other boon to be equal to this, ask for wealth and longevity. Be thou the ruler over a vast country, O Nachiketas; I shall make thee enjoy all thy longings.
1-I-25. What all things there are in the human world which are desirable, but hard to win, pray for all those desirable things according to thy pleasure. Here are these damsels with the chariots and lutes, the like of whom can never be had by men. By them, given by me, get thy services rendered, O Nachiketas, do not ask about death.
1-I-26. These, O Death, are ephemeral and they tend to wear out the vigour of all the senses of man. Even the whole life is short indeed. Be thine alone the chariots; be thine the dance and music.
1-I-27. Man cannot be satisfied with wealth. If we need wealth, we shall get it if we only see thee. We shall live until such time as thou wilt rule. But the boon to be asked for (by me) is that alone.