Saturday, January 5, 2019

Narayanan Nair writes


(                             Aum!
knowledge is the essence, bliss, Brahman!
May Brahman bestow, upon us, the fruits of knowledge!             Aum!   Peace,....Peace.....Peace....!    )


Questions personified, was Nachiketa,
He queried his father, Vajasravasa,
Who yearning rewards, had  performed a ritual,
Visvajit sacrifice, giving away all possessions.
Everything - including bony thin zilch cattle!
"Are those of any use on earth or heaven?
My dear father, do tell, whom will you give me?
Will you give your son away, too?" the boy asked.
Irked, the father said, "yes, unto Death."
"Oh, what use am I," asked Nachiketa,
"To the King of Death?
Mortals ripen and fall like corns.
To sprout and spring up again!
I am not the first to die, or the last.
What purpose then?" thought the Brahmin boy,
Seeking answers, he entered House of Death!
The Householder, Yama, lord of justice,
Ensured victuals and a seat to the visitor.
The Boy declined water, food, rest, but fasted
For three nights in quest about - what, how, when!
Yama impressed by the true Brahmin spirit,
Showed his respect to the keen curious guest.
"Thou dwelt in my House three days and nights,
Fasting and alert, let me offer three boons." 


Nachiketa said, " If so, first, cheer up my father,
Cool he be to receive me warmly when I am sent home."
"Yes, the second ?" asked Yama to the young guest.
"Teach me the ways for immortality, what sacrifice,
What acts and insight into nature can lead one to it."
"Fire of austerity" said Yama, "and recognizing in every other,
As in self, the omniscient, ultimate, adorable One.
Let the holy fire of sacrifice be known by your name!
Now choose the third boon, oh Nachiketa."
"What happens when one is dead? please teach me,
Does something exist or there is none?
I wish to learn this truly from you.
Do treat this as my third vital boon."
"Even Gods have doubts on that," said Yama,
"And it is too subtle, choose another boon."
Boy said, " there is no better teacher than you!
If Gods have doubts on it, let me surely learn."
"Choose good healthy progeny or wealth or territory,
Fair maidens in chariots and servants to wait upon you,
Choose to be a king or satisfy all desires," said Yama.
"But do not ask me about death and afterlife."
"Sir, none of that for me, those exhaust senses,
Pleasures do not endure and life is ever short" Boy said.
"Please teach me what I have asked as my third boon.
Disciple I wish to be of a great teacher, You!"


"Oh Nachiketa, good is one thing, pleasant another,
Who opts good does well while the two are within reach.
One who chooses pleasant sinks in greed, avarice,
Good to see that you have renounced those pleasures,
You seek knowledge, as ignorance leads to darkness,
Do learn the essence of scriptures, not mere words,
Please see what endures by looking in, by self-knowledge,
Atman, soul, the core, dwells in you, rests in the body,
Be aware, it is symbolized by pranava, holy Aum!
Meditate, learn of Brahman with qualities felt,
And the absolute indescribable one as well!
Know the body as a chariot, with soul the master in it,
Intellect is the charioteer and mind, the reins.
Senses are the horses needing right control,
Arise, awake, learn to be beyond the razor's edge,
Be ready to leave those aside, disciplined, to see inner light,
To know the subtlest, blissful, unmanifest  supreme reality! "

(Aum! May Brahman protect us! Bestow upon us the fruit of knowledge and harmony! May truth be revealed! Aum! Peace...Peace...Peace!)
Image result for nachiketa yama
Yamaraja Answers the Questions of Nachiketa -- Dominique Amendola

1 comment:

  1. The "Katha Upanishad" is the most widely known Upanishad and even formed the basis of works by Edwin Arnold, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Williams Butler Yeats. It begins with the story of Nachiketa's questioning of Yama, the god of death. His father Vajashravasa (literally, "famous for donations?) sacrificed cows that had "eaten their last grass," and Nachiketa chided him for his hypocrisy and asked him whom he was to be given. His father answered angrily that he would give him to Death. What followed was a discourse on some of the basics of Hindu metaphysics. Each section of the work is called a "valli," a vine-like medicinal climbing plant that grows independently yet is attached to a main tree; and the terminology is open to a variety of interpretations, denotations, and connotations. Katha was a sage who founded a branch of the Krishna Yajurveda shool, which embedded the "Katha Upanishad" in the last 8 sections of its texts. Female followers of the Katha branch are "kathas," and "katha" means distress,while a homonym means story, legend, conversation, speech, or tale. Nachiketa's name is a pun on the words for "non-decay, or what does not decay," "that which cannot be vanquished," and "I do not know, or he does not know." A verse ("The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over, thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard") was the origin of W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel "The Razor's Edge."


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