"Before imparting this Atmavidya, this chid-vilas consciousness to Nachiketa, Yamaraj had presented many rare, alluring objects of enjoyment of heaven and earth to him. Except the knowledge of the Self, Yamaraj was ready to give anything that he would demand. But Nachiketa declined the offer of all those objects of enjoyment and asked only for Atmavidya, the knowledge of the Self.
On one side were all enjoyments of heaven and earth and on the other side was the Atmavidya. For the donor, the first was nothing as compared to the second and for the receiver also, the first was most trifling as compared to the second.
We are indeed happy to present to the readers 'The Spirit of Katha Upanishad' an English translation of the book on Katha Upanishad which was originally written in Marathi by Swami Shivatatvananda and published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Nagpur, in the year 1965.
Katha Upanishad is a highly poetic and an extremely important Upanishad. In this Upanishad we come across the description of a dialogue between Yama, the God of death and the ideal sadhaka Nachiketa who had an intense urge for Self-knowledge. In this dialogue Yama has given the precept on important topics like shreya and preya i.e. preferable and pleasurable, Atmavidya i.e. knowledge of the Atman, sadhana i.e. spiritual practices, Moksha i.e. liberation and so on. Through these teachings Yama has revealed the secret of spiritual life and spiritual practices to Nachiketa. In this Upanishad Yama has lucidly explained to Nachiketa how to attain Atmajnana, the ultimate goal of human life, through which real peace and bliss can be attained. From the eternal truths described in this Upanishad, all can get infallible guidance essential to bring about the all round development and attain fulfilment in life. "Uttishthata, jagrata prapya varannibodhata" - "Arise, awake and surrender to the great illumined Mahapurushas and attain Self-knowledge".
It is our sincere hope that by the study of this Upanishad which exhorts us in these above words, all will get new vigour and inspiration on this path of spirituality.
We are indebted to Mr. Bhagbat Chakraborti who has helped us in publishing this book and to the Malti prints of Aurangabad for printing it.
**Contents and Sample Pages**