The Katha Upanishad is one of the most influential of the Upanishads (ancient yogic teachings on wisdom). In this two-day online course, we will explore selected themes and verses from the text in the context of the world in which we live. The course is open to all who are interested in understanding and living the timeless wisdom of the texts in their daily lives.
Tutor(s): Swami Nishchalananda & Swami Krishnapremananda
for a short introductory video.
The popularity of the Katha Upanishad is also due to the timeless story that introduces and gives the context for the text. The story introduces Nachiketas, a young boy who comes face to face with Yama – mythologically the Lord of Death. Nachiketas represents the ideal student, and from his own innocence and youthful wisdom he asks fundamental questions about the nature of Reality. Yama or Death is the perfect teacher as he is able to answer these questions from his vantage point on the threshold between life and death.
Initially Yama evades Nachiketas’ central question, testing the depth of Nachiketas’ aspiration. Yet when this test is passed, Yama begins to reveal the timeless wisdom of the Spiritual tradition. The unfolding dialogue between Nachiketas and Yama includes archetypical themes such as:
• Who or what dies?
• The Unity behind the perceived duality of life
• The metaphor of the chariot led by horses, representing our embodied selves
• The nature of desire and the freedom that lies beyond it
• How we can be more awake in daily life, rather than complacently sleeping.
Two quotes from the Katha Upanishad:Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an illumined teacher (or teachings) and realize the Self. Sharp like the razor’s edge, the sages say, is the path, difficult to traverse
(1:3:14)What is here is also there; what is there, also here. Who sees multiplicity but not the one indivisible Self must wander on and on from death to death
(2:I:10)Above translations are courtesy of Eknath Easwaren
This first day will cover the early verses of the text which covers most of the initial story, Yama’s 3 boons, and Nachiketas’ responses which illuminate the clarity and dedication of a spiritual seeker. The day will also probably cover some of the succeeding verses from the next chapter.Day two
(June 12th) will delve deeper into the profound teachings of the text which will include the metaphor of the chariot (which also appears in the Bhagavad Gita
You can book either day one or day two, or both as you wish.
The sessions will be delivered via zoom and at the following times during the day:
9.00-10.15am, 10.45-12.15, 12.45-13.15, 14.45-15.30 and 16.00-17.00, all U.K. times.
The course will close for bookings at 5pm the day before the course is due to start.
All the sessions will be recorded and made available to all participants in both video and audio formats. They are offered as a helpful resource following the day, and also for those who need to miss any of the sessions during the day.
Image above courtesy of Conner Jalbert