Swamiji begins narrating the background story of Kathopanishad. In this Upanishad, the Guru is Yamaraja (the Lord of Death) and the Shishya is a young boy, Nachiketa. Swamiji makes us understand that our focus must be on the qualities and virtues illustrated through the characters in the text.
Nachiketa goes to Yamaraja and seeks to know the truth about Death. The question was whether Nachiketa, such a young boy, was fit to receive the Supreme knowledge.
What are the fitness criteria for an aspirant of this knowledge? In Vedanta, it is called ‘Sadhana Chatushtaya’- the four-fold pursuit or virtues. They are Viveka, Vairagya, Shama-damaadi shatka sampattih and Mumuksha. Swamiji delves deep into each one of these qualities which are very significant for a seeker of Truth. He leaves us in no doubt that it is only this internal wealth that matters in spirituality.
Shlokas discussed: (1.1.1 to 1.1.9)
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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.
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Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.