Finding the Treasure

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri All the world seeks happiness. Our American Declaration of Independence says that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right for every human being. But see how miserable people really are beneath the frantic veneer of the pursuit of happiness in an ever-changing and pain-producing world. The […]

From the Unreal to the Real

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri Eternal values There is an obscure Protestant song entitled �With Eternity�s Values in View.� Musically it is not much, but philosophically it is profound. We are not temporal, mortal beings, and if we live our life as though we were, then only confusion and chaos can result. […]

How to Either Know or Not Know the Self

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri Let the student (who is often a �buyer�) beware �The truth of the Self cannot be fully understood when taught by an ignorant man, for opinions regarding it, not founded in knowledge, vary one from another. Subtler than the subtlest is this Self, and beyond all logic. […]

The Mystery of the Self

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri Seeing is not always seeing and hearing is not always hearing. In some instances it is misperception, and in others it is no perception at all. This is illustrated by an incident from the life of Jesus. While speaking to the people, he prayed: �Father, glorify thy […]

The Way of Ignorance

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri The Two Ways – Yama, the King of Death, praises Nachiketa, saying: �Far from each other, and leading to different ends, are ignorance and knowledge. Thee, O Nachiketa, I regard as one who aspires after knowledge, for a multitude of pleasant objects were unable to tempt thee.�1 […]

The Good and the Pleasant

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri �The good is one thing; the pleasant is another. These two, differing in their ends, both prompt to action. Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal.�1 How simple and direct these words are! When, after years of being soaked […]

Seeing Death, Seeing Life

Visiting Death – by Swami Nirmalananda Giri Long ago a man named Vajrabasa undertook a ritual to gain divine favor, but deliberately performed it in such a way that only misfortune could accrue to him rather than good. His virtuous son, Nachiketa, tried to reason with him, but in response he uttered the curse: �Thee […]

The Past is the Future

Commentary on the Katha Upanishad�by Swami Nirmalananda Giri In very ancient times a man named Vajrabasa decided to perform a rite intended to give the performer great merit. The rite entailed the giving away of all the performer�s possessions. However he had no such intention, and instead was going to give away only his cattle�and […]