Kaṭha (कठ) Upaniṣad is the fourth in the series of eleven Principal Upaniṣads that we have taken up for rational review. This Upaniṣad is unique in content, since it deals with, in detail, the question of what happens after death. Apparently to add authenticity to the assertions made, the Upaniṣad supposes that the issue is explained by the Lord of Death himself.
Legend has it that a demon called Tarakasuran (tArakAsuran) had enslaved and tormented the Devas (dEva – demigod). He had acquired a boon from Brahma that he should be destroyed only by a power equal to Shiva and not even by Shiva himself. Tarakasuran believed that he had outsmarted God and had obtained immortality by asking such a boon for there is none equal to Shiva.
Īśāvāsya (ईशावास्य) is the only one among the Principal Upaniṣads which is part of a Samhita. It is the end part of Śukḻa Yajurveda (Kāṇva recension), consisting of 18 verses in poetry. Being part of a Samhita is a testimony for the authenticity and ancientness of the Upaniṣad. While taking up the study of this very small Upaniṣad, we confine our analytical endeavour to the limits that we have already set, in the case of our previous studies.
The cosmology and cosmography of the ancient Vedas is awe inspiring to say the least. The more “modern” of the Vedic texts are known to originate from approximately 3000 B.C., thus being the oldest scientific and religious doctrines known to man. The descriptions of our solar system and what modern astronomy has discovered of the visible universe corresponds with the ancient Vedic knowledge, proving that man has had advanced knowledge of astronomy for thousands of years before our modern civilization began. This article describes the Vedic version of planetary systems from the topmost, eternal planets down through the temporary planetary systems within innumerable universes of this material world.
Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “place of silence”, is a mythical paradise spoken of in ancient Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu traditions, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient Zhangzhung texts of western Tibet & Hindu texts such as the Vishnu Purana (4.24) mention the village Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga).
Lord Shiva was immersed in deep meditation after losing his wife Sati. Taking advantage of this state of Shiva was demon Tarakasura. He offered a long and hard thousand-year penance to Lord Brahma and obtained a boon, “Let my death come only in the hands of a young boy who is an offspring of Lord Shiva.”
Mantras – Sound vibrations that permeate every cell of your being and allow your mind to dissolve and repose. But what are they? What do they mean? Where did they come from? There are so many questions surrounding these ancient syllables.
In this part of the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, we take up for study, the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (छान्दोग्य). Previously we studied Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad and as an introduction to that study we had made the following observations defining the perimeters of our analytical reach in unravelling the scientific spirit of the Upaniṣadic thoughts.
Since the time of ancient Vedic civilization, the syllable “Om” has had a prominent place in Hindu philosophy. Today, it can be found in many Hindu contexts, whether or not authentic, and it has several mentions in pop culture. But regardless of its representation, “Om” has retained its profound spiritual significance for Hindus around the world.