The Katha Upanishad may be regarded as a most appropriate introduction to spiritual life in general. The story with which the Upanishad begins provides the proper foundation for commencing a study of the science of the higher life of man. From the exoteric ritual of the performance of sacrifice and charity by Sage Vajasravasa, the Upanishad takes us to the spiritual longing of the seeker, Nachiketas, which moves along a definite pattern of development.
The second step is the rise from temporal relationships to the universal significance of all things, found in the all-comprehensive Vaisvanara, known also as Hiranyagarbha in its higher manifestation, and as Virat in its lower universal form, represented in the second boon granted by Yama. The third step is the ascent from the universal to the Absolute, which is the third boon asked for by Nachiketas, but most reluctantly granted by yama, after subjecting him to a severe test in the form of supernormal temptations of sense and ego, to which even the best minds cannot but succumb when placed in Favourable circumstances.
The Upanishad leads us on to the theme of yoga proper. Yoga is to be understood in the sense of that integral method whereby the individual is attuned to the Supreme Being. It is neither a creed nor a tradition, but the law governing the universe, and made manifest in the conscious activity of every awakened individual. The Upanishad is the basic text of this sublime theme.
About the Author:
Sri Swami Sivananda , born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta.
He was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 163 he entered Mahasamadhi.