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Kathopanishad Chapter 1 - Section 1 - Mantras 07-09

During the session we held on October 31, 2021, we first reviewed Mantra 7, in which Yamaraju's attendant tells him that a Brahmana guest has been waiting for 3 days outside the house without food and water. In Mantra 8, the attendant is terrified about the sins that will accrue to the entire household because of this maltreatment, inadvertent though it was. In Mantra 9, Yamaraju apologizes to the 9-year-old Nachiketa and offers him three boons.

The three mantras are extraordinary because we see that Yamaraju and his attendants hold themselves to incredibly high standards when it comes to the care of an unexpected guest. Yamaraju happened to be away when Nachiketa arrived, but the Lord of Death makes no effort to make excuses for the fact that Nachiketa was kept waiting.

We discussed how Nachiketa's 3-day fast was a metaphor for the shedding of the gross body (sthula shariram), subtle body (sukshma shariram), and causal body (karana shariram).

We also talked about how these mantras show that the Law of Karma applies to powerful and weak alike. Using an example from another episode in the Puranas, we discussed how Lord Krishna was cursed by Gandhari, whose piety gave her enormous shakti. Even though Lord Krishna had taken every action to uphold Dharma, He had to suffer the effect of the sorrow He had caused.

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