Paradise Found: Transforming Hell into Heaven
Paradise of a Yogi: Lessons from Katha Upanishad
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
June 7, 2018
Transformation here brings transformation hereafter. Unless we bring a qualitative change in our tastes and interests, we’ll continue to make poor choices. What we call hell is simply a result of poor choices.
To be born as a human is a great gift. To die without knowing what this great gift is all about is the greatest loss. Human life brings with it the opportunity to recognize our potentials and to unfold them to their fullest capacity. As humans, we are endowed with a beautiful body with wonderful limbs and organs. How efficient and functional are our hands and feet. How quick and responsive is our nervous system. How developed is our brain; how alert are our senses; how fast and powerful is our mind; how sharp is our intellect; how crisp and well defined is our ego; how accurate is our intuition; and yet, how poor we are in utilizing all these priceless gifts.
We abuse our body, misuse our senses, and exploit our wit. Intuition tells us that we are children of immortality, and yet we submit ourselves to the cravings of our flesh. We have been given the tools and means to fill our mind with divine thoughts and yet, due to carelessness, we let base emotions and primitive urges fill that sacred space. It is this carelessness that makes us forget that we are the creators of our destiny. Hell and heaven are a continuation of our hellish and heavenly conditions of mind, and those conditions are subject to change—provided we wish to do so.
Nachiketa’s next question takes the discussion on matters pertaining to heaven and hell to a much deeper level. Upon hearing of the mind’s ability to create a joyful world that continues to grow and eventually turns into heaven, Nachiketa asked, “So, is heaven only a figment of our mind? What about the reality of heaven and hell described in the scriptures? Once created in the mind, will they exist forever? We are also told that there are rituals that entitle us to heaven and protect us from going to hell. The sages proclaim that fire rituals are the surest means for getting to heaven. Is this proclamation only symbolic?”
The master, Yamaraja, answered, “This world is full of mystery. This mystery can be unveiled only upon entering the cave of one’s heart. What people call spirituality or spiritual science simply refers to the process of lifting the veils that cover the cave of the heart. Deep in the heart resides the self-effulgent light of the soul, the light of absolute truth. Unless we lift all these veils one by one, face the light directly, and become one with the reality that shines eternally, we will continue manufacturing endless questions, and those questions will continue demanding answers.”
Pursuit of Power and Freedom
This is a new translation, with an extensive commentary, of the Katha Upanishad. It is a dialogue between an accomplished master, Yamaraja, and an ardent seeker, Nachiketa. Their burning desire for unveiling the mysteries of life enabled them to invest all their resources – physical, mental, and spiritual – in the pursuit to live and not to die.
Source: Pursuit of Power and Freedom (Pandit Rajmani Tigunait)
About the Teacher