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20-The Other Shore

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Kathopanishad-Page 20
p 242-245

The Other Shore

[242] When you breakthrough the surface of awareness in meditation, you may feel, you have drifted away in a shoreless sea - Sansaar Saagar, the sea of change, the ocean of birth and death. Only after years of traveling inward, when the senses are closed to the outside world and you are miles deep in consciousness, do you catch the sight of a farther shore, beyond change, beyond separateness, beyond death. Suddenly the words of Geetaa on which you are meditating upon open up and take you in --

You were never born, how can you die?
You have never suffered change, how can you be changed?
Unborn, Eternal, immutable, immemorial,
You do not die when the body dies.

When this happens, no matter what the rest of the world says, you know for certain that you were born in this sea only to reach its other shore, which is our real home. We human beings are fortunate enough to have sails that we can set as we choose - no other creature has this capacity. Two great saints, one from east and one from west, encourage us with almost identical words - "Set your sail for the other shore." The wind is blowing, we have no choice except to move with it, but we have a sail that can be set and we have testimonies like the Kath Upanishad to give us the goal, the direction, and charts.

Shankaraachaarya Jee says - "Time is wheel with three hundred and sixty-five spokes rolling down our lives. We may run fast or go slow, but everybody is overtaken by that wheel." The world is like this, that people are not aware of what is happening on the other side of the road. If on one side of the road is a shopping complex and on the other side is a hospital, people will be dying in the hospital and other people will by busy in shopping without knowing that people are dying on the other side. How easily we are bought with a foot-long candy bar, stuffed toys, decorated T-shirts, a delicious meal, a video game ... the list is long.

Everybody has to go to Yam, as the people were going in the hospital, but Yam had no expression on his face - "I have to carry out my duties. If you choose you can pass me by." So Nachiketaa's story concludes with a blessing for us all --

Nachiketaa learned from the King of Death,
The whole discipline of meditation,
Freed from all separatedness, he attained,
Immortality in the Self. So blessed,
May we all be by realizing the Self.




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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 06/09/11