Katha Upanishad

The 108 Upanishads can be considered the core text of the Advaita philosophy.  In this video Dr Stephen Thompson along with Gabriella Brunel and Linda Thompson take us through some key points of the Katha Upanishad.

The Katha Upanishad consists of two chapters (Adhyāyas), each divided into three sections (Vallis). The Upanishad is the story of a little boy called Naciketas.  His father, Sage Vājaśravasa, desiring the fruits of sacrifice, gives away all his worn out cows as wealth. When Naciketas points out the inadequacy of his gifts, in anger, his father sends him to the abode of Death (Yama).  Here the boy has to wait for three nights without food. This attracts the attention of Death, who offers Naciketas three boons for his deep devotion, one for each of the nights.

The conversation between Naciketas and Death ascends to the nature of man, knowledge, Ātman (Soul, Self) and mokṣa (liberation).  This is one of the great conversations of ancient Upanishadic philosophy.

About the Speakers:

The Revd. Dr Stephen Thompson first experienced the power and beauty of the Sanskrit language through studying Advaita Philosophy at the School of Economic Science  over thirty years ago. This enabled him to study Greek and Hebrew with fresh insights.  After obtaining degrees in Sociology and Theology, Stephen completed a four year degree in Sanskrit at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, followed by an MPhil and PhD at the Centre for Advanced Sanskrit Studies at the University of Poona. He has translated a major portion of the Mahabhashya of Patanjali into English for the first time, under the guidance of the famous Pandit Bhagavat Shastri.  In recent years he has also been teaching Sanskrit at Middlesex University to BA Ayurveda students.

Gabriella Burnel holds a Sanskrit Degree from Oxford University, and is now continuing study in India, exploring connection between Vedic Chants and Healing. Gabriella teaches both music and Sanskrit, and leads regular chanting sessions in UK.

Linda Thompson is a teacher and practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine.  She is currently researching the Eastern philosophy underpinning Ayurveda treatments as a PhD student at Malta University.  She teaches Ayurveda at the School of Philosophy and Economic Science.

This event was organised by the Chetana Trust and hosted by the School of Economic Science.