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Lord Yama, the Immortal Man, unveils the mysteries of the afterlife
The Upanishads take us straight to the heart of the metaphysical problem connected with death. By means of lively dialogue, the Katha Upanishad brings us step by step to the disclosure of the mystery of death.

The dialogue is between Yama, Lord of Death and a young brahmin, Naciketas by name. The parable of Naciketas belongs to an already highly developed stage in human consciousness. It combines the symbolism of Yama with elements of the earlier story of the Taittiriya Brahmana, thus weaving together in one artistic fabric the different threads of the Vedic tradition. Naciketas represents Man at his noblest, longing for enlightenment and realization, haunted by the problem of death. He asks Lord Yama the crucial question: “Does Man -the life principle in a Man–continue to exist or not after death?” Or, more tersely and more vividly: “Is he or is he not?”

Naciketas: The doubt that exists about a man when he is dead–for some say “he is ” and others, “he is not “–about that I would clearly know, instructed by you. This is my third and final favor.

Yama: The hard-to-perceive and wrapped in mystery, set in the cave and hidden in the depth–he who, wise indeed, realizes this as God, by means of an awareness centered on the Self, leaves far ehind both joy and sorrow. The man who has understood and grasped this well, who, stripping off all else, has plumbed this mystery, will rejoice, having obtained what merits rejoicing. For you, I think, the house is wide open, Naciketas!

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