Katha Upanishad: In the House of Death

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Charles Johnston’s classic translation and commentary on one of the most profound of ancient sacred texts. The book also contains four introductory articles by Johnston, which shed much light on the Upanishads, their place in history, their influence and connection to other spiritual philosophies of the world. “Many Scriptures have been inspired by the Great Initiation, and in many is embodied the wisdom gained in the Great Initiation; were it not so, they would not be true Scriptures. There appears to be but one, known in the world today, which has taken the Great Initiation as its central theme: the Katha Upanishad, translated under the title In the House of Death. . . . “The central symbol of the Upanishad is this: The Father sends his Son into the realm of Death. After dwelling three days in the House of Death, the Son rises again and returns to his Father. . . . It represents the journey of the soul, descending into the House of Death, the world of our mortality; dwelling there three days, which represent the “three times,” threefold time, perceived as past, present and future; and finally rising again from the House of Death, and returning to the Father. And at the same time this symbolism represents the initiation of a disciple, which initiation is a representation and summing up of the soul’s journey to its divine consummation. . . . It needs no emphasis to make clear that the theme of this ancient Upanishad is the central theme of Christianity.”—Charles Johnston

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