By Swami Harshananda
The Kathārudropaniṣad is a minor Upaniṣad classed among those belonging to the Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda. It has 47 mantras, both in prose and ślokas. It is mainly devoted to sanyāsa or monastic life and its fruits viz, the knowledge of Brahman.
It is in the form of a dialogue between the gods and Prajāpati. Gods requested the Prajāpati to teach them brahmavidyā. On their request, Prajāpati expatiates on sanyāsa and its result.
Preachings of Kathārudropaniṣad
The Kathārudropaniṣad describes the following regulations for a person:
- A householder who desires to take to the life of a sanyāsin (monk) should ceremonially give up all the insignias of a brāhmaṇa like the śikhā (tuft of hair), yajñopavīta (sacred thread) and the Vedic fires.
- He should hand over the responsibilities of the family to the eldest son.
- While taking leave of the family members, he should not shed tears.
- It describes briefly how a person should pass through the first two stages of life, brahmacarya and gārhasthya.
- It also teaches that how should a person renounce all the things connected with them.
- A sanyāsin should not kindle the Vedic fires again.
- He should desire the well-being of all persons.
- He should move about without any fixed place for dwelling, living on alms only.
- He must also renounce all the possessions which are normally allowed for the lower type of sanyāsins, like the kamaṇḍalu (water bowl), pādukās (footwear), kanthā (covering cloth) and so on.
- He is also expected to observe brahmacarya (celibacy) very strictly.
- The Upaniṣad ends with a long description of the fruit of brahmajñāna or knowledge of Brahman, which is the same normally found in other Upaniṣads.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore