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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Wisdom of Death

By Indian Literature

From the ‘Katha Upanishad’: Translation of Edward Washburn Hopkins

DEATH spoke, and said:—Pleasure is one thing; happiness another: both with different cords bind a man. He that chooses happiness [instead of pleasure] attains bliss. He that chooses pleasure loses his aim. There is no future for the fool who seeks pleasure, who is befooled by love of wealth. “This is the world, there is no other.” If one thinks thus, he comes again and again into my power. He who by union with the Spirit [all-soul] comprehends God, who is hard to know, who is concealed, the Old One, he, the wise man, leaves behind him joy and sorrow. The Spirit is finer than fine, greater than great, concealed in the inner part of all beings. He who has no more wishes and is free from care, he sees the greatness of the Spirit, by the mercy of the Creator. This Spirit [all-soul] cannot be grasped by means of the Brāhmanas, nor by means of reason, nor by means of deep study. He whom the Spirit chooses for his own, only he can comprehend the Spirit. This Spirit is hidden in all beings. He does not appear, but he is recognized by the high and fine intuition of the wise. Stand up! awake! Be watchful and attain royal blessings. Narrow is the path, so say the wise, narrow and sharp as a razor’s edge…. When all desires of the heart shall cease, then man becomes immortal; then he attains to union with absolute being.