How to "Sweep Away the Rituals of the Priest and the Prowess of the Warrior"

I present a short passage from a very profound section of the "Katha Upanishad," where the king of death, Yama teaches young Nachiketa about that which is "beyond right and wrong, cause and effect, past and future."*

This passage is in the middle of a long conversation.  It may appear confusing, but meditating on these ideas is one of the main points of this passage.  At the most basic level it discusses self mastery:

The Self cannot be known by anyone
Who desists not from unrighteous ways,
Controls not his senses, stills not his mind, 
And practices not meditation.
None else can know the omnipresent Self,
Whose glory sweeps away the rituals
Of the priest and the prowess of the warrior
And puts death itself to death.

Meditation appears in many forms.  Simply put, here are examples of various ways to meditate:
  • Seated meditation, one can even chant "OM"
  • Standing meditation, like Qi Gong
  • Moving meditation like Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan, and Yoga.
On a personal note, I studied the meditative styles of martial arts. After much practice, I felt as though fighting got easier.  I was able to focus very quickly, and my movements became more efficient.

Here is a performance of a Slam style poem by the great poet and performer, Saul Williams.  In it, he relates some of the above mentioned transcendent ideas into a modern frame of reference.  Enjoy.  


The Upanishads are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma-- the cumulative effects of a persons' actions. (

Translation by: Eknath Easwaran