Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Story of Nachiketa (Kathopanishad) Part 4

Nachiketa confronts his father and tells him that his supposedly charitable actions are useless. Gautam, Nachiketa’s father found his remarks disrespectful and insulting.
And when Nachiketa asked: “To whom you shall give me?”
He became extremely angry and shouted “To death shall I give you”

I am sure we all would feel that it was wrong for the father to speak such harsh words to his son. A Father is supposed to love and take care of all his children, even if they are at fault and never have any ill-wishes towards them. Nachiketa’s father loved his son and his outburst was out of anger, not from heart.

At times, under certain circumstances, most people react out of momentary anger by shouting phrases like “I am gonna kill you” or “you are asking for your death warrant or “go to hell’ etc. If there isn’t true understanding between the parents and children, then such dialogues can have serious consequences, pull apart relationships, and even split up families.

But we can understand from his previous observations- and will see more as the story unfolds- that Nachiketa was not an ordinary child. Even at such tender age, he was very wise and seems to have learned the scriptures as well. He did not react in the same way; in anger, because he knew his father did not really mean what he said. He knew his father loved him very much and did not have any ill-wishes towards him.

Nachiketa also loved and respected his father very much and considered him as his mentor and Guru. He wanted to obey his father. He wanted to do whatever his father wanted him to do. So he began to think “what did my father really mean when he said, ‘To death shall I give you’.  It cannot be what it sounds like…there must be a deeper meaning to what he said”.
He was too wise to take those words at the face value and began to ponder.
Since he had studied the Scriptures, he knew that a learned man, such as his father, knows very well that ‘no one dies before their time'.
“Perhaps by saying ‘to death shall I give you’, my father wants to send me away to find out and understand about Death", he thought.

Considering his father was too busy with his project of the Yagna, Nachiketa decided to embark on the journey on his own - to meet the Yam Raj - to find ‘Death’.

                              ‘Rajan Sachdeva’

(To be continued)

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite stories from the Shastras, in the end death is really our Guru from the standpoint that we ask yourself what really is life. There was a movie starring Kennu Reaves about the Buddha, and in the movie before Gautam Buddha Ji becomes The Buddha he sees a sick person, and old person, finally a dead person and ashes. He picks up the ashes in his hands and says, is this it......2 yrs ago we did put the remains of my Mom in the river, and actually it is one of the first places in Canada the Government has allowed Hindus and Sikhs to dispose of ashes in this beautiful location. Our family was one of the first families who were able to do this thanks to some really Hard Working Senior Citizens in the Indian Community here. Anyway, when I started disposing the ashes and seeing the ash, I was in awe....This dust was once my Mom a living breathing person who gave birth to me nurtured me and everything...I was remembering the Gurbani Shabad which spoke about how Power, Wealth, Youth etc is all dust !


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