Dharam Raj was unhappy with his consorts because Nachiketa had to stay at the doorsteps for three days; unattended.
Nevertheless, he was a guest. He should have been treated well. He should have been offered some food and place to stay.
What happens next is truly amazing; something that we don’t see very often. A rare phenomenon that is hard to find in the history of Guru and Shishya (disciple) – Gyani (Enlightened) and Jigyaasu (seeker) or the king and beggar.
Dharam Raj had quickly realized that his guest is not just an ordinary young boy. He recognized the commitment and steadfast determination in young Nachiketa who waited for him for three days and nights outside the house without any kind of hospitality or food.
Therefore, Dharam Raj apologizes to him and asks for forgiveness for negligence and the mistake made by his family and servants.
He bows his head down and says to Nachiketa:
“O’ Brahmin (wise person) My prostrations to you.”
Imagine… a highly revered and powerful Guru as Dharam Raj - so powerful to be known as the ‘Lord of Death’ - doing prostrations and asking for forgiveness from an unknown young boy who has come to him as a disciple. And that too for something which is not even his fault. Remember - he was not even at home.
It would be extremely hard to find such an example of humility and righteousness in the history of religions where a Guru so powerful as the ‘Lord of Death’ - doing prostrations and asking for forgiveness from an ordinary, unknown disciple.
Usually, leaders of any political or religious organizations tend to think that they are above the law; that they do not need to apologize from anyone. However, to get applaud from the audiences, sometimes they may say some hefty words during the public lectures that they are servants of all – but usually they are quite opposite in their personal life; in their day to day dealings with others.
And here, a great and so powerful Guru Dharam Raj is personally bowing down - rather prostrating in front of a disciple and profoundly asking for forgiveness. He feels personally responsible for the actions of his people. He says “May good befall me”- implying that even he is not above the law – that even he may receive some unpleasant rewards for the wrong karmas done by his family and servants.
At the same time, he also sets an example for the future leaders and other people in power, that in order to teach their followers and subordinates, leaders and teachers must also obey the law - that the upright karmas and virtuous traditions should be taught by doing the righteous actions themselves.
As Lord Krishna said:
Yad-yad Aacharti Shrestas, Tad-tadaiv Taro janah
Sa yat Pramaanam kurute, lokas tad Anuvartatay
“Whatever a great man does, the same is done by others as well.
Whatever standard he sets, the world follows”
(Bhagavad Gita 3: 21)
This is exactly what Dharam Raj did. He was not giving a lecture to an audience.
He was sincerely and honestly asking for forgiveness from a disciple - with genuine humility.
In order to repay – to somehow compensate for his discomforts and unfriendly experience - he offered to grant three boons to Nachiketa.
Trisro Raatri Yad Avatsir grahe may,
Anashnan Brahmin Atithir namasyah
Namahstestu Brahmin, Swasti mayastu,
Tasmaat Prati trin VraanVraneeshva
“You have remained outside my house for three days and nights without any food. O’ venerable guest, my prostrations to you. And now, in return, you choose three boons. May good befall me.”
(Kathopanishad 1 – 9)
To be Continued