The Kathopanishad deals with the complex matter of life and death which is presented in the simple manner of a dialogue between the lord of death, Yama, and a little boy Nachiketa. This inspiring story of Nachiketa forms the basis of the entire Kathopanishad.
Vajasrawas, the great sage would have been much wiser
Only if he could have tried not to be a miser!
Performing a great yagya, he took a customary vow
To donate all his possessions including his cows.
And thus he began donating cows old and weak
Which didn’t yield milk and thus nobody would seek.
Standing close by was Nachiketa, his young son
Who was deeply disturbed by the parsimony being done.
Telling his father that such a sacrifice was all in vain
But no response from him caused Nachiketa much pain.
Not giving up, Nachiketa asked again and again,
“Whom will you donate me as I’m also your possession?”
The repeated question made Vajasrawas lose his patience
“I give you to Yama!” in anger, he made this statement.
Taking his father’s words as his final command
Nachiketa at once decided to go to Yama’s land.
Repenting his greed and the words said in anger,
Vajasrawas tried to dissuade by warning him of danger
But Nachiketa was ready to go to the abode of death
For his father’s word, he would readily part with his breath.
Reaching Yama’s abode, he found that Lord was away
And so without food and water, he waited for three days.
Yama on his return was deeply grieved to see this little child
Reprimanding his wife and servants, he invited Nachiketa inside.
Feeding the child lovingly and making him comfortable
For keeping a guest hungry, Yama still felt responsible.
Pleased with his sincerity, Yama granted him three boons,
Setting him free of bondage and asking him to go home soon.
Nachiketa asked for the welfare of his beloved father
And that he welcomes him back with love much stronger.
His second wish was to know how to reach heaven
Where there is no sorrow, no old age or death even.
The second wish was for to relieve mankind of it’s suffering,
So about heaven and immortality,Yama told him everything.
For the third boon, Nachiketa asked about knowledge of self
The secret of life after death he wanted to learn for himself.
Not expecting a question of such profound wisdom,
Yama offered him wealth, riches and a large kingdom.
Declining the worldly pleasures, Nachiketa insisted
On learning the secrets and being enlightened.
Realizing that this little boy was indeed a great soul,
Yama taught him the supreme knowledge of the ‘Om’.
And thus Nachiketa by being steadfast in his resolve,
Found answers to the mysteries nobody could solve.
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