|"N" for Nachiketa|
Indian culture has its philosophical roots in the great book of Vedas. Vedas are rich in philosophy and also explains such philosophy using stories which can be understood by all. The story of Nachiketa, a young boy and his journey of acquiring the truth of life, is narrated in the holy book of Vedas.
'Kathopanishad' in the Krishna- Yajurveda, has elaborately described Nachiketa's visit to Lord Yama, the boons he acquired, and the details regarding the teachings of Yama and other things. The book is read even today with great devotion. It has been translated into many major languages of the world. The learned men even outside India have written treatises upon it. We are proud that this young sage Nachiketa is from our country.
Uddalak father of Nachiketa was gifting away old cows which could barely give any milk, to sages during a religious yagna. Nachiketa understood the motive of his father's action and could not tolerate the wrong act. He realised that his father was keeping the healthy cow for his son and so decided to stop such wrong acts. He stood before his father and asked "To whom are you giving me?" The father did not pay heed, being too busy donating the old cows. Nachiketa again asked the same question; he repeated his question three or four times.
Uddalak could not control himself; he became angry and hastily said that he was giving the boy to YamaRaj, King of Death.
Uddalak realised his mistake and pleaded him to forgive, when Nachiketa started going away in the woods. But Nachiketa was firm. He could not be persuaded to stay back. Folding his hands Nachiketa said to his father: "My revered father, I was told by you that for the past twenty one generations, our ancestors never went back on their word. Father I do not want to disobey your orders under any circumstances. I need your blessings."
Nachiketa argued with conviction and quoted philosophical treaties against his father who had no answer to his argument. He explained how Death was not frightful but just the means to change the body and to acquire a new form. He explained a man became immortal only through his actions. Nachiketa touched the feet of his father and started along the path to the Kingdom of Death. Every person present was struck with awe and wonder at the faith and courage of this little boy who was only eight years old. Nachiketa was full of joy as he walked away, because he had prevailed upon his father, but with every step the road became more and more difficult. There were furious animals and demons, who tried to stop the boy and send him back, but he did not pay heed to them, nor was he afraid. When he reached the door of Yamaraj's castle, the gaurd told him that Yama Raj had gone out. Yama's guards would not allow anyone to enter the palace in his absence, so it was better for the boy to return home. But Nachiketa was determined to wait. He waited for many days; he did not eat or drink or sleep.
After many days Yama Raj came back. As he was about to enter his castle he saw the brave and fearless lad. Yama Raj was attracted towards the boy and asked for the purpose of his visit. One of the watchmen briefed Yamraj as how Nachiketa was waiting to meet him and has spent many days without eating or drinking. Yamaraj's heart was touched; he rushed to the boy and embraced him saying, "Oh my dear boy! Who are you? For what have you come here?’
Nachiketa explained everything about his father and the purpose of his coming. Yamaraj became very pleased on hearing about the behaviour of the father and the son. Yamaraj said ‘I am pleased by your brave behaviour and I would like to give you a gift.’ Nachiketa did not speak for some time and then he said, "I am your servant, I do not have much ability. You should not give me a gift unless I do some worthy act." But Yamaraj insisted as he was happy with Nachiketa. On Yamaraj’s insistence he asked for his father good health and knowledge about life. Yamaraj was happy to fulfil the first wish and asked Nachiketa to ask for anything else other than knowledge of life. But young Nachiketa persisted and Yamaraj had to yield in the end. The God of Death taught him the knowledge of Life.
Nachiketa is a tale about perseverance, humility, clarity of goal against all odds, respect for elders and more important nothing is impossible to achieve if we have the will to achieve.
|"A" for Abhimanyu|
|“B” for Bharat|
|“C” for Chandra Shekhar Azad|
|“D” for Dhruv|
|“E” for Eklavya|
|“F” for Fateh Singh|
|“G” for Gautam Buddha|
|“H” for Hanuman|
|Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar|
|“K” for Karna|
|Lal Bahadur Shastri|
|"N" for Nachiketa|
|"O" for Oppenheimer|
|"P" for Prahlad|
|"R" for Rabindranath Tagore|
|"S" for Adi Shankaracharya|