Nachiketa, what a character!


Today I will try to introduce Naciketa, the hero of Kathopanishad.  It is so strange, king, educated, knows everything, has people, wealth everything under his control ends up being stupid. And a kid, his own kid, not even finishing his schooling, less than 7 years old kid, supposed to be nobody, neither having money nor having people, nothing under his control, ends up being a hero. Strange are the drama of the Cosmos. So the underlying truth, what our society or country respect may be totally different from what Cosmos expects or what Cosmos respect.

Please listen, Nachiketa, kid, kid means real kid, not portrayed as kid real kid, he became the source of enlightenment for billions to come in the future. Please understand, Kathopanishad is the Hindu Book of Dead and death.

If you have read Tibetan Book of Dead, you will understand, every idea represented in that book is from this book. This is the Source book, anywhere, any research, any understanding, any intuition, any sacred secret, any revelation about death, it is from this source, and many conclusion, humanity is yet to arrive is already revealed in this book. It is THE book.

I don’t even want to say Indian book of dead and death. THE BOOK OF DEAD AND DEATH.  This is THE Book of Dead and Death.

Nachiketa, what a character!. Understand, first time, the power of innocence is so beautifully described in the authenticity of Nachiketa. Innocence is not ignorance. Innocence means staying with the simple truth till the end. Ignorance means learning to manipulate them as per your vested interest. Vajashravas learned all the truth, but unfortunately started thinking how to manipulate it for his vested interest.

Innocence, staying with the truth, staying with the simple straightforward truth forever. The ability to stay is authenticity. Please understand, truth are never complicated, but the ability to stay, establish yourself in that truth that is the real thing that need to be achieved. Nachiketa, I can just repeat this name, any number of millions of times for the strength he demonstrated.  That is why I have dedicated one section of my Gurukul to, in honor of Nachiketa. In our Gurukul, still one section of students, one sect, one group of students are addressed as Nachiketa section. He is the ideal of Indian kid. Not any other stupid that Tom Tom, Jum Jum cartoon. Nachiketa, what a character, in every street corner, we should have had Nachiketa statues. And I have decided we will start having it in all Gurukuls.

What a character. Whether is true or imagination, even Imagining a kind of character, Nachiketa’s quality, and I tell you, it is not imagination. It is real, it is true, he lived. And living, I am still awestruck by Nachiketa because I have to introduce every dimension of him. I have to introduce his innocence, I have to introduce his fearlessness. Innocence when it becomes ferocious, only then it can be fearless. Understand, innocence can be easily bullied, manipulated if it is just powerless. Any vested interest can just bully you or digest you as part of that system. Extraordinary quality before entering into the society. The ability to be ferocious about your innocence. Innocence and ability to stand with it, even the only source of your life, your dad, your king, everybody in one person is denying you.

Father himself becomes teacher, king or multiple role. If father himself is playing multiple role, those kids really become the kids who are most abused because they don’t have somebody else with whom they can vent out. If they develop completion with him in the role of the father, they carry that incompletion, if they develop incompletion with him when he does the job of the father, they carry the incompletion in the role of the teacher. There also they feel suffocated. Especially when your father is the king, that is the worst punishment for you; because you will develop every dimension he carries and you will simply be crushed because he is the only source of everything for you. Whether it is food, or knowledge, or moral support, or strength, or protection and what not; Annadaataa, Jnanadaataa, what not. Here for Naciketa, I don’t know, actually we don’t even know his mother’s name. It’s not mentioned anywhere in the Upanishad. All great successful books talk less about the author, more about the theme of the book. This trend was set by the Vedic literature, Upanishads. The theme occupies the book so much, they did not even spend two or three words to introduce Naciketa’s mother. We don’t know, how many queens Vajashravas had. Which queen’s son is Naciketa. So whatever we know based on that we can safely assume father is the only source. Whether it is a food or feeling protected or love or education because he has not yet gone to school. Till now whatever he is learning only is from his father’s lap. Means: father is literally source of every fulfillment, physical nourishment, mental fulfillment, psychological fulfillment and what not. 

Even in front of that only source of all fulfillment, listen, listen, your source of all fulfillments is your source of life. Even in front of his source of life, he is able to STAND UP uncompromisingly for the truth; he understood for his innocence ferociously. Hindus missed one thing, they carried innocence but forgot innocence needs to be clubbed with ferociousness. That is why, the other elements were able to terrorize them. Vested interest was able to bully them. Even in front of the only source of life, his father, he is able to stand up and stared at his eyes and stick to his ground.

What a power of innocence! Actually, he, able to stare at the eyes of death, only makes him a second hero. He, able to stare at the source of life, makes him first here. Understand, ability to stare at the death is not something big because you are dead, gone once for all. But the ability to LIVE holding on to what you understand as truth, there, there Naciketa stands as hero. I tell you, tons of people come and tell me. “Swamiji, I am ready to die for you” I tell them, “No, learn to live for me.” I don’t want people to die for me, I am not running a Manikarnika crematorium. Your death is not source of myLlife. If you live what I am teaching, that is source of my life. That is the joy of my life. if I am running a Manikarnika crematorium, okay, every dead body 500 rupees, come on.  I am not running Manikarnika crematorium to encourage you to die for me.

Listen, living for me! Here, Nachiketa, staring at the eyes of the source of his life. Understand, if you only know staring at the eye, you are stupid rebel. For anything and everything saying, “no, no,” tantrum throwing kid. Nachiketa is not that. Naciketa is not that! Everyone is carrying that tantrum throwing kid inside and thinks whatever that kid is throwing tantrum, he is a hero (spitting noise). Stupidity! Stupidity covered by stupidity, covered by stupidity is thinking – throwing throwing tantrum is heroism, no. Here Nachiketa is not throwing tantrum. 

See the whole Upanishadic story, no where he is hurt. Father, king, Annadaata, who is the source of his food, life, protection, political head, who is his all his source, he is saying, “I am giving you unto death, I am giving you unto death,” and he is not hurt. He is not depressed. The next line, Upanishad puts such a extraordinary poetry – śhraddhā-viveca. 

Authenticity fills Naciketa, possessed by authenticity.

I will just give the brief outline of the story. Nachiketa’s father, out of his greed, instead of doing the real charity to have the heaven and highest pleasures. Let me correct myself, heaven which you read in the western literature is not the Swarga mentioned in the eastern literature. Swarga is different, heaven is different; because no other word I am using the word ‘heaven’. English only has that word, so I am using that word, heaven.

Swarga means completion within oneself. Sva-arga – Svarga means settled within oneself. Settled within the Source of oneself.  When his father, Naciketa’s  father, Vajashravas is doing the mistake of not being responsible, doing  responsible charity, just trying to throwing away all the unnecessary things in the name of charity, cleaning the garage is what he is calling as charity. Cleaning the garage and throwing away all the unnecessary items is not charity.

Please understand, instead of throwing, giving it to somebody for whom it is useful, is good, but don’t call it as – charity. It can be charitable act but not charity itself. Literally Vajashravas is doing garage cleaning. A large country must be having large unused or unmaintainable items. So whatever he is not able to maintain, he is just disposing them off in the name of charity so that somebody else will maintain. When Naciketa saw this, he did not keep quiet. Most of us will keep quiet because of our vested interest are more important than the inauthenticity going on in front of your eyes and he goes and questions his own father. Not directly, because he is not tantrum throwing child. He is not hurting the father and he cannot be hurt.

Understand, be very clear, when you don’t hurt the world, the world cannot hurt you. It’s a law of life.

When people try to hurt me, all my disciples are perturbed shocked. I said – don’t worry, I have never hurt the world, and the world cannot hurt me. World has no power to hurt me, because I have never hurt the world. I tell you, only when you hurt, you give them the right to hurt you.

Only when you criticize, you give them the right to criticize you back. The greatest protection, Kalabhairava Raksha, I am giving you: never hurt others, that is the greatest protection. Because as law of life, when you don’t hurt others, you can’t be hurt, no power can hurt you. I tell you, it is a commitment from Kalabhairava.

This kid, less than 7-year-old kid, without any vested interest, standing up and staring into the eyes of his father, who is only source of his life, and without hurting him. He is not hurting him. He is not straight away fighting with the father. “Aye, what are you doing? You are doing wrong!” No, he very gently trying to remind him. Please understand, Anja chakra, the third eye is the place of your ego, any strong way of telling, your ego will only flare up, it will never listen. It will only say, “ahun!” The beauty of innocence, Naciketa. Actually, you can’t perfect his action and reaction described in Upanishad. Such beautiful action and reaction!

I really want to make a serial out of this Upanishad because, the child need to be shown for you to catch what Naciketa has gone through and how he responded. You need to see visually, only then you will understand what power of ferocious innocence. Innocence extraordinary. He goes and asks his father, “Dad, to whom are you going to give me?” — because he is trying to remind the original vākya, the verse, truth, instructions of the Vedas to his father, the original verse in the Vedas. The original instruction of the Yajna, all the best thing you have, all the best things you love in your life, you have to give away, and please understand, really, really, really Vajashravas loved Naciketa. Understand, anybody who wants heaven will have deep love for his next generation because only through this way, he is trying to continue to live after death.

Understand, Vajashravas maybe a good or bad person in any field. In some fields, he may be good, in some fields, he may be bad, but I can never doubt or suspect his love for Nachiketa because anybody who has an insecurity about life will have a deep love for the kid and next generation, it’s a law of life. Heaven itself is just your effort for extension and the kid, son or daughter is physical extension of you. That is why, whatever you cannot fulfill, whatever you did not, you could not, you try to fulfill thorough your son and the daughter and the grandkids.

Nachiketa is gently reminding the father, “you are suppose to give away all the things you love and best things you think you have.”

Understand, the description is so beautiful, whatever society thinks is best which you are having, whatever you think the best you are having, both should be given away. He is trying to remind the original verse to his father without throwing tantrum or having that feeling that I am holier than you –śhraddhyā deyam – Taittiriya Upanishad, Shiksha Valli (11) puts it beautifully –  whenever you give, give with authenticity. Give with tremendous good words, love. Give before even your second thought intervenes and makes you poor and insecure. Understand, this is the science of Giving. The moment your heart feels the joy and expansion wants to give, releases the thought current to give, your Svadhisthana [chakra], insecurities jumps up and, “umh umh…umh….what will happen to me?” Before that jumps up  and tells  you, “you are insecure, what will happen.. your securities.” Before your Svadhisthana jumps in front of Anāhata [heart chakra], stretch your hand and give it. Finish it off. śraddhayā deyam – understand, inauthenticity is so powerless, even a gentle reminder, makes it itself feel powerless. Vajashravas is shivering in front of his own son. He must have become very old, calculative, tired, powerless, insecure, because of all these, cunning. See the stupidity of the inauthenticity. It never catches the mathematics of life. The mathematics of the macrocosm is never understood by inauthenticity. Vajashravas, who loves the extension in heaven and in earth., extension in heaven, extension in earth is the your son and the daughter and the progeny; who loves such much for which he is doing all havan [fire sacrifice], charity, everything. He goes crazy and literally commit suicide by uttering the word, “ I give you unto Death.”  This is what he utters to Nachiketa. The beauty is – you cannot kill innocence, truth. You can try to put the truth into death, but it will survive and come back as immortal. The whole story, highest possible description, I don’t think any storywriter could have imagine the character more than Nachiketa. 

People tell me, thinking that they are abusing Vyasa, they tell me, “Ah, it’s all Vyasa’s imagination, this whole Mahabharata and everything, it’s all Vyasa’s imagination.”

I tell them, “Fool, if you say it is his imagination, don’t think you are abusing Vyasa, you are giving him the best possible credit.” Please understand, if it is really happened and he recorded, he is only a person recording the history. If it is his imagination, I will just bow down to him – he is God, nobody else other than God can imagine the characters of Mahabharat and put it so beautifully. He must have been the storywriter of the Cosmos, not just one scriptwriter for a movie or a show. Vyasa, of course, the story really happened. Vyasa is Bhagavan Himself, for the kind of a integrity and authenticity He maintained. Even the character of Naciketa, you can’t portrayed, you can’t better it. He is not throwing tantrum. The child which throws tantrum will not bother to hurt others, it is filled with he, he, and he and his vested interest. Naciketa is not tantrum throwing child; he is authenticity personified. Authentically authentic. Authority of the authenticity! What a power! What a power! He is able to stare into his father’s eyes who is source of his life. Everything he knows as he and his future, is at stake by staring into the eyes of his father. But he decides, because he is not interested in hurting his father, he is interested in raising him to the level of authenticity. He is only interested in supporting him.

Authenticity never hurts others. It makes you authoritative but non-violent. A non-violent authority. Authenticity makes you authority but non-violent. Non-violent authority very paradoxical because authority is always connected with power over others but when you have power over you, the power over others, never hurts others.

What a kid! Every word he utters, every action he did, every smile he showed. Every moment of the courage he demonstrated. I will spend little time and direct a serial on Upanishads; because what he demonstrated should be shown visually not just the words, the garland of words are not enough respect for Naciketa. It should be demonstrated, that is the greatest honor we will be doing to him. By honoring him, we will make him the ideal for the next generation kids, the new generation kids. Naciketa, the only hope for new gen.

Nachiketa, what a character! What a story, what an amazing context set for the greatest discourse delivered on Life and Death. Setting the context, god! I am proud that I had such forefathers, whose achievements are still not only not broken can never be broken. Go back to Upanishads, drink deep the juice of the knowledge and let that be pride for you. That will build your future. Build the future from this great, great source of knowledge and bliss. 

For Nachiketa his father is his teacher, because the Upanishad says very clearly, among the student, Nachiketa contemplates, among his students, I stand first, means: he was studying also under Vajashravas. So his father is king and teacher, god! But he is able to stand up, the authority of the authenticity. I will continue to expand on Naciketa. I myself is in joy, when I remember Nachiketa. To tell you honestly, literally overflowing with love when I remember the courage and authority he demonstrated. Wow, what a character, what a character! My ideal! I was fortunate enough to have an amazing person as my grandfather. I still remember, holding me in the shoulders, every pillar in Tiruvannamalai Temple, he will take me and explain the stories. Some of the great stories I heard from him, his own mouth is — Markandeya, the great Saint Kannappa, and Nachiketa, Prahlad. I am going to honor all those stone pillars by replicating them in Bidadi temple; with one more statue of my grandfather carrying me on his shoulder and showing all these and explaining. Thanks to the time he spent on me explaining all these beautiful, beautiful ideals even before I entered the human society. What an amazing preparation he has done!

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