(Day - 3)
*Chapter 1: At the door of death*
उशन् ह वै वाजश्रवसः सर्ववेदसं ददौ । तस्य ह नचिकेता नाम पुत्र आस ॥
The Vishwajit yagna was done by Vajashravas and he gave away whatever he had, in the ceremony. He had a small eight year old son. His name was Nachiketa.
तँ ह कुमारँ सन्तं दक्षिणासु नीयमानासु श्रद्धाविवेश सोऽमन्यत ॥
He saw his father giving everything away. He was running around and observing what his father was doing. He was watching everything with a lot of faith, “Oh. Father is doing all this. He is doing such a great job. He has given everything away.” He also saw his father giving away cattle which were old. He noted that his father was giving away things which were not useful also. His father would not get any merit out of that. Children are very smart, smarter than their parents. They are also so innocent.
पीतोदका जग्धतृणा दुग्धदोहा निरिन्द्रियाः । अनन्दा नाम ते लोकास्तान् स गच्छति ता ददत् ॥
Sometimes people give away things which are of no use to them, like old clothes. When the tsunami hit (South East Asia, 2004), we were involved with relief work and we donated many clothes. Nobody wants to take old clothes. Even poor people dumped them back. So, we had to burn them all. Even the poorest of people want to have something new.
स होवाच पितरं तत कस्मै मां दास्यसीति । द्वितीयं तृतीयं तँ होवाच मृत्यवे त्वा ददामीती ॥
When Nachiketa saw old things being given away, he thought, “This is not good. This is not going to bring merit to my father. My father is so possessive of me. He should give me away too.” He went and asked his father, “To whom are you going to give me?” Vajashrvas was engaged in something and did not reply. Nachiketa kept asking the same question again and again, pulling and bothering him. Finally, Vajashravas got irritated and said, “I give you to death. Get lost.”
If you see the world from a child’s mind, it is a very simple and beautiful place. A child’s mind doesn’t know what victory or loss is and what gain is? There is no such restriction, no such barriers. I remember once, when my sister was very young, she came back from school and told mother that she got zero in maths test. She was happily jumping around and saying, “I failed today. I failed today". You should be sad about failing. That’s what parents teach children, that failing is not good. But she was happy and telling everybody that she failed. What is failure, what is success? For a child it doesn’t matter. Once, my sister and I went to uncle’s house. He had used all the official leaves that he got from his office. He informed his office that he was sick so that he could take us for a picnic. But someone from his office came to the house and my sister told him, “Uncle is saying he is sick and he is taking us out for a picnic.” When my uncle heard this, he said, “My reputation has gone.” My sister asked immediately, “Where did it go?”
Nachiketa asked his father to whom he is going to give him? He asked with much faith and innocence. Vajashravas said, “I give you to death.” Fathers and mothers usually tell us to get lost but they really don’t mean it. Nachiketa said, “Yes, this is the place where everybody dies. So many have died and those who are living will also be dead. Those who will come in the future will also die. When death is certain, let me go there now.”
It is very similar to what Lord Buddha experienced. Buddha never knew what death was. Astrologers and priests told his parents that Buddha should never see death. If he sees death then you will lose him. But one day Buddha compelled his charioteer to take him out, and when he went out, he saw an old person for the first time in his life. He asked his charioteer about it. His charioteer said, “He is an old man and that we all will be one day.” Buddha was a young boy, just 20 years old. When he heard that, he said, “I have already become old. If this is what is going to happen for sure, then it has already happened.” Then he saw a corpse, and asked what it was. His charioteer said. “This also will happen to everybody. When you are dead, four people will carry you and you will be cremated.” Buddha said, “I am already dead. I have that experience right now.” *If the mind is sharp, you don’t wait for the experience to happen to you.* Anyone’s experience becomes your own experience. _You don’t have to go there and experience all the suffering_. You look at the suffering and you think, “I have already suffered.” The intellect reflects that experience.
To be continued....