Nachiketa was a young, enthusiastic and adventurous boy.
The father of Nachiketa was giving away cows, which were feeble and old, as charity.
Nachiketa requested his father not to do so.
Since it was customary to give away ones most prized possessions,
Nachiketa wondered to who, he would be given to as charity.
During those days children were considered as the property of the father and the latter could do with them as they pleased.
Nachiketa’s father said, that he would give him to Yamaraja, the god of death.
Nachiketa made his way to the court of Yamaraja. Nachiketa waited patiently for Yamaraja to return as the latter was away.
Nachiketa remained at the door step of Yamaraja for 3 days and 3 nights without food or water.
On Yamaraja’s return, the latter asked Nachiketa to ask for 3 boons.
Nachiketa asked that his father should never get angry, but always remain peaceful and happy.
One of Nachiketa’s wishes was that Yamaraja teach him about the science of fire that unveils the mystery of heaven. This knowledge is called ‘Agni
In heaven, Nachiketa was aware that fear, hunger, thirst and ‘old age’ had no place.
Yamaraja explained, that that mysterious fire resided in the interior cave of the human being. Also Yamaraja explained in what respect the fire was the origin of the universe.
Fire is an intelligent energy. It possesses Consciousness.
One can communicate with fire through Mantras. The Mantra awakens the external fire which in turn awakens the dormant energy within us.
There are marmasthaanas (centers of vital energy) and charkas (centers of consciousness) in our body. These points are also found in the firepit, when a Jagna (Fire sacrifice) is performed.
The fire at the navel center is the source of our existence. It is called the Manipura Chakra. This Chakra needs to be activated, whether we use rituals connected with the external fire or meditation.
Yamaraja blessed Nachiketa and said that from then on that fire would be called ‘Nachiketa
Yamaraja explained to Nachiketa the knowledge of immortality.
For that one has to learn about the Pranic forces and the channels through which they flow in the body.
These forces sometimes become entangled and they form knots. These have got to be untied so that the energies flow freely. Along with this procedure one must strive to free oneself from desires and attachments.
The ego is the root cause of all the problems. It does not want to let go of its negative tendencies, like anger, greed etc. because it feels nourished by it. It is another matter that it is due to these tendencies that the ‘false self’ also becomes miserable. The above is one of the biggest ironies of Spiritual Life.
A good seeker does not yearn for heaven, he longs for self-realization, or the experience that God and human spirit is essentially one.
This kind of non-attachment to mundane desires, opens the way for ‘parabhakti’ which is the highest form of devotion.
Nachiketa was a good student and he had a great master in the form of Yamaraja. The latter offered Nachiketa all the richest that could buy him all that he desired.
But Nachiketa was happy to know that his father was no longer angry, but happy, and he himself was happy in having learned the mysterious knowledge of the fire and how to get close to God!