The story of Nachiketa is detailed in the Katha Upanishad that was written in 5th century B.C. Nachiketa was the son of a sage called Udalak. One day, the sage conducted a yagna to appease all the Gods and Goddesses. As per the customs followed during those days, the person conducting the yagna donated cows to all the assembled Brahmins at the end of the yagna. Being a miser, Sage Udalak donated weak and old cows that did not yield any milk. This miserly attribute of Sage Udalak disturbed the young Nachiketa. The young boy asked Sage Udalak to whom he would donate his son in charity. The question angered the sage a lot. The sage replied that he would donate Nachiketa to Yama, the lord of death.
A distraught Nachiketa went to the abode of Lord Yama. The guards of Yamalok stopped Nachiketa at the gates and told him that Lord Yama is not present in Yamalok. Nachiketa decided to wait at the gates of Yamalok for Lord Yama without eating food or drinking water. Lord Yama returned to His kingdom after three days and found the young boy waiting for Him near the gates. Pleased with the devotion of Nachiketa, Lord Yama fed the young boy and gave him water to drink. The Lord of death then offered three boons to the boy. Nachiketa requested for cordial relationship with his father, knowledge that would enable him to live in heavens and finally the all powerful atmagnanam.
The story of Nachiketa glorifies devotion to one’s parents and a strong will to accomplish tasks and seek eternal happiness.
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