COMPETENCE – THE ELIGIBILITY TEST
Yama Raja was extremely impressed by this request. Indeed, Yama Raja knew how many secrets this young child had asked the solutions for in this one boon. There was no option or alternative but to reveal the heart of spirituality. The lofty mental attitude and intellect of Nachiketa, (who at first seemed a mere child) had already been experienced. Nevertheless, in accordance with the established traditions, Yama Raja decided to test Nachiketa’s eligibility and only then teach him the principles. Yama Raja said, ‘देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं पुरा न हि सुविज्ञेयमणुरेष घर्मः। अन्यं वरं नचिकेतो वृणीष्व मा मोपरोत्सीरति मा सृजैनम्॥’ – ‘Devairatrãpi vichikitsitam purã na hi suvigneyamanuresha dharmaha. Anyam varam Nachiketo vruneeshva mã moparotseerati mã srujainam.’ – ‘Nachiketa! Ask for something else. What you want to know is very subtle. Even the devas have struggled to understand this matter. You are still a child. This will not be easy to understand. Ask for something else’ (Katha Upanishad: 1/1/21). In this way, he first showed him the difficulty of the topic. But, as though attaining some new enthusiasm from this matter, Nachiketa said, ‘देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं किल त्वं च मृत्यो यन्न सुविज्ञेयमात्थ।’ – ‘Devairatrãpi vichikitsitam kila tvam cha mrutyo yanna suvigneyamãttha.’ – ‘ Death! What you said has only increased my curiosity further. There must be some great secret hidden in something that even the devas struggle to attain. Therefore, even if the matter is subtle, I want to know it’ (Katha Upanishad: 1/1/22). Then Nachiketa continues to address Yama Raja, ‘वक्ता चास्य किल त्वादृगन्यो न लभ्यः’ – ‘Vaktã chãsya tvãdruganyo na labhyaha.’ – ‘When will I ever find a speaker of your calibre, who can simply explain the deepest principles lucidly?’ (Katha Upanishad: 1/1/22.) Therefore, ‘नान्यो वरस्तुल्य एतस्य कश्र्चित्’ – ‘Nãnyo varastulya etasya kashchit’ – ‘I do not feel that there is anything else worth asking for instead of this....
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