Ideal Student

When it comes to spiritual progress why are only a few people make real progress? Why is that God’s/Guru’s grace happen to only too few people? Maybe this story from Katha Upanishad will help us understand it.


This story is about a boy named Nachiketa. Once, his father, Vajashravasa, starts ‘Vishwajit-Yajna’, which involves donating all the worldly possessions.

During Yajna Nachiketa notices that his father is donating only old cows, and other old stuff, while saving better things for his children. Nachiketa didn’t like it and felt that his father’s affection towards him is forcing him to do this cheating.

Nachiketa starts pestering his father by asking ‘who will he give him, to break this bondage’. Finally, the father gets agitated and says, ‘I will give you to death’.

Nachiketa, little perplexed, decides to go to death and arrives at Yama’s house. He stays there for 3 days, without eating anything, while waiting for Yama to talk to him. Finally, looking at Nachiketa’s perseverance, Yama decides to talk to him and offers him three boons, one for each day.

Nachiketa uses two boons, one boon for the benefit of his father and others for the benefit of society. For the third boon, he decides to get the knowledge of life, what happens after death, where we come from, where we will go, and the real meaning and purpose of life.

In return, Yama offers him other boons, by which, he will have all riches of life, houses, servants, vehicle, animals, food, long life, beautiful life partner and healthy children/grandchildren, with great name/fame, everything a human would ever want in life.

While anyone would have fallen for the counteroffer, Nachiketa sees the larger picture and rejects it saying, nothing of this last forever, and sticks to his boon of knowing about life.

Finally, Yama caves into the determination of Nachiketa and tells him everything he wanted to know, which is captured in Katha Upanishad.


So what made Nachiketa worthy of knowing the Brahma-Dnyan, and get Yama as a Guru?

1. Vivek: His ability to distinguish between permanent and non-permanent 2. Vairagya: Not have interest in things which are non-permanent
3. Mumukshatvam: Intense longing for knowledge

These are the qualities of ideal students, and If we too want to get the grace of God/Guru, we need to cultivate these qualities. All the Best!