|Sages,Rushis & Saints
|Biographies of Great
Indians & Hindus
Not that Sage Vajashravas had neglected this aspect. He himself had taught the rudiments
to Nachiketa. The boy was really a prodigy. He had a sharp brain. His capacity to
understand was wonderful.
One day a neighboring sage dropped in at the cottage of Vajashravas. He had brought a
mango fruit along with him for the sake of the boy.
No sooner did Nachiketa see the sage, than he prostrated before him and sat on his lap.
The sage fondled the boy and offered the fruit to him.
"I do not want this fruit" declined Nachiketa.
"Then what else do you want?' asked the sage.
"I want knowledge."
"What type of knowledge?'
"That which gives me insight."
Vajashravas who was following the conversation suddenly flared up and shouted, "You
fool! Do not talk nonsense in the presence of elders. Go inside." Nachiketa's
feelings were hurt very much. Crestfallen, he rose slowly and went into the apartment of
The guest-sage felt sorry for the child. He said to Vajashravas, "Sir, why did you
chide the boy? After the entire boy asked for knowledge and not sweetmeats. Actually you
should feel pro him. Observe the luster on his face. It is a sign of a future great man.
Kindly perform thread ceremony (Upanayana) soon and p into a school."
Vajashravas who had become speechless by then readily accepted the suggestion, "But
with one condition."
"What is it?"
"You should yourself agree to accept him as your pupil and you alone should teach him
"Certainly, with pleasure too," said the sage. "Where can I secure such a
pupil? Surely my fame will be enhanced for having taught such a pupil."
Preparations for the thread ceremony began. The 'thread ceremony' is an auspicious ritual.
The custom prevalent then was to go through this ceremony before the boy embarked upon
seeking knowledge. The boy wears a thin sacred cotton cord (called 'Yajnopaveeta' in
Sanskrit) just like a crossbelt. He becomes a 'Vatu' or Brahmacharin from that day
The ceremony was completed. Now Nachiketa was ready to proceed to his teacher's place.
Blessing his son on the occasion, Vajashravas said: "Dear child, you are welcome back
after you complete your education. While at the teacher's place, never defy him. Never
hurt his feelings by bad actions. Humility and service alone can stand you in good
The system of education in those days was different. The student had to reside with his
teacher during his studentship. The teacher who taught him the Vedas was known as Acharya.
The Student was expected strictly to abide by the words of Acharya. He had also strictly
to follow the 'discipline of the Ashram. He had to partake of the food collected from
Nachiketa was all set for departure. He prostrated to his mother and said, "Mother, I
am ready to go, I seek your blessings." In her heart of hearts Vishwavaradevi had a
feelling of joy. After all her son was departing to pursue his studies. But the fact of
parting with him made her grief-stricken. Wiping the tears from h6r eyes, she embraced him
and said, "Darling, 'henceforward you should treat your teacher and his wife, as your
Their abode is your home now. The teacher who enkindles your knowledge is the veritable
God. Follow his instructions scrupulously."
Even long after Nachiketa left his homes, his mother was still worrying about her kid. She
used to imagine his hardships at the new environment. But Vajashravas was always beside
her to console.
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