Kathopnishad – Nachiketa Yamraj Dialogue on Agni

Kathopnishad – Nachiketa Yamraj Dialogue on Agni

Yamraj gave three boons to Nachiketa as he had been waiting for three days at his doorstep after being his father gave him away to Yamraj. The first boon that he asked was that his father should love him as before and he should not have any grudge against me anymore. Yama granted that.

The second boon Nachiketa asked Yamraj to explain how one gets to Swarg. That is a place where there is no fear of ageing; there is no hunger or anger. The path to that Swarg is through knowledge of Agni. So Nachiketa asked to be introduced to this knowledge. Once one has this knowledge, he becomes immortal. Here the sutra is ‘Shradhhya Satyamapte’ meaning, Shradhha – Devotion leads to Satya- Truth. Like we see through eyes and hear through ears, so we can know truth through devotion.

So Yamraj said that this Agni Vidya is very complicated but I will teach you because I can see your determination. So Yamraj explained to him the process of Agni, what type and how many bricks are to be chosen and how the whole process is to be undertaken. Now Agni here is not just fire that is lit. It is the energy and anyone who harnesses that, can become immortal.

Agni is of many types. In Upanishads, there are many hidden meaning of what is being said. For example, Yamraj explains about ‘Ishtaka’, meaning ‘eent’ or brick. But ‘Ishtaka here is not just the material brick. The word is also used for units required to get an Isht- desired thing. Here Yamraj is talking about the units of fire. This includes, calories, lumosity, colour spectrum etc. We know that one of the measurements of energy is calories. So if one gains knowledge about energy and how to use it in our body will live a long life.

Agni is of different types. Jathragni, – Fire in the belly due to hunger. How to light that in the right amount and at the right time, is important. Yagyagni,- energy produced during a yagya by lighting sacred fire and chanting correct mantras, thus creating specific sound waves which affect our pressure points. Then there is Kamagni, – our libido. If this libido is channeled in the right way, it gives us energy but if not controlled, one gets entangled in sensual pleasures and loses one’s goals.

We also have Krodhagni, – our anger. Anger if controlled and used at the right time and in right amount without actually getting angry, can help us in difficult situations. Bhagwan Krishna got angry with Shishupal and beheaded him with his Sudarshan Chakra but he did not let his anger get the better of him.

The Gyanagni,- knowledge which comes from scriptures makes our life peaceful. All these energies when harnessed judicially, give us the knowledge to lead a long and healthy life. Yamraj gave him the secret of organizing the energy sources.

This knowledge is deep so it is not taught to everyone. Only person who is mentally and spiritually prepared is given this knowledge. So why Nachiketa? Because the meaning of word Nachiketa is detached. Only a detached person can discipline himself in the pursuit of truth. People interested in material things waste their energy in acquiring material comforts but a yogi can do the penance for the truth.

In the next article, I will discuss the third boon grated to Nachiketa by Yamraj. Till then,

Satya sanatan dharm ki jai


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