top of page

It's all in the name: Nachiketa

Don’t know about you but we find the name Nachiketa ek dum fascinating and we simply had to search for its origin. Look what we found!

The Kathoponishad narrates a story, the protagonist of which is a young Brahmin boy named Nachiketa.

On seeing a king perform a false sacrifice by giving away his useless belongings, Nachiketa experiences a kind of awakening. He realizes that all this is pretence and what one needs to possess is shradhha towards what one must do. Immediately, he realizes he is different from the ordinary people around him. The boy tells himself: "I am superior to many, inferior to a few, but nowhere am I the last, I can do something worthwhile." And as his boldness increases, he becomes determined to solve a problem that has been persisting in his mind for long, that of death.

He pesters his father for the answer and an irritated father tells him that the answer could be given only by going to the house of Death. And to the house of Death, the young boy goes. Yama, The Lord of Death, first amused, then He gets angry, then He offers Nachiketa any wealth the latter desires to possess if he desists from asking that one question- What is death?

But the young boy's shradhha is intense. He persists in his quest for the Truth, he waits for three days at the entrance of the kingdom of Death, without food and sleep. Yama relents and teaches the boy the unknowable Truth- a question to which only He knows the answer. And the boy returned from where no man had returned before.

Here and now, we have another Nachiketa. He is Flight Lieutenant, and he flew to the skies, too , to solve his, and the Nation's Problem.-that of the Death and the destruction of Pakistani backed Mercenaries who had infiltrated into India. This Nachiketa too went to the kingdom of death. And this Nachiketa too had returned from Death. Who doubts that he has seen death from such close quarters? Thanks for Living up to your name, Fl. Lt. Nachiketa.

By S. Raghotham in The Backbeat section, Times of India, June 7th 1999.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Sikhism: Why are Sikh names so patterned?

If one does a sample study of Sikh names even upto 1920s, most of them had no suffixes and prefixes. They were simple names like Bhagat, Uddham, Kehar, Vazir, Ram, Bishen, Kishan, Arjan, Bir, Zorawar,

North Indian vs South Indian

In Tamil, and sometimes other southern languages, names end in '-an' when a person is named after a god, such as Ramnath, Badrinath, Narayan etc. These become Ramanathan, Badrinathan, Narayanan etc. t

Common List of Hindu Names

You may know that the three most common lists of religious hindu names are 1) The Vishnu Sahasranamam 2) The Lalitha Sahasranamam and 3) the less well know Shiva Sahasranamam. Each has 1008 names of t


bottom of page