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Discrimination And Dispassion Of Nachiketa

The absorbing and illuminating dialogue between Yama and Nachiketa in the Katha Upanishad remain unparalleled.

Nachiketa wished to acquire the knowledge of the Self. Yama was not keen to grant this request and tried to tempt Nachiketa in various ways: ‘Ask for sons and grandsons who shall live a hundred years; partake freely of cattle, elephant, horses, and gold; choose a vast dominion on earth, and live as many years as you wish. ... Whatever desires are difficult to satisfy in this world of mortals, choose them as you wish: these fair maidens, with their chariots and musical instruments — men cannot obtain them. I give them to you and they shall wait upon you. But do not ask me about death.’

Nachiketa was discrimination and renunciation personified, and rejected all these offers: ‘O Death, these will endure only till the morrow; besides, they exhaust the vigour of the senses. Even the longest life is short indeed; so keep your horses, dances, and songs for yourself ’ (1.1.26).

Renunciation is the sine qua non of Self-knowledge. Nachiketa proved that he was steadfast in his renunciation. Yama had to agree: ‘I consider you fit for knowledge (of the Self )’ (1.2.4). Swami Vivekananda remarks: ‘Note here the conditions of imparting the truth. First, the purity—a boy, a
pure, unclouded soul, asking the secret of the universe. Second, that he must take truth for truth’s
sake alone.


Take Truth For Truth's Sake Alone

"Take truth for truth's sake alone" is a statement that emphasizes the importance of valuing and seeking truth for its own intrinsic worth. This perspective encourages individuals to prioritize the pursuit of truth without being swayed by personal biases, preconceived notions, or ulterior motives. Let's explore this concept further:

  1. Objective Pursuit: Embracing truth for its own sake suggests a commitment to objective inquiry and an honest exploration of facts. It implies a willingness to accept the reality of a situation, even if it challenges one's beliefs or preferences.

  2. Intellectual Integrity: Valuing truth for its own sake requires intellectual integrity. It encourages individuals to be open-minded, critically evaluate information, and adjust their views based on evidence. This approach fosters a culture of intellectual honesty.

  3. Resisting Bias: The phrase advocates for the detachment of truth-seeking from personal interests or biases. It encourages individuals to examine information objectively, avoiding the distortion that can arise from subjective perspectives.

  4. Ethical Considerations: Taking truth for truth's sake aligns with ethical considerations. Honest and transparent communication is foundational for ethical behavior, whether in personal relationships, professional settings, or societal interactions.

  5. Building Trust: Prioritizing truth enhances trust in relationships and institutions. When people consistently prioritize truthfulness, it contributes to a more reliable and trustworthy environment, fostering positive connections and collaborations.

  6. Learning and Growth: Seeking truth for its own sake fosters a mindset of continuous learning and growth. It acknowledges that understanding evolves over time, and new information may reshape one's perspective.

  7. Scientific Inquiry: In scientific endeavors, the pursuit of truth for its own sake is fundamental. Scientists aim to uncover truths about the natural world without being constrained by preconceived notions or desired outcomes.

  8. Critical Thinking: Embracing truth for its own sake is closely linked to critical thinking. It encourages individuals to question assumptions, analyze evidence, and arrive at conclusions based on reasoned judgment.

In summary, "Take truth for truth's sake alone" encourages a commitment to objective, honest, and unbiased inquiry. It champions the idea that the pursuit of truth, devoid of external influences, is a noble and valuable endeavor that can lead to personal growth, ethical conduct, and the advancement of knowledge.