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“ conduct of our ancient forefathers, and observe the “ virtuous acts of cotemporary good men. Life is too short to gain advantages by means of falsehood or breach

of promise ; as man like a plant is easily destroyed, “ and again like it puts forth its form. Do you therefore surrender me to Yumu according to your promise.The youth Nuchiketa, by permission of his father, went to the habitation of Yumu. After he had remained there for three days without food or refreshment, Yumu returned to his dwelling, and was thus addressed by his family: “ A Brahmun entering a house as a guest is like fire; good householders, therefore, extinguish his anger by

offering him water, a seat, and food. Do thou, o “ Yumu! present him with water. A man deficient 6 in wisdom suffers his hopes, his sanguine expecta“ tions of success, his improvement from associating “ with good men, the benefit which he might derive “ from his affable conversation, and the fruits produced

by performance of prescribed sacrifices, and also by “ digging of wells and other pious liberal actions, as “ well as all his sons and cattle, to be destroyed, should “a Brahmun happen to remain in his house without 66 food.”

Yumu being thus admonished by his family, approached Nuchiketa and said to him; As thou, O Brahmun! “ hast lived in my house, a revered guest, for the space “ of three days and nights without food, I offer thee “ reverence in atonement, so that bliss may attend me; 66 and do thou ask three favours of me as a recompense “ for what thou hast suffered while dwelling in my house “ during these three days past.” Nuchiketa then made this as his first request, saying, “ Let, 0 Yumu! my


second request.


“father Gotum's apprehension of my death be removed, " “ his tranquillity of mind be restored, his anger against

me extinguished, and let him recognise me on my re

turn, after having been set free by thee. This is the 66 first of three favours which I ask of thee.” Yumu then replied:

" Thy father, styled Ouddaluki and Arooni, shall “ have the same regard for you as before; so that, being “ assured of thy existence, he shall, through my

power, repose the remaining nights of his life free s from sorrow, after having seen thee released from “ the grasp of death." Nuchiketa then made his

" In heaven, where there is no fear 6 whatsoever, and where even thou, O Yumu! canst “not always exercise thy authority, and where, there

fore, none dread thy power, so much as weak mortals “ of the earth, the soul, unafflicted either by thirst “ or hunger, and unmolested by sorrow, enjoys gra66 tification. As thou, O Yumu! dost possess know“ ledge respecting fire which is the means of attain

ing heaven, do thou instruct me, who am full of 6 faith, in that knowledge; for, those who enjoy “ heaven, owing to their observance of sacred fire,

are endowed with the nature of celestial deities. “ This I ask of thee, as the second favour which " thou hast offered." Yumu replied : “Being pos. “ sessed of a knowledge of fire, the means that lead to “ the enjoyment of heavenly gratifications, I impart it “to thee; which do thou attentively observe. Know “ thou fire, as means to obtain various mansions in “ heaven, as the support of the world, and as residing 6 in the body."

Yumu explained to Nuchiketa the nature of fire, as being prior to all creatures, and also the particulars of the bricks and their number, which are requisite in forming the sacred fire, as well as the mode of preserving it. The youth repeated to Yumu these instructions exactly as imparted to him; at which Yumu being pleased, again spoke.

The liberal-minded Yumu, satisfied with Nuchiketa, thus says: “I shall bestow on thee another “ favour, which is, that this sacred fire shall be styled “ after thy name; and accept thou this valuable and “ various-coloured necklace. Receiving instructions “ from parents and spiritual fathers, a person who has “ thrice collected fire, as prescribed in the l'ed, and 6 also has been in habits of performing sacrifices, “ studying the Veds, and giving alms, is not liable " to repeated birth and death : he, having known and s contemplated fire as originating from Bruhmá, pos

sessing superior understanding, full of splendour, “ and worthy of praise, enjoys the highest fruition. A " wise worshipper of sacred fire, who, understanding 6 the three things prescribed, has offered oblation “ to fire, surmounting all afflictions during life, and “ extricated from sorrow, will enjoy gratifications in « heaven.

“ This, O Nuchiketa ! is that knowledge of sacred “ fire, the means of obtaining heaven, which thou “ didst require of me as the second favour; men shall “ call it after thy name. Make, O Nuchiketa! thy " third request.”

Nuchiketa then said: “Some are of opinion that « after man's demise existence continues, and others



it ceases. Hence a doubt has arisen respecting the nature of the soul; I therefore wish to be in“ structed by thee in this matter.

This is the last “ of the favours thou hast offered.” Yumu replied: “ Even gods have doubted and disputed on this sub“ject; which being obscure, never can be thorough“ ly comprehended : Ask, o Nuchiketa! another “ favour instead of this. Do not thou take advan“ tage of my promise, but give up this request.” Nuchiketa replied: I am positively informed that “ Gods entertained doubts on this subject; and even “ thou, O Yumu! callest it difficult of comprehen66 sion.

But no instructor on this point equal to " thee can be found, and no other object is so desir" able as this.” Yumu said : “Do thou rather request “ of me to give thee sons and grandsons, each to “ attain the age of an hundred years; numbers of “ cattle, elephants, gold, and horses; also extensive

empire on earth, where thou shalt live as many years as thou wishest.

“ If thou knowest another object equally desirable “ with these, ask it; together with wealth and long “ life. Thou mayest reign, O Nuchiketa! over a great kingdom: I will enable thee to enjoy all 66 wished-for objects.

“ Ask according to thy desire all objects that are “ difficult of acquisition in the mortal world. Ask “ these beautiful women, with elegant equipages and “ musical instruments, as no man can acquire any

thing like them without our gift. Enjoy thou 66 the attendance of these women, whom I may “ bestow on thee; but do not put to me, O Nu


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“ chiketa ! the question respecting existence after 66 death.”

Nuchiketa then replied. “ The acquisition of the " enjoyments thou hast offered, 0 Yumu! is in the

first pluce doubtful; and should they be obtained, “ they destroy the strength of all the senses; and even 6 the life of Bruhmá is, indeed, comparatively short. “ Therefore let thy equipages, and thy dancing and “ music, remain with thee.

“ No man can be satisfied with riches; and as we “ have fortunately beheld thee, we may acquire wealth, 6 should we feel desirous of it; and we also may live

as long as thou exercisest the authority of the god “ of death; but the only object I desire is what I have

already begged of thee.

“ A mortal being, whose habitation is the low man'“ sion of earth, and who is liable to sudden reduction, 6c approaching the gods exempted from death and

debility, and understanding from them that there is a knowledge of futurity, should not ask of them any infe66 rior fuvour—and knowing the fleeting nature of “ music, sexual gratification, and sensual pleasures, 66 who can take delight in a long life on earth ? Do 66 thou instruct us in that knowledge which removes “ doubts respecting existence after death, and is of

great importance with a view to futurity, and which “ is obscure and acquirable with difficulty. I, Nuchi“ 'keta, cannot ask any other favour but this."

End of the first Section of the first Chapter.


Yumu now, after a sufficient trial of Nuchiketa's resolution, answers the third question, saying, Knowledge

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