Parents’ affection for their children is beyond description, for it is so huge and intense. But the Vedas are a thousand times more affectionate towards all mankind, Valayapet Ramachariar said in a discourse.
Fathers and mothers are disciplinarians, who expect us to follow the rules they lay down for us. But the Vedas, which also lay down rules, make us see that to keep to them is to our benefit. The Vedas ensure that we understand the purpose of rules by giving illustrations through stories.
There is a story about how Sage Brighu, the son of Varuna, learnt the nature of Parabrahma. Brighu goes through several stages, initially thinking that food is Parabrahma, then the mind is Parabrahma and so on, until he concludes that Parabrahma is Ananda (Bliss).
There is a story in the Kathopanishad, which tells us about the dedication and determination of Nachiketas, the son of Vajasravas.
Vajasravas had just completed a yaga; it was time for him to reward the sages who had helped him. Nachiketas noticed that his father was giving away weak and thin cows, which were of no use to recipients. He thought it was a sin and asked his father to whom he was going to give Nachiketas himself. When he repeated the question, an annoyed Vajasravas replied that Nachiketas would be given to Yama, the God of Death. Nachiketas was not worried by his statement, but he was worried that he might not be of much use to Yama!
Like a crop
An atma that departs from this world is reborn, so it was like a crop being harvested, only to be replaced with another. So did Nachiketas reason with himself, and death held no fears for him.
Even as Nachiketas prepared to leave to meet Yama, a voice was heard; it assured a worried Vajasravas that no harm would befall his son. The story also shows us that one should have resolve and uprightness like Nachiketas, who, despite his young age, could see that what his father was doing was wrong. This story comes up in the Yajur Veda and the Mahabharata, besides in the Kathopanishad.