Saturday, June 25, 2016

He will sleep well......

He was watching his father Sage Vajasravasa conducting a yagna and as a part of that act giving away his possessions to others. Nachiketa, still a young boy, stood on the side observing the actions of his father. The boy was upset that some of the items given away by his father were useless and of no value to the receiver. The cows given away as a part of the religious actions in the yagna were too old, weak and unable to provide any milk to the receiver. The boy wondered as to what was the purpose of giving away such cows? He could not stop his father from these actions, but wanted to do something so that the father would receive the blessings he deserved due to performance of the yagna.

"Father, to whom are you giving me?", asked Nachiketa. Vajasravasa did not take notice of what his son said and pretended as if he had not heard him. Nachiketa was not the one to let it go. He repeated his question again and again. This enraged the father and in a fit of anger he said, "I give you to Death". 

Lord Yama is the Lord of Death. Nachiketa went on a long and arduous journey to reach Lord Yama's palace. When Nachiketa arrived at Lord Yama's house, Yama was away on one of his official tours. Undeterred, Nachiketa waited outside the main door of the house for three days and nights. He did not eat or drink and did not disturb the proceedings at the house. Lord Yama returned after three days. Mortals are scared of the Lord of death, but not Nachiketa. Lord Yama was apologetic to have made a young guest wait outside the doors of his house for three nights. He was moved by the determination of the young boy in sticking to his principle and waiting without murmur that long. He decided to reward Nachiketa for his resoluteness and fearless action. "I will give you three boons for having made you to wait for three days. Ask what you want.", said the Lord of Death. Nachiketa's position was that he did not want any boons as the waiting was due to his coming unannounced and without prior appointment. Lord of Death nevertheless insisted on compensating him for the long wait.

"My father is angry and annoyed with me now. If and when you release me from here and I go to him, he should receive me without anger or rancor. Our relationship should be restored.", asked Nachiketa as the first boon.  Lord of Death smiled and said, "So be it. I bless him with good sleep in the night. He will sleep well and receive you as before". Nachiketa asked about the secret of life after death, as the other boons. Yama tried to divert Nachiketa's attention by offering many other valuable things, but Nachiketa stuck to his request. Finally Yama fulfilled Nachiketa's wish and disclosed the many secrets of higher learning. These learnings detailed in Kathopanishad is much revered among the Upanishads and its teachings are highly valued by seekers.

Ranjan Das was one of the youngest CEO of an MNC in India. He had risen to the position of CEO & MD of Indian Subcontinent of SAP at the age of 42. He was a fitness freak and did regular workout at the Gym. He was capable of running marathon races and had participated in the Chennai Marathon. He participated in many sports events and was active throughout his life physically, despite his tremendous pressures at work. He had varied interests in life; he wrote poetry and even planned to produce a movie with a film producer friend. Reports said that he ate right, jogged and had no bad habits and he slept only for 4 to 5 hours a day. He appeared in a program titled "Boss's Day Out" on NDTV where he mentioned that he was not proud of cutting down on his sleep and wished he could sleep more.

He returned after a workout in the Gym, collapsed due to a massive cardiac arrest and died. His short sleeping habit was held as a reason for his death. 

Modren life brings in various stress factors into the lives of young executives and budding professionals. In order to make more time for other activities and work related issues, many of them sacrifice some part of sleeping time. A proper night's sleep is as important as healthy food, exercises and regular medical checkups. This is true of the younger generation as well and need not be dismissed as applicable to the older lot.

A sleeping time of at least 7 hours a day is recommended by physicians to their patients. Sleep here does not mean just lying on the bed but deep and comfortable sleep that can relax and recharge the body. A good night's sleep will enable the body as well as mind to face the next day's challenges with more energy and equanimity. This is exactly what Lord Yama told Nachiketa. He had rightly identified that good sleep is the key to view things on the next day with new perspectives and a calm mind.

I came across an article written by Dr Vibhuti Samarth Rao, an Ayurvedic practitioner on how Ayurveda branch of medicine deals with the aspect of sleep in human life. The article deals in detail about sleep deprivation, problems due to working in night shifts, problem of getting back to sleep when one gets up in the middle of sleep etc. Causative factors and tips to help getting a sound sleep naturally are detailed there. Some of the tips given that can be easily followed by all are:

  • keeping a pleasant environment with proper room, bed and dim light.
  • Soothing music and pleasant aroma.
  • Having warm milk before going to bed.
  • Taking shower or tub bath before going to bed.
  • Massaging of pressure points in the body to relieve stress.

Modren life has rendered a good night's sleep a luxury for many. But, it is to be noted that sleep is indeed an important necessity and not an option.


Several years ago, 14 of us were constrained to sleep in the dormitory of a railway station while waiting for a train due to late running of trains on account of derailment of a goods train. The one who got up last on the next morning asked others: "Did you have a good night's sleep?". One of the others replied very politely. "We indeed had sound sleep. We had sound and you had sleep!" 


  1. Sound sleep is a must for healthy life. Well advised.

  2. Sir,

    Always a pleasure reading the stories. For sound sleep, one more important factor helps. In fact, it is the most important factor. Hard physical labour. When body gets tired and exhausted, mind gets peaceful sleep. It doesn't care about when and where and comforts, it just gets sound sleep.

  3. Very nice story sir!
    The way you relate things is worth admiring. A good night's sleep is essential for a good start of the next day.......

  4. How true, a good night"s sleep is a very energetic tonic for the following day.

  5. Good sleep is must for good health.😊

  6. Very appropriate and well time. I like the connect you have made and the relevance brought out. Thank you Sir, I need to revamp my sleep pattern and its come as strong reminder.

  7. The advice is the need of the day for all, especially for today's youngsters who are to toil in the office without time limit. Worth sharing with one and all. A very effective tip to keep oneself fit and healthy.

  8. The importance of a sound sleep for a healthy life has been explained in an emphatic and convincing manner in your usual story telling style. Thank you sir.

  9. Interesting article Sir..thanks for sharing it

  10. Nachiketha s story is well said.Importance of good sleep is well brought out. Congratulations Keshavanurthy.

  11. Very interesting topic, regards for putting up.

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    this place.

  13. Respect to post author, some fantastic information.

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