Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

78. Time Travel

  • Prologue:Time Travel seems to be a modern concept, a fantasy according to some. Creative minds have been imaginative enough to evade logic and create a new logic. But what if I say that thousands of years ago, a young guy, an Indian, actually did Time Travel? Sounds impossible? Well, the effects of his Time Travel are well documented, the full story is revealed here, for the first time of course!
Nachiketas was a highly intelligent and bright for his young and tender age. He was mature, silent, humble and disciplined. What others did not know about Nachiketas was his inquisitive nature. He had lot of questions. As he grew, he realized that there was wisdom in not asking those questions aloud. But nevertheless, he kept on asking those to himself.

Right from childhood Nachiketas was fascinated by the movement around. Some things like the trees, the hills, the farm, the houses, the sky did not at all move. Animals, birds, human beings seemed to have controlled movement, they moved according to their desire and necessity. But few other things like the wind, the Sun, the Moon, the river, the stars seemed to be moving regularly. Where were they going? From where did they re-appear again?

Nachiketas was surprised by the movement of life. Babies were born, grew and old people died. Where did the babies come from? And where did the old people go? Like the Sun and the Moon, does everything reappear? When? How? What is the secret?

Nachiketas was thinking of Time and Space constantly for the last twelve years. He had worked on some mechanism to reach the depth of the Truth. He was not old fashioned in the sense he did not believe that everything could be achieved through Mind Power. If few things could be reached through Matter, Nachiketas had no objection. He was in the process of pilot testing that mechanism which could reveal the Truth to him. He felt he was nearing a breakthrough. He imagined how the elders would react to his breakthrough. In the era of Mind Power, using Material Power was going to shake people. He smiled in anticipation. Nachiketas then felt irritated. Was it necessary for him to waste time in this function?
Nachiketas was disturbed by the noise around. His father had told him something about this a few months ago. Though Nachiketas was an obedient son, he did not pay much attention to his father then. Nachiketas was engrossed in his own thought and anyway his father, being Head of the State was always organizing such functions. But when it actually started happening, it disturbed Nachiketas.

Vajasravasa, the King and father of Nachiketas too was disturbed. The boy seemed to have lost interest in Princely duties. The father could clearly see that the boy was present just physically but his mind was wandering somewhere else. This was an important time for Vajasravasa. He only knew the burden a King had to carry. Apparently, the rule passed from Father to Son, but practically it was not so easy. The Prince had to pass many informal and formal tests, especially had to satisfy the Court (consisting of too many wise people a young man can face), then only the lineage continued. The Sacrifice was just an outward ritual; his son passing the test was what was important to him.

Vajasravasa expected Nachiketas to be at his best. As it is, Nachiketas had no faults. He was intelligent, had acquired all the skills, was well trained in Vedic tradition, and was well behaved. People not only liked Nachiketas but loved him. The boy had shown glimpses of his spiritual powers, was an added advantage. That would keep the Brahmins away for few years, thought Vajasravasa. But something was missing. The boy was not enjoying the attention. He seemed irritated, frustrated. Vajasravasa feared that some kind of disaster was waiting to happen. Unfortunately he could not confide his fears to anyone else. He decided to keep a close watch on Nachiketas.
Giving away wealth was part of the Sacrifice. The poor, the knowledgeable came in hundreds, nay thousands. Vajasravasa never liked this idea of throwing well earned wealth to those lazy idiots. But he could not say so. He had to carry on the societal and regal norms.

Vajasravasa saw his wealth disappearing. The land, the gold, the ornaments, the cows, the horses, the elephants….. Everything was fast disappearing. Still a large crowd was there in the Sacrifice Pendal. The servants brought another cowherd. These cows were weak, old, almost on the deathbed. The cows had drunk their last water, eaten their last grass, yielded their last milk and worn out their organs. Vajasravasa knew these cows were not worth presenting, but he had no alternative. He had already spent more than he could afford. But in the process of securing future of Nachiketas, this expenditure was essential. Once Nachiketas was enthroned as the next king, the wealth would find its way back; Vajasravasa knew.

At this moment Nachiketas woke up from his trance. He thought his father won’t earn any merit by giving such cows in a sacrifice. He was worried for his father. He did not want to be party to hypocrisy. Sudden realization dawned upon him that he too would have to carry such useless rituals in future. He shuddered at the thought. He wanted to run away, he wanted to rebel.

To Vajasravasa’s horror, Nachiketas stood and objected the gift of such old cows. Sarcastically the boy asked his father, “To whom, will you give me?” He asked once, Vajasravasa kept quiet. Nachiketas asked twice, “To whom will you give me?” the father kept his cool hoping that the Senior Priest would intervene and everything would be alright. But Vajasravasa could see the whole assembly stunned and shocked. People turned to Vajasravasa in utter disgust. When a Son like Nachiketas was accusing his Father, what more proof one needed to know that Vajasravas had committed some kind of unknown but hideous crime?

“To whom will you give me?” the boy asked third time and Vajasravasa lost his patience. It was his life, his kingdom, his name and fame at stake. Unfortunately, his own son had chosen to be his enemy. The boy’s habit of asking wrong questions at the wrong time had surfaced again. But when in battleground, whoever attacks you is your enemy. If he now allowed the assembly to be impressed by the stupidity of his boy, he will have to give up the kingdom forever. Vajasravasa overcame the panic. In calm but a firm voice, he said, “Oh Nachiketas, my son, to Death will I give you.”

A wave of shock passed through the assembly. Then someone applauded. What a great father Vajasravasa was! To sacrifice one’s own son was a heroic and spiritual act. The assembly hailed Vajasravasa and the assembly hailed Nachiketas. For all of them it was one of the greatest moments. They were observing creation of history.
For one moment, Nachiketas was clueless. He knew he could not die at his own will. Unless his father chose to kill him, he would not die. He knew for sure that father won’t kill him. Then how to obey father? Obey he must. Otherwise, he would be insulting his father in front of his subjects. What good son he would be then?

Accidentally Nachiketas touched a small stone in his golden ring. He smiled. His face illuminated. It was time to test his hypothesis. It was time to test his ideas regarding Power of Matter. In a splash he took a decision and he acted fast. In the presence of thousands of people, the knowledgeable priests and helpless Vajasravasa, Nachiketas disappeared. The crowds erupted – some with joy, some with fear, and some with horror. Some saw it as a proof of spiritual power of Vajasravasa. Some saw it as the merit of Nachiketas.
Nachiketas had loads of ideas about how the mechanism he had installed on his golden ring would work. But when he started using it, he was not sure. He realized that he had to use his mental power. The combination of mind and matter would work much more effectively than just allowing matter power to work. He was excited with the sudden transition. He had no time to worry about what must have been the effect on the assembly. There lay an infinite future in front of him and he wanted to explore it. He realized that combination of Mind and Matter is essential for life.
Rest, as they say, is a history . It is well documented (in Kathopanishad) that Nachiketas went and met the Lord of Death, Yama. It is known that Nachiketas waited for Yama at his house for three nights without food and therefore Yama offered Nachiketas three boons.

Let us not go into details of those three boons now. Those who are interested can read Kathopanishad to know more about it.

What is important to note is that Nachiketas was the first to travel in future and first to safely come back. He came back unscratched; his father could recongnize him and did welcome him. His contemporaries were not aware of the Time Travel mechanism used by Nachiketas, so they termed it as spiritual power, God’s grace, power of merit etc.

Why an intelligent and courageous person like Nachiketas never explained Time Travel is a mystery. May be we lost that ‘Time Travel Manual’ he wrote. Who knows?


Of course, there is a fresh and hot debate about who did Time Travel first.
Some recent research shows that it was a woman after all who first successfully completed ‘Time Travel’. The specialty of her travel was: she did help a man (naturally her husband, who else?) through this fantastic journey. The altruism adds flavor to the fun of Time Travel.

Your guess is right. Some researchers claim that it was not Nachiketas but Savitri who completed the first ‘Time Travel’ in the history of human beings. A multidisciplinary team is undertaking the research. Volunteers are encouraged. Supporting Grants and Donations are accepted here.

NOTE: I love Kathopanishad and it always inspires me. I do not intend to offend any ideology, history, religion, sentiments. I am just utilizing an artist’s freedom of interpretation. Sorry, if it hurts you.


  1. I didnt know a thing about this.

    The learned men in the history of India, did have those powers and they knew everything which was later answered by science and even those which are still unanswered

  2. We traveled through time.. with you,to this time when time travel was restricted (only to Yama, it'd been nice had he guessed about cars etc), this was nice. I actually thought it was made up, but even if it's not, it was nicely written.

    Enjoyed reading it! All the luck with BATOM 8!

  3. Aha yes, Nachiket was the first one..thats for the detail story...

    i always love the stories written on vedas...:D

    good one.

  4. you taught me something via your post. thanks for that and keep writing!

  5. an enjoyable read.. we did travel through time with this..

    all the best...

  6. Informative and well told, you sure are a story teller!

    I didn't know a thing about this, all the best for BATOM!

  7. Chanz, welcome to Times Change. I appreciate your thoughts on the post.

    Saro, hmm.. Yama certainly seems to have knowledge about cars.. so many people die in car accidents every year .... I have made up a story on the basis of few lines in Kathopanishad.. whether that is true or not, I cannot say!

    Siddhesh, why do you not accept claims for Savitri? Any specific reason? :)

    Sureindran, Leo and Murali, thanks for your words of appreciation.

  8. It was like a chandamama story(a comic book).
    Nice post! :)

  9. gud slice of socio-fantasy from the book of Aryans cultural ethos ...
    nice script :)

  10. Oh! I never knew about Nachiketa! Is this story present in Kathopanishad? If so, I would definitely want to read it. I just looooove mythological stories. They are soo interesting and full of events which cannot be explained scientifically. Very nice post. I just loved it.
    REad my take on this too!

  11. I knew the whole story but I would like to know that,

    Is it mentioned there (in Kathopanishad)that It was time travel?? or

    its Purely your interpretation?

  12. Nethra, sure it is like a Chandamama story!

    Thanks Mahesh.

    Ashwini, I have just used few lines from Kathopanishad to develop this story.

    Makk, oh! No! Kathopanishad does not mention time travel, it is purely my interpretation! :)

  13. Hm.. Interesting. I had done a course called Indian classics and cultural values in college. There the topic of one of the main essays in the final exam was 'Can Ramayana and Mahabharata be viewed as science fiction of the vedic times?' You seem to be going on similar lines.

  14. This was an informative as well as an entertaining story. Very well told and very captivating. I've always liked mythological stories and I loved this one. Kudos to you! :)
    All the best for BATOM!

  15. This made an informative and interesting read! And enlightening too!! Good one!
    Cheers and Good Luck for BAT-8! :)

  16. Wow! A story about the ancient India! The mythological stories are always enchanting like this one you have written! Totally loved the information! Thanks for taking me back in time :) Good luck with BATOM!

  17. The Fool, is there such a course in India? Or online?

    Karthik, glad to know that you liked this story.

    Thanks Shilpa and Raksha for your encouraging words.

  18. @aativas - It was a humanities elective during my engineering


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