बहूनामेमि प्रथमो बहूनामेमि मध्यमः ।
किँ स्विद्यमस्य कर्तव्यं यन्मयाद्य करिष्यति ॥ ५ ॥

bahūnāmemi prathamo bahūnāmemi madhyamaḥ |
kim̐ svidyamasya kartavyaṃ yanmayādya kariṣyati || 5 ||

5. (Nachiketas thought) of many I go the first; of many I go midmost; what is there for Death to do which he can now do by me?

Shankara’s Commentary:

Thus addressed, the son alone in himself, anxiously reflected; how will be explained; among many, i.e., of disciples or sons, I go the first, i.e., in the matter of doing service as a disciple; of many a middling disciple, I behave like a middling disciple and never as the worst; still, my father has said that he will give me unto Death, though his son is of such good qualities. What is there to be done for Death which can now be done by me thus given? It is plain that my father has spoken under the influence of anger without any end in view; still my father’s words should not be falsified. Thus thinking, and after anxious reflection, he told his father who was full of grief ‘what have I said.’