The day was truly the Auspicious Day…. It was the Festival of Maha Shivratri....
People for ages used to fast on the day, visit Temples of Lord Shiva in their Premises, forego sleep that night listening to the various Devotional Songs sung around and thus used to express their Unfailing Devotion to Lord Shiva….
The Devoted Mother away in her Home Town was forever worried about her son working in the City but not yet settled in his life.... The earlier day itself she conveyed her feelings to the son who all along used to pay less attention to all such Rituals, "Dear! Make it a point at least to go to the Temple tomorrow and Pray to God.... All good will happen to you.... At least, don't say 'NO' to this!" The son who always carried his own version often stressing.... "How can I do my work if I go and stand in queues for hrs together on this day to see God? I have no holiday on this day.... It's impossible for me to do all that.... All these Rituals are at least not for a man like me…. They are only for people who have some time with them…" was in no mood to hurt his mother's feelings and so replied to her softly, "OK, Mom! I'll do that!"
As usual the son got up that day in the early morning to freshen up and get ready to go to his Office, but strangely a little stomach upset held him up…. Soon he felt quite uneasy in his body and decided to go an hr late to the Office….
But the situation worsened, there was no go and he conveyed the same to his Boss by phone who instantly advised him to take off for the day….
The son thus being at home for the day, thought of taking rest and see if he improved by evening else go for the Medical Consultation…. The hunger was absolutely nil and so he decided to go for liquid diet for the entire day through intake of plenty of fluids….
By afternoon his System improved and he felt better but continued fluid intake till evening….
As he was making some preparations of light dinner arrangement for the night, his Colleague who took off because of the Festival called on him on phone and knowing his condition advised him come home for the day to take rest and recover...."I will pick you up and will bring you here…. You fully relax for the day…. We make arrangements for a light dinner for you and see that your System becomes normal by tomorrow morning!" he promised....
The man could not say ‘No' to that, in an hr’s time the friend was at his door step with his car and both moved on….
The evening was full of traffic on the road with extra Festival rush and both the friends were held up near the Famous Temple of Lord Shiva for almost an hr to travel a distance of 3 km…. Various Devotional Songs on Lord Shiva were played continuously all along through a few loud-speakers installed on the road side….
Soon they reached the home, had a light dinner and spent few hrs up to midnight looking into few routine issues.....
At 12 Midnight the son went to sleep, but strangely the new place kept him awake for a longer time which continued almost the whole night…. Further, a few Devotional Songs continuously sung on the loud-speakers in distance too, kept him awake.... In the early morning hrs, he fell asleep a bit but in no time the friend woke him up.... Both the friends quickly prepared themselves and soon headed to their Office..... As they moved, near a certain Temple Premises, a strange feeling had overtaken the son instantly….
“What had happened to me for the last 24 hrs?…. I did not eat any solid food, I did not sleep properly at all and all along I was listening to the various Devotional Songs played through…. Further, I was off from my active work too in no time which earlier I could never imagine feasible!”
Just at that moment alone, near the Temple Premises, the First Sloka of Nirvana Shatakam (Atma Shatakam) was heard on loud-speakers being recited melodiously with the meaning explained in parallel .....
'Mano Budhyahankaara Chitani Naaham,
Na Cha Shrotrajihve Na Cha Ghraananetre
Na Cha Vyoma Bhumir Na Tejo Na Vayuh,
Chidaanandarupah Shivoham Shivoham.'
'I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self. I am not the five senses. I am beyond that. I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire, nor the wind. I am indeed, That Eternal Knowing and Bliss, the Auspicious (Shivam), Love and Pure Consciousness!'