It was Shivarathri. All the devotees
gathered in the temple to keep awake all night and worship Lord Shiva. The boy Moola, too,
went with his father. By midnight, one by one the worshippers fell asleep. But Moola was
determined not to break the rule of the Shivarathri worship, so he sat gazing at the
It was midnight. Near the Shivalinga a sacred lamp was burning dimly. Just then, some
mice appeared from nowhere. They ate the preparations which had been placed before the
Shivalinga as an offering, and danced fearlessly on the Shivalinga.
Moola gazed in amazement. The wheel of reflection began to rotate. What is this ? The
father used to tell him that Shiva was All Powerful and the very Source of Power; how was
it that the Shivalinga kept quiet when the mice moved about on it? The boy's mind was
confused. Without knowing what to do, he gently touched and awakened his father and said,
"Father, was this the great God about whom you told me? Or is this linga some other
Irritated, his father cried, "What? If you talk like an atheist, you will lose
your power of speech. Beyond doubt this Shivalinga is the great Shiva."
The boy again said softly, "Certainly not, father. The Shiva you speak of is the
Life-Force itself. But this Shivalinga is motionless matter."
This answer increased the father's anger. But what his son said was logical. The
conversation went on.
Father : Son, what you say is true. I his is an idol, and not Shiva.
Moolashankar: Then why should we worship this idol instead of Shiva?
Father: My son, in this age of man's history, in Kaliyuga, Lord Shiva cannot be seen by
human beings in His real form. So, if we worship Him with the belief that Shiva resides in
the idol, He will be pleased to give us Moksha (salvation).
Moolashankar: In that case, we can also assume we have worshipped Him. Why worship the
Karshanji found no answer to this question. But the mind of the child was perplexed.
Once cholera broke out in Tankara. The fourteen-year-old sister of Moola fell a victim
to cholera. Parents, brothers and relatives wept in great grief. But Moolashankar alone
did not weep. But he sat beside the dead body of his sister and gazed on it. This sudden
death, however, set him thinking. Many visitors said, "What a heartless fellow he is!
In due course, all of them forgot about the death of the girl. But Moola, branded as
heartless by all, could not forget it. Death remained a riddle to him.
Three years after this incident Moolashankar's beloved uncle died of cholera. This was
a terrible blow to Moolashankar. It was as though he had lost everything in life. This
time Moola wept bitterly. His
Weeping would have melted even a stone.
The death of his sister had made him move away from worldly life. This aversion became
stronger after the death of his uncle. The desire not to fall a prey to worldly pleasures
but to attain what was enduring took a deep root in his mind.