I do not have to extend my belief system to be convinced that I belong to Lord Shiva and Mother Goddess. I have to only remember my father as an embodiment of Lord Shiva and my mother as an embodiment of Mul Prakriti. It is even in their names, Late Shri Shivmurti Sharma and Late Shrimati Shanti Sharma.
या देवी सर्व भूतेषु शांति रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः।।
As if a live form of Vishwaguru, my father was my constant companion, guru & guide, friend & philosopher-in fact, everything. Mother is of course the first teacher.
My childhood days were marked by my father teaching me in mornings and me sometimes lovingly pressing his feet. Days were mostly with mother, eating the food given by Buaji, Bhabhi, Aunties and studying with Elder Sister. I had full attention and loving care of my uncles and elder brothers. I was fond of bowing: to the teachers, elders and pundit-Gurujan. I also liked visiting the places of village deities including Brahma Baba, Saiyed Baba, Banjaari Mai, Deeh Baba and Kali Mai and Shiva Temple. I specially remember occasional visits to Deiya Mai and playing on the roof top of a prayer hall while ladies made the Prasad of halwa, puri and sabji: a taste which is unforgettable! God, has been very kind on our family and I know that the grace of Kul Devi-Devta and elders is the carrier of that Kindness.
My father used to chant Rudrashtakam (नमामीशमीशान निर्वाण रूपं) every morning. Similarly, my mother would pray to Lord Surya everyday by offering water, then would offer prayers on a small portrait of Mother Goddess and would bow down whenever she passed a Lord Shiva temple. Quite often, we used to witness and listen the kathaa of Sri Satya Narain Bhagwan and an uncle in neighborhood reading and reciting Ram Charit manas – all this was the real nectar of life which nourished me and continues to do so.
A year before my induction into the IAS, I got married to my lovely wife in March, 1987. I had not seen or met her before. I was only notified of it one fine day. I realized that a verse from one of my favorite poetries is translating in my life – “ तुझे ए ज़िन्दगी, हम दूर से पहचान लेते हैं। It is Firaque Gorakhpuri’s Ghazal beautifully sung by Jagjit & Chitra Singh.
After my selection in IAS, my father used to say that my success is the result of my wife’s good luck. To add to this, my son was born on the same day on which the results of UPSC were declared. That was also the day of Ram Navami, indicating a godly action, specially blessed by Mother Goddess. So, I have had no chance of being boastful in this regard.
Later, we were blessed with a daughter, a real embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi, my adorable little companion, coach and conscience keeper who is quick to advise patience in every situation. I always feel that in addition to Kashi, Lord Shiva holds my home on his trident! No wonder when my daughter was to leave this home, she got married in Kashi into a nice family and to a smart and loveable boy.