In good old times, our people used to know time by the sun during the day and the stars at night. A person of the lowly cobbler class used to take the cue from the knowing ones and go about drumming the announcement at the beginning of the each jhaamu, or pehar.
A pious Brahmin used to go the Ganga for a bathe in the hot sun. The cobbler used to feel bad about the Brahmin’s plight. He would refuse to take the chappals from the cobbler without payment. There was no way he could repay the debt, which would cause him to take yet another birth. But, one day, the cobbler placed a pair of chappals in the Brahmin’s way and hid himself. Running fast to save his feet from the scorching sun, the Brahmin stopped, looked around and wore the footwear thinking that it was the gift of an angel.
One night the king of land, going on his rounds, heard a boy announcing the pehars with a sloka each. At the end of the fourth, the king could not control himself and asked the boy how he knew so much at that tender age. The boy recounted the story of the chappals and concluded it saying that he had to be born to repay the debt to the cobbler as his son. Shortly afterwards, the boy breathed his last, much to the grief of his father.
The following were the slokas
maataanaasti pitaanaasti naasti bandhussahodaraa
ardham naasti griham naasti tasmaat jaagrata jaagratah
Mother is unreal; father unreal, relations and brothers are all unreal
Unreal is home, so beware!
Kaama krodhascha lobhascha tisthanti taskarah
Jnaana ratnaapahaaraaya tasmaat jaagrata jagratah
Desire, anger, stinginess are thieves inside the body.
These steal our jnaana, our knowingness, so beware!
Janma duhkham jaraa duhkham jaayaa duhkham punah punah
Samsaara saagaram duhkham tasmaat jaagrata jaagratah
Birth is grief, so is old age, being born again and again is grief itself.
The ocean of this world and family ties are grief, so beware!
Aashayaa baddhate loke karmanaa bahu chintayaa
Aayuh ksheenam najaanaati tasmaat jaagrata jaagratah
Greed binds man leading to several sinful acts while the longevity goes decreasing by the day. One does not realize the loss of time and the approaching end very moment, so beware!