En route to India, the plane stopped over in Rome. Shri Nathji decided to halt for a day. He visited the Vatican. People in Italy suggested that he seek a private audience with the Pope. But Shri Nathji preferred to be one amongst the crowds.
A large number of Catholic priests and Nuns gathered around Shri Nathji, attracted by the Divine Radiance of his personality, and asked who he was. He was dressed in a yellow turban, and a white sherwaani at the time. Is he an Indian Pope? an innocent bystander asked.
The Pope came out, carried on his throne by four men, his hands raised upwards in blessings.
Papa! Papa! the crowds roared out.
Shri Nathji shut his eyes and raised his hands upwards, blessing the Pope.
It was a strange sight. The Messenger of God blessing God and being blessed by God! The Pope caught a glimpse of Shri Nathji amidst the crowd of Italians gathered there on the day. For a brief second, his gaze was halted, a startled look came into his eyes, a recollection, a spark of recognition appeared to flicker for a while, and then disappeared.
Shri Nathji’s blessings were to remain with Pope Paul VI. He was to be one of the most unusual Popes of his times. It was no coincidence that some time later the Pope visited the shores of India–the first Pope ever to have done so in the history of mankind. Perhaps unconsciously, it was in return for the visit Shri Nathji had paid him at the Vatican.
It was Shri Nathji’s great love for Catholics that took him all the way to Rome to the Pope. This father figure of the millions of Catholics the world over was to be a special recipient of the Grace of God.
Shri Nathji always kept a portrait of the Pope, which he brought from Rome, in his bedroom in Mussoorie for a long time afterwards. He was genuinely grieved when this noble soul passed away, many years later.
At the passing away of every genuine soul, Shri Nathji’s verse would appear to ring out:
Jo baadaakash thhe puraane vo utth te chale jaate hain,
Kaheen se aabe bakaaye davaam le Saki!
They who knew of Thy secrets are leaving the world,
Bring forth thy wine of Eternal Life, O Saki!
In Rome itself, Shri Nathji visited the Colosseum, the large amphitheatre which had witnessed the death of numerous Christians, who had died for the sake of God. It was only fitting that God should visit the place in human form and pay homage to those who had died for His sake. Shri Nathji stood in silence for a few minutes inside the Colosseum. He had frequently cited the example of these brave soldiers of God who had suffered numerous afflictions for His sake.
Shri Nathji would often recount the sufferings of the first Christians:
They would be chained to horses, and dragged long distances, and when they would cry for water, drinking vessels would be placed within their reach, but they wouldn’t be allowed to drink from them, unless they gave up their beliefs–which they never did! Such, indeed, was the firmness of their faith, and their resignation to the Will of God!
Someone had once asked Shri Nathji:
If there was a God why did he not come to save the Christians?
Taane agyaar hai rusvaayi hai naadaari hai
Kyaa tere naam par marne kaa ivaz khaar hi hai?
Tormented by foes, they lie in helplessness
Is this the reward for their faith in Thee?
Shri Nathji gave a very novel and powerful reply:
“The very fact that they could endure so much for God’s sake must prove the existence of God! God had saved them already, which was why they could walk up to the lions so bravely!
Is it not a great miracle that spiritual leaders like Christ, Mohammad, Nanak–who were neither highly educated nor rich and powerful–could influence the lives of millions? Is that not proof enough of the existence of God?