That year in 1963, the 23rd of June came in London. It was Shri Nathji’s birthday–the first birthday abroad.
Savitri Nivas, the residence of Shri Nathji in Mussoorie, stood strangely silent that day. There were no crowds, no strains of music, and no vibrating sounds of Shri Nathji’s sermon in the verandah of the house. The familiar house stood bleak and forlorn; it was like a creation left bereft of its Creator.
People in India were equally bewildered. It was a day of Salvation for them, but they didn’t know where to seek the Salvation. Devotees in various parts of India celebrated Shri Nathji’s birthday at their homes, amongst their family members.
Mateshwari and Priya Nath celebrated the birthday in New Delhi amidst a small gathering of devotees at the home of the late Lala Hargopal Khanna at 4/20 East Patel Nagar.
Mateshwari and Priya Nath had shifted to this house after the landlord at the West Patel Nagar house had created a disturbance. Before Shri Nathji had left Delhi, he had cautioned Priya Nath and Mateshwari to be wary of the man. He had laughed too much. Shri Nathji always used to say to Priya Nath: “People who laugh too much have something to hide, and should never be trusted! Piyaji, jo log zyaadaa hanste hain unke man men kuchh hotaa hai!”
Shri Nathji had felt the waves of the perturbation in London; and Delhi had been rocked by an earthquake that very day. Perhaps it was a measure of Shri Nathji’s wrath.
Mateshwari’s father, Lala Hargopal Khanna, had left for his heavenly abode four years ago. Mateshwari had not been with him during his last moments because she would not leave Shri Nathji for even a moment. Her love for her father had been very great, but her duty to her husband was greater. His death had been no more for her than a mingling of his soul into the Universal Soul of Shri Nathji.
On June 23, amidst the glitter of a starry night, a lone figure bowed low before Savitri Nivas. He had brought candles with him, which he lit and placed around the house. It was Shri Nathji’s loyal devotee, Shri Chaman Lal Magoo of Allahabad. It was a ritual he was to follow every year for the period Shri Nathji was abroad.
On the 23rd of June every year, the Heavens poured forth their homage to the Creator, and the parched fields of the land received rain. On this June, however, it appeared that the skies over India had begun to weep.
Pas az man shere man khaanando mi goyando daryaa band
Jahaane raa digar gun kard yak marde khud aagaahe
After I have thrown a curtain over myself, They shall read my Verse and speak of me as one who came into their midst,
Who knew of himself, and who changed the world and left.
These words of Shri Nathji rang out ominously in the ears of his devotees in India, for whom Shri Nathji had thrown a curtain over himself. It was like Lord Krishna leaving the land of Gokul, perhaps never to return.
At the time that Chaman Lal Magoo was lighting candles around Savitri Nivas at night, it was evening in London.
Shri Nathji’s birthday was being celebrated by a small gathering at 44, Fairhazel Gardens. There were Mr. and Mrs. Chabowski, Mr. Karai and his friends, and Pran Nath and his friends; there was also Mr. Ashar Husein, son of Chaudhri Hyder Husein of Mussoorie. It was quite a change for Shri Nathji from the multitudes he had been accustomed to on his birthdays in India.
Shri Nathji sat in the midst of this small gathering, dressed royally in a white woollen achkan and a scarlet silk turban, with a powerful divine radiance on his face.