For nineteen months from that fateful day in June 1975, when the illness first made itself manifest, Shri Nathji remained within the four walls of a room, as if he had imprisoned himself. The reason for Shri Nathji’s incarceration was clear. He had once again taken the pain of humanity upon himself.
Those were the days when India was torn by great turmoil. An emergency had been declared by the government. There was a crisis in the country, and hundreds and thousands of people were being imprisoned. Everyone lived in fear–the captors as well as the captives. An unnatural stillness had descended upon the land. Shri Nathji had taken upon himself the brunt of this crisis, and had, thereby, saved the captors as well as the captives, the rulers as well as the ruled. Shri Nathji’s illness and blindness lasted for the entire period of the emergency in India.
Shri Nathji had never taken an interest in the politics of the country, and, indeed, had very little worldly knowledge of who was who in politics. The political leaders and the various political parties they represented had no significance for him. He seldom read the daily newspapers. During Shri Nathji’s youth, Gandhi and Nehru had been the only well-known political figures.
Shri Nathji had met Nehru once in Mussoorie in the 1950’s at Savoy Hotel, at a reception given for the Prime Minister by Shri D.N. Sinha, who was a devotee of Shri Nathji.
Nehru had been surrounded by a large crowd of admirers and V.I.P.’s. In the midst of the group, Nehru’s eyes had fallen upon Shri Nathji. For an instant, something had appeared to grip his heart, a recognition flickered, and then disappeared.
Who is he? Nehru asked a prominent citizen of Mussoorie, pointing at Shri Nathji.
He is a Great Personality of our city, the man had replied, “Ye saari Mussoorie ke Maalik hain!”
Shri Nathji’s conversation with Nehru had been brief: I am glad you have been able to visit Mussoorie.
Shri Nathji had a love for India. It was natural that he have a love for those who represented India as its rulers. It was in that sense, only, that he had a love for Nehru–as, indeed, he had love for the whole world in his heart.
Sahadeva, a devotee of Shri Nathji, once recalled Shri Nathji telling him of a dream he had years ago in which Nehru appeared before him with his daughter, Indira, and Shri Nathji said to Nehru: I am entrusting the future destiny of India in your daughter’s hands!
Many years later, Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Nehru, was to become the Prime Minster of India. Mahamateshwari was alive at the time and was greatly pleased at seeing a woman lead the country. She would always ask Shri Nathji to bless her with courage and strength to carry on the difficult work entrusted to her.
Indira Gandhi appeared to have this almost supernatural protection in life which would enable her to defeat the most powerful of her adversaries and to maintain a calm in some of the most trying moments of her life. Some of the most powerful rulers who went against her, like Yahya Khan of Pakistan and Nixon of America, were deposed by the unseen hand of Nature.
Perhaps the unseen blessings of Shri Nathji had been with her without her knowing of them or of Shri Nathji.
But the events of the emergency had been distressing. No matter how good a faith Indira Gandhi had acted in, the results had brought misery and fear for many. The imprisonment of old and ailing men, the high handed actions of officers in the lower ranks, the demagogic attitude of many who played with the lives and liberties of thousands, had become a matter of serious concern for Shri Nathji.
He was the Universal Father. All the warring factions of politics were like his children and he loved them all equally. However, when the father saw one of his children bullying the others, it became imperative for him to intervene. The Congress and the Opposition were mere names for Shri Nathji. He dealt with the souls of men.
Those in power had begun to use authority as a means to crush all form of dissent.
As Shri Nathji used to say, quoting Zafar, the poet-king:
Ai Zafar usse aadmi na jaaniyegaa, go ho kaisaa hee saahibe faimo zakaa
Jisse aish men yaade Khudaa na rahi, jisse taish men khaufe Khudaa na rahaa
O Zafar, Call not such a one a man, no matter how great his learning or status,
Who remembers not God in luxury, and who fears not God in fury.
Those who inflicted hurt upon others using their wealth and their power had surely forgotten God. They had forgotten that one day they would be called upon to answer for their actions before Him.