Vaa kardaa chashme dil sifate nakshe paa hoon main
Har raah guzar pe raah teri dekhtaa hoon main
With eyes wide open, like a footprint in the dust am I,
Looking upon all the routes on which Thou wouldst tread
The Camel’s Back Road in Mussoorie was blessed by the footprints of Shri Nathji as he walked upon it several times while living at Dilaram Estate. The familiar figure of Shri Nathji walking on the dirt and gravel road had become legend.
There was Shri Nathji dressed in his dark blue achkan, his arm in a sling, wearing a beautiful shiny silk turban with an orange hue, white chooridars and black well-polished shoes, walking ever so swiftly on the road. He would always be accompanied by some attendant–Sahadeva, Jagdish or Basant Singh.
Shri Nathji walked so rapidly that those walking with him had difficulty in keeping pace with him. The speed with which Shri Nathji walked had become legend. All who knew Shri Nathji marvelled at the extraordinary strength that his legs possessed as they traversed the mountain roads. It was only decades afterwards that medical science developed sufficiently to reveal to mankind that walking briskly was the surest way to keeping the heart healthy. It appeared as if Shri Nathji had been endowed with this knowledge right from the start, which is as it should have been, for all of knowledge stemmed from him.Shri Nathji’s walk would take him along the Camel’s Back Road, eastwards, and up the steep slope known as Lavendar’s Lane, which joined the Kulri bazaar at the top. From there Shri Nathji would take swift strides that took him along the entire length of the Mall Road, right up to the Majestic Theatre and beyond, where it edged off to the west side of the Camel’s Back Road again. And from there Shri Nathji would walk the entire length of the Camel’s Back Road till he was back at Dilaram Estate again.
In this manner, Shri Nathji encircled the large mountain that was the first pillar of the Queen of the Hills.
There was Shri Nathji’s Persian verse describing his walk:
Sarv kadaa chamaan chamaan bar labe joo ravaan ravaan
Farshe rahe to kumriyaan taalaye shaan bapaa kushaa
Walk Thou, tall as the Cyprus tree, by the waters of a flowing stream,
Thy lovers’ foreheads beneath Thee, as Thy floor, their destinies to unlock
Numerous were the persons who would come forward to touch Shri Nathji’s feet on the Mall. He could not walk a few paces before some admirers would rush forward to touch his feet.
“Aah-haa! Aah-haa!” Shri Nathji would say with great exuberance whenever anyone came forward to greet him, as also “Oh-ho! Oh-ho! Aap! –You!”
These were cries of joy of the Universal Soul meeting the individual soul. Shri Nathji’s face would light up with a divine radiance, a pink flush would come to his cheeks, and a beaming smile appear on his countenance.
Whenever anyone bent down to touch his feet, Shri Nathji would immediately bend over himself to raise the man and to embrace him.
People never forgot these gestures of Shri Nathji, which brought to them the living force of his Love. Truly had Shri Nathji been called Premavatar—the incarnation of Love. Never before had the world witnessed such a personality who exuded love wherever he went. Long afterwards, people were to remember those cries of joy, the arms that went to embrace all, and the intense feeling of love that brought tears into the eyes of all who met him.
Shri Nathji had an uncanny memory about all who met him, and he was always the first to enquire after their welfare and that of their families. He would recall with unerring accuracy if anyone were ill or in trouble and would always ask about him. It was this aspect of Shri Nathji that endeared Shri Nathji to all.
He would always be the first to offer his greetings and would invariably ask, “Aap achhe hain? Are you well? Is everyone in your family well?”
He would embrace the rich and the poor alike and give them his love. Not even the sweepers on the streets would escape his attention. If they would salute him he would enquire after their welfare and their families. He would remember if anyone in their family were ill and would ask about him with concern. The poor often said of him:
“We have only you to look after us. Nobody embraces the poor!”
Shri Nathji had often been described as: “Bandaa gareeb navaaz! The preserver of the poor!”
There was Shri Nathji’s verse describing his own self:
Kaheen daste savaal daraaz naheen
Kissee aur pe yoon mujhe naaz naheen
Koyi tujh saa gareeb navaaz naheen
Tere dar ke sivaa koyi dar na milaa
These hands of mine beg not of anyone,
For I take pride in no one but Thee
There is no greater preserve of the poor than Thee
I could find no door other than Thine
And when people would ask Shri Nathji: “Maharaj, are you well?”
Shri Nathji would reply:
“Aapko dekh liyaa, ab to bilkul theek hoon!
“Now that I have seen you I am perfectly all right!”
In later years whenever anyone in Mussoorie would be asked about Shri Nathji, the person would invariably say:
“Vo! Vo to Bhagwan thhe! Oh He! He was God!”
Shri Nathji always made everyone feel as if the person were someone special for him, as if Shri Nathji loved him the most, as if Shri Nathji existed only for him. And none of this was assumed or only outer civility or politeness – Shri Nathji actually felt as if every person in the world had a special relation with him. He had often said:
“I have come for all! I belong to all!
“Naukri kaisi aur nakhraa kaisaa! How can I shirk my duties as a servant of all!”
There were many who would say later: “The moment Shri Nathji met me all my worries disappeared! I was filled with such great peace and happiness. The mere sight of his smiling face takes one above the world.”
Shri Nathji’s favourite words were: “Main gale lagaaoon aapko! Let me embrace you!”
A Muslim shopkeeper would long after recall: “Whenever I used to see Shri Nathji walking on the road, the entire day passed beautifully! And if I did not see him on any particular day, the day turned out to be unusually bad! People spoke of him as Bhagwan–God!”
Whenever people would be asked who Shri Nathji loved the most, they would all point to themselves and invariably say: “Me!”
There was the poor chowkidar who came forward to touch Shri Nathji’s feet.
Shri Nathji embraced him and asked: “Kyaa haal hai? How are you?”
“Huzoor! Peethh par haath rakh kar poochhte hain kyaa haal hai? Ab to buraa ho hee naheen saktaa!
“Huzoor, you ask me how I am, after placing your hand on my back! How can I not be all right now!”
Shri Nathji would always stop and talk to anyone who greeted him. At times it was a long sermon. As a consequence, Shri Nathji would return home only after a long time, unmindful of the pain in his arm.