Shri Nathji had dictated a parable in the third part of Atma Vijaya, which was as follows:
A boy would frequently visit a mahatma and derive much comfort from his words. The mahatma had a habit of making profound statements, and then adding: “These words of mine are worth five thousand rupees! These are worth ten thousand! These are worth twenty thousand, etc.!”
As the boy heard the mahatma put a worth on every utterance he made, he was completely won over and began to spend more and more of his time with the mahatma.
The boy’s mother found out and became very annoyed with her son. She thought of teaching the boy a lesson and said to him: “See this dented iron pan–tavaa? Take it to the blacksmith and ask him to hammer it into shape. And when he asks you for money, recite a few of the mahatma’s words before him and tell him their worth–that should be payment enough for the blacksmith!”
The boy went to the blacksmith and got the iron pan repaired from him. When the blacksmith asked for ten rupees as his labour charges, the boy said: “Listen! I will tell you something the mahatma told me. These words are worth five thousand rupees! You can listen to these words instead of taking the ten rupees I owe you!”
The blacksmith became so enraged that he slapped the boy and demanded his ten rupees at once. The boy ran home crying to his mother and narrated the events to her. The mother smiled and said: “See how worthless the words of the mahatma were! The blacksmith was not even willing to accept them in exchange for ten rupees!”
The boy was deeply affected and he stopped going to the mahatma. When the boy did not come for many days, the mahatma enquired after him and was told what had transpired. He became pensive for a while, and then called the boy for one last time in the midst of a small gathering of his devotees. Thereafter he said: “I have with me some words which are worth fifty thousand rupees! Is there anyone here who would like to take them at this cost?”
There was a rich man amongst his devotees, a seth–who immediately said: “Sire, here are fifty thousand rupees! Please tell me your precious words!”
The mahatma said: “I am writing my words down on this little slip of paper. Keep this paper with you in a locket hung around your neck. These words will be of help to you in some critical moment of your life!”
The seth did as he was ordered, and placed the slip of paper containing the mahatma’s words in a little locket placed around his neck.
The mahatma said: “Here is a man who knows the value of my words. Only a jeweller can recognize a diamond! Of what use exhibiting your pearls before a blacksmith who has no knowledge about them?”
The boy was greatly impressed and his faith in the mahatma was revived. He told his mother about the incident and she, too, was deeply moved.
It turned out that the king of the kingdom in which the seth lived had become intensely jealous of the prosperity of the seth. One day, on some frivolous charge, the king had the seth sent to jail. As the days passed by, the seth became restless in jail. The dismal life of the cell became unbearable to the seth who had long been accustomed to the luxuries of life. Each and every moment that he spent in jail was like a living hell for him. The peace and happiness of his earlier life kept coming back to him in his thoughts and dreams, only to make his condition in the jail worse than ever.
One day he suddenly thought of the locket around his neck. The mahatma had told him to read the words it contained whenever he was faced with a difficult situation in life.
He opened the locket and read the words contained on the slip of paper inside.
Of a sudden, something touched his mind, and he began dancing with joy!
The guards outside his cell were surprised to see the very man who had been in the dregs of despair moments before, dancing with uncontrolled happiness. The matter was reported to the king. The king, who had been taking sadistic pleasure at the discomfort and misery of the seth in the jail, began wondering what had happened. He decided to go to the jail and see for himself.
As the king saw the seth dancing with happiness, he said to him: “O seth! Only yesterday you were in such abject misery! What has brought about this sudden change in you so that you are dancing with joy?”
The seth pointed to the locket and said: “This! The slip of paper in the locket. The words contained in it have brought absolute happiness to my mind!”
The king asked for the slip of paper, and the seth gave it to him. The king read the words written on it:
“Jab vo vakt naheen rahaa, to ye vakt bhee naheen rahegaa
“When that time did not remain, this time too shall not remain!”
The king began to understand the wisdom in the words written on the slip. When the time of the past, which was of comfort and prosperity for the seth did not remain, the time of the present, which was of misery and despair, would also not remain for him.
The flow of time swept away all things, all happenings, all events. Joy gave way to sorrow, and sorrow gave way to joy. The king thought to himself: “Just like the present time of misery of the seth shall not remain, the time of joy that I am experiencing now shall not remain either. Just like his misery has turned to joy, my joy shall change to sorrow. He has changed his present sorrow to joy with the help of these words – which tell me as surely as they tell him that my happiness is going away as is his misery!”
The king was so affected by the words of the mahatma written on the slip of paper that he forthwith released the seth from jail, and went home a wiser and happier man himself.
When word of these happenings reached the boy and his mother, they rushed to the mahatma and fell at his feet begging for forgiveness and enlightenment.
Here was the Lord of the Universe, Shri Nathji, disguised as a human being upon earth, performing his worldly duties to perfection, and playing the part of a human more perfectly than even an earthly being.
The devotees of Shri Nathji had perfect faith in him and never doubted his godliness even for a moment, no matter what hardships he took upon himself in life. Once when Shri Nathji asked his loyal devotee Shri Bhutt:
“Bhutt Sahib are you ever in any doubt?”
Bhutt replied: “Doubt? I do not even know what that word means!”
Shri Nathji often gave the examples of the avatars and messiahs of the past who came upon the planet earth and endured numerous difficulties and physical torments, but whose devotees were never shaken in their faith about them.
“Lord Rama roamed the forests in a helpless state, seeking his wife, Sita Maharani, who had been abducted. He sought the help of Hanuman and Sugreeva and numerous others. But did Hanuman’s faith waver because of this apparent helplessness of Lord Rama? No. He knew that this was all part of the manushya leela–the drama in human form–that Rama was destined to play upon the earth for the salvation of mankind. Hanuman had only to ask what his part in the drama was, and to fulfil it as best as he could with devotion. Christ was crucified on the cross but his devotees knew that this was the role he had come to play upon the earth for the salvation of mankind.”
Shri Nathji also used to narrate what a certain Barrister Naseem had told him about the Agha Khan who was worshipped by thousands of his followers. When someone once criticized the Agha Khan and said to one of his followers: “The man you worship leads a thoroughly materialistic life. He is seen at horse races and in expensive hotels and has married actresses. How can you believe in him?” The follower of the Agha Khan replied angrily: “Hold your tongue! This is merely a test of our faith!”