This was the first birthday of Shri Nathji at his new home, St. Andrews. Shri Nathji was resplendent in a dark navy blue achkan, a golden silk turban, white woollen chooridars, and woollen socks. He had removed his shoes for the occasion and wore wooden sandals even as he sat in his armchair placed on the East side of the verandah of St. Andrews. The gathering of devotees and guests sat before him along the entire length of the verandah right up to its entrance. The length of the verandah was sixty feet and it was seven feet wide. About a hundred persons could be accommodated sitting on the ground.
There was the son of the famous painter, Shri Roop Kishore, singing a classical bhajan, sitting on the ground before Shri Nathji.
There were also music teachers of Mussoorie, a certain Master Mubaarik and his brother, come to sing on Shri Nathji’s birthday.
There was Maharaja Sarila sitting on a cane sofa at the end of the verandah, and there was Raja Kasmanda sitting outside the verandah on the ground in a most humble manner. Maharani Sarila sat with Mateshwari on a sofa, which was placed in the verandah, outside the drawing room door, and close to where Shri Nathji was sitting. The children Pran Nath and Priya Nath were running about amidst the guests stumbling and falling over them with playfulness.
Shri Nathji’s face was radiant with an extraordinary divine glow that appeared to have come from the heavens above.
The windows of the verandah opened towards the Mall Road below and the Doon Valley far away. At 4 p.m. the sun was still shining brightly over the distant hills in the West and there were scattered clouds in the sky, but there was no rain.
Gradually, as the evening turned to night, the stars came out in the skies, faintly at first and brightly later. The lights of Dehra Dun glistened in the darkness as if another sky had come down to the earth. The rain had been halted by Shri Nathji for the duration of the function, but otherwise the monsoon season had begun in real earnest.
Behind the armchair of Shri Nathji stood a valiant Sikh dressed in the full regalia of the State of Kapurthala. He was the bodyguard of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. The Maharaja had other engagements and could not come, but his bodyguard attended Shri Nathji’s function. He had intense faith in Shri Nathji and made it a point to be present on as many of his birthdays in Mussoorie as he could. There was even a time when he ran alongside the rickshaw of Shri Nathji on the Mall Road like he would run alongside the rickshaw of his own Maharaja. His presence behind Shri Nathji’s armchair lent a regal atmosphere to the function.
Shri Nathji stood up in the verandah and began delivering his address. His words flowed out in his usual melodious and authoritative voice. The people assembled there were lost in a self-forgetfulness that transcended space and time. The verandah echoed with his voice even as it reverberated at both ends of it. Shri Nathji was once more broadcasting to the whole world.
He had once said: “If a radio can carry your voice across to all corners of the globe, then why cannot the human brain, which has invented the radio, send its thoughts directly across to humanity!”
Amongst those seated in the gathering were G.P.Bhutt, Gangabai Bhutt and Jagdish.
Shri Nathji’s voice rose and fell in a heavenly crescendo, besieging, penetrating, revealing and enlightening, reviving the human soul, bringing it to God.
Before the people there were aware of it, two hours had elapsed. Shri Nathji blessed the gathering and brought the lecture to an end.
Mateshwari brought the arti in her hand and all got up to sing the arti along with her. The verandah of St. Andrews echoed with the thrill of divine music even as the refrain went up: “Om Jai Jagdish Hare”.
Shri Nathji’s eyes would always remain closed whenever the arti was being sung and he would move his lips silently, singing the arti with the others. It must have been a new experience for him to sing an arti composed in his name. God offering an oblation to Himself.
And finally there was Mateshwari singing her famous bhajan that she was to sing for several years afterwards in the verandah.
Prabhu mere sharana teri main aayaa
Bhajan bhaajon janam virthhaa gavaayaa
Toohi daataa toohi Jagdish hai meraa
Karo kirpaa main larr parryaa hai teraa
Binaa tere naheen koyi hamaaraa
Toohi Swami, too hi jeevan sahaaraa
Pyaalaa prem kaa hamko pilaa do
Pitaa putri hamen sachhi banaa do
Hukam saare bajaa laaven tumhaaraa
Safal jeevan tabhi hove hamaaraa.
O Lord, thou art mine, I seek refuge in Thee, Life can have no meaning, if I sing not thy praises,
Thou art the Benevolent, thou art my God!
Shower thy Grace, for I have caught hold of thy helm,
Without thee, there can be no one who is mine,
Thou art my Lord! Thou art my hope in life!
Give us of thy cup of Love to drink,
O Father, make us thy daughters true,
Let all follow the dictates of Thy Will!
To fill their lives with fulfilment.
And finally there was the prasaad of laddoos-sweets which Shri Nathji distributed with his own hands. The people came to him one by one and bowed before him to touch his feet; some prostrated full length. Shri Nathji continued speaking to each and every person as he came before him. His divine flow was unceasing. He spoke for another full hour even as the gathering gradually took their leave of him. All felt as if they were leaving their real home and returning to an unfamiliar world where Shri Nathji would not be present.
His words were echoing in everyone’s ears even as they left St. Andrews:
“Ab aap mere saamne kharre hain, main aapko haathh se pakarr saktaa hoon
Jab aap darvaaze ke paas honge to meri aankhen aap tak pahunch sakengi
Jab aap darvaaze ke baahar chale jaayenge meri aavaaz aap tak pahunch sakegi,
Magar jab aap bahut door chale jaayenge, jahaan meri aankhen aur aavaaz naheen pahunch sakenge,
Tab aap mere aur nazdeek ho jaayenge – main aapko dil ke andar dekha karoongaa!
When you are in front of me I can catch you by your hand,
When you reach the door I can see you with my eyes,
When you go outside the door, my voice will be able to reach you.
However, when you go very far away, where my eyes cannot see you, nor my voice reach you, you shall become closer to me than before –for I shall then see you within my heart!”