On August 2, 1947 Shri Nathji wrote a very affectionate and loving letter to Mateshwari’s father, Lala Hargopal Khanna, who was still at Lahore discharging his duties as legal Adviser of the Punjab National Bank there.
No man in the world had ever respected his father-in-law as much as Shri Nathji respected Lala Hargopal Khanna, the father of Mateshwari. Even though people regarded Shri Nathji as the Avatar and touched his feet, he, in turn, would lose no opportunity to touch the feet of Lala Hargopal.
Lala Hargopal always protested at this and said:
“Nathji mujh par paap charrhaa rahe ho! O Nathji, you are making me sin by touching my feet!”
Shri Nathji always wrote very respectfully to Lala Hargopal, writing in Urdu and beginning the letter with the words, “Poojaniya Pitaji”-“Most Venerable Father”, and ending his letters with the words: “Aapkaa bachchaa, Nath” i.e. “Your child, Nath.”
Most of the time, however, Shri Nathji would address Lala Hargopal as “Baaooji”, which was the name with which Mateshwari called him.
Shri Nathji sought advice from Lala Hargopal on the legal complexities of purchasing a home and executing the Sale Deed of the new house he was proposing to buy, St. Andrews, on the Mall.
In his Urdu letter of August 2, 1947, Shri Nathji wrote:
Most Venerable Father,
“Shri Bal Kishen Khanna gave us untold happiness by coming here, and left us in a state of great sadness when he went. We all miss his presence here. Please tell him so.
“There is a safe custody box at the Imperial Bank of India at Lahore, which has the number 21-19 and which has been held in the bank since many years in my name. I have approached the Agent at the Imperial Bank at Mussoorie to get the box here from Lahore, but the process appears to be very long. Perhaps Sri Krishen Khanna can get the box from the bank if I give him a letter of authority. Kindly give your guidance in the matter.
“When are you coming to Mussoorie? All of us are anxiously waiting for your arrival. Don’t go away to some other hill station this year as well. The weather in Mussoorie is quite good. This new place, Kahkashan, is very good. Do come and give us all the happiness of having you with us.
“The owner of the new house we are about to purchase, St. Andrews, has returned from America to his home at Pilibhit. He does not wish to come to Mussoorie himself to execute the Sale Deed but instead wrote that he wants everything to be done on his behalf by his agent at Mussoorie, and that he will authorise someone to get the registration of the sale deed done at Mussoorie. Should we enter into the sale without seeing the owner?
“Lala Sant Ram is welcome to come here and stay with us at Mussoorie whenever he likes. This is like his own home. However, should he desire a larger house to accommodate his entire family I shall be very happy to look for it.
“Lala Gopal Das has gone to Simla with his family we have learnt.
“Priyaji is better, but is still very weak. He still has night sweats while asleep.
“Pran Nath, Priya Nath and their mother, all send their pranaams to you.
“Best wishes to Veeran Devi, Bal Kishen, Sri Krishen Khanna and Sardarilal.
As we can see from the letter above, Shri Nathji wrote to his father-in-law in a very respectful tone. He did not sermonise or preach. He enquired after the welfare of all the relatives as a dutiful son-in-law. He sought legal advice from Lala Hargopal like a novice, even though the entire Law of the world was at his command.
Lala Hargopal had once said to Shri Nathji:
“Nathji, with a logic like yours you could have accomplished wonders as a lawyer or judge!”
“Aap agar vakeel ya judge hote to kamaal kar dete!”
And Shri Babaji Maharaj, who had been present, had been quick to add: “But now even lawyers and judges rush to him!”
“Ab to vakeel aur judge bhee unke peechhe daurrte hain!”
Lala Hargopal also wrote letters to Shri Nathji in Urdu, affectionately advising him on worldly matters, as an elder of the family would do.
It was only Shri Nathji who could decipher the hastily written Urdu letters of Lala Hargopal Khanna, which defied many an Urdu expert. This was because Lala Hargopal Khanna was not in the habit of writing letters, but rather dictating them to his stenographers in his office. It was said that there were times when he would even dictate directly from a bathtub while stenographers would hastily try to capture his intensely complex legal arguments. He was a genius in his own subject, just like Shri Nathji was in his.
In later years, Shri Nathji was always to say about Lala Hargopal:
“Hamen Baaooji kaa barraa sahaaraa raihtaa thhaa! Baaooji was a great comforting presence for us!”
Shri Nathji never forgot the love of Lala Hargopal for him at the time him when his arm operation had taken place and the words of Lala Hargopal:
“Nathji, agar aapko kuchh ho gayaa to hamaaraa kuchh naheen raih jaayegaa!
“Nathji, if anything happens to you, nothing will remain of us!”