The devotees of Akola arrived for the birthday function bringing with them a large sized portrait of Vishnu Bhagwan.
When the portrait was placed before Shri Nathji, he looked carefully at the face and discovered that the face was his own!
It was the first time that Shri Nathji had actually been portrayed as Vishnu Bhagwan in a painting.
Mrs. Gangabai Bhutt had always said that Shri Nathji was the Lord Vishnu whom she had seen in the heavens in her vision and that he had come down as an avatar upon the earth to perform His leela-his divine play in the twentieth century, the age of darkness, Kaliyuga.
The name of the artist was at the bottom of the portrait. It was a certain Shri N.H. Ankushkar. He was a resident of Akola but had not been in the town when Shri Nathji had come to Akola on December 29, 1950, and had stayed there for thirteen days. When Shri Ankushkar came to Akola in 1954 and found out about Shri Nathji, he rued the fact that he had not been there when Shri Nathji had come in 1950.
One night, in early 1954, he had a vision of Shri Nathji as Lord Vishnu. He woke up, his heart thrilling with a new vibration he had not felt before. The Lord he had seen in his vision remained as fresh as ever in his mind.
He immediately tried to capture the image on a canvas and drew the face and figure with the exactitude that his memory presented. By the time he had finished the portrait, the face was that of Shri Nathji, while the body was that of the four armed Lord Vishnu, holding the shank-shell, gadaa-mace, chakra-discus and padam-lotus, one in each arm.
The devotees bowed before Shri Nathji and placed the portrait before him. However, even though Shri Nathji praised the artist and the Akola bhaktas for their devotion, it appeared that Shri Nathji was not too happy with the portrait, as it depicted a bare-chested Lord Vishnu, whereas Shri Nathji had never been known to bare any part of his body before anyone!
He had been reluctant even to bare his feet during the Rudra Abhishek at Akola, when he had been worshipped as Lord Shankar in 1951.
Shri Bhutt had once chided Gangabai Bhutt for her obsession with gods and goddesses of old saying:
“Aaj kal Bhagwan to sarrkon par ghoomaa karte hain! Kyaa puraane roopon kaa zikar karti raihti ho!
“God is walking on the streets these days. Why must you keep recounting the images of the gods and goddesses of the past!”
When Mrs. Bhutt would pray to Shri Nathji to put on the dress of Lord Krishna with a mukat-crown on his head, Shri Bhutt would interpose:
“I like the present-day dress of Shri Nathji with his turban. The days of the mukat are gone!”
Shri Nathji accepted the portrait of Lord Vishnu brought by the devotees of Akola, and placed it in an obscure corner of the wall of his drawing room at Savitri Nivas, where his statue, made by Veerwati, was also lying.
Shri Nathji never showed the portrait to visitors or tried to capitalise on it, as anyone else in his place would have done.
He kept the portrait entirely away from public view, and rarely looked upon it himself.
It was not Shri Nathji’s desire to be made known before the world in such an open manner. His life existed only for genuine seekers after truth who recognised him to be God of their own volition. It was a recognition that came from within their souls. Shri Nathji would frequently quote:
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”