It was the month of February 1960, and people were going to bathe in the Triveni, the confluence of three rivers at Allahabad, in large numbers. The Kumbh Mela had arrived –the festival of cleansing that people had waited eagerly for.
It was at the Triveni in 1942 at the Kumbh Mela that Shri Nathji had given his darshan to Mahatma Sita Ram Sharan, who had recognised him to be Lord Rama upon earth.
Mahatma Sita Ram had long since left the world carrying the name of Shri Nathji on his lips. He had prayed to his devotees to bring him to the exact spot at the Triveni where he had secured Shri Nathji’s blessings, and it was there that he had merged into the Eternal Form of his beloved Shri Nathji.
Now that Shri Nathji was at Allahabad he was thinking of going to the Triveni in remembrance of his devotee, Mahatma Sita Ram Sharan. The Kumbh Mela seemed a good occasion to make such a trip.
Shri Nathji also wished to give his darshan and blessings to the thousands of pilgrims bathing in the sacred waters, even though there would be few there who would recognise him.
Little would they know that God was in their midst bathing along with them! By bathing in the waters, Shri Nathji would also bless the sacred waters, which had endured washing the sins of so much of humanity over the millenniums.
Whenever Gangabai Bhutt had come to Allahabad in the years past she had scrupulously refrained from going to bathe in the Triveni. She would often say:
“Naa main karoon yog dhyaan
Na karoon main Gangaa snaan
Nath rang rang laayi meri ye chunariyaa
I do not care to meditate
Nor do I bathe in the Ganga,
My scarf is dyed,
In the colour of Nath”
However Shri Nathji was going to bathe in the waters not to cleanse himself but rather to bless the waters and to cleanse the sins of the humanity that thronged there.
Shri Nathji, Mateshwari, Pran Nath and Priya Nath went to the site of the Kumbh Mela. The car was being driven by an old driver that Captain Niranjan Singh had engaged for Shri Nathji. The car was parked in a parking place and Shri Nathji and his family, along with the driver, proceeded on foot to the bathing area.
At first it appeared to be an impossible situation. For long now Shri Nathji, Mateshwari, Pran Nath and Priya Nath had not been accustomed to moving in crowds of strangers. The pushing and jostling was unimaginable for them. Yet they endured it and walked on till they came to the waters.
There, Shri Nathji removed his achkan and turban. Shri Nathji had been very conservative by nature, and seldom exposed any part of his body, apart from his hands and face. He had removed his socks in public only but once when the Rudra Abhishek ceremony was performed in Akola in 1951 and his feet had been washed with milk and honey.
Shri Nathji had hoped to go by the side of the waters and merely sprinkle a little water on his face and head.