Savitri Devi was born on the 15th August 1916. She came into the world, early in the morning, riding in on the first rays of dawn. She had two sisters and three brothers. Though she was younger than all of them in age, her soul was the most advanced. The family was a Khshatriya one, of the same caste as that of Shri Nathji. Her father Lala Hargopal was the living epitome of a righteous man. He had been offered the post of a High Court Judge but had declined it because he was content with his work and earnings.
After the strenuous exertions of her B. A. studies, her eyes became too strained for further work, and the decision to go abroad was postponed. In her heart, there was always an unexplainable love for the poor and suffering people around her. The broken hutments of the lowly, the sight of people sleeping on the pavements, filled her heart with untold sorrow. Whenever she saw people living in mansions her heart went out towards those in want; delicious foods would bring to her mind the starving forms of the needy; healthy bodies would bring to her mind the bodies of the diseased, and the old and the infirm for whom there were no cures.
She had nothing to complain about in her home. All the comforts that she could have desired were hers for the asking. A nice, large house, servants, a car, beautiful clothes, ornaments, a loving group of brothers and sisters and a doting father, all were hers.
But the sorrows of the world would forbid her from taking joy in the comforts of her own life. The desire for material pleasures never had a place in her mind. She had no thought for ornaments. Her greatest ornament was her simplicity and modesty. She was fond of studying, and the greater part of her time would be spent in such pursuits. Spiritual knowledge appeared to be her birthright and it was this which exerted such a profound influence upon her mind. She derived her peace from the solitude of learning, and not from the objects of the material world. These were repugnant to her because of the dreadful sorrow she saw the rest of the world in.
Her father, who loved her dearly, sincerely desired that she be married into a home where she would be happy and content. Many a proposal was examined and discarded. Savitri Devi herself had no desire for marriage. Her body, mind and soul were not intended for herself, they were to belong to God. Her life was to shine like a light in the scheme of Nature. Thorns were to come her way; storms were to threaten her existence, but she was not to swerve from her path. Her life was to become a constant sacrifice before the Will of God.
Hers was a soul that was altogether unique, and which had been born into the world with a definite purpose. Her I was not her own. It was an instrument of God. She came willingly into the field of God’s work, because that was the work she had been intended for. Her love for humanity, and for the poor and suffering was a fore-runner of the hidden task she would be called upon to perform. For a while, she had joined Gandhi’s independence movement, but this was a passing phase. She was waiting for something, but she didn’t know what; she was walking towards a destination but she didn’t know what the destination was. Within her, there was this ever-increasing thirst to relieve the sufferings of the world in whatever way she could. She was like the flute that contained silent melodies within. She was like that prose which had not yet been written. Spiritual experiences came naturally to her. And in her hidden quest she began to see the face of God in human form. It was the face of Shri Nathji. But union with God was difficult. The path would be paved with fire.
Shri Nathji often gave the following example:
A moth raced towards the flame. And, as it came closer and closer, the heat of the flame became more and more intense. Union meant the burning pain of Fire. In Union there was to be an annihilation. The moth looked at the fire and then at the darkness it had left behind. There was death in both. Death, either by stumbling in the darkness, or by burning in the light. The moth chose death by burning; it was better to perish in light. But this was a decision based on reason alone which saw benefit in perishing in light. A decision based on love would have been of greater worth. Such a resolve would not consider profit or loss. It would be a wild plunge into the goal. Love would hold the moth to the fire, when reason tried to take it away.
The burning was to be for a moment only. The fear was to be short-lived. The moth was to become one with the light and to show the path to others stumbling in the darkness. Fire could not burn itself. The moth would lose a life that would have gone in any case, and, in return it would gain everlasting life as Light.
In the words of Shri Nathji:
Sozish hai ik dam ki aur raahate davaami
Parvaane kaa ye mushkil kuchh imtahaan naheen hai
The burning is for a moment only, and the life, eternal,
It is not a difficult test, this, for the moth
This was to be the life of Savitri Devi. She was willing to sacrifice herself for the work of God before her, and God was willing to mingle her burning into His Own Light. Shri Babaji Maharaj tested her by various means, and, in the end, came to the conclusion that she would make an ideal life companion for Shri Nathji.
Shri Nathji had no desire for marriage within him, nor did Savitri Devi. The sorrows of the world loomed large before both. The salvation of mankind was the only task that had any meaning for them. Their lives were to be spent in this endeavour.
Shri Nathji did not look upon procreation as necessary, because after every life there was to be death. Those who came into the world of the living would have to endure the unendurable sting of Death. The concept of marriage appeared to violate his principles. In a like manner, Savitri Devi was very far removed from the thoughts of a life that meant a greater clinging to the world.
But Shri Babaji Maharaj used to say:
Maa dar che khyaalemo, falak dar che khyaal
Kaare ke Khudaa kunad falak raa cheh majaal
We think in one way, and the stars in another,
But that which must come to be, must reside in the Will of God.
Shri Babaji Maharaj called Shri Nathji to him and said:
Nathji! I want to say something to you.
Shri Nathji, who was ever willing to obey the slightest wish of his father, immediately said: Pray, tell me what you would have me do.
And Shri Babaji Maharaj said:
Son, I know that your mind exist in regions far above and beyond this world. There is nothing in this world that can hold any attraction for you, for you are light itself. But, for the salvation of the world, there is one thing you will have to do. It might appear to go against your principles, but it is an essential part of the scheme of Nature. Unless you agree to it, your work will not secure the success it deserves.
“Hamen aur Nath chaahiyen. We need more Nath’s in the future.
“I married, and you were born into this world, and it was thus that numerous souls attained salvation. Your glory is spreading in all spheres. We must ensure that this light-giving stream continues to flow for future gene-rations. You will have to marry. And the children that will be born to you will continue to give peace and happiness to the world. I am confident that you will obey me as you have done so very diligently in the past. It is a matter of pride to me that my son places my desire above his own. In my desire lies the desire of God. And in the desire of God lies salvation for the world! Can I be certain, therefore, that you have accepted my wish?
It was a difficult decision for Shri Nathji. On the one hand, there were his experiences and his principles, and on the other, his father’s will. But one of his greatest principles had been obedience of his father’s will. And so it had to be. Shri Nathji accepted the proposal of marriage.
His mind went back to the Iranian professor who had stayed with him in Lahore many years ago and who had insisted that he should get married, so that he would have someone to look after him. There was the strange vision of M.P.Khanna, and Shri Babaji Maharaj’s insistence on marriage, and the appearance of Savitri Devi on the scene.
Shri Babaji Maharaj said to Shri Nathji:
I leave the choice in your hands. You may marry anyone you choose.
At that time, when word had spread that Shri Nathji had accepted the idea of marriage, there was a rush of proposals from numerous people. There were the rich and the poor, with girls of varying attributes. Many of them had everything that a prospective groom would require: education, good breeding, modesty, a good family etc., etc. Many of the people who offered their daughters made a vow that if their proposals were not accepted, the girls would not marry anyone else in life! It was a difficult situation for Shri Babaji Maharaj. His great concern was that nobody’s feelings should be hurt, no one should feel rejected. He would often say to Shri Nathji that matters of the world had to be dealt with according to strict worldly etiquette:
Rishtedaari moti ki aab hoti hai
Worldly relationships are as delicate as the lustre of a pearl.
He would frequently explain to the people that several different relationships were possible with Shri Nathji–that of a devotee, of a sister–but the relationship of a wife could belong to only one person. Therefore, there was no need for dejection in any quarters. If this one relationship went to one person, the other relationships would still exist for the others. It was a wonderful simplification of the problem, and many a person went away satisfied.
R. R. Khanna had also been amongst those who had offered their daughters in marriage to Shri Nathji. As a matter of fact so intent was he for such a union that he had even carried out a token marriage ceremony of both his daughters with the photograph of Shri Nathji! However Shri Babaji Maharaj believed that the daughters of Khanna would not be suitable for Shri Nathji because of their materialistic background. He would say at times: Khanna’s daughters would need at least a thousand rupees as pocket money every day!
Shri Nathji left the decision entirely in the hands of Shri Babaji Maharaj. He would accept any girl that he chose.
If you ask me, said Shri Babaji Maharaj, then I will say that there is only one girl who can walk with you on the path that you have chosen–and that is, Savitri Devi, the daughter of Lala Hargopal Khanna!
Lala Hargopal Khanna came to Shri Babaji Maharaj and prayed:
Can we consider ourselves fortunate enough to be accepted by you?
Shri Babaji Maharaj looked at Lala Hargopal and said:
Lala Hargopalji, let me congratulate you. Your daughter shall shine as brilliantly as the Sun!
Aapki beti sooraj banke chamkegi!
As news spread, there was rejoicing in many quarters. Many a person had cherished the thought of this union for a long time. Smt. Gangabai Bhutt, who was in Lahore at the time, had found herself irresistibly drawn towards Savitri Devi, and something had told her that Savitri Devi was to marry Shri Nathji even before the negotiations had begun for marriage.
The marriage of Shri Nathji was to be a divine union like that of Sita and Rama, or Paarvati and Shankar. The world was witnessing the interplay of God with Himself in two diverse human forms. As so often in the past, God was to call His ‘Shakti’ – His Divine Power – to Himself. It was the ultimate proof that Shri Nathji was the avatar.
Savitri Devi was to be known as Mateshwari, the Divine Mother, and her voice recognised as that of Paarvati, saying:
Janam Janam lag lagan hamaari
Varhoon Shamboo naa to rahoon kavaari
It was the attraction of the ages that decreed,
That I would marry Shamboo, or remain unmarried otherwise.
For many, however, the news of the marriage was like poison. Those, whose daughters had not been accepted, took a dismal view. There was even the old lady, Tara Devi, who threatened to end her life by jumping into a well! Even within the circle of close relatives there was hidden opposition and dissension. The forces of evil were rearing their ugly heads. But Shri Nathji’s verse stood out as a warning to the powers of darkness:
Noore Khudaa hai kufran ki harkat pe khandaazan
Phoonkon se ye chiraag bujhaayaa na jayegaa
The Radiance of God laughs out loud at the Powers of Evil–
This Light cannot be blown out by their puffs of wind!”
There were some amongst the devotees who failed to understand the spiritual significance of the event. For them, Shri Nathji had been like a Sadhu or Swami or Mahatma–and the marriage appeared an aberration in violation of spiritual laws. For them, Shri Nathji had been like an ascetic, or a monk–which, in fact, he never was.
In the Hindu Shastras there were numerous instances of rishis and maharishis coming out of their spiritual seclusion and marrying. So even if Shri Nathji had been accepted as an ascetic, there was no aberration in his marrying.