This chapter in the life of Shri Babaji Bhagwan was one of the most powerful; one, which revealed spiritual truths with devastating reality. It was a chapter that was a turning point in the history of Shri Babaji Bhagwan, after which his Divine Glory spread everywhere and his work upon the planet earth appeared to reach completion, and the work of Shri Nathji began to commence.
Some of the greatest secrets of spiritual life were revealed in this touching sequel in the life of Shri Babaji Bhagwan. The stages through which Shri Babaji Bhagwan passed would have shaken even the most steadfast of saints. It was the spiritual power of Shri Babaji Bhagwan that made him endure the unendurable.
He would often say: “Everyone knows how to be happy in happiness, but a real saint is one who can take joy even in the midst of sufferings.” And of sufferings there was no dearth in this chapter of his life at Amritsar.
Those were the days when the ocean of divinity was surging at Amritsar and people were flooding in the multitudes merely to get a glimpse of the Sun of Spirituality, Shri Babaji Bhagwan that had risen in the area close to Jaure Peepal. One day Shri Babaji Bhagwan made this important announcement to his devotees:
“I am waiting for a true seeker after God to come to me through whom divine revelations shall be made manifest before the world!”
A few days later an elderly lady arrived at his darbaar accompanied by her companions. Her name was Bhagdeyi. Because of her age people referred to her as “ Mataji” a term of respect for the elderly.
Mataji: Pranaam, Bhagwan! Salutations to Thee!
Shri Babaji: (Turning to those gathered around him): Here is the one who I had been waiting for! Remember, she will take me away from you! If any amongst you have strength enough in your faith then snatch me away from her!
Mataji: (To herself): O Lord! Who is this I am beholding today! Is he the one I had been seeking? Or is he merely one who knows Thy way? There is something in him that is attracting me like a magnet. O Lord! I am convinced that by Thy Benevolence it is Thou who hast appeared before me in this form!
Thereafter there begins a struggle between reason and faith that wages in her mind and which reflects the query of every seeker after truth on the spiritual path:
Intellect: Stop! You are being deluded. How can the Infinite appear before you in a finite human form?
Faith: He who exists in all forms in the world can also appear especially in any one human form of His choosing.
Intellect: But how can the Unlimited become limited?
Faith: The Infinite can never become limited. Nor has it done so now by appearing in human form.
Intellect: Explain yourself.
Faith: Look at this stick made of wood lying before you. Fire is hidden in each and every part of it. If fire manifests itself in any one part of it that would not mean that the fire does not exist in any other part of it. The fire is there in each and every part of the wood but in a concealed form. The moment any part of the wood is ignited, the fire reveals itself. And even as fire can reveal itself at any one place in the wood and yet be present everywhere in a concealed form at all other places, in a like manner, God can reveal Himself in any one human form of His choosing and yet be present everywhere in the Universe in an Invisible Form.
Intellect: But the manifestation of God in the human form reveals a shape that is limited to all outer appearances.
Faith: The limitation is merely an illusion. Even as the Unlimited Space which exists everywhere, cannot be caught and made limited in an empty glass, in a like manner the Unlimited God can never become limited by appearing in a human form.
Intellect: Why does the Unlimited manifest Himself in a limited human form?
Faith: Let us think of the Unlimited God like we would think of the light of the sun. The light of the sun falls upon all the particles upon earth. However even though it reveals the particles it does not reveal itself. But if a clean mirror be placed there amongst the particles, the mirror shall reflect the light of the sun. In a like manner whenever the light of God falls upon a heart that is pure – which is bereft of ego with no thought of its “I”– the Light of God is reflected and revealed. The manifestation of God from such a personality is due to the absence of his “I”. Otherwise that Reality is present everywhere in a concealed form.
Intellect: But how did you know that he–Shri Babaji Bhagwan–is the one you were seeking?
Faith: My heart tells me as much!
Intellect: How do you know that your heart is telling you the truth?
Faith: Because God has in all His kindness told me. I had often in the past prayed to God to reveal Himself to me. He has heard my prayers. I am convinced that today I am seeing Him before me in answer to my prayers. I cannot listen to anyone now. I have understood His Reality with a uniqueness that comes from realization alone, and which is not based on intellectual reasoning. This realization is now as permanent as the Pole Star which remains always to the North.
Beniyaazee hadd se guzari bandaa parvar kab talak
Ham kahenge haale dil aur aap farmaayenge kyaa
Thy indifference has gone beyond all endurance, O Merciful Lord,
I shall narrate before Thee my heart’s sorrow, And what willst Thou say in reply!
Aaj vaan tegho kafan baandhe hue jaataa hoon main
Uzr mere katl karne men vo ab laayenge kyaa
Carrying a sword and a shroud with me I go before Him,
What excuse shall He give for not beheading me now!
Mataji came before Shri Babaji Bhagwan and expressed the yearning of her heart.
Mataji: O Lord! Please accept me and reveal to me Thy Real Self!
Shri Babaji: This path is a difficult one. A person has to sacrifice everything that is dear to him.
Mataji: I have not come before Thee with any pride or ego within me. I have nothing now that I need to sacrifice. However I leave everything to Thy Will.
Shri Babaji: Remember, this is a very difficult path.
Mataji: But only up to the time your love has not been obtained!
Shri Babaji: One may even have to die on this path.
Mataji: If one has Thy Love then there is life in such a death.
Shri Babaji: One has to separate oneself from all relationships on this path.
Mataji: When one has attained Thy relationship the lesser relationships will cease to matter. When a drop falls into the ocean it sees no shortcomings anywhere.
Shri Babaji: On this path there may loss of one’s honour and prestige. One may have to face disgrace and disrepute and numerous trials and tribulations.
Mataji: When Thou art with me these thorns will become like flowers.
Shri Babaji: Think over it once again.
Mataji: I have thought over everything already.
Shri Babaji: Why do you come to me? Look at the world around you. See how beautiful it is.
Mataji: But he, who I see before myself, is much more beautiful.
Shri Babaji: Are you not satisfied with the world?
Mataji: No, because my peace does not lie in it.
Bishnau az nai choon hikaayat mi kunad
Vaz judaayi haa shikaayat mi kunad
Ask of the flute why it sings a mournful song,
’Tis but a cry of separation in it!
Kaz naistaa taa maraa ba bareedaa and
Az nafeeram mardozan naaleedaa and
Since the time I have been cut from my stalk in the jungle,
The sound of my notes makes men and women cry
The seeker after God yearns for a heart that is filled with the pain of separation from Him. The seeker had shed tears before the world in all the phases that came before him. He had met many who were in happiness and many who were in sorrow. But he discovered soon enough that all who met him did so for their own selfish ends. No one could understand the secret pain of his heart.
The soul sees within itself a feeling of separation which is there because it has been separated from God. A proof of this separation is that it cannot find peace in anything else. If the feeling of separation were for the things of the world it would go away as soon as the things were obtained. Every person in the world is crying for something or the other and showing that he is incomplete. Thus it is clear that the feeling of separation is for something else, which is not of this world of matter, but which belongs to a spiritual world.
Since the soul is spiritual, the Whole from which it has been separated, and of which it is a part, must also be spiritual.
Mata Saraswati said at once to Shri Babaji Bhagwan: “My happiness lies not in this world but rather in Thee! Remove Thou this separation and make me one with Thyself.”
Important Note: When a devotee addresses a human form with these words he is in reality addressing God. It is like a man who prostrates upon the ground but is in reality prostrating before God.
Shri Babaji: But have you experienced this separation?
Shri Babaji: What proof do you have of this?
Mataji: My heart is far removed from the things of the world and I feel a restlessness now only for God.
Shri Babaji: This path appears very easy in the beginning but becomes very difficult later.
Mataji: I am not afraid when you are with me.
Shri Babaji: Are you willing to enter into such a bargain?
Mataji: That is what my heart desires.
Shri Babaji: And if you cannot pay the price?
Mataji: Then I shall ask for it free of cost!
Shri Babaji was pleased with her faith and devotion. The fire of divine love burnt in the heart of Mataji and she yearned for union with Shri Babaji Bhagwan. And even as a flame inspires love for itself in the heart of a moth and later leads the moth to itself with its own light, in a like manner Shri Babaji Bhagwan had filled the heart of Mataji with His Love and then guided her towards himself with his own light divine.
The dormant divine love within the soul of Mataji was awakened at first sight the moment she came before Shri Babaji Bhagwan, and it caused Mataji to burn on the flame of his love like a moth.
But there was still a separation. Shri Babaji Bhagwan had kept the chimney of the world between his light and the moth that yearned for it. Because of this chimney Mataji could not at first give up her “I” at once. For some time she had to struggle against this barrier, and was frequently hurt as she sought to break through it.
Mataji was beside herself with joy and said to herself: “O what an enchanting world I have entered. It is a world in which this world and its desires cease to exist. What a beautiful scene! The senses and their fleeting pleasures do not exist here. The air is filled with happiness and the atmosphere captures the heart. There is no turbulence here nor any restlessness or conflicts. Every thorn has taken on the shape of a flower. What enduring peace exists here! O God, what a beautiful world I had been separated from all these years! How can I leave these priceless pearls for the sake of pennies now! I never knew how beautiful my real home was till now!”
Mataji was a widow. Her husband had been a Tehsildar at the time he had died. She had grown up sons with whom she lived. She was a widow and subject to the limitations that the society of those days imposed upon widows. Two feelings arose within Mataji. The first came from her physical nature, which sought to take her towards the world from which she had come, and the second stemmed from her soul, which sought to bring her to Shri Babaji Bhagwan, in whom she saw God. A struggle began to take place within her.
She began to see her past husband in the form of Shri Babaji Bhagwan whom she regarded as God. It appeared to her that her husband had united with God and then returned to her in this form. But old habits persisted for many days. She would rarely eat the prasaad offered at Shri Babaji’s place and would give it to others outside.
Shri Nathji explained this theme beautifully in the biography of Shri Babaji Bhagwan, “Zahoore Haqueeqat”–“The Manifestation of Reality”, which dealt with the phase of devotion of Mata Saraswati:
“In the path of devotion man has formed a variety of different relationships with God. These relationships have ranged from those of a seeker, a devotee, a son, a mother, a friend, to those of a wife or lover etc. And God has always replied to every relationship in the manner best suited for it. It is the voice of Lord Krishna as stated in the Geeta:
Ye yathaa maam prapyadante taanstahaiv bhajaamyham,
Mam vartmaanuvartante manushya partha sarvash
No matter which path a man may choose to come to me,
I go to meet him along that very path”
Shri Nathji explained this verse of the Geeta in the following words:
“In this one verse of Lord Krishna the conflicts of the world cease to exist. Strife, struggle and wars disappear. When we discover that the entire world is going towards the same goal through different paths we shall cease to despise others. This would not mean that we would give up our own path. The question of changing paths would arise only if the path that we had chosen was wrong. However when we convince ourselves that all the religions of the world are right in their own ways, then conversion from one faith to another would become unnecessary.
“Shri Babaji Bhagwan used to give the example of a man in search of water who went to dig a well. He dug for a few feet in one spot, but was stopped by another who came and told him that it would be more profitable to dig in another spot. The man went to the other place and began digging there, but just then another man came to him and told him to dig elsewhere where his chances of finding water would be better. And this happened again and again, whenever he began digging at any place. The net result of the wasted effort was that he was not able to dig a well anywhere and did not find water. If instead of going from place to place he had remained firm at any one place and dug deeply there surely he would have found the water he was seeking. Everyone was convinced that water existed, but were merely looking for it in different places. In a like manner all the religions of the world are going towards that Reality through different paths.
“Are the words of Lord Krishna not enough to bring peace to the world? Do all the virtues of the world not exist in this one verse? Can anyone say after reading this verse that Lord Krishna could have had prejudices of any kind in Him, or that he looked upon different people differently? Lord Krishna lived the life of this verse. When Arjuna was in need of protection he became his charioteer in the battle of the Mahabharata; when Arjuna stood in need of spiritual guidance, Lord Krishna became his guru and expounded the Geeta, which was a philosophy that few could have understood.
“In earlier days Lord Krishna had donned a turban and a peacock plume and had played and danced with the cowherds and the milkmaids of Brindaban, stealing butter here and smearing it mischievously on the mouths of the calves, teasing, laughing and crying, striking out playfully and being beaten in turns, berating and consoling. Did he not respond to the feelings of the gopis-milkmaids and the gavaalaas-young cowherds, in the manner they desired? Did He not assume the form of an awesome warrior before the evil king, Kans?
“On the one hand He had exhibited such apparent helplessness before the gopis and gavaalaas, and on the other hand he showed his great strength before the evil Kans when He flung him to the ground. His romantic dalliance with Radheji at Brindaban, his elopement with Rukmini at Amravati; his washing the feet of the guests at the Yagna ceremony– the life of Lord Krishna revealed that the Lord goes out to meet his devotees in the manner that His devotees yearn for him. No matter which path a man may choose to go towards God, He meets him along that very path.
“This became such a paramount principle in the religion of the time that diverse paths to God developed in Hinduism itself. Everyone began to worship God in the manner he liked. And this was as it should have been, because in truth human nature is so diverse that different people cannot look upon the same thing with the same feelings. No particular food or colour is liked universally by all.
“Alas! Men of ordinary faith soon forgot the significance of this verse of Lord Krishna. Each sought to adopt his own path and to oppose the paths of others. But they did not ask themselves– was Lord Krishna right or wrong? If they had said he was wrong, then they could not have laid claim to being believers in any sense of the word. And if they had said he was right, then they had no reason to condemn the paths that others walked upon.
“Lord Krishna allowed himself to be a son to Mata Yashoda; he allowed himself to be a friend, a husband and a father to others in later times. If all this is proper, then it is only right that we walk silently on whatever path we have chosen and allow others to walk on the paths of their choice.
“It was thus that Mataji established the relationship of a wife with Shri Babaji Bhagwan who she looked upon as her husband as well as her God. Her own husband had died some time ago. She was a widow. The wife of Shri Babaji, Durga Devi, had died a long time ago. There was nothing wrong in such a relationship between the two. If she had loved someone else other than her husband one may have found fault with her feelings, but she loved only her husband and no one else, and she saw her husband in Shri Babaji Bhagwan, merged into Shri Babaji like a drop of water merged into the ocean.
“The devotion of Mataji in Shri Babaji Bhagwan became so intense that, Shri Babaji Bhagwan, in keeping with the divine laws, was obliged to respond in the manner that his devotee wished, and so he had to become a husband to her.”
Numerous were the questions that filled the minds of people at the time. People who had thought of Shri Babaji Bhagwan as an ascetic who had renounced the world were appalled at the thought of his marrying again. They thought that by doing so he had become a worldly man and had betrayed the tenets of spirituality.
There were many who frowned upon the re-marriage of widows during those days and saw in the union of Mataji with Shri Babaji Bhagwan an open defiance of all the norms established by the society of that time. There were yet others who had been inwardly jealous of the popularity and rise of Shri Babaji Bhagwan and of his absolute purity and greatness. They found an opportunity to denigrate his spirituality and to even suggest that the relationship between Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji was a sensual relationship with physical desires, despite the fact that both were elderly persons. And thus began a wave of persecution against Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji by people who were ignorant as well as motivated.
Shri Nathji elaborated at length on this subject in his book “Zahoore Haqueeqat”–The Manifestation of Reality, where he explained with scientific exactness and astonishing logic the concept of the part and the whole and the relationship between God and man. It was for this kind of irrefutable and precise reasoning that Shri Nathji had become famous. It was a logic that was rarely seen in the world of spiritual literature. The following is a translation from the original Urdu and Persian as set down in “Zahoore Haqueeqat” by Shri Nathji:
Question: How can the invisible God have any relationship with any human being when He is not of this world and is without form?
Answer: In what way do you address Shri Babaji Bhagwan?
Question: We think of him as God and of ourselves as His created beings.
Answer: Is this not a relationship too? Even though He is beyond all relationships when He is alone by Himself, yet He has to assume any relationship which a devotee invokes in Him. Look upon water. It has no face of its own. But place it in a vessel and it assumes the shape of the vessel. Thus it can assume as many shapes as the number of vessels that contain it!
Ba naame aan ki oo naame nadaarad
Ba har naame ki khwaani sar bar aarad
What is the name of Him who has no name?
He answers to every name with which He is called
There is but One Existence in the Universe. And it is free of all diversity and differences. It cannot have any relationship with anyone else. This must be so because nothing else can exist outside of that Existence. A relationship comes about only when there are two separate beings.
In the Hindu Shaastraas three types of relationships are defined:
Sajaatiye-Bhed: this is the relationship between two similar persons or things, i.e. like the relationship between man and man.
Vijaatiye-Bhed: this is the relationship between two unlike things, like the relationship between a man and a beast.
Svagad-Bhed: this is the relationship that exists between different parts of the same thing—like the relationship that exists between the different limbs of a man which are all separate from each other but are united in the body of the man.
We cannot think of God having a Sajaatiya Bhed with anyone, because this is a relationship between two similar beings. Since there can be no one similar to God He must be above such a relationship.
We cannot think of God having a Vijaatiye Bhed with anyone either, because this is a relationship which exists between two separate unlike beings. Since there cannot be any unlike being who is outside of God and separate from God, there can be no question of His having any relationship with anyone separate from him.
Question: We cannot understand this, because side by side with God there is this world which is unlike Him and appears to be separate from Him. Therefore there must be a Vijaatiye Bhed between God and the world.
Answer: But this world is not a reality – it is a mere illusion. It is non-existence appearing as existence. Therefore no relationship can exist between God and that which is nothing. Spiritual philosophy looks upon the world as something that is perishable. The beginning and the end of the world are steeped in non-existence. There is but One Reality, who is Absolute Existence itself, and that is God. The Hindu philosophy of Vedanta looks upon the world as Maayaa – an illusion, something that appears to exist but does not exist in reality. We cannot therefore look upon this world as a real existence existing outside of God or separate from Him. It cannot exist side by side with God. Even those who think of the world as real must admit that it is nothing as compared to the unfathomable infinitude of God. Therefore, even then it is of no significance and cannot be said to have any relationship with God.
Aab men dhoonde se hargiz bulbulaa miltaa naheen,
Aur gar miltaa bhee hai to vo judaa miltaa naheen
The bubble cannot be found in water search as we may,
And if found, it is not found separate from water!
There cannot be diversity in the reality of God. He is Infinite, Unbounded, Limitless. We cannot divide the Infinite into parts. If we think of the Infinite as being composed of parts then each part will become finite, and each part will appear to be different from the other. The parts will limit the Whole. Since each part will be limited it will be subject to decay and destruction like all limited things, and therefore all the parts will become perishable, and we shall be imposing perishability on an Imperishable God. But this is an impossible situation. God is Infinite and Imperishable. He cannot be subject to decay and destruction. Therefore He is an Infinite whole and is indivisible.
We see, therefore, that Svagad Bhed cannot exist for God, as that is a relationship of a whole with its parts. Here there is just the Whole and there are no parts.
Thus in all the three relationships described above, God can have no relationship of any kind with anyone or anything. This must be so because there is nothing which can exist outside of Him or can be separate from Him.
In a situation like this can we establish a relation with Him as the Creator and of ourselves as His created beings? Would this relationship not imply that we exist separate from Him? And would this not negate everything that has been said of His Infinity and Limitlessness? If we can call ourselves His Creation and look upon ourselves as existing separate from Him, then all the relationships we have been discussing must also become real! Therefore we are forced to give up even this relationship with God.
Question: If there is nothing separate from Him then what is the meaning of this world?
Answer: In reality this world does not exist, separate from Him. It is His play, his leela. It is His thought, which is not separate from Him. There cannot be a real world which is outside of Him and which can exist side by side with Him. Such a world can only be imaginary or illusory. The imaginary world could not have created itself. It exists only in the imagination of the one who gave birth to it. We can do one thing: we can establish an imaginary relationship with God while living in this imaginary world of His making, and in doing so we can choose any relationship that appears most appropriate to us!
Question: If this world is but an illusion which is purely imaginary then how can we perceive Reality in it? And why should we attach any importance to any event in it?
Answer: It would be good if we did not attach any importance to any event in it. But in real life we find that this is impossible. This is so because the illusion before us has the semblance of reality and appears to bear the face of truth. In a real sense the world will become an illusion only when we have realized God. Before that, it shall appear to be a reality in itself. A dream is known to be false only when we awaken. Before that it shall appear to be a real world in itself.
Every object that is based on imagination must have some foundation from which it stems, and it is one with that foundation. The world of dreams has for its foundation the real world, and it is in fact one with it. The thirst for water in a dream world is based upon real water in the real world. Imagine for a moment that you are thirsty while asleep. You run hither and thither in your dream world and drink from jugs, goblets, ponds and rivers but your thirst is not satiated. This is because your thirst is for real water which exists only in the real world. You wake up and drink water in the real world and your thirst is satiated. The thirst of the dream world could only be satiated in the real world. Therefore in order to understand the imaginary world we have to come to the real world.
That which takes us from the imaginary world to the real world is Faith. The faith must be of two kinds: Hakkul Yakeen—a faith derived from experience, and Ainnul Yakeen– a faith based on actually seeing. Up to the time that we acquire such faith, we shall have to live in the world in accordance with the rules that govern its existence and establish such relationships within it as appear suitable to us.
Question: In an imaginary world will it not be wrong to give credence to any imaginary belief? What can we hope to gain from an illusion?
Answer: The tiger of a dream serves to awaken a person from a dream – and then vanishes along with the dream! In a like manner we can derive benefit from the imaginary figures of the world when they serve to awaken us to God, and then disappear themselves. Thus it is that living in the world of Maayaa, illusions, we have to seek out the means within it that lead to God Realization.
The existence of the real and the unreal lies in our sense of perception. That which we see, we call real, and that which we cannot see, we call unreal. For as long as we see the world around us it appears to be real to us, but when we begin to see God, only God becomes real and everything else becomes unreal. And when God becomes real for us the world becomes unreal. This does not mean that the objects of the material world disappear from sight, it only means that our sense of perception changes. That which we had earlier perceived as the “world” we now perceive as “God”. That which we had earlier called the “drop”, we now call “water”.
We have to seek out a path to God-Realisation while living in the midst of the world of illusions–Maayaa. For as long as we live in ignorance, this world of Maayaa seeks to assert itself and becomes the only God that we know. At the same time it presents before us a world of feelings and emotions in the midst of which we can find a way to the Real God. We are forced by circumstances to choose a path from the diverse pictures of the world displayed before us. And we can choose whatever path is in conformity with our faith. We cannot say that any particular relationship with God is right or wrong. All that we can say is that either no relationship at all is possible with Him, or else all relationships are true and correct.
If we say that He is the Creator and we are His created beings, then how can we explain the fact that nothing can exist outside of Him? If He is the only existence then who are we to assert our own existences before Him? If we say that He is the father and we are His children then again we cannot explain how we can exist separately from Him?
When we are merged in Reality or God, these relationships have no meaning. They have, however, been allowed to exist in the world at different times and different places, because they serve to bring people to that Reality. Therefore if one establishes the relationship of a wife, with God as the husband, how can such a relationship be considered wrong?
As a matter of fact such a relationship is endowed with a beauty of its own. In this relationship there is humility, for a wife is the weaker of the two; here there is absolute dependence on the husband for the rest of one’s life. In this relationship there is love, there is even self-assertiveness, and finally there is surrender before the will of the husband. The wife is like a devotee who serves her Lord and Master; she is like a beloved when she submits to her husband’s love; she is a wise counselor when she tenders advice; a companion who is constantly by the side of her husband. She always tries to please her husband by appearing as beautiful as possible for his sake; she has no cares for her own happiness and she looks at no one else except her husband. Whatever she does is meant only to please her husband. Her own happiness lies only in seeing her husband pleased with her. If on any day the woman feels that she has not been able to please her husband, she looks upon that day as being inauspicious and ill omened.
Question: Can a visible, limited being form a relationship with an Invisible, Unlimited Being?
Answer: Certainly. Let us take the powerhouse as an example. The electric current that exists in the powerhouse is invisible. It cannot be seen even in the electric wires connected to the powerhouse. However the electric current reveals itself when it enters a bulb where it appears as light. The glass bulb then becomes a source through which the electric current is made manifest. It is a representative of the invisible powerhouse. Even though one cannot fathom the mysteries of the invisible powerhouse, one can form a relationship with the small limited bulb. Even then the relationship is with the invisible electric current inside the bulb which has come from the powerhouse, and which reveals itself as light. The relationship that exists is not with the physical shape of the glass, even though to outer appearances it may appear to be so.
In a like manner, the Invisible Unlimited God is like the Powerhouse, and can make his appearance through some limited human form of His own choosing, from which the light of God begins to manifest itself. When a devotee establishes a relationship with such a personality the relationship is not with the body but with the Invisible God.
Mataji established such a relationship with Shri Babaji Bhagwan. The people who were shortsighted and worldly-minded could not understand this relationship, but those who knew of divine secrets readily accepted this relationship as being most sublime and the holiest of the holy.
Since Mataji was a woman she established the relationship of a wife with Shri Babaji Bhagwan. She saw in Babaji her former husband who had died some time ago, and who, according to her belief, had merged into God and had re-appeared before her in the form of Shri Babaji Bhagwan. It was a spiritual relationship that transcended the boundaries of physical relationships and was divine in nature. Both Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji were elderly persons in their fifties at the time.
In keeping with the eternal spiritual laws Shri Babaji Bhagwan had no alternative but to respond to the feelings of Mataji in the manner that she had expressed them. It was a relationship in which physical emotions had no place. In course of time Mataji conceived and was with child. This was a great miracle, for she had had no physical relationship with Shri Babaji Bhagwan whatsoever, and her devotion had existed purely on the spiritual plane. Her marriage to Shri Babaji Bhagwan was not consummated on the physical plane. It was purely a union of the souls.
In Christianity there is the Virgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus Christ without any physical relationship with her husband, Joseph. Mirabai the legendary Indian saint considered herself married to Lord Krishna even though Lord Krishna was not in physical form. There are numerous instances in spiritual history where children were born to mothers upon earth who conceived from divine intervention and not from any physical relationship. People cannot understand how such a birth came about, but accept it on the basis of their faith
If people say that these events are impossible and defy reason, then they should be asked whether their knowledge is perfect or imperfect? Do they know of all the events that took place in the past and that have yet to take place in the future? Is the entire knowledge of the Universe known to them? If they admit that there are things that are beyond their knowledge, then they must allow for the existence of events that they cannot understand, but which are possible. At most they can merely say that they cannot understand such events, but they cannot say that such events are impossible. A person is walking on a long road and has travelled a certain distance, but he still has a long road ahead of him. Some mysteries of the world have been revealed to man, but there are some that still remain unrevealed. What appears to be impossible to man has certain laws of its own under which it manifests itself, even though these laws may not be openly revealed. In the grand scheme of creation, nothing is impossible for God.
Rukmini had yearned that Lord Krishna become her husband, and he married her despite severe opposition. In a like manner, Shri Babaji Bhagwan allowed himself to become the husband of Mataji on seeing the intensity and purity of her devotion. There was dissent from those who did not understand the significance of this union. Most of the criticism was directed against Mataji who was a widow. This was because the re-marriage of widows was considered wrong by the society of those days. However nothing could shake her from her resolve. She knew that the person she looked upon as her husband was really her departed husband in fact.
On the physical plane there was nothing wrong with such a union. Shri Babaji Bhagwan had lost his wife many years ago, and Mataji was a widow. There were the orthodox and the bigoted amongst dissenters, those who looked upon widows re-marrying as a sin; and those who thought that Shri Babaji Bhagwan had forsaken his spiritual path to become a worldly man, by re-marrying at so old an age. These were the ones who were opposed to this spiritual union between God and His devotee in the form of a husband and a wife.
Even the grown up sons of Mataji from her first husband failed to understand the union, and joined the ranks of those bent upon opposition. Mataji said to her sons: “I have not married a new person. Shri Babaji Bhagwan is none other than my first husband. He is your father.” However the sons of Mataji failed to recognize their father in Shri Babaji Bhagwan because they had not received spiritual insight. It was perhaps the will of Shri Babaji Bhagwan that they remain unenlightened, for it was thus that his drama upon earth was to unfold itself. Shri Babaji Bhagwan made the supreme sacrifice of inviting opposition against himself by accepting Mataji. Shri Babaji Bhagwan had to come down to the level of his devotee in order to bring her up to his level.
Persecution mounted on an unprecedented scale. There was a conflagration that threatened to engulf Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji. Their lives were in danger. There were moments when frenzied mobs came to attack the house where Shri Babaji Bhagwan lived. Rioters forced themselves into his house through the windows. At that moment Taajjudin and Navi Bax stood loyally by the side of their master and battled with the mobs, throwing out physically those who entered the house by force, and protecting Shri Babaji Bhagwan and his family in every way possible. All those who were loyal to Shri Babaji Bhagwan were willing to give up their lives for him if needed; however, since conflict was not the mission of Shri Babaji Bhagwan, he quietly left the city and went to live in the outskirts at the mazaar-tomb of the spiritual preceptor of Chaudhri Navi Bax. Shri Babaji Bhagwan, Mata Saraswati and Shri Nathji and his brother all began living at the tomb.
The unruly elements amongst the dissenters soon found out where Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji had gone, and threatening, jeering mobs made their appearance felt even at the mazaar.
Navi Bax and Taajjudin stood guard on Shri Babaji Bhagwan and his family members. It was a strange sight, Muslim devotees protecting a Hindu saint from Hindu mobs. These were the difficult times that Shri Babaji had predicted.
The Divine Power of Shri Babaji Bhagwan was such, however, that not a single person could touch him or Mataji. They would come and hurl invective and abuse at him from a distance and then leave. The situation continued for days, weeks and months. Shri Babaji Bhagwan and his children, Shri Nathji and Prem Nath, who had been accustomed to living in protected surroundings, found themselves exposed to the harsh elements of the weather. Shri Babaji Bhagwan slept on one side of the mazaar and Shri Nathji slept at his feet.
They were exposed to the hot scorching summer heat with temperatures so high that even birds and animals perished, and the biting cold of the winter where temperatures nearly touched zero. They went without food for days on end. There were fevers and illnesses all of which had to be endured in the exposed atmosphere of the mazaar, where even medical aid was impossible.
Another spiritual leader in the place of Shri Babaji Bhagwan would have given up his path, but not so Shri Babaji Bhagwan who stood firm to his principles and endured the greatest of physical sufferings without a demur.
There was a time when Shri Nathji and his brother were so starved for food that they wanted to take the “satto” fruits from a tree. As they tried to do so, they touched a beehive inadvertently, which released a mass of bees upon them. As a result of this they could not even go to the nearby well to fetch water. Shri Babaji Bhagwan laughed and said: “It was the Will of God that we remain hungry. But you sought to go against that Will and to bring fruits from the tree. As a consequence these bees fell upon you, preventing you even from partaking of water!”
Those were the days when Shri Nathji served Shri Babaji Bhagwan with unswerving devotion. His delicate body, unaccustomed to manual work, was put to such exertions as would have tired even the strongest of men. He would cook for Shri Babaji Bhagwan, wash the utensils, get water from the well, and do all the chores necessary for their subsistence at the tomb. At one point he thought he would collapse from sheer fatigue if called upon to do another piece of work. Just then Shri Babaji Bhagwan called out to him. Shri Nathji decided there and then that if he were going to collapse he would do so while serving Shri Babaji Bhagwan till the end.
Shri Babaji Bhagwan would often say: “Any person can be happy in congenial circumstances, but a real fakeer, a saint, is one who can take joy even in the most adverse of circumstances that surround him. All that is happening around us is the Divine Will, and from this play which is being enacted, a great spiritual revelation shall come forth to guide humanity for ages to come.”
For Shri Babaji Bhagwan this storm of opposition was a mere play which could be begun and halted at will. His spiritual radiance shone even more brilliantly than ever before during this period. It was the first time in his life that Shri Babaji Bhagwan had to witness such persecution, which appeared bent upon destroying his life’s mission. However he bore it all with happiness for the sake of Mataji who had taken refuge in him. The divine personality of Shri Babaji Bhagwan was miles away from the attractions of the physical senses, and his relationship with the elderly Mataji existed purely on a spiritual plane. It was divine love manifesting itself as such on the worldly plane, and, as always, was misunderstood and maligned by the ignorant.
There was the verse Shri Nathji often used to describe the plight of genuine lovers of God:
Taanaye agyaar hai rusvaayi hai naadaari hai
Kyaa tere naam par marne kaa ivaz khwaar hee hai
Jibes of the foes, torments and dishonour,
Is this the reward for dying for Thy Name?
There were moments when even the strong will of Mataji was shaken by the turn of events and the opposition. Shri Babaji had said to Mataji before these events occurred: “There is a hidden secret behind all this. There is going to be great opposition in which you shall have to make many sacrifices. Later the world shall be astonished at the divine revelations that come before it.”
Now that the persecution was upon them, Shri Babaji’s words instilled greater hope than ever in the heart of Mataji:
“Listen to my words! I can change this entire scene in a moment, but that will not bring me any joy. If no time is allowed to elapse between the onset of hunger and the coming of food, then there shall be no joy in eating.
“If the evil Ravana had been destroyed even before he could abduct Sita Maharani, the Ramayana would never have been written, nor would millions have gained salvation from it. If Lord Rama had not allowed himself to be banished into the forests through the machinations of Kekayi the Ramayana would never have been enacted for the benefit of the world.”
Shri Babaji Bhagwan often narrated the rarely told story of Lord Rama and his stepmother Kekayi, at a time when Lord Rama was just a child.
Maharani Kekayi was sitting all alone in her room when someone came from behind her and closed her eyes with his hands. Kekayi was mother to Shatrugana, Laxman, Bharat and Rama. Out of these, Bharat and Shatruguna were her real sons, while Rama and Laxman were stepsons.
A Voice: “Mother, can you guess who I am?”
Voice: “No, wrong again!”
Kekayi: “Then is it…is it Rama?”
Voice: “Yes, mother! You guessed it correctly this time! But it took you such a long time to recognize me!”
Kekayi: “O Rama! How could I ever have guessed that it was you! You never play such games! What does it mean?”
Rama: “Mother Kekayi, please listen carefully to what I am going to say. Today I am closing your eyes so that you will henceforth fail to recognize my Divine Self. And you shall be instrumental in banishing me to the forests from Ayodhya!”
Kekayi: “O Rama! What are you saying! How could I ever think of banishing you! No, no, I could never do that!”
Rama: “O mother! Please accept my prayer and do this – for in my banishment shall lie the enactment of a drama which shall grant salvation to many souls! But you, O dear mother, shall have to make a very great sacrifice for this. By banishing me you will become the most hated woman of her time, perhaps of all times! People shall speak of you in bated breaths as a vile and scheming woman who exiled me! But it will be for the good of humanity, and from my banishment shall emerge an epic which will give salvation to humanity for generations to come!”
Kekayi: “Rama! If that be your wish then I willingly acquiesce! Who am I to refuse anything you ask for? I am merely an instrument in your hands.”
Rama: “Mother, you are truly blessed for the great sacrifice you have agreed to make. While the world will revile you, I alone will know your secret.”
And in the days to come, a veil came over Kekayi and she failed to recognize the divinity of Lord Rama, and had him banished from the kingdom so that her own son Bharat may rule the kingdom. And it was thus that the Ramayana came to be enacted for the salvation of the world. Only those who knew of the secret knew the great sacrifice that Kekayi had made so that the Ramayana may be written.
As Shri Nathji wrote in Persian:
Az husne maleehe khud shore ba jahaan kar dee
Har zakhmi o bismil raa masroofe fugaan kar dee
Thou hast, with the salt of Thy Beauty, filled the world with unrest,
Those with wounds can do nothing else now but cry
Be jurmo khataa katlam az naazo butaan kar dee
Khud teghzadi bar man naamo deegaran kar dee
Faultless though I was, Thou didst destroy me like a statue
Thou struck me with Thy Sword and let others bear the blame!
It was like Lord Krishna who would steal the butter and then smear it on the mouths of the calves who then bore the blame. This verse depicts the lament of a devotee who says: “O Lord, for how long willst Thou go on playing hide and seek? And when willst Thou allowThyself to be caught?”
Shri Babaji Bhagwan said: “What is transpiring and what is to transpire is my Leela- my drama. In this opposition and persecution youshall attain the real goal of life. The world shall know the meaning of Divine Love. And the day shall also come when those who oppose me today shall know the truth!”
After some time Mataji gave birth to a girl while still at the mazaar. The child was beautiful beyond compare. The whites of her eyes had a blue tinge. It was as if she had come from another world. She was Shri Nathji’s step-sister. She was named Subhadra Devi. She lived for a few months and then died. In Lord Krishna’s time the sister of Lord Krishna born from Mata Devki had also died soon after birth. Indeed the travails that Mataji was facing had gone beyond human endurance.
There was Shri Babaji’s verse to describe the situation:
Parvaana nestam ki ba yakdam adam shavam
Shamaa-am ki jaan gudaazam va dam bar niyaaram
I am not like the moth that perishes in a single moment
I am the flame that burns the night long without demur!
Whenever Mataji would become distressed at the happenings around her, Shri Babaji Bhagwan would awaken her from the unreal nightmares of the world and she would return again to the state of divine bliss where no opposition existed. However, as it had been said even by Christ: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” – and Mataji pleaded with Shri Babaji Bhagwan to stop the heart-rending drama which had gone on long enough. She said one day to Shri Babaji:
“O Bhagwan! Please stop this drama now! I lack the strength to endure it any longer!”
Shri Babaji Bhagwan said to her: “Do you think these hostile crowds come here of their own free will? No. It is I who call them here! And whenever I wish it, they shall stop coming!”
And a miracle occurred. The crowds vanished. The opposition died away, after smouldering like a fire for months. The detractors were filled with a sudden inner realization. They saw their own folly and were filled with untold remorse. They came now to Shri Babaji Bhagwan, but as changed men, with contrite hearts and repentance in their souls, and they fell at the feet of Shri Babaji Bhagwan and Mataji and wept and begged for forgiveness.
The dreadful drama that Shri Babaji Bhagwan had endured for months came to a sudden end. Shri Babaji Bhagwan had completed his play. In the silence of the mazaar there was the soul of Mataji freed completely of its ego. Her “I” had now merged completely into Shri Babaji Bhagwan.
People began to worship Mataji, who came to be called Mata Saraswati. Even her sons and relatives rushed to her side to beg forgiveness of her. It was a great victory for Shri Babaji Bhagwan, who had undergone tremendous opposition and physical torment for the sake of his devotee, Mataji, who had become his spouse on the worldly plane, but whose soul had merged into the divinity of his soul, forever, on the spiritual plane. Shri Babaji Bhagwan had placed before the world the true meaning of a spiritual relationship. A devotee had to pay the price for securing his Beloved Lord. And the price was his ego, the “I” of the devotee, which had to be silenced forever through various trials and tribulations.
Jesus Christ established the relationship of a son and a father with God and had to undergo the pain of crucifixion. Radheji and the gopis established a relationship of love with Lord Krishna and had to shed numerous tears of separation. Meerabai was given poison to drink by her husband, the Rana, when she would not give up her devotion to Lord Krishna.
A moth loves the flame and asks nothing of the flame. All it wants to do is to merge itself into the fire of the flame. Shri Nathji’s verse rang out again:
Ye nihaal sholaye husn kaa teraa barrh ke sar ba falak huaa
Meri kaahe hasti ne mushta-al ho usse ye nashvonumaa diyaa
The flame of Thy Beauty rose and soared to the skies,
As my straw-like existence fell into it to increase its Glory
As the clouds of dissent and opposition disappeared, Shri Babaji Bhagwan and his family returned to the city, where multitudes came for their darshan and blessings, and a new wave of divine bliss appeared to spread into the hearts of all. The dark clouds of ignorance disappeared even as the sun of spirituality shed its radiance everywhere.
Time came when the story of Mataji—who came to be known as Mata Saraswati—became known far and wide. People came especially for her darshan and blessings in multitudes. Great saints and sages as well as worldly men of renown came and prostrated at her feet. A curtain had fallen over the tragic drama enacted by Shri Babaji Bhagwan and a new and beautiful scene came into existence.
Later, Mata Saraswati gave birth to another child which was as beautiful as the first one who had died. She was named Prem Pyaari. The whites of her eyes also had the blue colour, which her sister had had before her. At the time when she was still in her mother’s womb she would speak to her mother in some unknown tongue. She began to speak in English at an incredibly young age. All who saw her felt her endowed with an undefined divine attraction. As she grew up, she began to love all who came to her but the one whom she loved most of all was her elder brother, Shri Nathji. Whenever anyone would ask her who was the dearest person in the whole world for her, she would instantly say: “Shri Nathji!” Shri Nathji on his part treated her with great love and affection as a younger sister, but at the same time would even bend down and touch her feet with reverence and humility. At the time that Shri Nathji wrote “ Zahoore Haqueeqat” the biography of Shri Babaji Bhagwan in 1932, his little sister was eight years old, as he wrote in the book itself. All the events recorded above have been taken from that same holy book written in Urdu and Persian by the Divine Hands of Shri Nathji.
Shri Babaji Bhagwan had exalted all of womankind by giving a divine status to Mata Saraswati. Shortly thereafter an era dawned upon mankind wherein they developed a greater respect for women and widows, who found their rightful place in the world, free to re-marry as they chose and to be accepted in society without being considered inauspicious.
Shri Babaji Bhagwan had always said about women: “ A woman will not allow her heart to be given to anyone, but if she does, then no power on earth can make her swerve from her path. Shri Babaji Bhagwan would sometimes say: “There was a time when God had become angry with the men because of their attachment to money, and He would well nigh have wreaked havoc on them, but for the women. When he saw the loyalty, faith and devotion of women, he forgave the men.”