Shri Nathji often narrated this beautiful parable of the father and son walking together in the midst of an exhibition which illustrated the theme that Shri Babaji Bhagwan had been elaborating to Maharaja Pratap Singh of Jammu and Kashmir.
This was another one of Shri Nathji’s favourite parables which showed the relationship between man and God in a simple manner that everyone could understand.
A father and son entered an exhibition in which numerous shops displayed their goods. There was a large crowd of people gathered there.
The father said to the son:
Son, shall I hold your hand or will you hold mine?”
Let me hold your hand, father, said the son.
And together they walked in the midst of the crowd. The son spotted a toyshop that captured his heart. He immediately let go of his father’s hand and rushed to the shop. Once there he picked up a large number of toys, and even broke a few in his eagerness to possess them. The shopkeeper began demanding his money. The son looked around, but he had lost his father in the crowd. The shopkeeper seized him by the collar and slapped him. He said he would not let him go until he had paid for the toys he had broken.
The very toys which had lured the child to the shop now became the cause of his misery. He cried out loudly in despair: Father!
The father heard his cries and came running to the shop. On seeing the plight of his son, he bought all the toys his son had selected and paid for those he had broken, and even scolded the shopkeeper for slapping his son.
As they walked through the crowds again, the father asked his son:
“Son, shall I hold your hand or will you hold mine?”
The son, who had been chastened by his experience, immediately said:
Father, you better hold my hand! If I hold your hand I will let go of it again.
And thus the father held the hand of his son in a firm grip and together they continued to proceed through the exhibition.
The son saw another beautiful shop, and, as was his habit, sought to rush there. He tried to jerk his hand free. But his hand was held firmly in the father’s grip now. And the father would not let it go.
He said to the son: Son, why are you trying to jerk your hand free? Take me also along with yourself and I will buy you the whole shop.
In this little parable, Shri Nathji unfolded a great spiritual truth. In this world with its numerous temptations, man holds the hand of God for a while only, and then leaves it to rush towards the things of the world. The very objects which had enticed his heart then become the cause of his misery. He cannot free himself from them and in his agony calls out to God. God comes running to his aid and liberates him. Not only does God free him of fear but He also gives him the things of the world, like the father who purchased the toys in the shop for his son and also kept the shopkeeper at bay.
Man realises then that he is too feeble to keep a grip on the hand of God, and that it is God who must hold his hand through the exhibition of this world. By keeping God with himself, man gains both, God as well as the world; but by separating himself from God, man loses both–God as well as the world. Here was the highest of spiritual philosophies explained in the simplest of words by Shri Nathji, which led his listeners to exclaim with joy and thunderous applause. It was a parable that Shri Nathji was to use very frequently in his sermons in later years.