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While on the one hand, Priya Nath kept the company of the eminent scientists, scholars and intellectuals of Harvard, on the other hand he began a search for seekers after spiritual truths.
He would frequently visit Churches of all denominations, and Jewish Synagogues and Temples. Though God was frequently spoken of inside these structures which were altogether clean and beautiful, the atmosphere was that of a social gathering. There was the pulpit, the preacher, the choir that sang, and the congregation that sat down and stood up at intervals, there were the readings from the scriptures, there was the name of God–but there was no God.
America was a nation that accepted God, as it accepted a variety of different sects and religions. It was said that an atheist had little chance of being elected President. There was also some prejudice against the Jews and Catholics–whom Shri Nathji had found greatly receptive to spiritual truths.
There were also the people who had turned to various forms of Hinduism, becoming attached to various Hindu gurus and swamis or yogis. Such organisations had just begun to proliferate in America. One found in them people who were tired of Christianity or Judaism and who sought a more personal, more direct approach to God. They had to feel they were doing something–like standing on their heads or meditating, rather than simply sitting in the benches of a church or synagogue.
Many of the new generation of American Jews bordered upon agnosticism, and were seeking for fresh spiritual pastures. Hinduism attracted their fancy. Of the Christians, most had been Protestants. Priya Nath would be greatly disconcerted with Christians who had turned to follow some bearded guru from India. Why don’t you go back to Christ? he would say to them, surely Christ had greater spiritual merit than these pseudo-saints you follow? Priya Nath knew of the love that Shri Nathji had for Jesus Christ and how frequently he quoted from his sayings.
The Indian gurus, swamis and yogis in America were a great disap­pointment to Priya Nath. Their motives seemed clear enough–to draw in as many followers as they could; to spread their name and fame to all corners of the world; to build ashrams and societies of which they could be the heads. Most of them were in competition with each other. Apparently the anonymity of life in India did not agree with them. Finding meditation to be the simplest form of spiritual bait they could offer, they drew all manner of spiritual derelicts to themselves, amongst which were drug-addicts and a large number of mental cases.
Lift up your hands in the air and say Om! the Guru would tell his congregation. The Americans would find this greatly exciting. Feel the spiritual vibrations from the cosmos, the guru would say, shut your eyes and sink deep down within yourselves!
Priya Nath found many of the neophytes sunk in deep sleep.
It was appalling to him that spirituality should have sunk to so low a level. Little did the Indian gurus realise that their brand of spirituality was nothing but a fad for their American followers–like chewing gum, or rock and roll.
I meditate everyday, you know, an American socialite would boast to her friends, I have a fantastic Yoga teacher!
Apparently Yoga and meditation, and reincarnation was all that Americans thought of Hinduism.
The Indian gurus abroad were constantly at loggerheads with their rivals. Each one would be afraid that his disciples would slip out to the meditation circle of another. There was rivalry and jealousy. A few were even engaged in litigation over the possession of temples or ashrams.
What set these yogis, gurus, and swamis apart from the scientists was their absolute lack of humility. There was a certain pompous air about them, as if they were morally and spiritually superior to the rest of mankind!
We, who walk in the realm of the divine; we who understand the regions of the human spirit. Look! Even the birds eat from our hands in the ashram! they would say. These gurus, yogis and swamis would walk in and out of rooms as if they were floating in air, their long robes and flowing hair adding an ethereal quality to their bearing.
Priya Nath became utterly disgusted with what he saw. He was reminded of Christ’s saying:
If the blind lead the blind, shall they both not fall into the pit?
The desire to call Shri Nathji to America began to take root in his mind. Priya Nath wanted the Americans to catch a glimpse of real spirituality.
I respect no man on earth as much as I respect my father, he said to a certain multi-millionaire he met in New York, a certain Dr. Kean. The man was so impressed by Priya Nath’s description of Shri Nathji that he carried Priya Nath’s bag in his own hands and asked his chauffeur to drive Priya Nath to his destination in his Rolls Royce.
Priya Nath was seriously handicapped in calling Shri Nathji to America, because there was no organisation backing him.
The spiritual organisations of Indian origin were of no help whatsoever. Far from showing interest, their attitude was one of antagonism. If their purpose was to spread the name of God, they should have been happy to welcome another messenger amongst their midst. But jealousy was a difficult emotion to overcome. They were afraid their devotees would leave them and follow Shri Nathji! The mere sight of Shri Nathji’s beautifully attractive photograph staggered them.