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In America, Shri Nathji met people who were genuinely seeking after truth, but who were bewildered upon finding it in its purest form in Shri Nathji. These seeking souls had become attached to various missions and societies, and had often been misled. They had been attracted by the glitter of fool’s gold, and they lacked the development to distinguish between the real and the unreal. They were like children who sought to add two and two, while Shri Nathji was like a Ph.D. The lower grade classes were sufficient for these people up to a while.
Shri Nathji’s effulgence would be at its peak before many Americans who came to him, and yet, at other times, Shri Nathji would retreat into a polite silence and shut off the divine current. With some he would speak even for five hours at a stretch, and with others he would speak but five sentences.
I am like a musical instrument, he would say, my music rings out only when a musician comes.
It is not I who am speaking, he would say, it is you! And the proof of this is, that, before you came, I was silent; after you leave, I shall be silent again. While you are here, these words flow out. I listen to them as well as you.
Shri Nathji’s light could not be forced. It was like the light of the sun, which would only appear at its appointed time. He was like an ocean that swayed only at Will.
The imperfect could not understand the perfect.The incomplete could not understand the complete. A part could not understand the whole. It was written in the Hindu Vedas that the world would look upon a man with incomplete knowledge as perfect, for it could not understand any better. It was also written in the Vedas that the world would not be able to understand one with complete knowledge.
People saw Shri Nathji; they heard him; they were astonished, bewildered, puzzled; they felt the presence of some intangible, superior power. But they could not understand him in totality. They were not yet prepared.
The people who understood him least of all were those who had dyed their hearts already with different shades of beliefs. These were the so-called spiritually inclined meditation and yoga enthusiasts for whom God had become a fad.
What brings you to the United States? would be an oft-posed query. This was a difficult question to answer. It was written at the beginning of Creation that God would come there at the time He did, and that He would veil himself so that people would not recognise Him. He would set foot on the continent to grant it His Grace and to satiate the earnest craving of some thirsty souls or even of one thirsty soul.
Shri Nathji spoke to the Americans. He desired nothing from them. He did not want them to join him. He did not wish to establish an organisation or an ashram. He had come only to give them a divine touch, and once he had given them that, he would go away, and perhaps never return.
He had not brought Indian philosophy or religion to the West; he had no meditation or Yoga to offer them. He had brought them God.
I want you to feel the presence of God–now! he would say.
And those who were prepared, felt His presence. Those who were not, were overwhelmed all the same.
He had no desire to make any disciples. Americans would come to him and ask him to initiate them. But he would send them back to their own religions and sects and gurus. After all, God was the fountain-head of all spirituality, and needed no special disciples.
What does he teach? people would sometimes ask, hoping for instructions on some form of spiritual discipline. Little did they know that God was before them in human form, and they had only to recognise Him–and that was all.
There were many, belonging to various meditation centres and yoga societies, who would come to Shri Nathji and meditate before him. It was an unusual meditation for them. They felt the Divine Being in their inner beings. It was a strange sight. Man sitting before God with his eyes shut, hoping to see God within!
I have not come to ask you to do anything, Shri Nathji often said, I have come to do all your tasks for you! Once you have boarded a ship, your task is over. Leave everything to the pilot!
I have not come to take anything from you–I have come to give you myself! Accept me, but not as your master–as your servant!
Americans were surprised at this humility. This purest form of spirituality was something they had not experienced before. Here was a strange Being, radiant with spiritual light. Hours would pass by in his presence and people would be unconscious of the time. He wanted nothing from them. He had no desire to make disciples or initiate people, or build institutions. Here was a completely unselfish being whose only claim was that he was a servant–a slave of all humanity.
A servant can resign, Shri Nathji would say, but a slave is one who has sold himself, forever!
People in America had become accustomed to all manner of Indian gurus, sadhus, swamis, coming to their country under the pretext of spreading Indian philosophy, but really seeking the benefits of the almighty U.S. dollar, playing upon the gullibility and the sense of boredom of many sincere folk in America. There were many Americans who had begun to look upon such ‘missionaries’ from the East with distrust. They would call them globe-trotters–people in search of a name, followers and money. All of them would call themselves Masters. Here was Shri Nathji calling himself a Slave.
These Hindu mystics who came to America would barter away spirituality for material benefits. For them, coming to America was like discovering gold. Trite instructions on Yoga and meditation would reap rich har­vests. Many of these yogis would be seen in India, leading a nonde­script existence, walking down the streets with a sack of rice thrown across their shoulders, and distributing pamphlets about their own selves on the streets. They came to a spiritual America with a material quest.
Shri Nathji had often said:
Those mahatmas, who have a desire for a large following, who desire to be known, are still far from the spiritual goal. For, upon reaching the goal, all desires are extinguished. Or, in other words, it is only after all desires have been extinguished that the goal can be reached. Those, who seek to build large images of themselves before the public on the basis of their mystic experiences or miracles or yogic powers, are still far from the goal. All glory and greatness must be relegated to God alone. All worship must go to Him. One must not seek wor­ship of one’s individual self.
God shall only exhibit Himself in that frame which is devoid of ego. Such a being is above desire, above the reach of his ‘I’.
“A mystic may gather throngs around himself by the performance of magical feats or exhibition of superhuman powers, but he remains far from God-realisation. A being, who has only God-realisation to offer, can be understood by very few people.
“The higher classes always contain fewer and fewer students. The number of followers of a mahatma is no measure of his spiritual greatness.
“If a mahatma were to assert his worth on the basis of the numbers that followed him, then he should be asked what his worth would be if the numbers left him!
“The real spiritual worth of a mahatma can be gauged only by the relatively few number of sincere devotees that he has. Even one sincere devotee is enough. One genuine seed can take better root than thousands of roasted seeds. A diamond is very small, but it can be priceless!