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Indeed, man had a long journey ahead of him, and until the end had been safely reached there was only uncertainty ahead. Shri Nathji used to narrate the story of Barrister Naseem who came up to his house, Shadi Bhavan, in Mussoorie. He was a famous Barrister of Lucknow who had great faith in Shri Nathji.
He was an old man stooped with the burden of age. He climbed up the steep slope to Shri Nathji’s house very slowly and painfully, a walking stick in his hand, and aided by a servant. He came into the house at the time when Shri Nathji was talking to Justice Girish Prasad Mathur and the mahatma from Uttar Kashi.
He saluted Shri Nathji and then sat down before him. He had tears in his eyes.
And Shri Nathji said: Barrister Sahib, why did you suffer such a severe climb to come to me?
Barrister Naseem replied: Hazrat there is yet the steeper climb to come–at the end of the journey of life!
Why did you take the trouble to come to me in your old age? Shri Nathji said, I could have come to you! I am not that doctor who waits only for his patients to come to him, I can even go to the house of my patients.
Hazrat,” said Barrister Naseem, “wise old men like myself do not trouble themselves unnecessarily. It is the thirsty man who must go to the well.
And Shri Nathji said: Naseem Sahib, in my knowledge it is always the well that goes to the thirsty – in the form of the vessels and buckets! What can I do for you?
The Barrister continued:
I am now 82 years of age. In this old age I have acquired a pair of spectacles with which I have obtained a new sight. My near vision tells me that whatever I have earned for myself here in this world is going away from me; and my distant vision tells me that I have earned nothing for the world where I must go!
Yahaan ke liye jo kuchh kamaayaa thhaa vo sab chhoot-taa dikh rahaa hai
“Aur jahaan maine jaanaa hai vahaan ke liye kamaayaa kuchh naheen!
The barrister was a rich man and it had been said that he had given eighty lakhs of rupees to each of his sons.
He continued, I see everything that was near to me, fading away and moving away from me. I see the world slipping away. All relationships, all of my wealth, everything that I owned in life–even this body of mine, appear to be fading away.
“My earning in life was of this world only, which is now receding from me! What a strange thing is this, that we are so immersed in earning for this world that we forget to earn for the world to come! And one day we discover that there is no time!
Shall I pray for a long life for you? Shri Nathji asked, Main duaa karoon ke aapki umar lambi ho jaaye?
The Barrister said:
“Hazrat, I have not come to ask you for a long life. Hazrat, main aapse lambi umar maangne naheen aayaa!
“I have reached this age of eighty-two after a long time. I know that with your blessings I can even live up to a hundred and twenty years or more, but I do not pray for a long life. For even as eighty two years of my life have passed away so will any additional years you provide me with. And I will be in the same position in which I am today.”
Shall I, then, show you the way? Main aapko raastaa bataaoon? Shri Nathji said.
No Hazrat, I have not come to ask you the way! Hazrat main aap se raastaa poochhne naheen aayaa!
“Even if I knew the way I would be too feeble to walk on it! Barrister Naseem replied, Now in my old age, my body, mind and heart can hardly function. There are doctors sitting by the side of my pillow all the time.
Shri Nathji said: What can I do for you, then, Mr. Naseem?
And Barrister Naseem said:
Sunaa thhaa ke iss pahaarri ke oopar ek Sakhi raihtaa hai!
“I had heard that on top of this hill there lives a Generous One–a Sakhi.
“I have come to him. I pray, thee, Hazrat, to drop whatever you can from your vast treasure-house of earnings into my cup of life!
“Aapke paas jo khazaanaa hai uss men se meri jholi men kuchh daal den!”
Shri Nathji said:
Naseem Saheb, I shall do whatever I can for you, but let me tell you that each and every step that you have climbed to come up here has been an earning in itself. Your own faith shall reward you. When you stand before a flower, the fragrance becomes yours, without asking! said Shri Nathji.
“Tere dar se maangane vaalaa naheen khaali gayaa
Toone har muflis kaa daaman motiyon se bhar diyaa
No one who came to thy door was sent away empty,
Thou didst fill the bowl of every beggar with pearls.
Fakiron kaa kaasaa na jab tak bharegaa
Tere dar pe har waqt pheri rahegi
Until the begging bowls of thy beggars be filled, O Lord!
They shall keep on returning to thy door!
Murdaa dil faize muhabbat se tere zinda huaa
Goyaa too hai gumrahon kaa ek haqeeqi raihnumaa
The generosity of thy love brought to life
Hearts that were dead-
For thou art, in truth, the true guide of those who have lost their way.”
Barrister Naseem went away greatly satisfied and at peace. Although he had been associated with members of the Ismaili sect they had failed to make an impact on his life.
He used to narrate to Shri Nathji how the followers of the Agha Khan weighed him in gold and silver and placed tremendous wealth at his disposal. When some detractor had remarked to these followers that the Agha Khan led a very worldly life, full of material pleasures, the followers were quick to say:
Hold your tongue! This is merely a test of our faith!
Shri Nathji greatly admired these followers for their staunchness of faith in their Spiritual Leader. It was Shri Nathji’s teaching that where there was faith, it would not see any faults in the object of its devotion, or otherwise it would cease to be faith. It was thus that Shri Nathji saw only goodness in every faith in the world.