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Mateshwari had sensed the importance of preserving Shri Nathji’s photographs, and never missed an opportunity to have as many pictures taken as were possible.
Mateshwari had a handy German-made Agfa camera with folding bellows, which only she could operate. People who peered into it could seldom find the image they were seeking. Only Mateshwari knew how to focus it on Shri Nathji, and then to produce the all-important click. Over the years, it became more and more an artifact preserved by her, as she seldom had occasion to use it. This was because most of the portraits were made by professional photographers, and Mateshwari, herself, had to stand by the side of Shri Nathji in the photographs.
Mateshwari would meticulously paste the pictures in albums, writing down the dates and places beneath the portraits as far as she could recall them. Thus it was that Mateshwari herself made a small history of Shri Nathji through these albums. In later years many of the photographs at home were taken from English-made Kodak box cameras and Baby Brownie cameras, which the children, Pran Nath and Priya Nath, came to use as they grew up.
The well-known photographers of the day at Lahore, who made portraits of Shri Nathji in 1939, were Rhodes and Co., as well as Kinsey Brothers. In Mussoorie there was firstly, Julian Rust in the 1930’s, and, in later years, Delhi Photo Studio, Doon Studio and G. Das Co. as well as Bora Co, who had the good fortune of taking professional photographs of Shri Nathji.
These portraits were so beautiful that they never required re-touching, for how could anyone improve upon the perfect? Even during those days, when cameras were relatively primitive and old fashioned, and the photographer had to hide beneath a black cloth and remove the cover on his lens with his hand, the portraits of Shri Nathji were beautiful beyond belief. This was the reward that Shri Nathji was to give to the world of photography– the portraits of God in human form.
Indeed the camera was one of the most important inventions of science, because it preserved in its exactness and perfection the Face of God upon Earth. Throughout the centuries, mankind had been left bereft of this divine glimpse, but the twentieth century brought to fore this unique divinity in a form that no one could deny.
The photograph from the camera was not an artist’s imagination. It produced an image, which was an exact replication of the reality before it. The portraits of Shri Nathji were intensely beautiful and contained his divine light. The absolute perfection of his features, his beautiful compassionate eyes, and his benevolent merciful smile, all at once filled the mind of the beholder with intense devotion.
Above all, there was a feeling of LOVE, which seemed to radiate from the portraits. It was as if the camera had captured not only the image of Shri Nathji but also a part of his real inner self, which was that of Absolute Love.
People who looked upon Shri Nathji’s portraits felt a sense of purity fill their inner being. It was as if they were looking upon the portrait of their nearest and dearest loved one.
Indeed these portraits revealed to humanity, more than anything else, that Shri Nathji was God upon earth–and a God who loved them all and had a relationship with every person upon earth.
Shri Nathji celebrated the birthday of Pran Nath at Lahore that year, on February 22, 1945. It was the first time in four years that he was celebrating it with such fervour amongst the dedicated Lahore group of devotees who had witnessed Pran Nath’s birth at Lahore in 1940. As always, Shri Nathji made his important pronouncements about Pran Nath, saying:
Ye Bhagwan ke khazaane ki chaabi hain! He is the key to the treasure of God!
Shri Babaji Bhagwan had said to the babe: “Pranji aap to mujh se bhee zyaadaa taakatvar ho gaye!’–when Pran Nath, as a child, had tipped over Shri Babaji Bhagwan when he was playing with him in his bed.
As the winter months drew to a close, Shri Nathji decided to return to Mussoorie once again. He bade farewell to the devotees of Lahore and boarded the train that was ultimately going to take him to Dehra Dun.
After a very brief stay at Dehra Dun, during which time arrangements were made for a rented place at Mussoorie, Shri Nathji proceeded to the hills in May 1945. He found a house located at Camel’s Back Road, where Dilaram was also situated. The name of the rented house was Shadi Bhavan. It was to be yet another rented house of Shri Nathji at Mussoorie for the next two years, 1945 and 1946.