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The hours of the day passed away, one by one, but there was no sign of Shri Nathji. He was to come from Akola by car. People stood and watched the road. As the rays of the sun began to sink, Tai Maharaj asked her followers to return home and take their
meals. The cars were returned to their homes. The band was sent back. There was disappointment writ large on the faces of all the people of the city who had gathered together to welcome Shri Nathji into Amravati.
Tai Maharaj refused to eat or drink. She sat, alone, waiting for Shri Nathji to arrive. Fasting was dangerous at her age, but she would eat only after she had had the darshan of Shri Nathji.
And, then, even as the last rays of the sun sank over the horizon, Shri Nathji arrived from Akola in a procession of cars.
There was no one to welcome them – no crowds, no bands, no flowers, no garlands, and no festivities.
At the Gopal Mandir there was only the aging Tai Maharaj who had not eaten a morsel of food that day.
The cars stopped outside the Gopal Mandir. Shri Nathji, Mateshwari, and the children were in the first car. Mr. and Mrs. Bhutt, Shyam Lalji, Smt. Veeran Devi, and a host of devotees from Akola were in the cars that followed.
Shri Nathji, said a jubilant Tai Maharaj welcoming her divine guest, you did not accept my reception. All the persons, the men and women, gathered here to welcome you, along with the band wallahs and cars, were sent back.
Shri Nathji said: Tai Maharaj, they were sent back because their welcome had been accepted! They were to return after welcoming me, in any case!
Tai Maharaj immediately sent word around the city of Shri Nathji’s arrival, and large numbers gathered at the Gopal Mandir.
Tai Maharaj worshipped Shri Nathji as Lord Krishna.
She said to the people gathered there:
If you have faith in my words then accept Shri Nathji in his Divine Form as I have accepted him. Know him to be God on earth. If not, then, you may believe whatever you experience in Him!
Tai Maharaj turned to Shri Nathji and said:
In your form I saw that form with whom I have had an inner relationship since eternity!
Shri Nathji stayed in the upper storey of the Gopal Mandir for the few hours that he was there.
He called Tai Maharaj, Mataji.
You have called me your mother – Mataji, said Tai Maharaj, but I am afraid I shall have to suffer the pangs of separation even as Kaushalya the mother of Rama suffered. When you called Devki and Yashoda ‘mother’, as Krishna, they had to pass through numerous sufferings. And now you have called me mother. I wonder what an infinite amount of sorrow I shall have to endure in separation from you!
Tai Maharaj prayed to Shri Nathji to stay the night at the Mandir and to leave the next day.
However, the devotees of Akola had already made elaborate arrangements for a Rudra-Abhishek function at Akola to which a large number of people had been invited. The function was the next day. All the devotees were eagerly looking forward to this worship of Shri Nathji in the form of Lord Shankar, Shiva, Bhola Nath.
If Shri Nathji were to stay the night, all the arrangements made at Akola would be upset. It was already 2 a.m.
Tai Maharaj pleaded with the devotees from Akola.
You are men, she said, I am an old woman with a woman’s heart. I am advanced in years and ailing. You have had Shri Nathji to yourselves for several days. I have barely had him for a few hours. I do not even know whether I shall live to see him a second time! Shri Nathji’s presence here is like a fountain of eternal life. Let him stay, if only for one day!
But the devotees of Akola were adamant. They had made their Rudra Abhishek function public, and large numbers of people were to attend the ceremony. The entire city of Akola was astir with the news of the event. The devotees would lose face with the public and disappoint a large number of people.
Tai Maharaj then asked Shri Nathji to decide. The decision was a difficult one.
Shri Nathji thought as follows: Tai Maharaj and her followers at Amravati had seen him and met him.
Even a single moment spent with earnestness and sincerity was more rewarding than years of fruitless meeting.
What Shri Nathji had given to Tai Maharaj in the brief meeting was sufficient. His mission to Amravati had found fulfilment. So had the soul of Tai Maharaj.
On the other hand, severe embarrassment would be caused to Shri Ram Lal and others at Akola who had already made their programme public. So Shri Nathji said to Tai Maharaj:
Mataji! Sons appear good to their mothers when they are seen working!
Tai Maharaj understood. Shri Nathji would be returning to Akola.
And she said:
You have sided with them. I knew this would happen. From the moment you called me mother, I knew I was destined to endure the pangs of separation! But there is one thing I would ask of you – let me secure your darshan one last time before I leave the world.
Amravati was the place where Lord Krishna had, many years ago, eloped with Rukmini and married her.
Tai Maharaj bade farewell to Shri Nathji, even as the people of Amravati had bidden farewell to Lord Krishna at the time.
Of a certainty, Tai Maharaj, whom Shri Nathji had called mother, attained salvation.
After Shri Nathji had gone, she lived for a few years more, waiting, ever waiting, for Shri Nathji to return. Just before she left the world, she had the portrait of Shri Nathji brought to her.
And Shri Nathji revealed himself to her, entering her heart.
Shri Nathji did not return in his physical form, and Tai Maharaj left the mortal world, carrying the Eternal Form of Shri Nathji within her heart. Her last wish was fulfilled.