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Chandranathji enabled me to reach the lotus feet of Baba. I shall therefore write about him first.
Had he not been especially considerate, Baba would have remained inaccessible to me.
I knew Chandranathji, who is now an acarya, since my childhood as our families were related.
His ancestors were very religious, wise and famous for their qualities of bravery and wisdom. In addition, they were highly esteemed and of repute in society.
He inherited all these ancestral qualities, and on account of his sacrifice, perseverance, keenness and sadhana he has added immensely to these noble characteristics.
Fortunately, right from our adolescence we were together in school and college, and even stayed in the same hostel. After completing his education he chose to pursue a career in the Police.
Chandranathji, from the very beginning of his career was a sober, peaceful and pleasant person having deep faith in good conduct and character. Faith in God and religion was to him the most valued asset of his life. From his student days Chandranathji was a worshipper of Vishnu whereas I worshipped Shiva, yet both of us were non-vegetarians.
Just as Chandranathji was the repository of all virtues, so was I full of mischief and vices, yet he had great personal love and affection for me.
This I consider to be due to his largeness of heart and his magnanimity of mind.
Whilst Chandranthji had chosen the Police, I was appointed to the Central Excise Department. My job involved visiting all sorts of production units such as tobacco, clothing, steel and so forth, and assessing the duties to be levied on the industries.
Although we had fixed formulae to calculate the taxes, much was left to the discretion of the individual official. Due to this, the agents were especially prone to corruption and bribery, which was later to lead to serious conflicts in my career.
In 1952 I was posted in Bhagalpur in the state of Bihar, while Chandranathji was at Dumka, the district headquarters of Santhal Pargana in the same state. This area also fell within my official jurisdiction and whenever I visited Dumka I stayed with him.
I was staying with Chandranthji once in 1953 when I was served with non-vegetarian food as usual at dinner, but he was served a vegetarian meal.
I was quite surprised at this, for both of us had loved non-vegetarian food. Of course I asked him about it and he revealed that now he was doing yoga, and vegetarian food was recommended whilst practicing this meditation.
I did not like this change and from this moment onwards we entered a kind of competition. I myself greatly enjoyed eating meat and good food and was a heavy smoker.
Chandranthji’s turning away from customs we had formerly shared seemed to me to be a reproach. I wanted now to drag him back to his former habits and ways, and he desired that I might also tread on his newly found path. In this game our mutual friend, Shrii Kishanjii would generally side with Chandranathji and therefore his side became strong. This tug-of-war continued for about six months, and finallyChandranathji succeeded. But I was delighted by my defeat. I wonder how much joy Chandranathji derived from his victory!
My stay in Bhagalpur was a period of great struggle in my career. It appeared as if the chain of difficulties were never-ending. Shrii Ajit Singh, the local senior officer of my department was ill-disposed towards me, and was harassing me relentlessly.
He would frequently call me and demand explanations of my work and he blamed me for things I had not done. He habitually addressed me in an insulting manner, criticised me unreasonably and spoke ill of me to my colleagues. He later brought accusations of misconduct and extortion against me. It was, in reality, he himself who was an extortionist.
He was a corrupt officer who collected monthly bribes even from his own subordinates. I, for one, refused to pay.
A VISION OF BABA
During these difficult times in the first week of October 1953, Chandranathji came to my house at about ten in the evening. That day I was particularly worried and depressed on account of the insulting behaviour of my boss and had gone to bed without taking my supper. Chandranathji’s presence relieved me a bit, and I opened up before him.
His reaction was brief and measured - “You in dejection! Inconceivable!” He was familiar with my nature as we had lived together since our childhood, but I had also truly depicted my state of mind. Anyhow, on my insistence we had our meal together.
After the night’s rest and breakfast in the morning we went to attend our respective offices. When we met in the afternoon at about four, I again began to relate the saga of my official difficulties to him. Perhaps he had heard enough of the recital of my difficulties and to put and end to it, when he rose to attend to his evening calls he said, “Nagina! I challenge any one to try to hurt me. Even if God wants to do me some harm He has first to give it a thousand thoughts!”
I was totally surprised to hear these words from him. I began to ponder what type of miraculous power he had acquired that he dared to challenge even the Almighty!
While I was cogitating on these matters he returned and began to prepare for his evening meditation. He wanted a blanket spread in the drawing room for his practice.
In his presence I ordered my domestic assistant to put a small wooden seat on the floor, and to place a folded blanket on it so he could sit there for meditation.
However, he corrected me and told the domestic assistant that there was no need for a wooden seat and that the blanket should be spread and not folded. I wondered what kind of mediatation was this? I teasingly asked whether he really wanted to meditate or to go to sleep.
He only smiled at me and closed the doors after the blanket had been spread. By now it was nearly sunset. I was still wondering what strength Chandranthji had acquired that he did not hesitate to challenge even God! Absorbed in these thoughts I went to my bed and reclined against the pillow. I began to think over and over about this. Whilst thinking about this, I closed my eyes and began to ponder about that unknown force who made Chandranathji fearless of even God.
As I lay thus absorbed, a vision of a gentleman of medium height and fair complexion, dressed in dhoti, kurta and shoes, with hair combed back and wearing spectacles, dawned in my mind’s eye.
Attracted, I continued to look at his divine, pleasant and effulgent face. Although I had never seen this person before, I was completely absorbed in him and unaware of the passaing of time.
Certainly I was neither asleep nor dreaming.After some time when my domestic assistant called me, the spell was broken and I was informed that Chandranathji had been waiting for me outside for quite some time. On coming out to him I realised that it was nearly eight in the evening. I wondered what I had been doing lying down for nearly two whole hours. I could only recollect the entrancing look of that unknown person. My salutations to He who is always so loving towards His devotees!
I came to the drawing room along with Chandranathji, and began to inquire about his meditation practice and it’s methodology, but he only replied that he was doing yoga sadhana. When I inquired whether he had a guru, he replied in the affirmative but refused to divulge more details. I only learned later on, that in those days Baba had forbidden any of His disciples to mention Him without His permission. I felt a little hurt by Candranathji’s reticence, but replied that I would describe someone and that he should tell me if he recognised the description. Then I related a truthful description of the gentleman whose image had come into my mind. After listening to me he exclaimed, “When you know Him so closely and intimately- why are you bothering me so much for the last six months!” Then I told him all that happened to me while he was doing his meditation. I also told him, “After being absorbed in this spellbinding vision all my anxiety seems to be disappearing and proportionately my courage is increasing”. My departmental head was to inspect my office the next day and I added, “I will not yield even if my office becomes a battlefield.”
On hearing this, Chandranathji had a reply that touched my heart. Although at that time he was neither a tattvika nor an acarya, yet his reply was full of such wisdom that would come from a spiritually advanced person. He said, “If a mere thought of that great man can bring such change in you, then certainly when you get His blessings and are under His protective care you will be able to challenge even God.” This statement of his worked like magic on me. My fear evaporated and and I felt strong enough to face a hundred hostile bosses. BABA SENDS HIS BLESSINGS AND ACCEPTS ME AS A DISCIPLE While we had discussed all this, we had finished our dinner and were now talking in a leisurely manner. His words had a great impact on me and I asked whether he could tell me the address of his guru at least. He replied that he could only tell that Baba lived in Jamalpur. I looked at my watch. It was nearly eleven at night. Some impulse stirred me to sudden action. I proposed that we should go to Jamalpur by the night train and return next morning after having Baba’s darshan there. But he clearly said that was not possible, as no person could be taken to Him without his prior permission. Overcome with a sense of urgency, I then insisted that he should himself go to Jamalpur and come back with permission and blessings for me. At my insistence Candranathji agreed to go to Jamalpur, and he told me in a somewhat serious tone, “You are my relation, my friend since childhood and are in difficulties these days! I will therefore, put your case before Baba, but I cannot assure you that I shall return with His permission. I am going more for consoling you as youare in difficulty. But getting Baba’s permission is quite difficult and rare. People try for months and years before getting His permission and you want it by return journey along with His blessings. This appears well nigh impossible.” I was still insistent that he should go, and although he was unwilling I took him to the railway station and left him in the train for Jamalpur. After he boarded the train I requested that he should repeat my own words before Baba. When He agreed to do so I said, “Kindly tell him that Nagina is a crude, undisciplined, uncultured and short- tempered fellow who has not bowed before anyone easily in his life. But he bows before You of his own accord.” I was still not satisfied with this much and added, “Kindly tell him that like Eklavya I have adopted him as my Guru - now it is up to Him to accept me as a disciple or not.” As I said these words the train steamed off and I returned home. It was due to Chandranathji’s large heartedness and magnanimity that he, as a sign of his great affection for me, agreed to travel at such an unearthly hour and to make me indebted to him for this life and many more to come. Baba alone knows how I shall be able to repay this debt. Even so I feel that to become indebted to someone for achieving such a great objective is good. Next day I became busy with office work and began eagerly to await the return of Chandranathji from Jamalpur. I was in fact waiting for two things: Chandranathji’s return from Jamalpur and the inspection tour of my departmental head. I have already related how my relations with my local superior were not good, and he had spread a rumour that the departmental head was really coming to demote and displease me and his inspection was merely a pretense with that motive. At about two in the afternoon I received a telephone call informing me that my departmental head had left Monghyr and that he was coming straight to my office for inspection. After a short while there was another call. It was from Chandranathji. He was speaking from Bhagalpur station. He said, “You are very lucky, you have the permission to visit Baba.” So I got the permission. “Salutations to the One who is so tender hearted by nature.” Unthinkingly I asked, “What about the blessing?” With a hint of exasperation in his voice, Chandranthji answered, “Baba has said to face boldly whoever comes and all will be well”. “Is that all?” I asked. At this Chandranathji quite lost his patience and said, “You consider blessings to be a joke! What you have got, no-one else ever got !” I said in my defence that I was not familiar with the new discipline and that I begged to be excused if I had committed some mistake. The fact is that I was accustomed to hear blessings in length and detail. Anyway Chandranathji was pacified and he said that he was going to his office and would meet me in the evening when he would tell me everything in detail. Shortly afterwards I got a telephone message that the head of my department had reached the Circuit House and he desired my presence there. Accordingly I reached the Circuit House and was busy in looking after the convenience of my boss. He was feeling tired on account of his journey and wanted to take rest. I asked people there to arrange for his rest but somehow he offered to drop me in my office. I could notdecline this offer and boarded his car. On the way to the office he briefly hinted about what he would like to see during inspection tomorrow. He dropped me at my office and returned to the Circuit House. In the evening revered Chandranathji came and following is the account which I received of his meeting in Jamalpur. At eight in the morning Chandranathji went to Baba’s Keshavpur residence and was able to see Him without much waiting. During the meeting Baba mostly talked about Chandranathji’s personal matters and therefore, Chandranathji was not getting a chance to introduce my subject. The meeting time was about to be over and Chandranathji’s restlessness began to increase. Seeing him uneasy Baba asked him whether he wanted to talk about Nagina and added, “when he has already accepted me as his Guru, where is the question of permission?” th But there was a problem. Baba was not free up to 9 and after that He Himself would be away for sometime. He would return on 24th October 1953. “Nagina can see me anytime thereafter. Tell him about my residence and the time I meet people.” Encouraged by this response Chandranathji prayed for blessings for me. To this Baba replied, “Normally I do not Give blessing before initiation, but Nagina has already accepted everything and now initiation is a mere formality. Alright, tell him to face whatever comes boldly and every thing will be all right”. Chandranathji told me that this had never happened before in any other case as happened to me. He said that it did not even became necessary to mention your name before Baba and you got both permission and blessings.” Salutations to Baba the All- Beautiful. After a night’s rest, Chandranathji left for Dumka next morning and I became busy in my inspection work. The inspection of my office began exactly at ten in the morning. As per the blessings of Baba, I began to face all the difficulties of the inspection boldly it and it was nothing but miraculous that the inspection was most satisfactory and my immediate boss had to eat humble pie. The inspection of my head of department lasted one week. During this period he carried out surprise checks of work in many small places within my jurisdiction and even there he found no defect. After completing the inspection, my head of department left for his head office on the th 9 October. This miracle of Baba’s blessings is a life long memory for me. Salutations to Baba who removes all obstacles! MY FIRST MEETING WITH BABA AND INITIATION Due to constant touring with the boss, I caught cold somewhere and began to feel pain in my back which subsided after taking some medicines. But I could still not th go to Baba on the 24 October. Meanwhile, perhaps on the first of November Chandranathji again came to us and when he found that I had not yet visited Baba he was somewhat angry and told me, “You should go there-even if it has to be on a stretcher. Do not delay after the fixing of a date.” I explained to him that I was unable to go due to pain but now I would go as it is. nd Accordingly, I reached Jamalpur on 2 November but was somewhat delayed rd that day and the meeting time for Baba was over. The next morning, on 3 November 1953, I reached Baba’s place at the appointed time. This was my first chance to meetHim, but I saw with wonder that it was the same divine and effulgent face that I had seen in my vision some days before. I bowed to him most reverently. Thereafter there was a small drama of introduction . I say ‘drama’, because I know that Baba is ‘trikala jinanii’ or the knower of the past present and future of all entities, as I had already experienced, yet He asked me for my name and went through the formalities with me. I introduced myself formally and answered a few questions, and thereafter the intiation began. I was asked to sit in the lotus posture for initiation. Although I sat straight for a while, after some time I had to bend a little due to the increasing pain in my back. When Baba saw me bending like this, He asked, “Can’t you sit straight?” I replied that for sometime past I had pain in my back and therefore, felt difficulty in sitting straight and requested Him to continue with the initiation - I promised that after the pain subsides I would sit straight. As I said this Baba closed his eyes for a moment and said, “Drink hot water and your pain will disappear.” After initiation, I asked Baba whether it was necessary to be a vegetarian for this sadhana - I told him that I could not live without non-vegetarian food. Baba smiled and said, “Yet it is good to be vegetarian.” He also added that onions and garlic have even more tamasika properties than meat and therefore, they should also be given up.’' I asked helplessly, “But how will it be possible for me to give up eating meat? I just cannot do it! “ His reply was marvellous. Smiling He said, “So far you have only given thought as to how meat can be eaten in the best form possible. You have perhaps, never given thought that it can also be given up. Just try to see whether you can give it up that way.” Then Baba spoke further about meditation. He said,”The path and process shown to you are very rational and logical. Understand them properly and then practice the accordingly. Sadhana is a must for human existence, but test and question why you must do it. If you understand the rationale and logic properly, you will enjoy it, as well as being otivated to practice it”. As I was descending the stairs the thought came to my mind, “Baba has told me just to think whether I can give up non-vegetarian good. If it can be given up just by thinking then I’ll start thinking right now that I will no longer take any non-vegetarian good.” And it is Baba’s grace that from that day onwards I have been a vegetarian. When my parents and my wife came to know about my becoming vegetarian, they did not believe it. My father had a good laugh on hearing this and remarked that it is purely a temporary phase and would not last long. This was due to what my family had seen of my nature and habits. Certainly it was Baba’s infinite grace that I became completely vegetarian for life. I had no strength of will to achieve this change. Was itnot purely due to Baba’s grace? Certainly my attachment and weakness for non- vegetarian food could not be overcome but for the strength Baba gave to my resolution. BABA’S PRESCRIPTION CURES ME After my return to Bhagalpur I neglected the instruction regarding drinking hot water. There were two reasons for this. Firstly I did not like drinking hot water, and secondly, it is the treatment elderly people give sick children. I thought that Baba, being in the position of my elder, was treating me like a child and in this manner was advising me to drink hot water, so I did not take the advice seriously. I continued to take the medicines prescribed by the doctors and my condition also continued to deteriorate. Finally the pain increased so much that I had to take to bed. Now I had difficulty even in breathing and it became almost impossible to sit and walk without some support. The doctors were bewildered and did not know what to do. Their combined opinion was to send me to Patna, the state capital, for treatment. By now it was nearly two weeks since I had taken initiation. Chandranathji came for a visit and asked me what I had done to myself. He had wanted to take me to Baba’s regular Sunday pravarchan or discourse, but I was to ill to go. That night Chandranathji stayed at my house, and after breakfast the next morning he left for Jamalpur. He returned the same evening by eight o’clock and angrily accosted me, “Are you mad? Baba asked you to take hot water and you are still taking all these medicines prescribed by the doctors”. He asked my domestic assistant to bring all the medicines before him. When all the medicines were brought before him, he picked up the pills and injections and said that they must be returned to the shopkeeper the next morning. He ordered the mixtures to be thrown away and he saw to it that they were thrown out in his presence. He then asked my wife and domestic assistant to give me hot water to drink and instructed that as long as I did not recover fully, whenever I felt like drinking water, only hot water should be given to me. “Hot water alone is his medicine”, he declared. Whatever excuses I gave him were totally rejected. He was somewhat pacified when I had taken a glass of hot water. Then he explained that as soon as he had reached Baba, Baba enquired, “How is my Nagina?” When Chandranathji told Baba about my sickly condition,. Baba said, “Why inform me about it? I had asked him to take hot water, but he has faith in the doctor’s pills and injections. What is to be done?” After our talk, Chandranathji performed his evening meditation and despite my feverish condition he made me sit along with him. At dinner-time I had to take hot water and again at bedtime and he instructed my wife that although he would leave early the next morning, I should continue to take hot water as long as my pain persisted. This hot water treatment had a miraculous effect on me. When I woke up I realised that I had changed sides without pain. I got up and felt a little pain at that time and when I stood up and started walking and realised that eighty per cent of my pain had disappeared. This increased my faith and enthusiasm both and all the daylong I drank lot of hot water whether I felt thirsty or not.My wonder knew no bounds when next day I found that there was no trace of pain at all. By now I had realised the miracle of Baba’s blessings and instructions at every step. I was really lucky that Baba allowed me near His lotus feet and pray with folded hands to let my faith and devotion grow constantly and become progressively stronger to those lotus feet. “I leave all other duties and attachments. I come in the shelter of Baba.” Again and again I thank Chandranathji. All religious scriptures are full of appreciation and praise for the qualities of satsaunga or the company of holy persons. Saints have sung profusely about the importance of the medium also. How can I forget Chandranathji, the medium who took me to Baba? He is full of grace. He is like an ocean of peace and love. Chandranathji has a large heart, his conduct is noble, he is broad-minded full of high thinking and possesses all qualities required in a spiritual aspirant. He is so steady in his spiritual pursuits that language fails to describe him. For an undisciplined person like me it would be futile to limit his unlimited qualities by describing them. But I am not so thankless that I should not attempt it. My helplessness, however is twofold; firstly I am not a literary person and secondly my command of language is also poor. In this state of helplessness my language is silence and my pen does not move further and I do not know how to express my gratitude and thankfulness. But without doing this I do not feel satisfied. Hence in worship I place my dedicated expression at his feet and ask for his forgiveness.