Posted By Author on January 20, 2010
In the morning Naresh left and Ratan went to Srinagar about fifty miles away to purchase vegetables. I gave him my letter to post. I got up late. I had bath and breakfast and began work with the labourers. Baba called me in. He told that yesterday when he went to fetch water from the river he slipped and was about to fall in the river. He insisted that steps should be excavated immediately. There was a steep slope from his hut to the river about twenty feet below. It took two hours to carve out steps and fit stones. My hands were crushed and so I returned to the hut. The labourers sat idle without doing anything. I had to go. Baba would intermittently visit and instruct. My feet were also injured and I began to feel feverish. Laborers went for lunch break and I snatched my break. Again I was called in. Haridas unexpectedly came from Kanpur earlier so Ratan returned from Agasti Muni. Haridas brought lot of variety and quantity of vegetables and fruits-tomatoes, ladies fingers (okra), parwal, kartuli, spinach, chillies, lemons, bananas, apples and what not. It was a huge mix up. We were told to sort out and he would instruct which vegetable should be kept where. He would enquire about prices and said to me apples were quite cheap that season, only seven rupees per kilo. (Netaji had a habit of enquiring about prices of food and fruits.)
Yesterday I ate raw wild yam and my throat was irritated. We left for bath but before that Baba told me to eat tamarind to stop swelling of the throat. After bath I felt fresh and my fever was gone. At 2 P.M. all of us were served food prepared in his kitchen. We were seated in his yard. He was cleaning butter with water. He would instruct girls to serve more. He used to insist on more and more helpings. What a feast with preparations in homemade ghee with sweets followed by fruits. I washed my plate and was returning from the river when Baba came out and beckoned me.
Both of us were standing in front of the gate of his fencing. He sat and told me to sit. He then showed me his hands and feet. They were covered with black patches of skin in travel. I saw and knew it. The patches were waning. He said, “People may say anything and believe it or not but see the effect of Gangetic water. In another fifteen days they will be completely cured and disappeared.” I asked whether patches were due to water of the Ashram. He told that it was the effect of the people. When the Himalayan ‘Sadhus’ cast impulses on humanity and humanity does not accept them, they were rebounded. He said he suffered from rebounding effect. Physical body always suffered. Aurobindo Ghosh ultimately shut himself to avoid such effect on his body. I asked when humanity would accept the castings. He predicted that it would take another twenty-five years. I asked then as to when ‘Sadhaks’ would be able to do public work. He said to do that their bodies had to suffer physically.
I reminded him that our work was to start in March 1966 and then how much more time it would take. He expected six months to a year but again said it could not be told, might be earlier because it depended on the Mother’s desire. Then he told me to be more close to him and said, ”Suresh, it was my childish imagination to start the work in 1962. I was to get hundred crores of rupees from United States of America but this Netaji psychosis has hampered it. Now the Government of United States of America will not allow that money to come to the Ashram because of doubt. However, we shall have to find out means.” I said that Netaji psychosis would never cease but on the contrary inflate day by day. He admitted that it was true and we had to find a way out.
Baba then observed, “It is my firm conviction that Nehru died with firm conviction that the Founder of Shaulmari Ashram is Netaji and so did B.C. Roy. Nehru’s secretary wrote a letter to Ashram. Nehru was afraid that the Shah Nawaz Commission did not visit Taihoku. Nehru wished that if Subhash Bose was in the Ashram, he should act according to Nehru’s Will, otherwise accept a few crore rupees and sit quiet.” I referred Netaji’s elder brother Suresh Chandra Bose and he said, “He issues meaningless statements. Old age has obscured his clear thinking. His statements have no value.” I pointed out that there was no evidence of Netaji’s death and he retorted that there was no evidence of his living either. He emphasized that Netaji never died in accident because after two days the very airplane came to Bangkok. How could it be repaired so soon he observed. Then I posed a question as to where Netaji disappeared. He explained that Subhash was Mountbatten’s adversary number one. He issued an order to shoot Subhash at sight. After Tojo’s arrest, Fujiwara might have shot him. I told him that it was impossible because Mrs. Emilie Bose declared that her husband never died and she spoke to H.V. Kamath who ratified the statement in news conference. Moreover, when Vijaya Laxmi Pandit returned from Moscow as India’s ambassador to Russia, she gave a statement that she had news that was more important than the freedom of the country. That must have definitely been about survival of Subhash. Baba said yes, but it was hearsay news and that he never read it. He said Nehru wanted to make use of the Founder of Shaulmari Ashram as an imposter. I opined that Subhash Bose was not that timid and coward to be afraid of Nehru. I enquired whether there was a possibility that because of the International Law Subhash did not come out. Was it coming in his way? He observed that he did not think that Subhash would have bothered about that or been afraid of it.
I asked him whether he chose Amravati to establish one of his proposed five Universities. He said no and referred five sites as: (i) Lonawala in the west where he wandered through hills for three days and fixed a site. (ii) Uttacmaund (Ooty) in the South. (iii) Shaulmari in the East. (iv) ‘Amarkantak’ in the center, and (v) somewhere in the Himalayas in the north where the site was not decided. He told me that he would give broad outline of the proposed universities that I should finalize the details. He hinted, “Let me see the play of your imagination.” I was glad and I asked him whether the Vice Chancellor should be elected or nominated. He said appointment would be made on the basis of best qualifications. There would be an administrative assistant to the Vice Chancellor so that use of all academic talents of the V.C. could be used. I said if old bureaucrats were absorbed for administration they would not give up their habits and it would be difficult to change them. He said that young people would be brought up because they were more loyal and honest.
He desired, “Suresh, I am there today but may be tomorrow I might not be. I shall make a trust of money and get it passed through the Parliament.”
Visitors began to swell therefore he went inside. It rained and everybody was running helter-skelter. Afterwards he called us inside. Then he distributed one orange, one banana and half apple to each one of us. He was exasperated with house flies. He proposed to install a mesh to the kitchen. I said when the door would be opened flies would rush in. He said that many would be driven out. I said smoke of the kitchen would drive them automatically. All laughed. The plan was stayed for the time being. Then he said Radhakant committed another mistake. He sent money order of Rs.2000/- in the name of Ramanidada care of Inspection Bungalow of Rudraprayag. It might have been returned. He said he planned monthly expenses to the tune of Rs.2500/-, and then reduced it to Rs.2000/-, lastly wished to curtail it to Rs.1000/- per month. He informed that the Ashram expenses will be looked after by the Ashramites themselves. If flowers and fruits and flower plants fetched good price, he allowed them to sell.
We came out to eat fruits. It began raining. I was having a knot on the thigh-joint due to a wound. Laborers were working slowly. I told them to hurry and came to the hut for rest. Shubir was also resting due to upset stomach. After sometime Baba himself came in our hut. We got up as if we received an electric shock. In a tender and loving voice he enquired about Shubir’s health and arranged to send lot of fruits. While leaving I accompanied Baba. It was dark and cold. He inspected all work in his torchlight and left to take a bath. I simply wondered. I could not imagine a cold water bath in the river that late. He lighted his torch and I left him at the fence. Baba’s mood was not good that day and hence he fasted and consequently we too. I was woken up from sound sleep and told that Baba had sent milk with cream and bananas for me. It gave me more sound sleep. (Netaji’s nursing attitude is well-known)
At about 2 A.M. in the night Baba took a round and enquired about our health. Then he went to the cowshed to see the safety against tigers and panthers. He had a powerful torch. (At night Netaji used to move in INA camp with torch.)
Early morning Baba called me. I went straight to him without washing up. The moment I reached, he told me to go to Okhimath to send telegrams and make trunk call. Two telegrams were meant for Radhakant at different addresses telling him not to come to the camp as Ratan was meeting him. A telegram was to be sent to Ramprasadji at Kanpur to meet Ratan on the train and trunk call to Ratan at Rudraprayag. Samareshwar and I left the camp at 8.30 A.M. After arduous climb we reached post office at 9.30 A.M. I sent telegrams and talked with Ratan on phone. On way back Haridas and Dinbandhu met near a shop. They were sent to purchase torch cells and a timepiece but that was not available. We took refreshments and on way back dressed my wounds at the hospital and arrived at the camp at 1.30 P.M.
Baba was upset. He was taking parade of all who were assembled. He said he did not take Basmati rice and had asked to purchase Hansraj for him. He had asked to bring chappals for Gita, torch cells, clock, etc. No one heeded to it. He ordered that all would return to Ashram except Ramanidada, Gita, Shomu and me.
Anger was pouring. I informed him about my talk with Ratan and that the amount of the money order was pending in the post office of Rudraprayag. I sent a telegram to the postmaster to send the amount to Okhimath post office. I was sent to take bath and lunch. At 5 P.M. I returned to Baba. Everyone was still there. He told me to write a letter of authority in the name of Ramanidada and send it with Shomu to the postmaster of Okhimath. It was an awful trial. After some time he calmed down. I was called alone in his hut.
He told me, “I have rebuked all. When they wish to eat sweets I do not mind but at the same time if they do not bring it for their Ashram brothers and sisters then it is a crime.” It was in reference to Gita’s chappals probably. Shubir told me that although Baba had dictated telegram to send evretone back, he would not do so. His forecast proved correct. Baba asked to start cooking and all dispersed except me. I collected some firewood for him. We got engaged in discussion.
He examined his legs. They showed a lot of improvement. I queried whether in his earlier stay of seven to eight years in the Himalayas he suffered that type of reaction. He explained, “Never. I repeatedly tell Ashramites that when I came to Ashram there was not a single black spot on my body. Why are they now? It is not allergy. (My doubt cleared) It happens when humanity does not accept my suggestions.” I questioned what if they reappear after his return to the Ashram? He said that he would be compelled to postpone his work. I then asked him as to what about resignation of my service. He told me to wait for a month. He said, “Perhaps you may not need to join.”
I changed the topic. I questioned whether Gandhiji’s spiritualism was insufficient at the fag end to stop partition of India because once he said that his body would be vivisected but there would not be partition. Humanity was not paying heed to his say and his best disciples Nehru and Patel were not listening to his advice. Why should they do so?
Baba opined, “It was Divine desire that partition should take place for the better reunion of the country in future.” I said, “In Noakhali Gandhiji could not stop the communal riots”. He said, “Yes, but Gandhiji put in his efforts and got partial success. I pointed out that G.D. Khosla and K.N. Bali had given gruesome statistics and vivid description of the atrocities of communal riots of Pakistan. It was horrible. I said sometimes I felt that N.B. Khare was correct in retaliation in Junagarh. I felt that his policy was proper to stop riots. He observed, “ It is true that retaliation in Punjab and Bihar brought Pakistan to their senses. It may be good but logically it cannot be justified on the principle that if a dog bites us, we should bite the dog.” I said that it was natural mob frenzy. He replied that it was true. It was a reflex action that nobody could check. From that the topic turned to mob frenzy of Sidholi havoc. He said that the first newspaper reporter came to him and he played all the mischief. He said that in such situations, the only solution was the use of force. He said that Napoleon alone went to face a Division of ten thousand soldiers and calmed them down. He had character. He referred that once in the Ashram too there was mob frenzy. He told everyone that using force was the only remedy. I said that it was true. Kautilya referred, ‘Saam, Daam, Danda, and Bhed for a ruler.” (This means amicable talk, bribe, punishment and lastly killing). I said the time was for the last remedy. He enjoyed and laughed. I became conscious that Gitadi was waiting behind him for instructions. I pointed it out to him.
Before leaving he advised me to go through the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi “My experiments with Truth” and remarked that it was the best he ever read. Then he went for cooking. (Netaji was a great cook like Vivekananda. Netaji devoured all literature on Vivekanand at early age in Cuttack and Vivekananda’s philosophy influenced him till end.)
I was feeling feverish and taking rest in the hut. Ramanidada was shivering a lot. He could not write and hence dictated me a letter. He, in melancholy, observed that perhaps he was the weakest man in the lot. I too began to get the chills. Just then, Ramkrishnaji along with Vinodchandra Sharma and his wife arrived. I was surprised. He told me that he was transferred and during seven days of joining period he was tempted to come here. I received them and offered tea. They took wash. Mr. Sharma was seeing Baba for the first time. The message came that I should accompany the guests and see him. It was 10 P.M. and I went reluctantly.
Baba as usual asked Ramkrishnaji about welfare of family and enquired about progress of Sidholi incident. Ramkrishnaji told that judicial enquiry was ordered and after students’ examination a magistrate would begin work. He further informed that a Jana Sangh leader incited the mob and students. I was shivering wildly and Baba told Ramanidada to see my pulse. He said I was having fever up to 100 degrees F. I was given permission to retire but told to apply medicinal mud on stomach. I took milk and slept without food.
When I left Baba he was sitting on spread up green leaves and in candlelight his majestic personality radiated a permanent dent on my memory.