The whole world was in the middle of the first world war, looking blankly at the death and destruction it was causing. Germany, with its state of the art warfare, tanks and cannons had attacked Belgium and France. The fighter planes kept showering bombs from the sky above. The English and French soldiers were throwing away their lives defending the land, air and sea.
Following the motivated English youth, Ronald Nixon, a brilliant scholar of Cambridge University joined the Royal Air Force. He took up a job in the English Air Force and, in a few days, became known as an expert and daring pilot. He was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant on probation, and very soon was appointed as a flying officer in the Royal Flying Corps. One day, the news of the enemy’s plan to attack Belgium reached and the English fighter planes roared into action with Ronald Nixon piloting one of them.
As his bomber aircraft reached the Belgium skyline, a few German fighter planes followed him and surrounded him on all sides. Unaware, Ronald Nixon kept flying towards his destination pushing the throttle to gain speed. Suddenly he looked up and found himself in the middle of the enemy’s ring of fire. Knowing it was impossible to defend himself, he calmly accepted his fate. At that instance, a divine image caught his sight - the tip of a snowclad mountain shinning with the glow of silver rays. He saw bright rays emerging from that mountain which engulfed his entire existence. Enchanted and in a semi-conscious state, he felt a divine power entering his body, taking control of his movements and thoughts. That power steered his fighter plane through the enemy attack and started flying higher and higher, and then in a wink, did a U-turn, swiftly flying back in the opposite direction, towards the base.
Coming back to his senses, he found himself lying in a bed in a military hospital in the outskirts of London. He was informed that his plane had landed safely and he was found unconscious in the cockpit. He was immediately shifted to the hospital and everyone was eagerly waiting to listen to his account of his escape from the enemy. Most of the other pilots were either dead or severely injured.
The Air Marshall asked him for an explanation of his escapade from German bomber planes. He narrated how a divine power took control over him and his plane and safely brought him home. The Air Marshall sneered at his response and discussed with the doctors to put him under psychiatric care.
Nixon laughed to himself. He had found himself encompassed by that divine image a few times in that hospital also. Sun rays shimmering from the towering tip of the snowclad mountain and someone whispering in his ears that he had witnessed the Himalayas and has been blessed by the many yogis, saints and seers who reside there. The two names ‘Himalayas’ and ‘Bharat Varsh’ kept on resounding in his mind and prickling his skin with goosebumps.
He had picked up two books on Buddhism from his college library and had also gone through the works of famous Theosophists, Alcott and Blavatsky. He was aware of the stories of the powerful yogis of the Himalayas but had never given a thought about it.
A bright mind of Cambridge, Ronald Nixon had a deep interest in English Literature. He had a great command over the subject and had graduated with honours. In his leisure, he had gone through some books on different religions and their philosophy but was never interested to pursue the subject in depth. After this miraculous escape and visions, he was keen to know more about India, the land, the people, the philosophy, the spiritual energy, the seers and their quest. What started out of curiosity became his only aim in life. The incident had brought about a change in the way he looked at life and he was eager to find out why he was saved by this miraculous power. He immersed himself in reading various religious books. Though he found the books of theosophical society interesting, it couldn’t hold his interest for long. He longed to experience the spiritual oneness and get a taste of freedom.
He met Sri Gyanendra Nath Chakravorty, the Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, in London and came to know that he was searching for an accomplished teacher, proficient in English language for a position in his university. Nixon apprised him of his interest in the job, expressed his yearning for the spirit of India and his eagerness to visit the holy land. Sri Chakravorty was charmed by the brilliant young man and his love for India and at once, offered Nixon the job. Overjoyed, Nixon, took off to India to take up a teaching position in the University of Lucknow. He commenced his job but a staff quarter for him couldn’t be arranged in such a short period. Since he was a bachelor, staying alone, the Vice Chancellor offered him accommodation at his residence till the staff quarter was ready. Nixon was thrilled as he hoped to learn about the ways of life in India during this stay.
Smt. Monika Devi Chakravorty, the wife of the Vice Chancellor, was the epitome of elegance and carried herself with poise. She was classy, kind, very affectionate and accepted him as their son. Nixon noticed a spark in Monika Devi and started addressing her as mother. Enigmatic and ever joyful, she had a natural influence on others and Nixon bowed down before this towering personality.
Monika Devi addressed him saying, “O son, I cannot keep on calling you Nixon. You have come to India and have a great regard for everything Indian. It’s time you had an Indian name. What do you say?”
“As you wish, Mother”, Nixon exclaimed delightedly.
“Yes, my son. Today onwards I will call you Gopal. Gopal is the apple of every mother’s eye in this country. You won’t find this affinity anywhere else in the world.”
“O Mother, I will always remain your Gopal.”
From then on started the transformation of Ronald Nixon, immersing himself in the spiritual fervour of Bharat Varsh.
To be continued…
Inspired by Sri Shankarnath Ray's Bharater Sadhaka
Image credit: Eila Sahu