Strange But True

I reviewed an account of French pilot Ronald Nickson, written by Jivan Yati Maharaj, who is general secretary, All India Sree Chaitanya Gauidy Math.  It reads as follows:


French pilot Ronald Nickson was flying his plane and he and his four colleagues were trying to locate the defense facilities of the German army during World War I.  They entered German air space and were hiding their plane behind clouds.  Nickson needed to clearly view the defense sites, so he took the risk of lowering his plane.  His plane was hit.  The German army was firing at them and the plane was in flames.


Nickson later wrote of the incident:  “I was a non-believer in God.  Observing that my burning plane was losing height rapidly and would soon crash, with no chance of survival, I murmured, ‘If there is a God, save me.’  I went blank after that.  On regaining consciousness, I was told that I remained unconscious for almost 2 months.  When I inquired about my colleagues, I was told that somehow the burning plane re-entered French border territory and fell there.  Nothing remained, none of the others survived – except the pilot, yours truly.”


“After getting discharged, I began going to church and inquiring about God from various priests.  If God exists then I should find him and talk to Him.  I was not satisfied with the answers I got and eventually began reading many holy books.  My desire to meet God increased day by day.  After all He was my Saviour.  I was advised to visit India to learn further about God.  I was informed that sages of ancient India had researched deeply into this topic.  I resigned from the Royal Air Force, and came to India in search of God”.


Nickson came to India and took up a position as professor in English department at Lucknow University.  Krishna says in Gita that He helps those who seek Him out with sincerity.  Nickson familarised himself with Indian scriptures, including the Gita, the Upanishads, the Vedas and the Srimad Bhagavatam.  He adopted the name of Sri Krishna Prema.  He established a centre at Mirtola in U.P. – now known as ‘Uttar Vrindavan’.  It is said that he realized the Supreme Lord here and used to talk to the Lord.


Strange but true?  Strange but true! Strange but true.  How would you elicit the account of this novel trail?  With a range of questions?  Even keeping at bay a further discussion? With a breath of exclamation? Or with a solid sense of total belief?  The likes of this kind of a story can invite graspable extremities of believers and non-believers.  What initially prompts the believers is the strength of their beliefs.  A grown-up belief when tested can open up into faith.  Another way to arrange is by studying the great lives of those who harnessed unlimited resources within them, demonstrating again and again the definition of: STRANGE BUT TRUE.  None of us need to squeeze our brains to force ourselves, or fool ourselves into believing all that is served to us.  No, no, no! We must read with reason and deliberation, the history of those who experienced such achievables.  Those who rose to perfection are phenomenally unattached to all worldly desires; self-critical to the core for the sake of self-advancement – why would such divine souls delve in duplicity of any kind?  True?  True!


Geeta Chhabra


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