A characteristic of Narendranath was his solicitude for others. For instance, it was customary in those days for the General Assembly's Institution to help those who, for lack of funds, could not pay the required fees; there was also provision for exemption from college dues in special cases. But the need of an applicant for funds or for exemption had to be substantiated before his name could be put on the free list. Rajkumar, a senior clerk, was in charge of making decisions in such matters. Now, it so happened that Haridas Chattopadhyaya, a classmate of Narendranath, was in great financial difficulty before the examination. He could not pay the accumulated college dues, nor was it easy for him to pay the examination fees. Narendranath assured his friend that he would see what could be done.
After one or two days, when a crowd of students had assembled at the counter in Rajkumar's office to deposit dues and fees, Narendranath made his way through the crowd and said to Rajkumar, "Sir, Haridas is incapable of paying his dues. Will you kindly exempt him? If you send him up for the examination he will pass with credit; otherwise he will be undone." "Your presumptuous recommendation is uncalled for", said Rajkumar; "you had better 'oil your own machine'! I won't send him up unless he pays his dues." Thus rebuffed Narendranath left the place, and his friend was naturally disappointed. But Narendranath consoled him saying, "Why are you giving way to despair? The old man is in the habit of giving such rebuffs. I tell you, I shall find a way out for you; so be at rest."
After college hours, instead of returning home, Narendranath searched out the opium-smoking den to which Rajkumar usually resorted. As the darkness of the evening gathered, sure enough, Rajkumar was espied stealthily advancing towards the den. With surprising suddenness Narendranath presented himself before the old man and stood in his way. Rajkumar, though puzzled at the sight of Narendranath at such a place and time, kept his nerve and said as calmly as he could, "What's the matter, Datta? You are here!" Narendranath again presented his plea on behalf of Haridas, and added that, if the request were ignored, he would publicize in the college Rajkumar's frequenting the opium-smoking den. "Well, my dear, why are you so angry?" said the old man: "What you want will be done. Can I ever ignore your request?" And he conceded that the arrears of the college dues of Haridas would be remitted, but he would be required to pay the examination fees. Narendranath agreed to this and took leave of him.
Early next morning, before sunrise, Narendranath went to Haridas's house and after knocking at the door sang the song: