Tuesday, July 3, 2007

#46, It is better to get away from Calcutta now when the season of plague is on

One commonly found quotation of Swami Vivekananda on the internet is his exhortation to his brother-disciples and followers to serve in plague affected areas.

"... Go, all of you, wherever there is an outbreak of plague or famine, or wherever the people are in distress, and mitigate their suffereings. At the most, you may die in the attempt ..."

Swamiji wrote to Rakhal (Brahmananda) from Varanasi on Feb. 21, 1902:

"... It is better to get away from Calcutta now when the season of plague is on. There is wide-spread plague in Allahabad; I do not know if it will spread to Varanasi this time ..."

*Others will die.
*Swamiji will get away from Calcutta.
*Worried whether it will spread to Varanasi. If it spreads where will he go?
*Rakhal was in Calcutta facing plague
*Swamiji asked Rakhal to release Rs. 100 to Nivedita from Monastery funds for Plague work.

Some biographies and books praise that Vivekananda rendered great service to Plague and famine affected victims.

In Dec. 1898, he announced his plans to visit US and Europe, with ostensible purpose of inspecting the work he had done. This was at a time there was plague in Calcutta. On June 20 1899, he sailed to Europe via Madras. At that time there was a devastating Plague in Calcutta and Sister Nivedita was working in the service of the Plague victims. Had he stayed in Calcutta, his presence would have given her moral courage. But he preferred Europe to Calcutta and left the City.

When the ship "s.s. Golkonda" in which he was sailing reached Madras, the passengers were not allowed to disembark from the ship as they were fears of the epidemic spreading from Calcutta to Madras.

No comments: