Wednesday, July 11, 2007

#058, time for me to try another country

I promised to write some thing very positive about Swamy Vivekananda. One of the finest talks he gave in USA, I tried to pick up. This is the lecture he gave at Shakespeare Club of Pasadena, California on 27th Jan. 1900. The original subject for his talk was Vedanta Philosophy, but he said that it was interesting, but rather dry and vast. Here is the link for the lecture where you can see the whole text:

http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_9/vol_9_frame.htm.

The talk is superb. It arouses sympathy for Vivekananda and the poor of India. But some lines have tempted me to compare with facts of 1890-93 and Jan.1900 and the surrounding circumstances. In the speech he said:

"... I would have to go from house to house to collect sufficient for one meal. And then the bread was so hard, it made my mouth bleed to eat it. Literally, you can break your teeth on that bread. Then I would put it in a pot and pour over it water from the river. For months and months I existed that way —of course it was telling on the health.

Then I thought, I have tried India: it is time for me to try another country..."


Between 1887 (Ramakrishna's passing away) and 1890, his disciples might have some hardships and starvation. Between 1890 and 1893, Vivekananda stayed at Ghazipur (Pavaharibaba Ashram), Varanasi and other places quite comfortably calling himself Paramahamsa. These details I have already given in earlier posts at this blog. During the period, he made his friendships with the Raja of Khetri, Divan of Junagadh, Raja of Lumdy, Raja of Mysore, Raja of Ramnad, Ruler of Jayapore. His needs, including cigars have been fully taken care of by the native rulers and there was no need for despondence or dejection. On 11th Feb. 1893 he even wrote to Alasinga Mudaliar of Madras, that he would not go to Rajaputana and would instead go to Bangalore and Ootacamund (Ooty) to pass the summer there. It is very hard to believe that a person who wants to spend his summer at Ooty would have survived several months on stone-like mouth-bleeding bread one-time a day by pouring water on it. This may be the case for the other brother-disciples of Vivekananda, at Kolkata. Even there, fish was served at least on some days.

Three days before the Pasadena lecture (17th Jan. 1900) he wrote from California to Mrs. Ole Bull that people were nowhere whenever it came to paying. He also said that field of lecturing had been overworked in US and that people had overgrown that. He was under great pressure financially. In his letter to Mrs. Ole Bull, he said that he had hopes on Madras. This stress might have been the probable reason for his sympathy-arousing but a very fine speech. In the 17.1.1900 letter he also highlighted that his next actions would be "miraculous touch" instead of "miraculous tongue" . (He gave away all his powers to Mrs. Ole Bull at Ridgely Manor, when he administered her the vows of monkhood). According to his letter to Mrs. Bull his mission has been closed. His mission continues in his speeches.

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