Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#063, I would have to go from house to house to collect sufficient for one meal

While speaking at Shakespeare's Club of Pasadena, California, on 27th Jan. 1900 Swami Vivekananda narrated his past woes of surviving on alms:

" ... So things went on and on for ten years without any light, but with my health breaking all the time. It tells on the body in the long run: sometimes one meal at nine in the evening, another time a meal at eight in the morning, another after two days, another after three days — and always the poorest and roughest thing. Who is going to give to the beggar the good things he has? And then, they have not much in India. And most of the time walking, climbing snow peaks, sometimes ten miles of hard mountain climbing, just to get a meal. They eat unleavened bread in India, and sometimes they have it stored away for twenty or thirty days, until it is harder than bricks; and then they will give a square of that. 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. ... "

*How about ice creams (at Chennai in the house of Shri Manmathnath Bhattacharya)?
*How about Paramahamsa's food at Belgaum?
*How about fish and flesh at Tiruvanantapuram, searching for Mr. Manmathnath Bhattacharya?
*Would the rulers of Alwar, Khetri, Lumbdi, Vadodara, Junagadh, Mysore, Ramnad, have starved him?
*Would the Sethjis of Delhi and Mumbai have allowed him to starve?
*After starvation, he should have been lean. His appearance was always like a wrestler (pahilvan).

Swami Vivekananda wrote to Ms. Mary Hale from New York on 22nd June 1895:

"...I hope to lose about 30 to 40 lbs. this summer. ..."

He wrote to Ms. Christina Greenstidel from Khetri on 13th December 1897:

"...I will be only too glad to lose 50 lbs. of my weight ..."

*In two years the goal had gone up by 10 pounds, but "Arise, Awake and Stop Not till thy goal is achieved did not work!".
*I do not believe that Vivekananda begged from house to house. Yet I shall analyse:
*If he begged before the houses of rich people he would not get even remnants, because left-overs are eaten by servants and taken home to feed their families. There is no question of his getting hard stuffs.

*Rich people measure everything in terms of money. They will directly entertain only rich monks, to find out whether the monks could cure nagging ailments by using herbs or magical chants.

*If he begged before the houses of poor, the poor could give only what they eat. Naturally it would be some unpalatable stuff. He will not get fish, meat, ice creams or luchis.

*He had not viewed the things from the perspectives of house-wives, who had their own problems. If he were a house-wife, what Vivekananda would have given?

*Was there any need to wash our dirty linen in the presence of foreigners?

*Did begging last for ten years? Ramakrishna died in 1887. Vivekananda learnt to be guest of Delhi Seths, rulers and diwans, Government Officials by 1890. Even during these two and half years rich disciples of Ramakrishna were helping the Monastery. From 1890 there can't be instances of starving.

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