Thursday, November 1, 2007


Swami Vivekananda wrote to Ms. Christina Greenstidel (Christine)from Marseilles (may be from the ship on way to London from India, during the second visit)on July 23, 1899. In the letter he asked her to come to London dock (to receive him).

"... Come to the Dock if that is possible and discreet. Yes, it is discreet, as there is a lady in the party and others will come to meet her. Only, Christina, don't if you feel the least tired or unwell. I hope you are enjoying London immensely.
The Orientals do not like any effusion of feeling. They are trained to hide all expression. ..."

Meaning of the word "discreet" as per
"... 1. judicious in one's conduct or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect ... " .

Why did Swami Vivekananda want Ms. Christina to be discreet? Why did he want her to be silent? What is the delicate thing involved?

Why did Vivekananda cautioned her against effusion of feeling? Why the orientals are trained to hide their expressions?

This problem of western effusion of feelings and Indian concealment of feelings existed in 1899 and in 2007.
On 15th April 2007, hollywood actor Mr. Richard Gere hugged and kissed actress Ms. Shilpa Shetty, in New Delhi at a public function in New Delhi for spreading awareness about HIV AIDS. This caused much uproar in India.

Shri Vivekananda wrote from Belur Math to Ms. Christina on March 30, 1902 (three months before his death):

"... You know how welcome you are — I need not express it. This is a land where expressions are studiously subdued. ..."

We can see how Shri Swamiji is SUBDUING his expressions STUDIOUSLY. How welcome she would have been, had he not subdued his expressions?

1 comment:

harshal said...

Dear Multisubj Yb TruthSeeker,

I dont know what was in rest of this letter and in what context and for what purpose this letter was written. From what you have here I personally dont see any problem in him saying those words to her.

I feel I am too small and too uneducated to comment on this but because you have commented on my blog I need to say what I feel. Hypothetically, if he felt anything "flowery" for her of if he realized she felt something for him, I think this was his way to kill any possible entanglement, if it existed and which seems to have more probability from the girl's side. Like I said this is MY view from what little I know so readers please give hard proofs on this issue.

Thats all I had to say other than a more general reply to your comment on my blog.