Sunday, December 2, 2007


Swami Vivekananda had four types of mothers:


2. HOLY MOTHER: Smt. Sarada Devi, w/o Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

3. MOTHERS IN US E.g. Mrs. Ole Bull, Mrs. Hale. These are two American Women, whom Swamiji called Mother.

4. BIOLOGICAL MOTHER : Swamiji's biological mother's name was Bhuvanesvari Devi.

He wrote to Ms. Marie Halboister from Almora on July 25, 1897.

"... I wish I had nobody to love, and I were an orphan in my childhood. The greatest misery in my life has been my own people — my brothers and sisters and mother etc. Relatives are like deadly clogs to one's progress, and is it not a wonder that people will still go on to find new ones by marriage!!! ... "

On Jan. 17, 1900, Swamiji wrote from USA to Mrs. Ole Bull in USA:

"... It is becoming clearer to me that I lay down all the concerns of the Math and for a time go back to my mother. She has suffered much through me. I must try to smooth her last days. Do you know, this was just exactly what the great Shankarâchârya himself had to do! He had to go back to his mother in the last few days of her life! I accept it, I am resigned. I am calmer than ever. The only difficulty is the financial part. Well, the Indian people owe something. I will try Madras and a few other friends in India. Anyhow, I must try, as I have forebodings that my mother has not very many years to live. Then again, this is coming to me as the greatest of all sacrifices to make, the sacrifice of ambition, of leadership, of fame. I am resigned and must do the penance. The one thousand dollars with Mr. Leggett and if a little more is collected, will be enough to fall back upon in case of need. Will you send me back to India? I am ready any time. ..."

On March 7, 1900, Swamiji wrote from Sanfrancisco to Mrs. Ole Bull:

"... The thousand dollars I have in New York will bring Rs. 9 a month; then I bought for her a bit of land which will bring about Rs. 6; and her old house — that will bring, say, Rs. 6. I leave the house under litigation out of consideration, as I have not got it. Myself, my mother, my grandmother, and my brother will live on Rs. 20 a month easy. I would start just now, if I could make money for a passage to India, without touching the 1,000 dollars in New York. ..."

In the same letter he wrote:

"... All my life I have been a torture to my poor mother. Her whole life has been one of continuous misery. If it be possible, my last attempt should be to make her a little happy. I have planned it all out. ..."

On Jan. 26, 1901, Swamiji wrote from Belur Math to Mrs. Ole Bull:

"... I am going to take my mother on pilgrimage next week. It may take months to make the complete round of pilgrimages. This is the one great wish of a Hindu widow. I have brought only misery to my people all my life. I am trying at least to fulfil this one wish of hers. ..."

It is not clear whether he took her to Ramesvaram or not. His Feb. 1901 letters were from Belur. His March 1901 letters were from Dacca. His subsequent letters were from Belur till he left to Gopal Lal Villa, Varanasi.

On Aug. 29, 1901, Swamiji wrote to Shri M.N. Banerjee from Belur Math:

"... I am so much beholden to mother (Holy Mother — Shri Sarada Devi) for her kind proposal, only I am told by everybody in the Math that Nilambar Babu's place and the whole of the village of Belur at that becomes very malarious this month and the next. Then the rent is so extravagant. I would therefore advise mother to take a little house in Calcutta if she decides to come. I may in all probability go and live there, as it is not good for me to catch malaria over and above the present prostration. ...

ON Sept. 7, 1901, Swamiji wrote from Belur Math to Shri M N Banerjee:

"... The sooner you decide these two points: (1) Whether mother stays at Belur or Calcutta, (2) If Calcutta, what rent and quarter, the better, as it can be done in a trice after receiving your reply. ..."

It is not clear where Swamiji's biological mother was staying hitherto and what she was eating. Since the Raja of Khetri, who paid her Rs. 100/- passed away, her condition should have been bad. There is no indication of Swamiji visiting her. He was worried about only Holy Mother i.e. Smt. Sarada Devi, w/o his Guru Shri Ramakrishna. Here also, the initiative and proposal was hers.

On Feb. 21, 1902, Swamiji wrote from Varanasi to Swami Brahmananda at Calcutta (Belur).

"... I received a letter from you just now. If mother and grandmother desire to come, send them over. 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 ..."

Swamiji wanted to get away from Plague-risky Calcutta. Will not Brahmananda at Calcutta, catch Plague?
Since there was a reference to grandmother, we have to presume that it was his biological mother. In this letter he was not inviting them. The meaning was, if they want they could come.

Then what would have happened to the proposal of his living with his biological mother and younger brother with Rs. 20/- per month? Nothing obviously. Instead, from Dec. 1900 (return from USA) to July 1902 (passing away), he stayed at Belur Math only, except when he visited Dacca in March 1901 and camped at Gopal Villa Royal Palace, Varanasi, in Feb. 1902. In March 1901 letter from Dacca there was some mention of Mother, aunts, etc. But it was not clear whether he took with him to Dacca his biological mother or Holy Mother.

It always reverberates in my mind why Vivekananda did not chose to stay with his biological mother and why he preferred to stay in Belur Math till his death. His sickness could alone be the reason. Why did not he discharge his Shankaracharya's duty?

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