Monday, March 19, 2012

Circumstances which refute the theory of father-daughter relationship between Vivekananda and Ms. Christina Greenstidel

This is in response to the comments made by readers that Vivekananda's relationship with Ms. Christina Greenstidal was that of a father and daughter and that I am unnecessarily making fuss.

For the information of my readers I wish to make it clear, that I have no-where mentioned that there was a sexual relationship between Swami Vivekananda and Ms. Christina Greenstidel.

At the same time it is necessary to recall the circumstantial and docy. evidence available to doubt the claim of 'father-daughter' relationship. I summarise them here.

1. Father Vivekananda will not send documents to daughter Christina with a request to countersign them. He would not regret that he had written her name as 'Miss' instead of 'Mrs.'. What for was this dilemma? What was this document for a father to send to a daughter?

"... Herewith [words excised] to countersign it and put it [words excised]. I am afraid I have made a mistake in writing Miss to your name. In that case you will have to sign also as Miss etc. ..."

2. Father Vivekananda will not ask daughter Christina :
""... They all are expected here in November, and will have a "hot time in this old town" etc. I pray you can come, and the Mother will open the door for it. I cannot but say my prayers mostly have been heard, up to date.".

What was this "hot time in this old town?" My search in internet suggested that it was a popular opera song of those days. Why should a Hindu Swamiji have a hot time in this old town with an American(German) girl? Why should the Mother Ole Bull open the door for it? Why should Vivekananda pray her to come to India to have a hot time?

3. Do Indian fathers write to their youthful daughters like this:
"...Well now, Christina, send me one of your latest photos next mail, will you? I want to see how much of fat you have accumulated in one year. ...".

4. Does a father ask her daughter to subdue her emotions, when she comes to see him in a sea-port-dock?
"... 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. ..."

Why should Christina be discreet? Swamiji was asking her not to come! (of course with a tail-piece tired/unwell). Why should she become a Oriental and hide her expressions? Why there is a need for Oriental daughters and fathers to hide their expressions? Hinduism allows fathers and daughters to embrace lightly, shed tears, wipe tears etc., particularly when they meet after long gap..

5. Why should there be excisions (removal by editing) in a father Vivekananda's letters to daughter Christina? Did he write anything about his overtaxed nerves or his theme? What was this frightening? What was this lamb? Why did father Vivekananda frighten daughter Christina?

I have also my theme, but I am not despondent. I am sure very soon to pan it out into a beautiful ecstasy [excision]. I am half crazy by nature; then my overtaxed nerves make me outrageous now and then. As a result I don't find anybody who would patiently bear with me! I am trying my best to make myself gentle as a lamb. I hope I shall succeed in some birth. You are so gentle. Sometimes I did frighten you very much, did I not, Christina? I wish I were as gentle as you are. Mother knows which is best.

6. What is this "our condition", gasping, melting, puffing, in father Vivekananda's letter to daughter Christina?

I congratulate you on your successful visit to the Huron Lake; a few more of them (according to your letter) will force you to sympathize with our condition — oh, the gasping and the melting and the puffing and all the rest of them!

7. Why the missing portions were excised in the following letter?
I will try your tonic when it arrives; and the gift, I pray, will even be followed by the giver, for surely a [words excised] . . . is more stimulating and healing than dead drugs.

Didn't father Vivekananda use the word 'daughter' or equivalent words in the excised portion? What did he write there?

8. When money was scarce at Belur Math, does an adopted father send $468 to an adopted daughter? This money's purchasing power should have been very large at the prices prevailing in 1901-02.
Quotes: Herewith I send you four hundred and eighty dollars by cheque drawn on Thomas Cook & Son, Broadway, New York.

Second-class passage across the Atlantic is all right, but the second class from Italy to Bombay is rather bad. There are always a few rough men and fast women. There is money enough for travelling first class all through, if you so like.
In case, however, things take another turn and you cannot come, no matter. Do with the money just as it pleases you.

So, father Vivekananda sends 468 dollars to his daughter to come to India in first class or spend the money as she likes. So, this Vivekananda who found fault with Shankara and Ramanuja for not weeping for the sorrows of others, could send $468 to a foreign girl for her travel or "spend as she likes", when there was famines and plague epidemic in this country.

9. Why father Vivekananda's expressions were so subdued?


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

10.Why should there be a flutter in dovecote when a father writes letters to a daughter?

So there was a great flutter in our dovecote owing to my letters, but things must have assumed their old form by this time.

11. Why was father Vivekananda asking daughter Christina not to come down to Calcutta or Bagh Bazar? Why should a father be anxious when a daughter stays nearby? Why Vivekananda didn't ask Christina to stay at Belur Math in Women's Wing? Shouldn't a daughter be nearer to her father? Did anybody object to her stay in Belur Math?

I will be very anxious if you are in Calcutta, at Baghbazar. I am slowly recovering. Stay with Mrs. Sevier as long as you can. Don't come down with Margot [Sister Nivedita].

12. Why should there be anxiety for father Vivekananda if Marie Louise arrived in Calcutta. Why was he assuring Christina that there was no anxiety? What was this noise making by Marie Louise? Did he expect her to make noise and if so what type of noise was it?

No anxiety on the score of Marie Louise's* arrival in Calcutta. She has not yet made any noise.

13. Father Vivekananda's life got fulfilled after diving to find a pearl:

"I have attained my aim. I have found the pearl for which I dived into the ocean of life. I have been rewarded. I am pleased.
Thus it seems to me that a new chapter of my life is opening ..."

He resigned from the Presidentship of the MaTh. What was this new chapter which had to begin? Finding an adopted daughter, will it open a new life for a SanyAsi who had devoted his life to weep for the sorrows of others? In the new life, would he have stopped weeping for others?

14. Father Vivekananda planning to buy gold or amber or coral for his precious jewel. Who was this precious jewel? What was this apple coming to mouth, it is coming, coming, coming, etc.? Why should a 'sanyAsi' fret so much? For what?

"... What do you think will be very good for me on earth? Silver? Gold? Pooh! I have got something infinitely better; but a little gold will not be amiss to keep my jewel in proper surroundings, and it is coming, don't you think so?

I am a man who frets much, but waits all the same; and the apple comes to my mouth by itself. So, it is coming, coming, coming.

"... Well, you are right as about taste: I renounce the yellow of gold and the white of silver, but stick to amber always — that is to my taste ... "

" ... Amber and corals I always hated; but of late I am awakening to their beauty. One learns as he lives, is it not? ... "

How did Vivekananda suddenly awaken to the beauty of amber and corals for presentation to his jewel? Who was his jewel?

15. Vivekananda's letters to Ms. Mary (Harriet) Hale clearly addressed her as 'sister'. His letters to Mrs. Ole Bull addressed her as 'mother'. He has used 'My dear Christina'. He did not use 'my dear' for others. If Ms. Christina were the daughter of Vivekananda, as is made out by his worshippers, what prevented him to address her as a daughter or mention at least in one letter something which reflects paternal love? His letters ended with 'love and blessings'. But adding 'blessings' seems to be a part of his declared Oriental characteristic of subduing expressions. There were only references to her plumpness, fat, leanness all the time. There was only mention of photographs. Why doesn't he enquire about her original mother/father/brothers/sisters/other relatives? She was not a total orphan. Why didn't he teach her advaita philosophy at least in one letter and ask to her to write her doubts on philosphical matters? No time? Why didn't he ask her about studies or job? An adopted father has no such responsibility?

16. Ms. Christina appears to be quite innocent, as she seems to have regarded Swamiji as a great preceptor. But Vivekananda was continuously asking her for something or other which is not connected with a guru-sishya or father-daughter relationship.

But if you come to Cambridge with all the instructions of the Battle Creek food, I will have it prepared there; or, between you and me, we will cook it. I am a good hand at that. You don't know a thing about cooking. Well, you may help in cleaning the plates etc. I always get money when I need it badly. "Mother" always sees to that. So, no danger on that head. I am not in the least danger of life, the Doctors agree — only if this dyspepsia goes away. And that is "food", "food", "food", and no worry. Oh, what a worry I have had! Say we go somewhere else and make a little party and keep house ourselves. In Cambridge, Mrs. Bull has a quiet separate place — her studio house. You can have rooms there.

What was this joint cooking and cleaning plates? Cooking and cleaning plates, food-food-food, go somewhere else and make a little party -- what are all these? Mrs. Bull arranging quiet separate place what for all these? These are qualities of 'samsAris' (householders) and not the qualities of sanyAsies (monks).

17. Swamiji didn't hide his dislike for his own family members (mother, brothers et al ) whom he considered as great obstacles in spiritual life. Why Indian-Bengalee relatives alone were obstacles in spiritual path and not foreign women? How did he enjoy joint cooking, washing plates, quiet separate places etc. calling a foreign girl pearl, jewel, and planning to buy amber and corals? Why couldn't he call any single Indian girl as pearl or jewel and plan to buy amber and corals for her?

18. Swamiji wrote to Ms. Christine from 6 PLACE DES ETATS UNIS,
PARIS on 14th October, 1900. Swamiji started this letter as "My dear Christine", and ended it with "Your devoted friend,
VIVEKANANDA." . If there were a father-daughter relationship between them, he would have used some other words which showed paternalistic love. It was very clear that he regarded her only as a friend. He was assuring her of his devotion.

19. It will be for the Government of India and Courts or their Agencies to inquire into these things. Not my job. I have already sufficiently wasted my time on a futile exercise, which will be like araNya rOdanam--weeping in forest or "bUDidalO pOsina pannIru" (rosewater poured into ashes). My friends and relatives cautioned me not to go too deep into the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. They have also advised me not to bother if Govt. of India or Govt. of Bengal or Gujarat throw away a few million dollars or a few hundred crore Rupees on commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of this Weight-lifter of the Nation. I didn't listen to them because, making people "enabled and enlightened enough to dig for truth and shed blind beliefs" is a part of my Atheist and Marxist Action Plan. This seems to be a mistake.

Probably this country may not be ready for such "self-realisation". Otherwise, how could the people of Uttar Pradesh elect 111 candidates with criminal cases, out of 224 of its ruling party?. In such situation, will the criminal winners lose or the voters lose? If worthy persons have not contested/won the elections, do they lose anything? Wise persons will always spend their time in wise pursuits and leave this planet when the time comes. It is the people who pay the penalty for electing substantial number of criminals as M.L.As and M.Ps.

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