05-Epistles - Second Series - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand - Vol - 6 books and stories free download online pdf in English

05-Epistles - Second Series - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand - Vol - 6

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Volume 6

Epistles - Second Series-5


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  • Lectures and Discourses
  • Notes of Class Talks and Lectures
  • Writings: Prose and Poems - Original and Translated
  • Epistles - Second Series
  • Conversations and Dialogues ( From the Diary of a Disciple)

  • Epistles - Second Series

  • I Sir
  • II Sir
  • III Sir
  • I Sir
  • IV Sir
  • V M—
  • VI Sir
  • VII Sir
  • VIII Sir
  • IX Sir
  • X Sir
  • XI Sir
  • XII Sir
  • XIII Sir
  • XIV Sir
  • XV Sir
  • XVI Sir
  • XVII Sir
  • XVIII Sir
  • XIX Sir
  • XX Sir
  • XXI Sir
  • XXII Sir
  • XXIII Akhandananda
  • XXIV Sir
  • XXV Sir
  • XXVI Sir
  • XXVII Akhandananda
  • XXVIII Akhandananda
  • XXIX Sir
  • XXX Kali
  • XXXI Sir
  • XXXII Sir
  • XXXIII Sir
  • XXXIV Sharat
  • XXXV Govinda Sahay
  • XXXVI Govinda Sahay
  • XXXVII Govinda Sahay
  • XXXVIII Doctor
  • XXXIX Mother
  • XL Maharaja of Khetri
  • XLI Shashi
  • XLII Sir
  • XLIII Sisters
  • XLIV Sisters
  • XLV Brothers
  • XLVI Mother Sara
  • XLVII Brother disciples
  • XLVIII Mrs. Bull
  • IL Swami Ramakrisnananda
  • L Mrs. Bull
  • LI Dear and Beloved
  • LII Govinda Sahay
  • LIII Govinda Sahay
  • LIV Swami Ramakrishnanda
  • LV Akhandananda
  • LVI Dear and Beloved
  • LVII Mrs. Bull
  • LVIII Sarada
  • LIX Sanyal
  • LX Mrs. Bull
  • LXI Mrs. Bull
  • LXII Mrs. Bull
  • LXIII Shashi
  • LXIV Mrs. Bull
  • LXV Mrs. Bull
  • LXVI Mrs. Bull
  • LXVII Mrs. Bull
  • LXVIII Mrs. Bull
  • LXIX Shashi
  • LXX Alberta
  • LXXI Rakhal
  • LXXII Akhandananada
  • LXXIII Brother Disciples
  • LXXIV Rakhal
  • LXXV Shashi
  • LXXVI Rakhal
  • LXXVII Shashi
  • LXXVIII Rakhal
  • LXXIX Mrs. Bull
  • LXXX Mrs. Bull
  • LXXXI Mother
  • LXXXII Dear—
  • LXXXIII Rakhal
  • LXXXIV Mrs. Bull
  • LXXXV Akhandananda
  • LXXXVI Mrs. Bull
  • LXXXVII Alberta
  • LXXXVIII Mrs. Bull
  • LXXXIX Mrs. Bull
  • XC Sister
  • XCI Sarada
  • XCII Yogen
  • XCIII Mrs. Bull
  • XCIV Sarada
  • XCV Mrs. Bull
  • XCVI Mrs. Bull
  • XCVII Sarada
  • XCVIII Mrs. Bull
  • XCIX Mrs. Bull
  • C Shashi
  • CI Shashi
  • CII Frankincense
  • CIII Mrs. Bull
  • CIV Mrs. Bull
  • CV Sahji
  • CVI Shashi
  • CVII Mrs. Bull
  • CVIII Sister
  • CIX Joe Joe
  • CX Miss S. E. Waldo
  • CXI Mrs. Bull
  • CXII Mary
  • CXIII Mrs. Bull
  • CXIV Lalaji
  • CXV Dear—
  • CXVI Sisters
  • CXVII Alberta
  • CXVIII Mrs. Bull
  • CXIX Frankincense
  • CXX Alberta
  • CXXI Mary
  • CXXII Mrs. Bull
  • CXXIII Mary
  • CXXIV Sir
  • CXXV Shuddhananda
  • CXXVI Miss Noble
  • CXXVII Rakhal
  • CXXVIII Akhandananda
  • CXXIX Rakhal
  • CXXX Rakhal
  • CXXXI Akhandananda
  • CXXXII Akhandananda
  • CXXXIII Mrs. Bull
  • CXXXIV Mother
  • CXXXV Sarada
  • CXXXVI Akhandananda
  • CXXXVII Rakhal
  • CXXXVIII M—
  • CXXXIX Mother
  • CXL Mother
  • CXLI Margot
  • CXLII Friend
  • CXLIII Margot
  • CXLIV Dear
  • CXLV Dhira Mata
  • CXLVI Dear
  • CXLVII Mrs. Bull
  • CXLVIII Margot
  • CXLIX Margot
  • CL Mrs. Bull
  • CLI Margot
  • CLII Margot
  • CLIII Nivedita
  • CLIV Akhandananda
  • CLV Nivedita
  • CLVI Nivedita
  • CLVII Margot
  • CLVIII Joe
  • CLIX Nivedita
  • CLX Nivedita
  • CLXI Nivedita
  • CLXII Nivedita
  • CLXIII Mother
  • CLXIV Alberta
  • CLXV Joe
  • CLXVI Nivedita
  • CLXVII Joe
  • CLXVIII Nivedita

  • XC

    NEW YORK,

    29th Dec., 1895.


    DEAR SISTER, (Miss S. Farmer)

    In this universe where nothing is lost, where we live in the midst of death in life, every thought that is thought, in public or in private, in crowded thoroughfares or in the deep recesses of primeval forests, lives. They are continuously trying to become self-embodied, and until they have embodied themselves, they will struggle for expression, and any amount of repression cannot kill them. Nothing can be destroyed — those thoughts that caused evil in the past are also seeking embodiment, to be filtered through repeated expression and, at last, transfigured into perfect good.

    As such, there is a mass of thought which is at the present time struggling to get expression. This new thought is telling us to give up our dreams of dualism, of good and evil in essence, and the still wilder dream of suppression. It teaches us that higher direction and not destruction is the law. It teaches us that it is not a world of bad and good, but good and better — and still better. It stops short of nothing but acceptance. It teaches that no situation is hopeless, and as such accepts every form of mental, moral, or spiritual thought where it already stands, and without a word of condemnation tells it that so far it has done good, now is the time to do better. What in old times was thought of as the elimination of bad, it teaches as the transfiguration of evil and the doing of better. It, above all, teaches that the kingdom of heaven is already in existence if we will have it, that perfection is already in man if he will see it.

    The Greenacre meetings last summer were so wonderful, simply because you opened yourself fully to that thought which has found in you so competent a medium of expression, and because you took your stand on the highest teaching of this thought that the kingdom of heaven already exists.

    You have been consecrated and chosen by the Lord as a channel for converting this thought into life, and every one that helps you in this wonderful work is serving the Lord.

    Our scripture teaches that he who serves the servants of the Lord is His highest worshipper. You are a servant of the Lord, and as a disciple of Krishna I will always consider it a privilege and worship to render you any service in the carrying out of your inspired mission wherever I be.

    Ever your affectionate brother,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCI

    (Translated from Bengali)

    Jan., 1896.


    DEAR SARADA,

    . . .Your idea of the paper is very good indeed. Apply yourself to it heart and soul. . . . Never mind the funds. . . . There are many to preach Christianity and Mohammedanism — you just go through the preaching of your own country's religion. But then if you can get hold of a Mohammedan who is versed in Arabic and have old Arabic books translated, it will be a good plan. There is much of Indian history in the Persian language. If you can have the books translated bit by bit, it will be a good regular item. We want quite a number of writers, then there is the difficult task of getting subscribers. The way out is this: You lead a wandering life; wherever you find Bengali language spoken, thrust the paper on whomsoever you can lay your hands on. Enlist them by vehemence! — they would always turn tail the moment they have to spend something. Never mind anything! Push it on! Begin to contribute articles, all of you who can. It won't do merely to sit idle. You have done a heroic deed!

    Bravo! Those who falter and vacillate will lag behind, and you will jump straight on top of all! Those that are working for their own salvation will neither have their own nor that of others. Let the commotion that you make be such as to resound to the world's end. There are people who are ready to pick holes in everything, but when it comes to the question of work, not a scent of them can be had! To work! — as far as in you lies! Then I shall go to India and move the whole country. What fear! "Even a snake loses its venom if it is insisted that it has none." These people will go on the negative track, till they are actually reduced to nothing! . . .

    Gangadhar has done right heroic work! Well done! Kali has joined him in work

    — thrice well done!! Let one go to Madras, and another to Bombay, let the world shake on its hinges! Oh, the grief! If I could get two or three like me, I could have left the world convulsed. As it is, I have to proceed gently. Move the world to its foundations! Send one to China, another to Japan! What will the poor householders do, with their little bits of life? It is for the Sannyasins, Shiva's demons, to rend the skies with their shouts of "Hara! Hara! Shambho!"

    Yours affectionately

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCII

    (Translated from Bengali)

    228 W. 39, NEW YORK.

    24th Jan., 1896.


    DEAR YOGEN,

    . . . I am very sorry to heat that your health is not yet all right. Can you go to a very cold climate where there is plenty of snowfall in the winter, Darjeeling, for instance? The severity of the cold will set your stomach right, as it has done in my case. And can you give up altogether the habit of using ghee and spices?

    Butter digests more quickly than ghee. ...

    Three months more and I go to England, to try once more to make some stir; the following winter to India — and after that, it depends on the Lord.

    Put forth all nerve for the magazine that Sarada is wanting to publish. Ask Shashi to look to it. One thing, neither Kali nor anybody else has any need of coming to England at present. I shall train them first when I go to India, and then they may go wherever they please.

    We would do nothing ourselves and would scoff at others who try to do something — this is the bane that has brought about our downfall as a nation.

    Want of sympathy and lack of energy are at the root of all misery, and you must therefore give these two up. Who but the Lord knows what potentialities there are in particular individuals — let all have opportunities, and leave the rest to the Lord. It is indeed very difficult to have an equal love for all, but without it there is no Mukti.

    Yours affectionately,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCIII

    NEW YORK,

    25th Jan., 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    Your letter to Sturdy has been sent over to me. It was very kind of you to write that note. This year, I am afraid, I am getting overworked, as I feel the strain. I want a rest badly. So it is very good, as you say, that the Boston work be taken up in the end of March. By the end of April I will start for England.

    Land can be had in large plots in the Catskills for very little money. There is a plot of 101 acres for $200. The money I have ready, only I cannot buy the land in my name. You are the only friend in this country in whom I have perfect trust. If you consent, I will buy the land in your name. The students will go there in summer and build cottages or camps as they like and practice meditation. Later on, if they can collect funds, they may build something up. I am sorry, you cannot come just now. Tomorrow will be the last Sunday lecture of this month. The first Sunday of next month there will be a lecture in Brooklyn; the rest, three in New York, with which I will close this year's New York lectures.

    I have worked my best. If there is any seed of truth in it, it will come to life. So I have no anxiety about anything. I am also getting tired of lecturing and having classes. After a few months' work in England I will go to India and hide myself absolutely for some years or for ever. I am satisfied in my conscience that I did not remain an idle Swami. I have a note-book which has travelled with me all over the world. I find these words written seven years ago — "Now to seek a corner and lay myself there to die!" Yet all this Karma remained. I hope I have worked it out. I hope the Lord will give me freedom from this preaching and adding good bondages.

    "If you have known the Âtman as the one existence and that nothing else exists, for whom, for what desire, do you trouble yourself?" Through Maya all this doing good etc. came into my brain — now they are leaving me. I get more and more convinced that there is no other object in work except the purification of the soul — to make it fit for knowledge. This world with its good and evil will go on in various forms. Only the evil and good will take new names and new seats. My soul is hankering after peace and rest eternal undisturbed.

    "Live alone, live alone. He who is alone never comes into conflict with others

    — never disturbs others, is never disturbed by others." I long, oh! I long for my rags, my shaven head, my sleep under the trees, and my food from begging!

    India is the only place where, with all its faults, the soul finds its freedom, its God. All this Western pomp is only vanity, only bondage of the soul. Never more in my life I realised more forcibly the vanity of the world. May the Lord break the bondage of all — may all come out of Maya — is the constant prayer of

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCIV

    (Translated from Bengali)

    BOSTON,

    2nd March, 1896.


    DEAR SARADA,

    Your letter informed me of everything; but I note that you do not so much as refer to the cable I sent about the celebration. The dictionary that Shashi sent a few months ago has not arrived so far. ... I am going to England soon. Sharat need not come now at all; for I am myself going to England. I do not want people who take such a long time to make up their minds. I did not invite him for a European tour, and I do not have the money either. So ask him not to come, and none else need.

    On perusal of your letter on Tibet, I came to lose all regard for your common sense. In the first place, it is nonsense to say that Notovitch's book is genuine.

    Did you see any original copy, or bring it to India? Secondly, you say you saw in the Kailas Math the portrait of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. How do you know that it was Jesus' portrait, and not that of a man in the street? Even taking it for granted, how do you know that it was not put up in the said Math by someone who was a Christian? And your opinions on the Tibetans too are unsound; you did not certainly see the heart of Tibet, but only a fringe of the trade route. In places like those only the dregs of a nation are to be met. If on seeing the Chinabazar and Barabazar quarters of Calcutta, anybody called every Bengali a liar, would that be correct?

    Consult Shashi properly when writing any article. ... What you need is only obedience. ...

    Yours affectionately

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCV

    INDIANA AVE., CHICAGO, ILL.,

    6th April, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    Your kind note was duly received. I had beautiful visits with my friends and have already held several classes. I shall have a few more and then start on Thursday.

    Everything has been well arranged here, thanks to the kindness of Miss Adams.

    She is so, so good and kind.

    I am suffering from slight fever the last two days; so I can't write a long letter.

    My love to all in Boston.

    Yours with kind regards,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCVI

    124 E. 44TH STREET, NEW YORK,

    14th April, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    ... Here is a curious person who comes to me with a letter from Bombay. He is a practical mechanic and his one idea is to see cutlery and other iron manufactories in this country.... I do not know anything about him, but even if he be a rogue, I like very much to foster this sort of adventurous spirit among my countrymen. He has money enough to pay his way.

    Now, if with all caution testing of his genuineness of spirit, you feel satisfied, all he wants is to get some opportunities of seeing these manufactories. I hope he is true and that you can manage to help him in this.

    Yours with kind regards,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCVII

    (Translated from Bengali)

    NEW YORK,

    14th April, 1896.


    DEAR SARADA,

    Glad to hear everything in your letter. I have got news that Sharat arrived safe.

    I am in receipt of your letter and the copy of the Indian Mirror. Your contribution is good, go on writing regularly. ... It is very easy to search for faults, but the characteristic of a saint lies in looking for merits — never forget this. ... You need a little business faculty. ... Now what you want is organisation

    — that requires strict obedience and division of labour. I shall write out everything in every particular from England, for which I start tomorrow. I am determined to make you decent workers thoroughly organised. ...

    The term "Friend" can be used with all. In the English language you have not that sort of cringing politeness common in Bengali, and such Bengali terms translated into English become ridiculous. That Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was God — and all that sort of thing — has no go in countries like this. M—

    has a tendency to put that stuff down everybody's throat, but that will make our movement a little sect. You keep aloof from such attempts; at the same time, if people worship him as God, no harm. Neither encourage nor discourage. The masses will always have the person, the higher ones the principle; we want both. But principles are universal, not persons. Therefore stick to the principles he taught, let people think whatever they like of his person. ... Truce to all quarrels and jealousies and bigotry! These will spoil everything. "But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." " — Those who are the devotees of My devotees are My best devotees."

    Yours affectionately,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCVIII

    63 ST. GEORGE'S ROAD, LONDON,

    30th May, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    . . . Day before yesterday I had a fine visit with Prof. Max Müller. He is a saintly man and looks like a young man in spite of his seventy years, and his face is without a wrinkle. I wish I had half his love for India and Vedanta. At the same time he is a friend of Yoga too and believes in it. Only he has no patience with humbugs.

    Above all, his reverence for Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is extreme, and he has written an article on him for the Nineteenth Century. He asked me, "What are you doing to make him known to the world?" Ramakrishna has charmed him for years. Is it not good news? . . .

    Things are going on here slowly but steadily. I am to begin from next Sunday my public lectures.

    Yours ever in grateful affection,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    XCIX

    63 ST. GEORGE'S ROAD, LONDON S.W.,

    5th June, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    The Raja-Yoga book is going on splendidly. Saradananda goes to the States soon.

    I do not like any one whom I love to become a lawyer, although my father was one. My Master was against it, and I believe that that family is sure to come to grief where there are several lawyers. Our country is full of them; the universities turn them out by the hundreds. What my nation wants is pluck and scientific genius. So I want Mohin to be an electrician. Even if he fails in life, still I will have the satisfaction that he strove to become great and really useful to his country. ... In America alone there is that something in the air which brings out whatever is best in every one. ... I want him to be daring, bold, and to struggle to cut a new path for himself and his nation. An electrical engineer can make a living in India.

    Yours with love,

    VIVEKANANDA.

    PS. Goodwin is writing to you this mail with reference to a magazine in America. I think something of the sort is necessary to keep the work together, and shall of course do all that I can to help it on in the line he suggests. . . . I think it very probable that he will come over with Saradananda.


    C

    (Translated from Bengali)

    63 ST. GEORGE'S ROAD, LONDON S.W.,

    24th June, 1896.


    DEAR SHASHI,

    Max Müller wants all the sayings of Shri Ramakrishna classified, that is, all on Karma in one place, on Vairagya in another place, so on Bhakti, Jnana, etc., etc. You must undertake to do this forthwith. ... We must take care to present only the universal aspect of his teachings. . . .

    Sharat starts for America tomorrow. The work here is coming to a head. We have already got funds to start a London Centre. Next month I go to Switzerland to pass a month or two there, then I shall return to London. What will be the good of my going home? — This London is the hub of the world.

    The heart of India is here. How can I leave without laying a sure foundation here? Nonsense! For the present, I shall have Kali here, tell him to be ready. ...

    We want great spirit, tremendous energy, and boundless enthusiasm, no womanishness will do. Try to go on exactly as I wrote to you in my last. We want organisation. Organisation is power, and the secret of this is obedience.

    Yours affectionately,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CI

    (Translated from Bengali)

    HIGH VIEW,CAVERSHAM, READING,

    3rd July, 1896.


    DEAR SHASHI,

    Send Kali to England as soon as you get this letter. . . . He will have to bring some books for me. I have only got Rig-Veda Samhitâ. Ask him to bring the Yajur-Veda, Sâma-Veda, Atharva-Samhita, as many of the Brâhmanas as he can get, beginning with the Shatapatha, some of the Sutras, and Yâska's Nirukta. . . .

    Let there be no delay as in Sharat's case, but let Kali come at once. Sharat has gone to America, as he had no work to do here. That is to say, he was late by six months, and then when he came, I was here. . . .

    Yours affectionately,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CIII

    63 ST. GEORGE'S ROAD, LONDON S.W.,

    6th July, 1896.


    DEAR FRANKINCENSE, (Mr. Francis H. Leggett whom Swamiji addressed thus.)

    . . . Things are going on with me very well on this side of the Atlantic.

    The Sunday lectures were quite successful; so were the classes. The season has ended and I too am thoroughly exhausted. I am going to make a tour in Switzerland with Miss Müller. The Galsworthys have been very very kind. Joe (Miss Josephine MacLeod, also referred to as Joe Joe.) brought them round splendidly. I simply admire Joe in her tact and quiet way. She is a feminine statesman or woman. She can wield a kingdom. I have seldom seen such strong yet good common sense in a human being. I will return next autumn and take up the work in America.

    The night before last I was at a party at Mrs. Martin's, about whom you must already know a good deal from Joe.

    Well, the work is growing silently yet surely in England. Almost every other man or woman came to me and talked about the work. This British Empire with all its drawbacks is the greatest machine that ever existed for the dissemination of ideas. I mean to put my ideas in the centre of this machine, and they will spread all over the world. Of course, all great work is slow, and the difficulties are too many, especially as we Hindus are the conquered race.

    Yet, that is the very reason why it is bound to work, for spiritual ideals have always come from the downtrodden. Jews overwhelmed the Roman Empire with their spiritual ideals. You will be pleased to know that I am also learning my lessons every day in patience and, above all, in sympathy. I think I am beginning to see the Divine, even inside the high and mighty Anglo-Indians. I think I am slowly approaching to that state when I should be able to love the very "Devil" himself, if there were any.

    At twenty years of age I was the most unsympathetic, uncompromising fanatic; I would not walk on the footpath on the theatre side of the streets in Calcutta.

    At thirty-three, I can live in the same house with prostitutes and never would think of saying a word of reproach to them. Is it degenerate? Or is it that I am broadening out into the Universal Love which is the Lord Himself? Again I have heard that if one does not sea the evil round him he cannot do good work

    — he lapses into a sort of fatalism. I do not see that. On the other hand, my power of work is immensely increasing and becoming immensely effective.

    Some days I get into a sort of ecstasy. I feel that I must bless every one, everything, love and embrace everything, and I do see that evil is a delusion. I am in one of these moods now, dear Francis, and am actually shedding tears of joy at the thought of you and Mrs. Leggett's love and kindness to me. I bless the day I was born. I have had so much of kindness and love here, and that Love Infinite that brought me into being has guarded every one of my actions, good or bad, (don't be frightened), for what am I, what was I ever, but a tool in His hands, for whose service I have given up everything, my beloved ones, my joys, my life? He is my playful darling, I am His playfellow. There is neither rhyme nor reason in the universe! That reason binds Him? He the playful one is playing these tears and laughters over all parts of the play! Great fun, great fun, as Joe says.

    It is a funny world, and the funniest chap you ever saw is He — the Beloved Infinite! Fun, is it not? Brotherhood or playmatehood — a school of romping children let out to play in this playground of the world! Isn't it? Whom to praise, whom to blame, it is all His play. They want explanations, but how can you explain Him? He is brainless, nor has He any reason. He is fooling us with little brains and reason, but this time He won't find me napping.

    I have learnt a thing or two: Beyond, beyond reason and learning and talking is the feeling, the "Love", the "Beloved". Ay, saké, fill up the cup and we will be mad.

    Yours ever in madness,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CIII

    63 ST. GEORGE'S ROAD, LONDON S.W.,

    8th July, 1896.

    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    The English people are very generous. In three minutes' time the other evening, my class raised £150 for the new quarters for next autumn's work. They would have given £500 on the spot if wanted, but we want to go slow, and not rush into expense. There will be many hands here to carry on the work, and they understand a bit of renunciation, here — the deep English character.

    Yours with best wishes,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CIV

    SAAS-GRUND, SWITZERLAND,

    25th July, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    I want to forget the world entirely at least for the next two months and practice hard. That is my rest. ... The mountains and snow have a beautifully quieting influence on me, and I am getting better sleep here than for a long time.

    My love to all friends.

    Yours etc.,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CV

    C/O. E. T. STURDY, ESQ.,

    High View, Caversham, Reading,

    5th August, 1896.


    DEAR SAHJI, (Lala Badri Sah. The letter was actually written from Switzerland.)

    Many thanks for your kind greetings. I have an inquiry to make; if you kindly forward me the information I seek, I would be much obliged.

    I want to start a Math at Almora or near Almora rather. I have heard that there was a certain Mr. Ramsay who lived in a bungalow near Almora and that he had a garden round his bungalow. Can't it be bought? What is the price? If not to be bought, can it be rented?

    Do you know of any suitable place near Almora where I can build my monastery with a garden etc.? I would rather like to have a hill all to myself.

    Hoping to get an early reply, I remain, with blessings and love to you and all the rest of my friends in Almora,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CVI

    (Translated from Bengali)

    LAKE LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND,

    23rd August, 1896.


    MY DEAR SHASHI,

    Today I received a letter from Ramdayal Babu, in which he writes that many public women attend the Ramakrishna anniversary festival at Dakshineswar, which makes many less inclined to go there. Moreover, in his opinion one day should be appointed for men and another for women. My decision on the point is this:

    1. If public women are not allowed to go to such a great place of pilgrimage as Dakshineswar, where else shall they go to? It is for the sinful that the Lord manifests Himself specially, not so much for the virtuous.

    2. Let distinctions of sex, caste, wealth, learning, and the whole host of them, which are so many gateways to hell, be confined to the world alone. If such distinctions persist in holy places of pilgrimage, where then lies the difference between them and hell itself?

    3. Ours is a gigantic City of Jagannâtha, where those who have sinned and those who have not, the saintly and the vicious, men and women and children irrespective of age, all have equal right. That for one day at least in the year thousand of men and women get rid of the sense of sin and ideas of distinction and sing and hear the name of the Lord, is in itself a supreme good.

    4. If even in a place of pilgrimage people's tendency to evil be not curbed for one day, the fault lies with you, not them. Create such a huge tidal wave of spirituality that whatever people come near will be swept away.

    5. Those who, even in a chapel, would think this is a public woman, that man is of a low caste, a third is poor, and yet another belongs to the masses — the less be the number of such people (that is, whom you call gentlemen) the better.

    Will they who look to the caste, sex, or profession of Bhaktas appreciate our Lord? I pray to the Lord that hundreds of public women may come and bow their heads at His feet; it does not matter if not one gentleman comes. Come public women, come drunkards, come thieves and all — His Gate is open to all. "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." Never let such cruel, demoniacal ideas have a place in your mind.

    6. But then some social vigilance is needed. How are we to do that? A few men (old men, preferably) should take charge as the warders for the day. They will make circuits round the scene of the festival, and in case they find any man or woman showing impropriety of speech or conduct, they will at once expel them from the garden. But so long as they behave like good men and women, they are Bhaktas and are to be respected — be they men or women, honest citizens or unchaste.

    I am at present travelling in Switzerland, and shall soon go to Germany, to see Professor Deussen. I shall return to England from there about the 23rd or 24th September, and the next winter will find me back in my country.

    My love to you and all.

    Yours etc.,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CVII

    LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND,

    23rd August, 1896.


    DEAR MRS. BULL,

    I received your last today. By this time you must have received my receipt for

    £5 you sent. I do not know what membership you mean. I have no objection to have my name to be put on the list of membership of any society. As for Sturdy, I do not know what his opinions are. I am now travelling in Switzerland; from hence I go to Germany, then to England, and next winter to India. I am very glad to hear that Saradananda and Goodwin are doing good work in the U.S. As for me, I do not lay any claim to that £500 for any work. I think I have worked enough. I am now going to retire. I have sent for another man from India who will join me next month. I have begun the work, let others work it out. So you see, to set the work going I had to touch money and property, for a time. Now I am sure my part of the work is done, and I have no more interest in Vedanta or any philosophy in the world or the work itself. I am getting ready to depart to return no more to this hell, this world. Even its religious utility is beginning to pall me. May Mother gather me soon to Herself never to come back any more! These works, and doing good, etc., are just a little exercise to cleanse the mind. I had enough of it. This world will be world ever and always. What we are, so we see it. Who works? Whose work? There is no world. It is God Himself. In delusion we call it world. Neither I nor thou nor you — it is all He the Lord, all One. So I do not want anything to do about money matters from this time. It is your money. You spend what comes to you just as you like, and blessings follow you.

    Yours in the Lord,

    VIVEKANANDA.

    PS. I have entire sympathy with the work of Dr. Janes and have written him so.

    If Goodwin and Saradananda can speed the work in U.S., Godspeed to them.

    They are in no way bound to me or to Sturdy or to anybody else. It was an awful mistake in the Greenacre programme that it was printed that Saradananda was there by the kind permission (leave of absence from England) of Sturdy.

    Who is Sturdy or anybody else to permit a Sannyasin? Sturdy himself laughed at it and was sorry too. It was a piece of folly. Nothing short of that. It was an insult to Sturdy and would have proved serious for my work if it had reached India. Fortunately I tore all those notices to pieces and threw them into the gutter, and wondered whether it was the celebrated "Yankee" manners the English people delight in talking about. Even so, I am no master to any Sannyasin in this world. They do whatever it suits them, and if I can help them — that is all my connection with them. I have given up the bondage of iron, the family tie — I am not to take up the golden chain of religious brotherhood. I am free, must always be free. I wish everyone to be free — free as the air. If New York needs Vedanta, or Boston, or any other place in the U.S., it must receive them and keep them and provide for them. As for me, I am as good as retired. I have played my part in the world.


    CVIII

    AIRLIE LODGE, RIDGEWAY GARDENS,

    WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND,

    17th Sept., 1896.


    DEAR SISTER, (Miss Harriet Hale.)

    Your very welcome news reached me just now, on my return here from Switzerland. I am very, very happy to learn that at last you have thought it better to change your mind about the felicity of "Old Maids Home". You are perfectly right now — marriage is the truest goal for ninety-nine per cent of the human race, and they will live the happiest life as soon as they have learnt and are ready to abide by the eternal lesson — that we are bound to bear and forbear and that life to every one must be a compromise.

    Believe me, dear Harriet, perfect life is a contradiction in terms. Therefore we must always expect to find things not up to our highest ideal. Knowing this, we are bound to make the best of everything. From what I know of you, you have the calm power which bears and forbears to a great degree, and therefore I am safe to prophesy that your married life will be very happy.

    All blessings attend you and your fiancé and may the Lord make him always remember what good fortune was his in getting such a wife as you — good, intelligent, loving, and beautiful. I am afraid it is impossible for me to cross the Atlantic so soon. I wish I could, to see your marriage.

    The best I can do in the circumstances is to quote from one of our books: "May you always enjoy the undivided love of your husband, helping him in attaining all that is desirable in this life, and when you have seen your children's children, and the drama of life is nearing its end, may you help each other in reaching that infinite ocean of Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss, at the touch of whose waters all distinctions melt away and we are all one!" (A reminiscence of Kalidasa's Shakuntalam, where Kanva gives his benedictions to Shakuntalâ on the eve of her departure to her husband's place.)

    "May you be like Umâ, chaste and pure throughout life — may your husband be like Shiva, whose life was in Uma!"

    Your loving brother,

    VIVEKANANDA.


    CIX

    C/O MISS MULLER,

    AIRLIE LODGE, RIDGEWAY GARDENS,

    WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND,

    7th October, 1896.

    Once more in London, dear Joe Joe, and the classes have begun already.

    Instinctively I looked about for one familiar face which never had a line of discouragement, never changed, but was always helpful, cheerful, and strengthening — and my mind conjured up that face before me, in spite of a few thousand miles of space. For what is space in the realm of spirit? Well, you are gone to your home of rest and peace. For me, ever-increasing mad work; yet I have your blessings with me always, have I not? My natural tendency is to go into a cave and be quiet, but a fate behind pushes me forward and I go.

    Whoever could resist fate?

    Why did not Christ say in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are they that are always cheerful and always hopeful for they have already the kingdom of heaven"? I am sure, He must have said it, He with the sorrows of a whole world in His heart, He who likened the saintly soul with the child — but it was not noted down; of a thousand things they noted down only one, I mean, remembered.

    Most of our friends came — one of the Galsworthys too — i.e. the married daughter. Mrs. Galsworthy could not come today; it was very short notice. We have a hall now, a pretty big one holding about 200 or more. There is a big corner which will be fitted up as the Library. I have another man from India now to help me.

    I enjoyed Switzerland immensely, also Germany. Prof. Deussen was very kind

    — we came together to London and had great fun here. Prof. Max Müller is very, very friendly too. In all, the English work is becoming solid — and respectable too, seeing that great scholars are sympathising. Probably I go to India this winter with some English friends. So far about my own sweet self.

    Now what about the holy family? Everything is going on first-rate, I am sure.

    You must have heard of Fox by this time. I am afraid I rather made him dejected the day before he sailed by telling him that he could not marry Mabel, until he began to earn a good deal of money! Is Mabel with you now? Give her my love. Also give me your present address.

    How is Mother? Frankincense, same solid sterling gold as ever, I am sure.

    Alberta, working at her music and languages, laughing a good deal and eating a good many apples as usual? By the by, I now live mostly on fruits and nuts.

    They seem to agree with me well. If ever the old doctor, with "land" up somewhere, comes to see you, you may confide to him this secret. I have lost a good deal of my fat. But on days I lecture, I have to go on solid food. How is Hollis? I never saw a sweeter boy — may all blessings ever attend him through life.

    I hear your friend Cola is lecturing on Zoroastrian philosophy — surely the stars are not smiling on him. What about your Miss Andreas and our Yoganandla? What news about the brotherhood of the ZZZ's and our Mrs.

    (forgotten!)? I hear that half a shipload of Hindus and Buddhists and Mohammedans and Brotherhoods and what not have entered the U.S., and another cargo of Mahatma-seekers, evangelists etc. have entered India! Good.

    India and the U.S. seem to be two countries for religious enterprise. Have a care, Joe; the heathen corruption is dreadful. I met Madam Sterling in the street today. She does not come any more for my lectures, good for her. Too much of philosophy is not good. Do you remember that lady who used to come to every meeting too late to hear a word but button-holed me immediately after and kept me talking, till a battle of Waterloo would be raging in my internal economy through hunger? She came. They are all coming and more. That is cheering.

    It is getting late in the night. So goodnight, Joe. (Is strict etiquette to be followed in New York too?) And Lord bless you ever and ever.

    "Man's all-wise maker, wishing to create a faultless form whose matchless symmetry should far transcend creation's choicest works, did call together by his mighty will, and garner up in his eternal mind, a bright assemblage of all lovely things, and then, as in a picture, fashioned them into one perfect and ideal form. Such the divine, the wondrous prototype whence her fair shape was moulded into being." ( Shakuntalam by Kalidasa, translated by Monier Williams).

    That is you, Joe Joe; only I would add, the same the creator did with all purity and nobility and other qualities and then Joe was made.

    Ever yours, with love and blessings,

    VIVEKANANDA.

    PS. Mrs. & Mr. Sevier in whose house (flat) I am writing now, send their kindest regards.


    CX

    AIRLIE LODGE, RIDGEWAY GARDENS,

    WIMBLEDON,

    8th October, 1896.


    DEAR (MISS S. E. WALDO),

    . . . I had a fine rest in Switzerland and made a great friend of Prof. Paul Deussen. My European work in fact is becoming more satisfactory to me than any other work, and it tells immensely on India. The London classes were resumed, and today is the opening lecture. I now have a hall to myself holding two hundred or more. ...

    You know of course the steadiness of the English; they are the least jealous of each other of all nations, and that is why they dominate the world. They have solved the secret of obedience without slavish cringing — great freedom with great law-abidingness.

    I know very little of the young man R—. He is a Bengali and can teach a little Sanskrit. You know my settled doctrine. I do not trust any one who has not conquered "lust and gold". You may try him in theoretical subjects, but keep him off from teaching Raja-Yoga — that is a dangerous game except for the regularly trained to play at. Of Saradananda, the blessing of the greatest Yogi of modern India is on him — and there is no danger. Why do you not begin to teach? . . . You have a thousand times more philosophy than this boy R—.

    Send notices to the class and hold regular talks and lectures.

    I will be thousand times more pleased to see one of you start than any number of Hindus securing success in America — even one of my brethren. "Man wants Victory from everywhere, but defeat from his own children". . . . Make a blaze! Make a blaze!

    With all love and blessings,

    VIVEKANANDA.