Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Swamiji leaves Madras on 15 Feb 1897

On Monday February 15, he embarked on S.S. Mombasa of the B.I.N.S. Company. A Shamiana (a canopy) had been put up on the harbour pier, which had been beautifully decorated, and Messrs Binny and Co. had arranged for a farewell gathering. The Swami reached the pier at 7.30 a.m. and was conducted to the Shamiana, where some leading citizens had assembled to say goodbye to him. A group of merchants of the Arya-vaishya caste (known as Komatis) met him and presented an address of thanks for his services to the holy motherland. At 8 a.m. he entered one of the pier carriages and was pushed along to the T-end, where he was met by the Reception Committee and other friends. On alighting, he was garlanded, and then the Hon'ble Subba Rao, of Rajahmundry, on behalf of everybody present, wished the Swami god-speed and a safe voyage. The Swami bowed in acknowledgement, and said that his silence would best express his feelings. He proceeded to embark amidst deafening cheers from those assembled on the pier and from the crowds on the beach. Among those who boarded the steamer and remained with the Swami until it sailed, was Prof. Sundararama Iyer. He begged the favour of a moment's interview apart to ask, "Swami, tell me if, indeed, you have done lasting good by your mission to such materialistic people as the Americans and others in the West." He replied, "Not much. I hope that here and there I have sown a seed which in time may grow and benefit some at least." The second question was, "Shall we see you again, and will you continue your Mission work in South India?" He replied, "Have no doubt about that. I shall take some rest in the Himalayan region, and then burst on the country everywhere like an avalanche."

 

           The Swami's triumphal march through South India, and especially the lectures he delivered in Madras, aroused the latent energies of the Indian nation, or rather, began the process of arousal. As we have seen, he reminded Indians of their greatness, and of their weaknesses as well. He pointed to their glorious heritage, told them of their still more glorious destiny, and charged them to fulfil it. He gave them a national consciousness and a national pride.