Monday, 17 April 2017

Swami Vivekananda in the memory of Reeves Calkins - 3

During the last day or two of the voyage our understanding of each other increased greatly, and, as I believe, our mutual respect. The mysticism of Vivekananda was a fascination and wonder. For it was not affected. When our conversation touched, as it was bound to, on the hidden things of the spirit, his heavy eyelids would droop slowly and he wandered, even in my presence, into some mystic realm where I was not invited. When, on one such occasion. I remarked that a Christian's conscious fellowship with the Supreme Person must be alert and awake (as all personal fellowships must be), and therefore is essentially and necessarily different from a Hindu's immersion in the all-pervading Brahman, he looked at me with a quick glance of scrutiny but made no reply.

The last night, before the "Ruballino" reached Bombay. we were standing on the forward deck. Vivekananda was smoking a short sweet-briar pipe —the one "English vice", he said, which he was fond of. The wash of the sea and the unknown life which would begin on the morrow invited quietness. For a long time no word was spoken. Then, as though he had made up his mind I would do India no harm, he laid his hand on my shoulder.

"Sir," he said, "they may talk about their Buddhas, their Krishnas, and their Christs, but we understand, you and I; we are segments of the All-One."

His hand remained upon my shoulder. It was such a friendly hand, I could not rudely remove it. Then he withdrew it himself, and I offered him my own.

"Swami," I said, "you will have to speak for yourself and not for me. The All-One of which you speak is impersonal, and therefore must remain unknowable, even though we be immersed in it as this ship is immersed in the Indian Ocean; He whom I know, whom I love, is personal and very very real — and, Swami, in Him all fullness dwells.

The sweet-briar went swiftly to his lips, and the drooping eyelids as he leaned against the rail gave token that Vivekananda had gone forth on a far quest.
Was it the All-One, or the One in all, the Swami sought the night?

(Prabuddha Bharata, March 1923 , Courtesy: Partha Sinha)


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