Thursday, 25 May 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Memories of T.J. Desai - 3

Swami Vivekananda delivered a series of lectures in different places in London on karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, bhakti- yoga, and raja-yoga, during this year (i.e. 1896). He had also been invited to speak al the Btavatsky Lodge. I attended a good many of them. The cream of the English society attended his lectures, and all were mad after him. The Swami used to take walks with me from the lecture-hall to his house, or from his house to some neighbouring places. I very often dined at his place of residence, at his own invitation, or that of my pupil — Miss Muller, and of Mr. Sturdy, who, I believe, paid for the household expenses after the Swami came to live in London from America. Mr. Sturdy was like a real yogi. Mr. Goodwin was another staunch adherent of the Swami, and he took down in shorthand the lectures of the Swami, which were afterwards published.

In July, 1896, a conference of the London Hindu Association was held at the Montague Mansions. The chair was taken by Swami Vivekananda. the Hon. President of the Association, Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji was also present. A lecture was delivered on the "Needs of India" by Mr. Ram Mohan Roy, a gentleman from Madras. I, being the Secretary of the Association, had to arrange for the meeting, refreshments, etc. Swami Vivekananda, as chairman of the conference, rose to speak, and he electrified the audience. Reporters of the press were also present. When he struck his hand on the table during his speech, my watch bounded from the table and fell down on the ground, and created a visible sensation. He had a commanding figure, and my landlady, who had come to the meetings with me, was greatly impressed with his speech and personality. While the Swami had captivated the British public by his oratory, it was placarded, as I was going home, that Prince Ranjit Singhji had saved the honour of England against the Australian team. He had scored 154 runs and was not out. The next day there was a big leading article in the London Times about the "Exploits of Indians in England". Mr. Chatterji had come first in the Indian Civil Service Examination, and Prince Ranjit Singhji had stood first in the cricket averages in that very year.

To be continued.....(Memoirs of T.J. Desai)