Friday, 26 May 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Memories of T.J. Desai - 4

Later on in the year, when I was living with the Owens for the second time, Swami Vivekananda had come to my house with another Swami (Saradananda or Abhedananda), as he was invited to take his dinner with us. It seemed from his conversation that he did not object to meat-eating, although he and the other Swami took only the vegetarian dishes prepared for us. The Swami used to smoke cigars. The Owens were generally pleased by Swami Vivekananda's visit. They admired his personality and powers of conversation.

I came in close contact with the Swami during this year (i.e. 1896). Once he delivered a magnificent speech in a magnificent hall in the West End of London, wherein he narrated the story of a young sannyasin who accidentally happened to go to the palace of a Raja, holding a svayamvara* for his daughter. The princess, instead of throwing the vara-mala, or the "garland of the choice of a bridegroom", round the neck of any of the princes present, took a fancy for the young sannyasin, and suddenly dropped it round his head. The sannyasin ran away, and she followed him wherever he went, but to no purpose, as he would not lay down his sannyasa and marry her. After the lecture was over, the Swami was surrounded by the best of the beauty of England, and they put questions after questions to him and asked for explanations. He anyhow managed to extricate himself from them; and when he was alone, he heaved a sigh of relief, and asked me to go with him to his house. On the way, in order to sound the mind of the Swami, I asked him whether it was not wrong on the pan of the you sannyasin to break the heart of that young princess by not marrying her, on which he indignantly cried out, "Why should he desecrate himself?".

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