Sunday, 25 June 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Josephine MacLeod : 6

On the twelfth of May in 1898 we started en route to Kashmir. We stopped at Naini Tal, the summer residence of the U. P. Government, and there hundreds of Indians met Swami with a beautiful hill pony on which they put him. Then they scattered before him flowers and palms, exactly as they did before Christ when he went into Jerusalem. And I said at once, "So, this is an oriental custom."

He left us alone for three days. We did not see him at all. We stayed at a hotel. Finally he sent for us. We went into one of the little houses, and there I saw him sitting on his bed wreathed in smiles, so happy was he to see us again. We had given him utter freedom. We never paid any attention to him. He never felt the weight of us. There was never any feeling of the necessity of entertainment.

From there we started for Almora where he became the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Sevier. We took a bungalow of our own, and there we stayed a month. Swamiji always meant Almora to be the Himalayan home of his Western disciples and expected the monastery to be founded there. But Mr. Sevier, who took his vocation of founding a monastery very seriously, was so interrupted by people coming in to tea-parties daily that he insisted on going forty miles farther into the Himalayas; so Mayavati Ashrama, when started, was eighty miles from a station — and there were no proper roads.

While we were there, word came that Mr. Goodwin had died at Ootacamund. When Swamiji learnt that Mr. Goodwin had died, he looked a long time out upon the snow-capped Himalayas without speaking and presently he said. "My last public utterance is over." And he seldom spoke in public again.

To be continued.... (Memoirs of  Josephine MacLeod)