Thursday, 13 July 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 10

THE DISCIPLES AT THOUSAND ISLAND PARK

.....Then he thought the way might be found by living alone and teaching in classes, open to all. He asked Landsberg to find inexpensive rooms for both of them. The place which was found (64 West 33rd Street) was in a most undesirable locality, and it was hinted that the right sort of people, especially ladies, would not come to such a place; but they came — all sorts and conditions of men and women — to these squalid rooms. They sat on chairs, and when chairs were filled, anywhere — on tables, on washstands, on the stairs. Millionaires were glad to sit on the floor, literally at his feet. No charge was made for the teaching and often there was no money to pay the rent. Then Swamiji would give a secular lecture for which he felt he could accept a fee. All that winter, he worked as he could. Often the last penny was spent. It was a precarious way of carrying on the work and sometimes it seemed as if it would come to an end.

It was at this time that some of those with means offered to finance the undertaking. But they made conditions. The "right place" must be selected and the "right people" must be attracted. This was intolerable to his free sannyasin-spirit. Was it for this that he had renounced the world? Was it for this that he had cast aside name and fame? A little financial security was a small thing to give up. He would depend upon no human help. If the work was for him to do, ways and means would come. He refused to make a compromise with the conventional outlook and worldly methods. A letter written at this time is revealing:

" . .wants me to be introduced to the 'right sort of people'. The only 'right sort of people' are those whom the Lord sends — that is what I understand in my life's experience. They alone can and will help me. As For the rest, Lord bless them in a mass and save me from them..... Lord, how hard it is for man to believe in Thy mercies!!! 'Shiva! Shiva! Where is the right kind? And where is the bad? It is all He!! In the tiger and in the lamb, in the saint and in the sinner, all He!! In Him I have taken my refuge, body. soul, and atman, will He leave me now after carrying me in His arms all my life? Not a drop will be in the ocean, not a twig in the deepest forest, not a crumb in the house of the God of wealth, if the Lord is not merciful. Streams will be in the desert and the beggar will have plenty if He wills it. He seeth the sparrow's fall — are these but words, or literal, actual life?

"Truce to this 'right sort of presentation'. Thou art my right, Thou my wrong, my Shiva. Lord, since a child, I have taken refuge in Thee. Thou wilt be with me in the tropics or at the poles, on the tops of mountains or in the depths of oceans. My stay — my guide in life — my refuge — my friend — my teacher — and my God — my real self — Thou wilt never leave me, never.... My God, save Thou me for ever from these weaknesses, and may I never, never seek for help from any being but Thee. If a man puts his trust in another good man, he is never betrayed. Wilt Thou forsake me. Father of all good — Thou who knowest that all my life. I am Thy servant, and Thine alone? Wilt Thou give me over to be played upon by others or dragged down by evil? He will never leave me, I am sure."

To be continued.... (Memoirs of  Sister Christine)