Saturday, 8 July 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 5

THE DISCIPLES AT THOUSAND ISLAND PARK

It happened sooner than we expected, for in a little more than a year, we found ourselves in Thousand Island Park in the very house with him. It must have been the 6th of July 1895, that we had the temerity to seek him out. We heard he was living with a group of students. The word "disciple" is not used very freely in these days. It implies more than the average person is willing to give. We thought there would be some public leaching which we might attend. We dared not hope for more. Mrs. Funke has told of our quest in her preface to the Inspired Talks of Swami Vivekananda.

Of the wonderful weeks that followed, it is difficult to write. Only if one's mind were lifted to that high state of consciousness in which we lived for the time could one hope to recapture the experience. We were filled with joy. We did not know at that time that we were living in his radiance. On the wings of inspiration, he carried us to the height which was his natural abode. He himself, speaking of it later, said that he was at his best in Thousand Islands. Then he felt that he had found the channel through which his message might be spread, the way to fulfil his mission, for the guru had found his own disciples. His first overwhelming desire was to show us the path to mukti (freedom), to set us free. "Ah," he said with touching pathos, "if I could only set you free with a touch!" His second object, not so apparent perhaps, but always in the under-current, was to train this group to carry on the work in America. "This message must be preached by Indians in India, and by Americans in America", he said. On his own little veranda, overlooking the tree tops and the beautiful St, Lawrence, he often called upon us to make speeches. His object was, as he said, to teach us to think upon our feet. Did he know that if we could conquer our self-consciousness in his presence, could speak before him who was considered one of the great orators of the world, no audience anywhere would dismay us? It was a trying ordeal. Each in turn was called upon to make an attempt. There was no escape. Perhaps that was why certain of our group failed to make an appearance at these intimate evening gatherings, although they knew that often he soared to the greatest heights as the night advanced. What if it was two o'clock in the morning? What if we had watched the moon rise and set? Time and space had vanished for us.

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