Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 28

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S WANDER-YEARS

...He always thought of himself as a child of India, a descendant of the rishis. While he was a modern of the moderns, few Hindus have been able to bring back the Vedic days and the life of the sages in the forests of ancient India as he did. Indeed, sometimes he seemed to be one of the rishis of that far-off time come to life again, so living was his teaching of the ancient wisdom. Asked where he had learnt to chant with that marvellous intonation which never failed to thrill the listener, he shyly told of a dream or vision in which he saw himself in the forests of ancient India hearing a voice — his voice — chanting the sacred Sanskrit verses. Again, another dream or vision, of this same time in which he saw the sages gathered in the holy grove asking questions concerning the ultimate reality. A youth among them answered in a clarion voice, "Hear, ye children of immortal bliss, even ye who dwell in higher spheres. I have found the Ancient One, knowing whom alone ye shall be saved from death over again!"

He told of his struggle against caste prejudices in the early years of his wandering life. One day just after he had been thinking that he would like to smoke he passed a group of mehtars who were smoking. Instinctively, he passed on. Then, as he remembered that he and the lowest chandala were one Self, he turned back and took the hookah from the hands of the untouchable. But he was no condemner of caste. He saw the part it had played in the evolution of the nation, the purpose it had served in its day. But when it hardens the heart of the observer towards his fellowman, when it makes him forget that the chandala as well as he is the one Self, it is time to break it — but never as a matter of mere indulgence. It was during these wanderings that Vivekananda made his first disciple. On the train that came to Hathras one day, the young station-master of that place saw among the third class passengers, a sadhu of his own age with a marvellous pair of eyes. Only a few nights before, he had dreamt of these very eyes. They had haunted him ever since. He was startled and thrilled. Going up to the young Sannyasin, he begged him to leave the train and go with him to his quarters. This the wanderer did.

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