Saturday, 12 August 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 31

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S WANDER-YEARS

...During these years when Vivekananda travelled from one end of India to the other as a mendicant monk, his constant thought was how to solve the problems of India. Problem after problem presented itself — the poverty, the condition of the masses and the depressed classes; the duties of the privileged classes towards them; malaria, plague, cholera, and other diseases; early marriages, the condition of women, of widows, illiteracy, diet, caste, sanitation, the whole dark brood.

The value of pilgrimage grew upon him, "To help India. one must love her; to love her, one must know her." To this day groups of ardent young students, following in his footsteps, make pilgrimages all over India, often travelling hundreds of miles on foot. Not only did it foster spirituality, it made for the unity of India. Pilgrims came to know and love their Motherland. They came with one faith, one hope, one purpose. This vast country has one sacred language, from which all the northern languages are derived; one mythology, one set of religious ideas, one supreme goal. What the Holy Sepulchre was to the crusaders, what Rome is to the Catholic, what Mecca is to the Moslem, this and more is the pilgrimage to the Hindu. If one could draw a map showing the pilgrim routes, it would be seen that they cover the face of India, from the Himalayas to Rameswaram, from Puri to Dwarka. What is it that these pilgrims seek? "Whither winds the bitter road?" Their faces are set to the eternal goal of humanity; they seek something we have lost, they go in quest of the Holy Grail.

Is it a wonder that men like these love India, understand her problems and needs, as no other can, and devote their lives to her service? These are men who do not make the mistakes of mere reformers. For the work that they do is born of reverence for all that has gone before, together with an understanding for the present need, and great faith and love. They realize that all growth is organic. They do not destroy; their work is constructive.

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