Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Swami Vivekananda - S.E. Waldo : 2

Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda by S.E. Waldo

...After the close of the Parliament of Religions. Swami Vivekananda received many flattering offers to lecture in various parts of the United States. He was so desirous to send help to his fellow Sannyasins in India that he accepted an engagement with a Lecture Bureau and delivered many lectures in the Western States. He soon found, however, that he was utterly unsuited for such a career. Naturally, he could not speak to promiscuous audiences on the topics nearest to his heart, and the life of ceaseless change was too strenuous for a contemplative nature like his own. He was at this time a far different being from what he afterward developed into. He was dreamy and meditative, often so wrapped in his own thoughts as to be hardly conscious of his surroundings. The constant friction of alien thoughts, the endless questioning, the frequent sharp conflict of wits in this Western world awoke a different spirit, and he became as alert and wide awake as the world in which he found himself.

At great pecuniary sacrifice, the Swami severed his connection with the Lecture Bureau; but once more his own master. he turned his steps towards New York. A Chicago friend was instrumental in bringing him to this metropolis of the U.S., and he reached New York in the early part of 1894. His Western experiences had convinced him that there were many in America who would gladly learn of the ancient philosophy of India, and he hoped that in this city he would be able to come in contact with such inquiring minds.

He gave a few public lectures, but was not yet in a position to begin regular work, as he was a guest in the homes of his friends. In the summer of that year he went to New England, still as a visitor, and spent a week or two at Greenacre where Miss Farmer was inaugurating the "Greenacre Conferences", which in later years became so widely known through the school of Comparative Religions conducted there by the late Dr. Lewis G. Janes, who was long the gifted and liberal-minded President of the Brooklyn Ethical Association.