Friday, 15 December 2017

निवेदिता - एक समर्पित जीवन - 7

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

 स्वामी जी का प्रभाव

स्वामी विवेकनन्द ने अप्रेल 1896 में न्यूयॉर्क से लन्दन के लिए प्रस्थान किया। लंदन में उनका आवास बेलग्रेविया में लेडी ईसाबेल मार्गेसन के घर पर था।

लन्दन प्रवास की अन्य बातों के आलावा उल्लेखनीय उपलब्धि स्वामीजी द्वारा कुमारी मार्गरेट नॉबल की खोज थी जिसकी उच्च बौद्धिक क्षेत्रों में युवा बुद्धिजीवी के रूप में विशिष्ट पहिचान बन चुकी थी। कुमारी नॉबल स्वामीजी के आवास एवं सार्वजनिक स्थानों पर होने वाले सभी व्याख्यानों में उपस्थित रहती थी और इनसे वह अत्याधिक प्रभावित हुई| लेडी मार्गेसन के घर पर आयोजित पहली विचार गोष्ठी का विषय था -  'ईश्वर और उसकी उपासना के मार्ग '। स्वामीजी ने कहा...... हमारा सारा संघर्ष मुक्ति के लिए है | हम न सुख चाहते है न दुःख, अपितु केवल मोक्ष ही हमारे   जीवन का लक्ष्य है। ....... ।'

एक अन्य गोष्ठी में मार्गेरेट ने स्वामीजी से सुना  '.....  जो अनंत है, असीम है वही अभूत है। वही शाश्वत है। उसे छोड़कर संसार की सभी वस्तुऍ नाशवान है। ...... ।'  उनके इस कथन कि  'ईश्वर वास्तव में निर्वैयक्तिक है किन्तु इंद्रियों के कुहासे के के भीतर से देखने पर वह वैयक्तिक लगता है ' मार्गेरेट के मर्म को छू लिया।

स्वामीजी के शब्दों ने इस युवती के मस्तिष्क में ;झंझावात पैदा कर दिया था। ईसाई धर्म के कई सिद्धान्तों व मान्यताओं में मार्गेरेट का सहज विश्वास इस समय तक समाप्त हो चुका था; किन्तु अभी भी कुछ बातों के प्रति वे निष्ठावान थीं जिनके बारे में उनका विश्वास था कि अच्छा जीवन बिताने  इच्छुक हर व्यक्ति को  उनका पालन करना ही चाहिए। धीरे-धीरे उन पर इन  बातों की भी पकड़ समाप्त प्रायः हो गई|  कुछ का पूर्ण विलोपन हो गया। फलतः उन्हें पुनः शिक्षण की दीर्घ व कठिन प्रक्रिया से गुजरना पड़ा। यह मार्ग काँटों भरा था; किन्तु वह उस पर चलने को कृतसंकल्प थीं। भले ही पैर लहूलुहान हो जाए, ह्रदय विदीर्ण हो जाए। इस संम्बंध में कई वर्षों बाद उन्होंने ' द मास्टर एज आई सॉ हिम ' में लिखा, ' स्वामीजी के व्याख्यानों से कम से यह बात हमारी समझ में आयी कि दूसरो की भलाई स्वयं में साध्य है। मुझे सुरुचिपूर्ण वह पूर्वी सिद्धान्त विस्मयजनक प्रतीत हुआ कि तमाम ईश्वरीय उपहारों में आध्यात्मिकता सर्वोच्च उपहार है। बौद्धिक ज्ञान उससे इक सीढ़ी नीचे और सभी प्रक्रार की भौतिक व् शारीरिक सहायता का स्थान सबसे बाद है।''

--
हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Thursday, 14 December 2017

निवेदिता - एक समर्पित जीवन - 6

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

  स्वामीजी का आवाह्वान

 मार्गरेट तथा उसके कुछ साथी,उन लोगों में से थे, जो बिना एक भी दिन नागा किये स्वामीजी के भाषणों में उपस्थित रहते । खुले और उदार मस्तिष्क के धनि, ये लोग स्वामीजी के वेदान्त-विषयक उपदेशों की सत्यता को स्वीकार करने के लिए पूरी तरह से तैयार थे ।

                 एक दिन प्रश्न-उतर की कक्षा के दौरान स्वामीजी एकाएक खड़े हुए और जोरदार गर्जना करते हुए बोले -'क्या इस इतने बड़े संसार में २० ऐसे स्त्री-पुरुष भी नहीं है,जो किसी शहर के मुख्य मार्ग पर सबके समक्ष खड़े होकर यह बोलने की हिम्मत करें कि उनमें ईश्वरीय अंश मौजूद  है। बोलिए आप में से कौन खड़ा होकर सबके समक्ष यह स्वीकार करेगा ?'

फिर वे बोले - 'क्यों हमें यह स्वीकार करने में डरना चाहिये ? यदि यह सत्य है कि ईश्वर हममें मौजूद है, यदि हमारा ईश्वर, सान्निध्य सत्य है, तो फिर हमारे जीवन का क्या लाभ ? ऐसा जीवन जीने से क्या लाभ ?'

स्वामीजी के कहे ये शब्द मानो उन वास्तविकताओं के संचयित रूप थे, जो वास्तविकता या सच्चाई स्वामीजी विश्व को सिखाने आये थे। इन्हीं शब्दों ने मार्गरेट के ह्रदय को अन्दोलित कर दिया तथा वह स्वामीजी का साथ देने के लिए तत्पर हो उठी।  इन्हीं शब्दों ने उसे इतना प्रोत्साहित किया कि स्वामीजी के नेतृत्व में, उनका अनुसरण करने की इच्छा उसके मन में तीव्र रूप से जाग्रत हो उठी।

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 13

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Training of Nivedita – 5

How could a proud and an accomplished British woman see the beauty of Indian life? She had to undergo a painful process of transformation to be the fit instrument in the service of India? Firstly, she had open mind and integrity. She was in search of truth and though she was a daughter of Christian parents and a proud British citizen still she accepted the truth from a Hindu who was from a country, which was under British rule. Secondly, she had sincerity of purpose, once she realized that the Vedantic truth of oneness is to be realized in life, she dedicated herself for it. There was no hypocrisy in her that 'accept it in private but to continue doing as before in public'. Of course she was intelligent and courageous enough not to fall prey to the propaganda of Christian Missionaries (which even now goes in rural and tribal areas) that, 'Once you are Christian you cannot pray to God by any other name; because except Jesus all others are Satan. If you do that then you will burn in the hell.' For such childish propaganda, she did not fall a prey. Thirdly, though the path was difficult, the training was difficult she never thought of giving it up. The 'stay-put' attitude, Dhairya in her did not allow her to doubt her path even once. Her only question to herself in those difficult days was, 'What should I do so that I understand what my master is trying to tell me. Fourthly, the most important thing, she came to India because of Swami Vivekananda but gradually it was Mother India that became her primary reason for service. Initially, a person gets inspired by other person and wants to work but personal ideal may not motivate for long, it is the impersonal ideal, which can be perennial source of inspiration. Nivedita got rooted into that and that is how she give her all to India. 

Years later Nivedita was to write, "Swamiji, gave me a unified purpose. I am rich!" And that unified purpose was India and India alone. Her sincerity of purpose and utmost efforts ultimately transformed her completely. She became one with India to serve in total surrender. It is said that to truly offer worship to Siva you have to be Siva. 'Sivo Bhutva Sivam Yajet'. Nivedita so to say became one with Mother India. She understood India in all her dimensions and loved Indians with all their faults.

As Swamiji had told her, she was without any European comforts but that hardly mattered for her. In her diary, one noting was, 'Today I had a comfort of my life, my friend gifted a pillow for me!' Imagine if an accomplished woman for whom people, weather, culture everything was so different could come here and dedicate herself completely in the service of nation why cannot we transform ourselves and serve our Mother India. Thus, Sister Nivedita is a great source inspiration to all who want to merge in the organizational discipline and work for nation-building.


To be Continue


 
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हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Monday, 11 December 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 12

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Training of Nivedita – 4

More Nivedita got rooted in Upanishadic wisdom and in the impersonal Vision of Bharat-bhakti, she understood what her master was trying to tell her all these days. She remembered what he had said once during the journey, 'Though I often say strange things and angry things, yet remember that in my heart I never seriously mean to preach anything but love'. This was so well internalized by Nivedita that much later when some of the disciples were discussing that which main trait they remember of Swami Vivekananda, Nivedita said, 'for me he was tenderness personified'.

Through this tough training, Sister Nivedita emerged as an ardent devotee of Mother India. It is this total transformation of Nivedita, which is a great example for Macaulay Educated Indians. If a proud and accomplished British woman can shake off all her prejudices and misconceptions, her western mind set and then with total paradigm shift can become a true Indian, a great admirer, worshiper and servant of Mother India, then why not we? We the Macaulay educated can also shake off our biases and ignorance and become true Indians. When she could get insight into the depths of Indian wisdom why not we? When one wants to serve Motherland one has to change oneself so as to become the right instrument in the hands of God.  Sister Nivedita is thus an inspiration for all those who want to serve our society.

Nivedita became so one with the people, their aspirations that her life, her actions, her words reflected that oneness which she experienced. She always said our people, our country. We see many a times that those who go to 'serve' the people in villages and in tribal areas with the sense that they are going to 'civilize' and to 'develop' these people use words like 'this society', 'these people'. They force their ideas and world-views on those simple people. This is what Swami Vivekananda did not want to happen with his foreign disciples. He wanted them to accept India as she was; he wanted them to learn from India. Sister Nivedita internalized it so fully that Bipin Chandra Pal said, "Nivedita came to us not as a teacher but as a learner, not as an adept but as a novice and she loved India more than even we Indians love her."

To be Continue


 
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हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Agnishikha Bhagini Nivedita - 3

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

The love of country and its people and hope for future will bring in such a  tide of art, science and religion that no man can stop

While she helped the country bent under the burden of sorrow whether during plagues or floods or freedom struggle, she lived completely merged in the essence of its freedom one day to come. Thus, she wanted the cultural assertion, the national expression in all walks of life. She stated, 'The birth of the National Art of India is my dearest dream.'  She disliked the art students imitating the European subjects in their art. When India has such rich culture and history of art she felt why should Indian artists imitate Europeans styles and subjects. She exhorted and inspired the young artists like Avanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose to choose India as their topic for expression. She would perceive the beauty of old houses of Bagh Bazar, and ruined temples but detested the modern utilitarian buildings built in India.

In the field of science, she felt Indians have great ability to contribute. When the British scientists tried to sideline Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose, she realized that Indians were not incapable but were incapacitated by British to achieve great heights. She came forward to help Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose. To make his work known to the world she worked along with him on his six books. Even though, she herself would be suffering for want of money; she saw to it that the work of Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose would not suffer monetarily.  When the revolutionaries would go to jail or in exile to other countries, she would take care of their families. Not a field of national life was left untouched by her.

Nivedita captured the fire of patriotism set alight by Swamiji and took it to all fields

As it was required, Sister Nivedita actively participated and promoted the freedom movement. For that she had to resign from Ramakrishna Mission. Ramakrishna Mission -the fledgling organization to propagate the message of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda was needed for India. And participation of Sister Nivedita in freedom movement and her active role in awakening national consciousness also was equally the need of the hour in the interest of India. Thus to protect Ramakrishna Mission and to promote the work of freedom of India, she resigned from Ramakrishna Mission. But, their relationships remained very cordial till end.

Nivedita considered herself as part of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda thought movement. Whenever she was sick, she was immediately attended to by Ramakrishna Math. In her work too the help was given by Ramakrishna Math and Mission in all possible ways. When she realized she would not live, in her will she donated all the money that she had got from Mrs. Bull just some time before her own death or from her books to Ramakrishna Mission as an endowment for the use of Sister Christine Greenstidel to run the school; though Christine had left her. Bitterness had no place in her heart. She associated with persons whom she thought would be useful in India's interest. But she would also disassociate herself from them if she found it otherwise. For anything and everything in her life, the deciding touchstone was India and her well-being.

One of the foremost revolutionary freedom fighter, Sri Hemachandra Ghosh's reminiscence about Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita narrated to Swami Purnatmananda were later translated from Bengali to English by Prof Kapila Chatterjee and brought out as a book titled as "I am India". In that he says, "It is very true that it was Nivedita who captured the fire of patriotism set alight by Vivekananda. She not only caught that flame, she also scattered the sparks of Indian patriotism and nationalism far and wide, across the length and breadth of India. Wherever Nivedita went, in any city or province of India, her flaming speeches and heroic calls to the Indian people spread the message of Swamiji, his ideals, his patriotism. Side by side, she spread the ideals, the culture, the glory of India, too. To speak frankly, we got to know Swami Vivekananda better through coming in contact with Sister Nivedita. I was with Swamiji for a very short time. But, I have been with Nivedita for a much longer period. Through Nivedita, we got to know Swamiji better and through her India also better. …What I feel about Nivedita is – Sister Nivedita played two important roles in spreading the message and deeds of Vivekananda – one was the role of Mahadeva, the other, that of Bhagiratha. She absorbed the terrific force and power of Vivekananda in her own person, and at the same time she carried the mighty current of that force and directed it along proper channels like Bhagiratha".

Her deep love for India was expressed in all walks of life –politics, education, art, literature, sociology, spirituality etc. A spiritual person is all dimensional. That is how Sister Nivedita was. She was a revolutionary, she was a Yogini too. She was an educationist and she was an art critic too. She was a writer and she was involved in rendering service to the people also, be at flood time or plague time. She was at once a child at the feet of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and also a Lokmata to all as she was called by Rabindranath Tagore and above all she was Sister of all.

Swami Vivekananda had said, "O you of great fortune! I too believe that India will awake again if anyone could love with all his heart the people of the country -- bereft of the grace of affluence, of blasted fortune, their discretion totally lost, downtrodden, ever - starved, quarrelsome, and envious." Sister Nivedita was a person of that great fortune! She loved India and Indians with all their faults. 150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita is a good occasion to study and understand her life and work. May her life make us love our motherland and our people! May her life give us an insight in our own country and inspiration to work for Mother India! 

Nivedita Raghunath Bhide
Vice-President, Vivekananda Kendra

(Editorial Yuva Bharati August 2017)


To be Continue


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हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Agnishikha Bhagini Nivedita - 2

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Education should be not only national but nation making

In the field of Education, Nivedita wanted, "Indian educators to extend and fulfill the vision of Swami Vivekananda". How would it be done? She explained, "This thought that education is not only good for child himself but should be more so for Jana-Desh-Dharma should always be present in the minds of educators. There is no fear of weakness and selfishness for one whose whole training has been formed round this nucleus. Each day should begin with some conscious act of reference to it. Education in India today has to be not only national but Nation-making. We must surround our children with the thought of their nation and their country. …The centre of gravity must lie for them outside the family. We must demand their sacrifices for India; Bhakti for India; learning for India. The ideal for its own sake! India for the sake of India! This must be as the breath of life to them.

…It is a mistake to think that heroes are born. Nothing of the sort. They are made not born; made by the pressure of heroic thought. All human beings long at bottom of their heart for self sacrifice. No other thirst is so deep as this. Let us recognize this direct this towards single thought ie love for the country. …The universe is the creation of mind not matter. And can any force in the world resist a single thought held with intensity by 700 million of people? …How to do that? A national education then must be made up of familiar elements. Our Imagination must be based upon our heroic literature. Geographical ideals must be built up first through the ideals of India. Same is for history. All other histories should run around the Indian History." The school that Nivedita run for the girls enshrined all these thoughts so well that when Sri Rabindranath Tagore wanted to start Shantiniketan, most of the lady-teachers were the former students of Nivedita's school.

Greatness of Indian life depends on the place given to Women in social scheme

Sister Nivedita was so charmed by the womanhood of India among whom she lived in the lanes of Calcutta that her description about them are the best tribute. She says, "What differentiates the Indian training from others? I find one answer which outweighs all others in my estimate. It is this. The special greatness of Indian life and character depends more than on any other feature, on the place that is given to Woman in the social scheme.

They say that Indian women are ignorant and oppressed. To all who make this statement we may answer that Indian women are certainly not oppressed. The crimes of ill-treating women is at once less common and less brutal in form here than in younger countries. And the happiness, the social importance, and may I say, the lofty character of Indian women are amongst the grandest possessions of the national life.

When we come to the charge that Indian women are ignorant, we meet with a far deeper fallacy. They are ignorant in the modern form, that is to say, few can write, and not very many can read. Are they then illiterate? If so, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Puranas and stories every mother and every grand-mother tells to the babies, are no literature. But European novels and Strand Magazine by the same token are? Can any of us accept this paradox?

The fact is, writing is not culture though it is an occasional result of culture. The greatest literature occurs at the beginning of a literary age and so, to those who know Indian life, it is easy to see that an Indian woman who has the education of the Indian home, the dignity, the gentleness, the cleanliness, the thrift, the religious training, the culture of mind and heart, which that home life entails, though she cannot perhaps read a word of her own language, much less sign her name, may be infinitely better educated in every true sense, and in the literary sense also, than her glib critic."

Dream the dreams great enough and thoughts noble enough

Writings of Sister Nivedita were a symphony of her insight in Indian wisdom and tradition, her intense love for India, her sharp intellect and her mastery over language. So beautiful, deep and moving were her writings that it is really difficult to translate those in other languages. May be that is the reason that most of her literature even today remains un-translated. Her literature has not only historical and literary value but are good guide in the task of nation-building too.

For example: while comparing with other nations she sums up in few words the journey and contribution of Hindu Nation from antiquity to till now. She writes, "Let it be said that to every people who possess the elements of truly national existence, with the responsibility of facing the problems of a nation, this question sooner or later comes to be faced. Have we in the past dreamt dreams great enough, thought thoughts noble enough, willed with a will clear enough, to enable us to strike out new paths into the untried, without error and without defeat? And perhaps of all the peoples of the world only the Hindu people, to this searching enquiry can answer yes".

She was a regular contributor to over 20 magazines and the topic always was India. Therefore, not just because Sister Nivedita was a great example of transformation but we have to study her life and works also because, even today she can give insight to us - the English educated -about our own nation and its significance.


Nivedita Raghunath Bhide
Vice-President, Vivekananda Kendra

(Editorial Yuva Bharati August 2017)


To be Continue


--
हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Friday, 8 December 2017

Agnishikha Bhagini Nivedita - 1

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Shivo Bhutva Shivam Yajet

When Swami Vivekananda went to the west, he was there without friends, without money and without recognition. Only the knowledge and experience of Hindu Dharma was with him. After his exposition of Hindu Dharma in the Parliament of Religions held in September 1983 at Chicago, he was revered in the West for his knowledge and help came from all quarters, the disciples gathered from all directions. Thus when he returned to India, he was a world-famous Swami Vivekananda; the western disciples were with him. This visual had a great psychological impact on people of India. They could feel and their confidence grew in the greatness and relevance of Hindu Dharma. Epitome of this efficacy and relevance of Hindu Dharma and of the work of Swami Vivekananda in the West was Sister Nivedita.

Margaret Noble as Nivedita was called before was from the very race, which had robbed India of her wealth as well as of her confidence. But Nivedita came to India to live like us, to serve us and also to practice all that was higher and noble in our spiritual tradition. She could see beauty and wisdom in all walks of Indian life.

How could a proud and an accomplished British woman see the beauty of Indian life? She had to undergo a painful process of transformation. Margaret Noble came to India to serve Indians after she was totally convinced about the Vedantic Truth of Oneness. After the Consecration ceremony, she was given the name 'Nivedita' – 'the dedicated'.  But just a new name was not going to erase all the assumptions and biases that she had cherished till then as Margaret Noble. Swami Vivekananda in his classes attacked mercilessly her deep rooted perceptions and misconceptions.

Imagine! Swamiji was the only person who was known to her in this vast and strange land and he appeared so harsh. The anguish that Nivedita felt was very great. But not once a thought of returning back or doubting the wisdom of her decision of accepting Swami Vivekananda as her guru came to her mind. Her only concern was 'whether ever I shall understand what my master is trying to tell me'. Her sincerity of purpose and utmost efforts ultimately transformed her completely. She became one with India to serve in total surrender. It is said that to truly offer worship to Siva you have to be Siva. 'Sivo Bhutva Sivam Yajet'. Nivedita so to say became one with Mother India. She understood India in all her dimensions and loved Indians with all their faults.

Not only all modes of worship, but equally all modes of work, struggle, creation, become paths of realization

It is this total transformation of Nivedita which is a great example for Macaulay Educated Indians. If a proud and accomplished British woman can burn to ashes all her prejudices, misconceptions and her western mind-set and if with total paradigm shift she could become a true Indian, a great admirer, worshiper and servant of Mother India, then why not we? We the Macaulay educated can also burn to ashes completely all our preconceptions and ignorance and become true Indians. When she could get insight into the depths of Indian wisdom why not we? When one wants to serve Motherland one has to change oneself so as to become the right instrument in the hands of God.  Sister Nivedita is thus an inspiration for all those who want to serve our society.

Nivedita was so one with the people, their aspirations that her life, her actions, her words reflected that oneness which she experienced. She always said our people, our country. We see many a times that those who go to 'serve' the people in villages and in tribal areas with the sense that they are going to 'civilise' and to 'develop' these people use words like 'this society', 'these people'. They force their ideas and world-views on those simple people. This is what Swami Vivekananda did not want to happen with his foreign disciples. He wanted them to accept India as she was; he wanted them to learn from India. Sister Nivedita internalized it so fully that Bipin Chandra Pal said, "Nivedita came to us not as a teacher but as a learner, not as an adept but as a novice and she loved India more than even we Indians love her." 

She inculcated and internalized the Vedantic vision so well that she wrote, 'If the many and the One be indeed the same Reality, then it is not all modes of worship alone, but equally all modes of work, all modes of struggle, all modes of creation, which are paths of realisation. No distinction, henceforth, between sacred and secular. To labour is to pray. To conquer is to renounce. Life is itself religion. To have and to hold is as stern a trust as to quit and to avoid.'

That is what she imbibed from Swami Vivekananda. Thus she wrote about him, "This is the realisation which makes Vivekananda the great preacher of Karma, not as divorced from, but as expressing Jnana and Bhakti. To him, the workshop, the study, the farmyard, and the field are as true and fit scenes for the meeting of God with man as the cell of the monk or the door of the temple. To him, there is no difference between service of man and worship of God, between manliness and faith, between true righteousness and spirituality. All his words, from one point of view, read as a commentary upon this central conviction. "Art, science, and religion", he said once, "are but three different ways of expressing a single truth. But in order to understand this we must have the theory of Advaita." (Volume I Page xiv to xvi) For Nivedita Vedanta became practical. Her spirituality thus expressed in her contributions to all walks of life.

It appears that the legacy of fire that was within Swami Vivekananda was given to Sister Nivedita. The flames of burning love for India in Sister Nivedita were so great that Sri Aurobindo called her Agnishikha – the flames of fire. No field of national life was left untouched by her fire. Her topmost concern was the well-being of India and the awakening of Indian national consciousness whatever may be the field of action. 


Nivedita Raghunath Bhide
Vice-President, Vivekananda Kendra

(Editorial Yuva Bharati August 2017)


To be Continue


Thursday, 7 December 2017

निवेदिता - एक समर्पित जीवन - 5

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

 गौरवपूर्ण संस्कृति

अमरनाथ की यात्रा से लौटने के पश्चात उनके बंगला भाषा के शिक्षक व ज्येष्ठ गुरु-भ्राता स्वामी सवरुपानन्दजी को एक अौर कार्य मिल गया - भगिनी को हिन्दु धर्म की शिक्षा देना। भगिनी के प्रति उनका सहज स्नेह अौर उनके पाण्डित्य को देखकर ही स्वामी जी ने उन्हें यह दायित्व सौंपा ।

एक दिन भगिनी ने स्वरुपानन्द जी के सामने अपनी जिज्ञासा व्यक्त की - "महाराज, मुझे वेद पढाइए।"

सुनते ही खिलखिलाकर हँस पडे स्वामी स्वरुपानन्दजी अौर बोले - "वाह! ठीक ही तो कहती, किसी को अगर चलना सीखना हो तो उसे चाहिये कि वह हिमालय की यात्रा करे, चलना भी सीख जाएगा अौर हिमालय-विजयका गौरव भी अनायस ही मिल जाएगा, क्यों?"

किंचित अप्रतिभ होती हुई भगिनी ने कहा - "नहीं, नहीं महारज, मैंने सुना है कि हिन्दू धर्म के मर्म को जानने के लिये वेद ही सर्वश्रेष्ठ सोपान हैं, अतः .................।"

बिच में ही बात काटकर वे बोले - "धर्म किसे कहते हैं, जानती हो ?"

भगिनी उत्साह में भरकर बोलने लगी - "मैं इग्लैंण्ड में थी, तभी स्वामीजी से इसके बारे में कुछ ..................... ।"

"रुको - रुको, इतनी उतावल मत करो, इग्लैंण्ड में स्वामीजी से जो भी सुना, कु नोबल ने सुना। मैं जानना चाहता हूँ कि निवेदिता धर्म के बारे में क्या अनुभव करती है?"

भगिनी चकित होकर स्वामीजी को निहारने लगी, पूछा - "अाखिर अाप कहना क्या चाहते हैं महाराज, मृदु कंठ से स्वरुपानन्द बोले  - क्या तुम जानती हो कि प्रातः काल शैय्या त्याग कर भूमि पर पाँव रखते समय हिन्दुअों के मन में क्या भाव होते हैं, देखो, मैं तुम्हें एक श्लोक सुनाता हूँ - "

समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमण्डले ।
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे ।।

अर्थात् - हे पालनकर्ता की सहयोगिनी देवी, तुम्हारे ऊपर पाँव रखने के लिये मुझे क्षमा करो ।


To be Continue


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

विवेकानन्द कन्या भगिनी निवेदिता - 2

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

29 मार्च, १८९८ का दिन मार्गरेट के जीवन में क्रान्ति लाने वाला सिद्ध हुअा। उस दिन उसे ब्रह्मचारिणी की प्रथम दीक्षा मिलने वाली थी। अाज तक के जीवन में पूर्णतया परिवर्तन लाने वाला था तथा नया ही जीवन उसके सामने था। जिसका चिन्तन बहुत दिनों तक चला, वह अज्ञात था परन्तु अाज वह वास्तव में परिणत होने वाला था।

दीक्षा विधि अन्यन्त सादगी वाली तथा छोटीसी थी। अाश्रम अभी बेलुड मठ में स्थापित नहीं हुअा था। नीलाम्बर उद्यान में ही अाश्रम था। वहां प्रातःकाल के प्रवित्र समय में सभी गुरु बन्धु सभामण्डप ध्यान मग्न बैठे हुए थे तथा मन्दिर के गर्भगृह में श्रीमती अोलीबुल व कुमारी मुल्लर के साथ मार्गरेट नोबल खडी थी। जैसे ही स्वामीजी वहाँ पधारे मार्गरेट ने उन्हें साष्टांग प्रणिपात किया। स्वामीजी ने अपनी नूतन शिष्या को अाशीर्वाद दिये तथा माथे पर विभूति लगाई। सभी के हृदय में ईश्वर भक्ति की उपासना मन्त्र स्पन्दित हो रहे थे।

इतने में सभा मण्डप से गम्भीर स्वर सुनाई देने लगे।

असतो मा सद्गमय। तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतंगमय। अाविराविर्म एधि।
रुद्र - यत्ते दक्षिणं मुखं तेन मां पाहि नित्यम् ।।

हे परमात्मन् , मुझे असत्य से सत्य की अोर ले चलो। अंधकार से प्रकाश की अोर तथा मृत्य से अमृतत्व की अोर ले चलो। हे जगत् जननी शक्ति दो, हमारा सर्वस्व अापकी प्रेम सुधा से भर जाने दो। तुम्हारा अाश्रय हमें सदा प्राप्त होता रहे। अापकी कृपा सदा बरसती रहे।

एक ही प्रणिपात में मार्गरेट ने अपना जीवन गुरुचरणों में समर्पित कर दिया। जो सिर्फ चार शब्दों में व्यक्त होता है परन्तु उसको प्रत्यक्ष करने के लिये धैर्य, श्रद्धा, भक्ति भाव तथा ध्येयनिष्ठा अादि से मन को तैयार करने में बहुत दिन लग जाते हैं - वह अात्म समर्पण मार्गरेट ने अाज किया। अब उसका जीवन उसके लिये, उसके परिवार के लिये या उसके देश अायर्लैण्ड के लिये नहीं रहा। सुख लालसा, भोगतृष्णा अादि का अाज उसने गुरुचरणों में अर्पित किया था। अब उसका जीवन स्वामीजी के हाथ में था। जिस कुम्हार की माटी का कोई मूल्य नहीं रहता उसी तरह मार्गरेट का मूल्य मृतिका जैसा हो गया था।

सद्गुरु के अादेशानुसार हिन्दुत्व की सेवा करना ही उसका जीवन ध्येय हो गया था। एेसा करना ही उसकी उपासना थी अौर उसके माध्यम से परमेश्वर प्राप्ति के लिये साधना कारना ही उसका जीवन मार्ग था।

ब्रह्मचारिणी के अाश्रम में मार्गरेट ने प्रवेश किया था। अब पुराना सब समाप्त हो गया था। नाम भी समाप्त हो गया था। नया नाम धारण करना था। मार्गरेट के जन्म से पूर्व ही जब वह मां के गर्भ में थी तब ही उसकी मां ने उसे भगवत् चरणों में अर्पित कर दिया था। इससे स्वामीजी अनभिज्ञ थे। परन्तु परमेश्वर के चरणों में जिसने अपना सम्पूर्ण जीवन समर्पित किया था वह कन्या अाज स्वामीजी के समक्ष खडी थी। तब सहजता से ही स्वामीजी ने उसका नामकरण किया।  -  "निवेदिता"

स्वामीजी गर्भगृह से बाहर अा गये। साथ साथ निवेदिता तथा अन्य दो शिष्याएं भी बाहर अा गईंं। सभा मण्डप में उपस्थित संन्यासियों ने उन पर मंगलद्रव्य डाले। सभी में प्रसाद वितरित किया गया।

To be Continue


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India - 11

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Training of Nivedita - 3

The real significance of the name Swamji had given her – "Nivedita, one who is  dedicated" – had not yet penetrated to the depths of her being. She knew to express herself in work and in emotions. But now deprived of her work, and prevented from expressing her love to what she knew she did not know how to express herself. Swamji wanted her to discover herself, to go deep within and dedicate herself to the One that has no second. It was only such rootedness in It; acquiring the vision of oneness beyond all diversities that would help her to understand India and her people. It appeared Swamiji was ruthlessly eradicating every sacrifice made in his name and every desire to follow him in his work. His attitude remained impersonal. Not once did he show more attention to her than to the other women, not once did he address her outside of the morning classes. It was a period of great clash and inner struggle for Nivedita.

During these days, the only ray of light she received was from Swami Swarupananda. He was appointed as her teacher in Bengali and Hindu Scriptures. Whenever Nivedita was bewildered by the utterly new ideas and feelings of the Swamiji, she referred to him. His elucidation helped her to understand the atmosphere in which they lived. He formed a sort of link between her Master's mind and her own, and Nivedita was grateful to him for all he did for her. He taught her the Gita, asked her to offer her past at the feet of Ishwara. From him she learnt to meditate. She benefited by the practice of meditation. Of course, it is not so easy to forget the past and thus the struggle and anguish within her that, 'How I could understand what my master is trying to tell me', continued. She never thought of giving up but the pain was intense.

Even in such anguish, only her steadfastness, her dedication ultimately brought her divine blessings. Mrs. Bull the oldest woman in the group spoke to Swamiji about Nivedita's internal strife when they were at Almora. He listened without replying. But he came again in the evening to their quarters when these three women were sitting on the veranda. He told to Mrs. Sarah Bull, 'You were right. There must be a change. I am going away into the forest to be alone, and when I come back I shall bring peace.' Then pointing to the new moon in the sky he said, 'The Mohammedans think much of the new moon. Let us with it begin new life!' Nivedita knelt before him; Swamiji blessed Nivedita. She writes about this, "Alone, in meditation, I found myself gazing deep into an Infinite Good, to the recognition of which no egoistic reasoning had led me. I learnt, too, on the physical plane, the simple everyday reality of the experience related in the Hindu books on religious psychology. And I understood, for the first time, that the greatest teachers may destroy in us a personal relation only in order to bestow the Impersonal Vision in its place."

To be Continue....

--
हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Monday, 4 December 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India - 10

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Training of Nivedita - 2

...To uproot the die-hard western tendencies latent in her mind, Swamiji started mercilessly attacking her pre-conceived notions. It was during this period that Nivedita one day told Swamiji in a context: 'It is necessary to beautify the city of London.' Swamiji sharply retorted, 'And you're buffeting the other cities into cremation grounds.'  Nivedita could not realize the significance of Swamiji's words, and felt hurt. But, the words would ring in her ears for many days. Later when she witnessed the British exploitation of India in the name of administration, she came to realize the truth of Swamiji's words.

Yatishwari Atmaprana writes, 'Nivedita was not aware of the wrongs that the English as the dominant power had done to India. So when the Swami openly and vigorously attacked the English in his morning talks she stood for their defence. As in the London classes, she was the one who argued and protested, and always tried to protect her own judgments and assert her views.

The Swami could not tolerate blindness of half-views and prejudices born out of ignorance. So he pointed out errors in her judgments. For instance, one day while the Swami was praising the Chinese, Nivedita alleged that, as a race, they were notoriously untruthful. The Swami would not accept this misrepresentation and said that words like untruthfulness and social rigidity were very relative terms. He revealed a new standpoint, and then left the disciple to form her own view. He never dictated an opinion, nor did he call for any confession of faith. But when his disciple could not give an uncoloured judgment, he got impatient and irritated. "Really, patriotism like yours is sin! All that I want you to see is that most people's actions are the expression of self-interest, and you constantly oppose to this the idea that a certain race is all of angles. Ignorance so determined is wickedness!"

Days passed thus in clashes and conflicts and the inner strife increased. The Swami rebuked and attacked Nivedita's cherished deep-rooted preconceptions – literary, social and historical. It was obviously a conflict of two strong personalities. The Swami was not a person to compromise his views or even adopt a gentler method of teaching; Nivedita had not the submissive nature to accept blindly and humbly all that was said. She made efforts to understand, but his words and thoughts were beyond her comprehension and at times she felt bewildered. …Her depression and suffering were heightened by the fact that she had known the Swami since meeting him in London as a friend and a beloved leader, and had expected him to be ever so. But now his attitude showed indifference, impatience and even silent hostility. The idea of retracting her offer of service never occurred to her; …her trust in him had not diminished to the extent her own self-confidence had wavered. Would she ever be able to pass this test of courage and sincerity? Was her mind really prepared to receive her Master's teachings? Was she really fit to reach the Supreme Goal of life?'

To be Continue....

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Holy Mother and Sister Nivedita - 3

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

One day Nivedita told us that Holy Mother would visit our school, and we should enjoy the festive occasion. She was anxiously running to and fro like a little girl. Holy Mother's carriage arrived in the afternoon instead of morning. Radhu, Golap-ma, and others were with her. As soon as she got down from the carriage, Nivedita prostrated to her and led her to the prayer hall. She gave us flowers to be offered at Holy Mother's feet. The Mother asked the girls to sing a little. They did so and recited a poem composed by the poet Saralabala Sarkar. The Holy Mother listened to it and appreciated the poem. Then she took a little sweet and asked to distribute the prasad to us. Afterwards Nivedita took the Mother around and showed her the whole house, the handicrafts of the girls. The Mother was very pleased and remarked: 'The girls have learned well.' Later Nivedita took the Mother to her own room for rest.

It was due to her acquaintance with Holy Mother that Nivedita developed an exalted opinion of Indian womanhood. One day by the by Swami Saradananda said: 'After all, our women are ignorant and unlettered.' Nivedita interrupted him immediately and forcefully contradicted him, saying : 'The women of India are by no means ignorant. In that country—referring to the United Kingdom—has one ever heard such words of wisdom from women as one does here?' One day Nivedita and Sister Christine visited Holy Mother. Nivedita said in Bengali:'Matridevi, apni hon amadiger Kali; Mother, you are our Kali.'

Christine repeated in English: 'Oh, Holy Mother is our Kali.' At this, Holy Mother said with a laugh: 'No, my children, I can't be Kali or any such thing—I would have to stick out my tongue!'

When this was translated to them, they said: 'No, you won't have to take that trouble. We shall regard you as our Mother Kali; Sri Rama-krishna is our Shiva.'

Holy Mother said with a smile: 'Well, that might be alright.' Then they left after taking the dust of her feet.

A disciple expressed his wonder to Holy Mother as he saw people coming from the West to see her. Holy Mother responded: 'The Master once said in an ecstatic mood: "In course of time I will be worshipped in many homes. Innumerable indeed will be my devotees." Nivedita once said to me: "Mother, we were Hindus in our previous birth. We are born in the West so that the Master's message may spread there.

In 1900 when Nivedita went to the US to collect funds for her school, Holy Mother dictated a letter to her that Saradananda translated into English. Here is an excerpt from that letter "My dear, love to you, baby daughter Nivedita, I am so glad to learn you have prayed to the Lord for my eternal peace. You are a manifestation of the ever-blissful Mother. I look at your photo, which is with me, every now and then and it seems as if you are present with me. I long for the day and the year when you shall return. May the prayers you have uttered for me from the heart of your pure virgin soul be answered!

I am well and happy. I always pray to the Lord that He might help you in your noble efforts and keep you strong and happy. I pray too for your quick return. May He fulfil your desires about the women's home in India and may that would-be home fulfil its mission in teaching true dharma to all He, the Breath of the Universe, is singing His own praise and you are hearing that eternal song through things that will come to an end.

The trees, the birds, the hills and all are singing praise to the Lord. The Banyan of Dakshineswar sings of Kali to be sure, and blessed is he who has ears to hear it. …

My dear love to you and blessings and prayers for your spiritual growth. You are doing good work indeed. But do not forget your Ben gali, else I will not be able to understand you when you come back. It gave me such a delight to learn that you are speaking of Dhruva, Savitri, Sita, Rama and so on there. The accounts of their holy lives are better than all the vain talk of the world, I am sure. Oh! How beautiful are the Name and doings of the Lord!

Your, Mother.

Holy Mother bestowed her grace on Nivedita and remarked: 'Her outside is white and inside is white [meaning pure].' Nivedita wrote about her : I first realised this gift in the Holy Mother, on the occasion of a visit that she paid us in recent years, on the afternoon of a certain Easter Day. Before that, probably, I had always been too much absorbed, when with her, in striving to learn what she represented, to think of observing her in the contrary position. On this particular occasion, however, after going over our whole house, the Mother and her party expressed a desire to rest in the chapel, and hear something of the meaning of the Christian festival.

This was followed by Easter music, and singing, with our small French organ. And in the swiftness of her comprehension, and the depth of her sympathy with these resurrection-hymns, unimpeded by any foreignness or unfamiliarity in them, we saw revealed for the first time, one of the most impressive aspects of the great religious culture of Sarada Devi. The same power is seen to a certain extent, in all the women about her, who were touched by the hand of Sri Ramakrishna. But in her, it has all the strength and certainty of some high and arduous form of scholarship.

The same trait came out again, one evening, when, in the midst of her little circle, the Holy Mother asked my Gurubhagini [Christine] and myself, to describe to her a European wedding. With much fun and laughter, personating now the 'Christian Brahmin', and again the bride and bridegroom, we complied. But we were neither of us prepared for the effect of the marriage vow. …

'For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,—till death us do part,' were words that drew exclamations of delight from all about us. But none appreciated them as did the Mother. Again and again she had them repeated to her. 'Oh the Dharmmik words! The righteous words!' she said.

Holy Mother treasured anything that Nivedita gave her. Once Nivedita had given Holy Mother a small German-silver box in which she kept locks of Ramakrishna's hair. She used to say, 'Whenever I look at the box at the time of worship, I am reminded of Nivedita.' In one of her trunks Holy Mother kept an old tattered silk scarf that her attendant wanted to throw away. 'No, child', she said. 'Nivedita gave it to me with great love. Let us preserve it.' She then took the scarf in hand, scattered black cumin seeds—which act like moth balls—in its folds as a preservative, and laid it carefully back in the trunk. She remarked: 'The very sight of the scarf reminds me of Nivedita. What a wonderful girl she was! At first she could not speak to me directly, and the boys acted as interpreters. Later she picked up the Bengali language. She loved my mother very much.

One day Nivedita said to Shyamasundari: 'Grandma, I shall go to your village and cook in your kitchen.' The old lady replied at once: 'No, my child, you must not do that. Our people will ostracise me if you enter my kitchen.' Nivedita had penetrating eyes, a brilliant mind, indomitable energy, and deep spirituality. She observed that although Holy Mother had no formal education, her dealings with people and her teachings were beautiful, catholic, practical, and appealing. Holy Mother's divine love and affection, strong commonsense, and sweet personality captivated her. Nivedita wrote: "To me it has always appeared that she is Sri Ramakrishna's final word as to the ideal of Indian womanhood. But is she the last of an old order, or the beginning of new? In her one sees realised that wisdom and sweetness to which the simplest of women may attain. And yet, to myself the stateliness of her courtesy and her great open mind are almost as wonderful as her sainthood. I have never known her hesitate in giving utterance to large and generous judgement, however new and complex might be the question put before her. Her life is one long stillness of prayer. Her whole experience is of the theocratic civilisation. Yet she rises to the height of every situation. Is she tortured by the perversity of any about her? The only sign is a strange and quiet intensity that comes upon her. Does one carry to her some perplexity or mortification born of social developments beyond her ken? With unerring intuition she goes straight to the heart of the matter, and sets the questioner in the true attitude to the difficulty."

When Nivedita died in Darjeeling on 13 October 1911, Holy Mother shed tears and said: 'What sincere devotion Nivedita had! She never considered anything too much that she might do for me. She often came to me at night. Seeing that light struck my eyes, she put a shade of paper around the lamp. She would prostrate herself before me with great tenderness and take the dust of my feet with her handkerchief. I felt that she hesitated even to touch my feet.' As the women devotees present expressed their sorrow at Nivedita's death, Holy Mother said: 'All creatures cry for a great soul.

A few days after Nivedita's death, Sister Christine and Sister Sudhira [a co-worker] came to see Holy Mother from Nivedita School. Remembering the close relationship between Nivedita and Christine, Holy Mother said to Sudhira: 'Ah, they lived together. Now it will be hard for her to live alone.' She then consoled Christine: 'Our hearts are crying for her, and undoubtedly your feeling will be more intense, my child. What a wonderful person she was! So many people are now crying for her. Saying so, Holy Mother wept. Then she asked Christine about the activities of the school.

One day the Mother was resting on her bed and several women devotees were near her. Someone began to talk about Jesus Christ. The Mother got up and saluted Lord Jesus with folded hands. She then said: "I heard many things about Jesus Christ from Nivedita. She read out many beautiful stories about him to me. Aha, Jesus came to deliver people in this world and how much sufferings he had to undergo. He joyfully endured all. Despite all those persecutions, he loved people and forgave them unconditionally. His own disciple betrayed him. Aha, they killed him nailing at his hands, feet and chest. In spite of that terrible torture and pain, he ungrudgingly forgave them. He prayed to God for not taking their offence. Is it possible for human beings to have such love, power of forbearance, and forgiveness? Who can endure this way other than God? God came as Jesus to teach divine love to the people of the world.

Look at Nivedita, a Western girl, came to our country and worked happily forbearing insult and harassment; and also enduring so much discomfort she tried to educate our children. When she visited some homes to get their children for her school, she was humiliated; some did not allow her to go inside their homes; and some allowed her to get in but later purified the place by sprinkling Ganges water. She saw everything but did not mind. She left the place with a  smiling face. There was no bounden necessity for her to educate the girls of our country by enduring such insult and ill-treatment and ruining her life little by little. You see, my daughter Nivedita had such a wonderful mind that she took over the responsibility to teach our girls on her own shoulder, because her guru Naren wanted and asked her to do it. She did not care for physical suffering and discomfort, insult and incivility of our people. For whom she dedicated her life, they treated her contemptuously. Under such circumstances, could the women of our country sacrifice such a great extent for the sake of their guru? They would say, 'We don't care!' So I say that except the Master no one knows or understands how, when, what, and through whom he makes one work.

(Swami Chetanananda, Prabudhdha Bharat Jan 2017)
To be Continue

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हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary : http://www.sisternivedita.org
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Saturday, 2 December 2017

Holy Mother and Sister Nivedita - 2

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

.....  Nivedita began to learn Bengali from Swarupananda so that she could speak with Holy Mother directly.

In the beginning, despite Golap-ma's opposition, Holy Mother kept Nivedita in her residence at 10/2 Bosepara Lane so that she could teach Nivedita Hindu manners and customs. She ate her meals with Nivedita and encouraged her activities (533).

Afterwards Nivedita moved to 16 Bosepara Lane and started a school for girls at Swamiji's request. On 13 November 1898 Holy Mother inaugurated the school, saying : 'May the Divine Mother of the Universe bless the school. May the girls trained here be ideals for society.'

Almost every day Nivedita would visit Holy Mother and take the dust of her feet. Every Sunday she would come to clean Holy Mother's room by dusting the bed, sweeping the floor, and polishing the glass panes in the doors and windows. Nivedita had taken up this work as her important duty. She was eager to provide even the smallest convenience or comfort to Mother (147).

Nivedita did not have much money, but she wanted to buy things for Holy Mother. She was mainly supported by Sara Bull and Josephine MacLeod.

On 24 February 1904 Nivedita wrote to Miss MacLeod, after Holy Mother had returned to Calcutta from a visit to Jayrambati: 'The Holy Mother is here, so small, so thin, so dark, worn out physically I should say, with village hardship and village life. But the same clear mind—the same stateliness, the same womanhood, as before. Oh, how many comforts I would like to take her! She needs a soft pillow—a shelf—a rug, so many things. She is so crowded with people about her always. I would like to give her a beautiful picture, a piece of bright colour. But I suppose one must wait. Meanwhile, there is not a change in her. This is the sign of genuine love.

A lover wants to give her or his beloved all the best things to make the beloved happy, and thus the lover gets the maximum happiness.Sarala, later Pravrajika Bharatiprana, was a student of Nivedita's school. She recalled a memorable visit of Sister Nivedita to Holy Mother in Udbodhan house:

"After the Mother's return from Jayrambati, one afternoon Sister Sudhira and I went to see her in Udbodhan house. Sister Sudhira remarked: 'Mother, you have become very dark and lean.' 'Our village is in open fields, you know', the Mother replied, 'and so the complexion becomes dark. In addition, I had to work hard there.' Meanwhile, Sister Nivedita came, bowed down to the Mother, and took her seat.

Whenever Sister Nivedita visited the Mother, I saw the Sister seated absorbed for a long time in front of the Mother. She would bow down to the Mother with full prostration and an indescribable wave of bliss would flow over her entire face. It seemed a joyful child closely looking at the face of her or his Mother. Once the Mother presented the Sister a palm-leaf fan with woolen lace around, which she made herself. Having that fan from the Mother's hand, she was beside herself and exclaimed, 'This fan has been made by Matadevi [Holy Mother] and she has given it to me.' This she repeated again and again and touched that fan with her head and chest. And to those who were present there, including myself, the Sister touched that fan to their heads. Observing her exuberant joy, the Mother remarked:  'Do you see how Nivedita is thrilled having this  trivial thing? Ah, how simple she is and what deep faith she has—as if she is a Goddess! How much devotion she has for Naren! Because he is born in this country, she left her home and family and has come to do his work with her heart and soul. What a devotion to the guru! And what love for this country!'

(Swami Chetanananda, Prabudhdha Bharat Jan 2017)
To be Continue

Friday, 1 December 2017

Holy Mother and Sister Nivedita - 1

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Holy mother's life is a meeting point of the ancient and the modern. She was born in a rural Indian village in the nineteenth century, and she passed away in twentieth-century Calcutta. Later in life she conducted Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual ministry, advised his disciples and devotees, entertained the Western women who visited Swami Vivekananda, asked her disciples to learn English, and encouraged the girls to have a modern education. The Master taught her to adjust according to time, place, and person.

In Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna had a vision that he described to Holy Mother: 'I was in the land of the white people. Their skin is white,  their hearts are white and they are simple and sincere. It is a very beautiful country. I think I shall go there.'

Later when Swamiji and other disciples went to the West to spread Vedanta and the universal message of Sri Ramakrishna, some Western women helped them immensely, which Swamiji acknowledged profusely. He observed that one of the causes of prosperity in the West was education for both men and women, whereas women were neglected in India. He remarked: 'A bird cannot fly with only one wing.' Both men and women are necessary to build a successful nation. Swamiji engaged Nivedita to educate Indian women.

Holy Mother's relationship with Nivedita was sweet and touching, yet awe-inspiring. From the very beginning, Nivedita occupied a special place in Holy Mother's heart. During Nivedita's first visit to Holy Mother, Swamiji was a bit apprehensive: Holy Mother had been born and brought up in an orthodox brahmana family in a
village. Western etiquette was unfamiliar to her, and she did not know English. How would she receive his Western disciples? Swamiji sent his disciple Swami Swarupananda as an interpreter.
When he introduced Nivedita to Holy Mother, she asked her name. Nivedita replied, 'My name is Miss Margaret Elizabeth Noble.'

Swarupananda translated Holy Mother's Bengali: 'My child, I shall not be able to utter such a long name. I will call you khuki [baby].'

Nivedita said joyfully, 'Yes, yes, I am Mother's baby.'

She then went to Swamiji and said: 'Mother blessed me touching my head, allowed me to bow down touching her feet, offered prasad, and she would call me "khuki."

Swamiji was overjoyed.

(Swami Chetanananda, Prabudhdha Bharat Jan 2017)
To be Continue