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

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 :
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