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