Friday, 6 April 2018

Swami Saradananda wrote as Forward to First Edition of Nivedita as I Saw Her by Saralabala Sarkar

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Some large hearted Western women, inspirited by Swami Vivekananda's transcendent renunciation and strength of character, chose to follow his path of total sacrifice "for one's own liberation and for the good of the world' and came forward to dedicate their lives to work for the welfare of India stricken by poverty and distress. It will be no exaggeration to say that Sister Nivedita occupies the pre-eminent position among them all. Following this path of service, Nivedita came to Calcutta at the end of the winter in January 1898, and on the 13th October 1911 she took leave of this world for her heavenly abode. The public has no clear idea of how she spent these thirteen years, how she moved towards her goal with unique dedication, limitless perseverance and single-minded devotion. Now that she is no more among us, everyone is keen to know about this.

To comprehend it, however, we shall have to look beyond the externals of Nivedita's life. The matter cannot be determined from the larger tasks she performed before the public gaze. We have to see how, in her day-to-day life, she treated her poor, uneducated neighbours; how she was ever anxious to share equally with them all their joys and sorrows; how she spared not a thought of her own priceless life while nursing the dangerously ill to save them from the jaws of death; how, despite her small means, she was ever generous with help to mitigate the misery of the poor and deprived; how, determined to bring succor to famine-stricken villagers, she trudged from village to village, wading through flood-waters and willingly going without food and sleep and accepting other physical hardship so that she could let the larger public know about the real situation.
 
We must see how she acted upon her conviction that India's progress would depend on the spread, among the country's women, of education that combined new scientific truths with the nation's ancient glory and undiminished store of knowledge; how, armed with this idea, she established a new kind of educational institution for women with a new system of teaching, and thereby won a place of the purest love in the hearts and minds of our women. And we must see – and try to estimate – the love, the ever-growing love, in her heart that lay behind all her varied daily endeavour, the love which she held, not to speak of every man and woman of India, each and every stone of this land as sacred and accepted  them as her own.

Indeed, it is in the light of small daily deeds that we can properly appreciate the greatness of the great. For, under the compelling pressure of circumstances even cowards sometimes manage to accomplish something big. All of Sister Nivedita's small activities and programs bear unfailing testimony of true greatness. That is why people of all communities now grieve at her absence; that is why they worship her with deep reverence as a powerful living presence in their hearts.