ALMORA, 11th July, 1897.
My dear Shuddhananda,
I was very glad to receive your last
report. I have very little criticism to make except that you
ought to write a bit more legibly.
I am quite satisfied with the work done
so far, but it must be pushed forward. I have not learnt as
yet of the suggestion I made before as to getting a set of
chemical and physical apparatus and starting classes in
elementary and experimental Chemistry and Physics,
especially in Physiology.
What about the other suggestion of
buying sets of all the scientific books that have been
translated into Bengali?
It now seems to me that there must at
least be three Mahantas (heads) elected at a time — one to
direct the business part, one the experimental, the other
the intellectual part.
The difficulty is to get the director of
education. Brahmananda and Turiyananda may well fill the
other two. Of visitors I am sorry to learn that you are only
getting Babus from Calcutta. They are no good. What we want
are brave young men who will work, not tomfools.
Ask Brahmananda to write to both
Abhedananda and Saradananda to send weekly reports to the
Math without fail, also to send Bengali articles and notes
for the would-be paper. Is G. C. Ghosh getting up things for
the paper? Work on with a will and be ready.
Akhandananda is working wonderfully at
Mahula, but the system is not good. It seems they are
frittering away their energies in one little village and
that only doling out rice. I do not hear that any preaching
has been done along with this helping. All the wealth of
the world cannot help one little Indian village if the
people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be
mainly educational, both moral and intellectual. I have not
learnt anything abut it — only so many beggars are helped!
Ask Brahmananda to open centres in different districts so as
to cover the largest space with our small means.
And then, so far it seems to have been
ineffectual, for they have not succeeded in rousing the
people of the place to start societies to educate the
people, so that they may learn to be self-reliant, frugal,
and not given to marrying, and thus save themselves from
future famine. Charity opens the heart, but work on through
The easiest way is to take a hut — make
it a temple of Guru Maharaj! Let the poor come here to be
helped, also to worship. Let there be Kathâ (Puranic
recitals) morning and evening there — through that you may
teach all you want to teach the people. By degrees the
people will be interested. They will keep up the temple
themselves; maybe the hut temple will evolve into a great
institution in a few years. Let those that go to relief-work
first select a central spot in each district and start such
a hut-temple, from which all our little work is to proceed.
Even the greatest fool can accomplish a
task if it be after his heart. But the intelligent man is he
who can convert every work into one that suits his taste. No
work is petty. Everything in this world is like a
banyan-seed, which, though appearing tiny as a mustard-seed,
has yet the gigantic banyan tree latent within it. He indeed
is intelligent who notices this and succeeds in making all
work truly great. (This paragraph only is translated from
Moreover, they have to see that cheats
do not get the food of the deserving. India is full of lazy
rogues, and curious, they never die of hunger, they always
get some thing. Ask Brahmananda to write this to everyone in
relief-work — they must not be allowed to spend money to no
good. We want the greatest possible good work permanent from
the least outlay.
Now you see you must try to think out
original ideas — else, as soon as I die, the whole thing
will tumble to pieces. For example, you hold a meeting to
consider, "How we can reap the best permanent results out of
the small means at our disposal." Let all have notice a few
days before and let each suggest something and discuss all
the suggestions, criticising them; and then send me a
Lastly, you must remember I expect more
from my children than from my brethren. I want each one of
my children to be a hundred times greater than I could ever
be. Everyone of you must be a giant — must, that is my word.
Obedience, readiness, and love for the cause — if you have
these three, nothing can hold you back.
With love and
Letter to Alasinga Perumal and Shuddhananda
Start the journal and I will send you articles from time to time. You must send a paper and a letter to Professor J.H. Wright of Harvard University, Boston, thanking him as having been the first man who stood as my friend and asking him to publish it in the papers, thus giving the lie to the missionaries.
In the Detroit lecture I got $900, i.e. Rs. 2,700. In other lectures, I earned in one, $2,500, i.e. Rs. 7,500 in one hour, but got only 200 dollars! I was cheated by a roguish Lecture Bureau. I have given them up. I spent a good deal here; only about $3,000 remains.
I shall have to print much matter next year. I am going regularly to work. . . . The sheer power of the will will do everything. . . . You must organise a society which should regularly meet, and write to me about it as often as you can. In fact, get up as much enthusiasm as you can. Only, beware of falsehood. Go to work, my boys, the fire will come to you! The faculty of organisation is entirely absent in our nature, but this has to be infused. The great secret is--absence of jealousy. Be always ready to concede to the opinions of your brethren, and try always to conciliate. That is the whole secret. Fight on bravely! Life is short! Give it up to a great cause. ... We must not join any sect, but we must sympathise and work with each. . . . Work, work--conquer all by your love! . . .
Try to expand. Remember the only sign of life is motion and growth.
11 July 1897 : Letter to Shuddhananda from Almora
I want each one of my children to be a hundred times greater than I could ever be. Everyone of you must be a giant — must, that is my word. Obedience, readiness, and love for the cause — if you have these three, nothing can hold you back.