Friday 26 July 2013

26 July : Two Stories Told By Swami Vivekananda at Ridgely Manor as Recorded by Maud Stumm

वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।

In ancient times a king in India gave up his throne and title and retired with his wife and son to the forest. He was old and blind and hoped to end his days a holy man. The son, whose name was Truth, grew to manhood, though a prophecy had foretold that at twenty - one he would suddenly die. A year before the appointed time a great prince bound on a journey through this forest paused to pay his respects to the aged yogi. With him was his daughter Purity, and she beheld the unknown youth and loved him, and her love was returned. So when the prince, her father, began his preparations to rejoin his company and continue through the forest, his daughter, declaring her choice, said she would stay and take Truth for her husband. At this the prince was very angry, but he could not change her will. So she stayed with the little family, and they were married.
Happy and beloved, these two cared for the old blind king and his wife, gathering the fruits, bringing the water, and preparing fresh garlands for their habitation in the dark forest. Purity accompanied Truth on all his expeditions of hunting and exploration, until one day he denied her this privilege, as he was going into the forest deeper than ever before and could not take her. But she pleaded and prevailed. All day they traveled together until they came to a vast and mysterious tree, which he said he would climb. So Purity waited for him at the foot of the tree till twilight came. Then looking up, she saw her lord, unearthly pale, slipping slowly down the branches, until finally, caught in her arms, she saw he was dying. The prophecy was coming true! In despair she raised her eyes and saw standing in an opening of the woods the gray - shrouded orm of Death, who in Indian myth is also King of Truth, whose word can never fail. As he reached out his arms to take her beloved away, she begged in vain, and as the Shadowy One lifted and bore her treasure swiftly through the forestpath, she followed in despair. And Death hearing her little footsteps paused. "He cannot come back to you, Purity, but ask a boon, and I will grant it" And she thought quickly, "Return the sight of our blind father to him."

     "It is done," said Death, and turned away again, swiftly bearing his burden from her. Still he heard the little footsteps and turning gave her a second boon. "Restore the throne to our father."

     "It is done," said Death, "but ask me no more." And again he sped away. Then far behind him he heard the footsteps of faithful Purity still begging for her dear Truth, and the third and last time Death turned to her and said, "We are almost at my domain, hinder me no more, but ask one last favor, and it shall be granted." So she meekly asked for a hundred sons to be heirs to the throne. And Death saw that Purity had outwitted him and was forced to restore to her her lord.


     Then [Maud Stumm related] he told us the story of the old man who came to offer his services in the construction of an English cathedral. He wished to carve an ornament in the entrance porch, but the master carver thought him unworthy for such a prominent place and gave him the top of a pillar hidden far up in a dark corner of a side aisle. The old man came every day and labored high on his scaffolding, patiently carving, until one day he did not come down, and going up the dim place, they found him dead before his work - the exquisitely carved head of the love of his youth that he had longed to have in the entrance, but had been denied. So he had made it just as beautiful in that obscure nook, where only by chance it could be seen, dimly.

(These two stories from the reminiscences of Maud Stumm were made available to this book by the kindness of Swami Chetanananda.)

[ Swami Vivekananda in The West - New Discoveries : Vol-V, p:409  Appendix ]

26 July 1894 : Letter to Hale Sisters
- I am going to make a Himalayas there and start a monastery as sure as I am living — I am not going to leave this country without throwing one more apple of discord into this already roaring, fighting, kicking, mad whirlpool of American religion. Well, dear old maids, you sometimes have a glimpse of the lake and on every hot noon, think of going down to the bottom of the lake, down, down, down, until it is cool and nice, and then to lie down on the bottom, with that coolness above and around, and lie there still, silent, and just doze — not sleep, but dreamy dozing half unconscious sort of bliss — very much like that which opium brings; that is delicious; and drinking lots of iced water. Lord bless my soul — I had such cramps several times as would have killed an elephant. So I hope to keep myself away from the cold water.

26 July 1895 : Inspired Talks (Brihadâranyakopanishad.)
 Love all things only through and for the Self. Yâjnavalkya said to Maitreyi, his wife, "Through the Atman we know all things." The Atman can never be the object of knowledge, nor can the Knower be known. He who knows he is the Atman, he is law unto himself. He knows he is the universe and its creator. . . .
 Perpetuating old myths in the form of allegories and giving them undue importance fosters superstition and is really weakness. Truth must have no compromise. Teach truth and make no apology for any superstition; neither drag truth to the level of the listener.

26 July 1900 : Swami Vivekananda left New York for Paris


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