Wednesday 7 August 2013

In memory of Mary C. Funke

वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।

Such a beautiful spot! There is a large class-room and a kitchen on the ground floor and a number of bedrooms on the second floor. The Swami has a private suite with a separate entrance by an outside stairway. There is a small veranda attached to his room to which he invites us every evening. The view is lovely, as we are higher up than any of the other cottages. We gaze over the tree tops and for miles the beautiful St. Lawrence River winds its way.

We are deeply touched by the very cordial reception given to us who were strangers. Even the Swami had never met us personally, although we had attended all his lectures given in Detroit during the winter of 1894. The joy of it to be so sweetly received by him!

We were nearly frightened to death when we finally reached the cottage, for neither the Swami nor his followers at Thousand Island Park had the remotest idea of our existence and it seemed rather an impertinent thing for us to do, to travel seven hundred miles, follow him up, as it were, and ask him to accept us. But he did accept us — he did — the Blessed One!

It was a dark rainy night, but we could not wait. Every moment was precious, and our imagination was stirred up to the nth degree. We did not know a soul in the place, but finally we hit upon the plan of making inquiries at the various shops and thus find out where Miss Dutcher lived. At one place we were told that there was a cottage occupied by a Miss Dutcher and that a "foreign looking man who dressed queerly" was staying there.

Then we knew our quest was ended, and we found a man with a lantern who went ahead of us.

Up, up the wet and slippery path! It seemed as if we were taking one step up and two back. it was so slippery. The first thing we heard when we reached the house was the rich, beautiful voice of the Swami who was talking to those who had gathered on his porch. Our heartbeats could have been heard, I truly believe. His hostess asked him to come downstairs to see us as "two ladies from Detroit", and he greeted us so sweetly! It was like a benediction. "I like Detroit." he said, "I have many friends there, isn't it?" And what do you think? Instead of our slaying at a hotel or boarding house, as we had expected, those dear people insisted upon our becoming members of the household. Our heart? sang paeans of praise.

So here we are — in the very house with Vivekananda, listening to him from 8 o'clock in the morning until late at night. Even in my wildest dreams I could not imagine anything so wonderful, so perfect. To be with Vivekananda! To be accepted by him! Surely we shall wake up and find it all a dream. For in our dreams we have sought the Swami, now, Reality! Are we "such stuff as dreams are made on?"

Oh, the sublime teaching of Vivekananda! No nonsense, no talk of "astrals"", "imps", etc., but God, Jesus, Buddha, I feel that I shall never be quite the same again for I have caught a glimpse of the Real.

Just think what it means to listen to a Vivekananda at every meal, lessons each morning and the nights on the porch, the eternal stars shining like "patinas of bright gold"! In the afternoon, we take long walks and the Swami literally, and so simply, finds "books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good (God) in every thing". And this same Swami is so merry and fun-loving. We just go mad at times.

Today's-Special : 7-August in Swami Vivekananda Life

7 Aug 1895
: Swami Vivekananda returned to New York from Thousand Island Park and stayed at the home of Miss. Mary A. Phillips at 19 West 38th Street.

From Inspired Talks : That action is moral which frees us from the bondage of matter and vice versa. This world appears infinite, because everything is in a circle; it returns to whence it came. The circle meets, so there is no rest or peace here in any place. We must get out. Mukti is the one end to be attained. . . .
Evil changes in form but remains the same in quality. In ancient times force ruled, today it is cunning. Misery in India is not so bad as in America, because the poor man here sees the greater contrast to his own bad condition.

Good and evil are inextricably combined, and one cannot be had without the other. The sum total of energy in this universe is like a lake, every wave inevitably leads to a corresponding depression. The sum total is absolutely the same; so to make one man happy is to make another unhappy. External happiness is material and the supply is fixed; so that not one grain can be had by one person without taking from another. Only bliss beyond the material world can be had without loss to any. Material happiness is but a transformation of material sorrow.

Those who are born in the wave and kept in it do not see the depression and what is there. Never think, you can make the world better and happier. The bullock in the oil-mill never reaches the wisp of hay tied in front of him, he only grinds out the oil. So we chase the will-o'-the-wisp of happiness that always eludes us, and we only grind nature's mill, then die, merely to begin again. If we could get rid of evil, we should never catch a glimpse of anything higher; we would be satisfied and never struggle to get free. When man finds that all search for happiness in matter is nonsense, then religion begins. All human knowledge is but a part of religion.

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विवेकानन्द केन्द्र कन्याकुमारी (Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari)
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