Wednesday 26 April 2017

Swami Vivekananda in the memory of Ida Ansell - 7

When Miss Bell invited me to spend the summer with her at Camp Irving, it was agreed that I would go down to San Francisco each Saturday morning, give a music lesson in the afternoon-and return Sunday after her lecture, which I was to try to take in shorthand. On the second week-end Miss Bell, for some reason that I have forgotten, went alone to San Francisco on Friday afternoon, with the understanding thaT I was to follow on Saturday.

When I was getting ready to take the train as usual, Swamiji said to me, "Why do you go?"

"I have to go, Swami." I replied. "I have to give a lesson." I have always regretted the answer, for the dollar I received for the lesson was not the motive forgoing. The real motive was Miss Bell's lecture.

Swamiji said, "Then go, and make half a million dollars and send it to me for my work in India." He took me up the steep steps to the railroad track and flagged the train for me. There was no station and the train stopped only on signal. Swamiji's carriage was magnificent. His eyes were always fumed skyward, never down. Someone said of him that he never saw anything lower than a telegraph pole.

When the engine passed us, as the train slowed down, I heard the fireman say to the engineer, "Hellow! Who is this sky pilot?" I had never heard the expression and was puzzled at first as to its meaning. Then I realized that it must mean a religious leader, and that it was evident to any one who saw him that Swamiji was such a leader.

It has always been a matter of regret that I went to San Francisco that week-end, for soon after that Swami left Camp Irving. The half million dollars for his work in India has not been made, but I have never given up the childish hope that in some miraculous way it may yet be accomplished. Swami Turiyananda said many times, "Mother can make the impossible possible."

I do not know the exact date that Swamiji left Camp Irving, but various letters written by him indicate that he was still in San Francisco on the 26th of May and that he was under the care of Dr. M.H. Logan, at whose home he stayed, and gave three lectures on the Gita on May 26, 28, and 29. He wrote from Los Angeles on June 17, "Am leaving for Chicago in a few days," and he was in New York on July 11.

Tom Allan and his wife Edith (Ajoy and Viraja) are my oldest friends and they have told me many times of their first impressions of Swamiji and their experiences with him, and of the immense benefit they received from him. Edith was very ill when Swamiji first came to Oakland in 1900 and Tom went alone to hear the Hindu monk whose lecture was advertised in the paper. When he returned, he was very much excited and could scarcely contain his enthusiasm. He said, "I have met a man who is not a man; he is a god! And he spoke the truth!" Edith asked him to tell her what he had said that impressed him so much, and the two most startling ideas were these: Good and evil are the obverse and reverse of the same coin; and you cannot have one without the other. We had been taught in the Home of Truth that all is good and there is no evil. The other idea that deeply impressed him was that a cow cannot tell a lie and a man can, but the cow will always be a cow. while a man can become divine.

To be continued...(Memoirs of Ida Ansell)


The main theme of my life is to take the message of Sanatana Dharma to every home and pave the way for launching, in a big way, the man-making programme preached and envisaged by great seers like Swami Vivekananda. - Mananeeya Eknathji

विवेकानन्द केन्द्र कन्याकुमारी (Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari)
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