I AM ever recalling those swift, bright days in that never-to-be forgotten winter, lived in simple freedom and kindliness. We could not choose but to be happy and good. And now while I share with all who knew and loved him a deep sense of loss, it would be an impertinence to measure your sorrow and loss by my own, so closely have you been associated with him in his intimate friendship with your family. I knew him personally but a short time, yet in that time I could but see in a hundred ways the child side of Swamiji's character, which was a constant appeal to the Mother quality in all good women. He depended upon those near him in a way which brought him very nearly one's heart. I think the Mead sisters must have remarked this side of Swamiji.
Possessing as he did an almost inexhaustible knowledge of things old as the world — a sage and philosopher — he yet appeared to me to lack utterly the commercial knowledge which so distinguish[es] men of the Western world. You were constantly rendering him some apparently trifling service in the everyday homely happenings of our daily life, he in some small way requiring to be set right. That which we mother and care for in little, seemingly inconsequent ways must through the very nature of our care weave a world of tenderness around the object of our love — until in some sad day we are robbed of the divine privilege of loving service and are left like "Rachel mourning for her children because they are not", Thus I know, aside from the loss of a delightful and rare companion, the fact alone of your generous service brought him very near to you. One day busy with my work, Swamiji absorbed with his curries and chapattis, I spoke to him of you, when he said: "Ah, yes! Jo is the sweetest spirit of us all" — He would come home from a lecture where he was compelled to break away from his audience, so eagerly would they gather around him — come rushing into the kitchen like a boy released from school, with, "Now we will cook". The prophet and sage would disappear, to reveal the child side or simplicity of character. Presently 'Jo' would appear and discover the culprit among pots and pans in his fine dress, who was by thrifty, watchful Jo admonished to change to his home garments.
Ah, those pleasant 'Tea Party' days, as you termed them. How we used to laugh. Do you remember the lime he was showing me how he wound his turban about his head and you were begging him to hasten as he was already due at the lecture room. I said, "Swami, don't hurry. You are like a man on his way to be hung. The crowd was jostling each other to reach the place of execution, when he called out. 'Don't hurry. There will be nothing interesting until I get there'. I assure you, Swami, there will be nothing interesting until you get there." This so pleased him that often afterwards he would say, "There will be nothing interesting 'til I gel there", and laugh like a boy. Just now I recall a morning quite an audience had gathered at our house to listen to the learned Hindu, who sat with downcast eyes and impenetrable face while his audience waited. His meditations over, he raised his eyes to Mrs. Leggett's face and asked, like a simple child. "What shall I say?" This gifted man, possessing the subtle power of delighting an intellectual audience, to ask for a theme! There appeared to me in this question an exquisite touch of confidence in her judgement in suggesting a subject suitable to the occasion. A most interesting portion of the day you lost.
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
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