Sunday 7 May 2017

Swami Vivekananda in memories of Manmatha Nath Ganguli


It was in the last week of December when one morning I went to Belur. I found Swamiji standing near the open yard in front of the kitchen. On his head there was a woollen cap of gerua colour (ochre-brown). On his body there was a woollen dressing gown with large black checks on a white background. His complexion was fair, but his skin looked fairer due to a peculiar brilliance and softness in it. The most attractive part of this fine personality was his eyes. He had large expressive eyes. I have never come across another pair of such fine eyes.

This time I went up to him and bowed down touching his feet with the end of my fingers. Nearby was a small tent in which there was a small tea-table and a few stools to sit on. He asked a Brahmacharin to bring a cup of tea for me.Tea and prasada were served on the table, and then Swamiji fell into a conversational mood. He asked me where I lived and what I did. I answered him pertinently. ...Then he went elsewhere and I also moved about with other Swamis of my acquaintance. Thus some time passed till it was about ten.

Inside the verandah facing the courtyard of the Math, Swamiji was on a chair while Rakhal Maharaj, Mahapurushji and Sharat Maharaj (Swamis Brahmananda, Shivananda and Saradananda) were seated in one of the three benches, and I alone was in another bench at a little distance. Swamiji was in a talking mood and he was relating many of his experiences in America. In the course of the conversation he said, "In Chicago it was proved that Hinduism was the greatest religion of the world and then the padres there got infuriated. They wanted to convene another Parliament of Religions in France, They had thought of making it a convention at Paris to make it compulsory for the speakers to address the House in the French language, I did not know French at the time. And they thought that my ignorance of the language would debar me from the Parliament. But I went to France and picked up the language in about six months and then began to deliver some speeches in French. This damped the enthusiasm of the missionaries. Later on the idea of recalling another Parliament was dropped."*

Swamiji said, "In America, outside my room there was a private letter box. I used to lock it up. Occasionally in the day. I opened it myself. Various were the letters that I used to get from all sorts of people. Many of them were threats from unknown persons. They asked me to stop preaching Hinduism. But sometimes I received letters of admiration and praise. Most of them were written by women. A few of them also contained proposals for marriage. There had been other occasions when some influential ladies expressed the desire to get me married to some rich woman and settle down in America. I had to explain to them that Indian monks do not marry. But it was difficult for them to be convinced as some padres did marry in their country, and so they asked why should not I."

To be continued...(Memoirs of Mrs. Manmatha Nath Ganguli)

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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