Tuesday 9 May 2017

Swami Vivekananda in memories of Manmatha Nath Ganguli

This time I went to Belur quite often. Many men, young and old, used to come to Belur for a darshana of Swamiji. But it was not so easy to see the Swami at all hours of the day. Mostly he remained in his own room, and he was seldom disturbed even by his gurubhais. It was well known that often he was absorbed in his moods of tranquillity, and then it pained him to talk on affairs alien to his own mood. So the custom was that people saw him and could talk to him when he came down from the upper storey of his own accord, and then the visitors also were allowed to go to him without any restriction.

One morning Swamiji's mother came to see him. Her very appearance commanded respect. She was a strongly built lady with large fine eyes with long eyelashes. She had a remarkably strong personality that made her obeyed without any questioning. No wonder that Swamiji had inherited these qualities from her. She went up to the verandah of the first storey and cried aloud "Viloo-oo", and her child came out of the room at once. The great Vivekananda was just like a teen-aged son to his mother. He descended the stairs along with Bhuvaneswari Devi, and then they walked in the garden-path together and conversed softly on personal matters.

During the last few years whenever Swamiji was at Calcutta he would go himself to his mother. While at Belur he would occasionally visit his mother at Calcutta, but if perchance he could not go to her for a week or two she would herself come down to Belur to see him and also ask his advice on family matters.

It was about four in the afternoon when one day the Japanese Consul came to meet the Swami at Belur. He was asked to be seated on one of the benches inside the inner verandah where generally Swamiji received his guests. He was informed of the honourable guest, but he had to wait for some time before the Swami came down. It depended on Swamiji's mood altogether whether he would meet a person, however important, instantly or at some more convenient time. On that occasion the Consul had been kept waiting for quite a long time as Swamiji came when it was wont for him to take his evening walk. He took a chair near the Consul and the conversation took place through an interpreter. After the formal greetings the Consul spoke to his purport: "Our Mikado is very keen to receive you in Japan. He has sent me to request you to visit Japan as early as may be convenient to you. Japan is eager to hear about Hindu religion from your lips."

Swamiji answered, "In my present state of health I think it will not be possible for me to visit Japan now."

The Consul said, "Then, may I with your permission inform the Mikado that you will go there some time in future when your health permits?"

Swamiji said, "It is very doubtful whether this body will ever be fit enough."

At the lime, Swamiji was suffering from diabetes. His body was quite emaciated. He was not so ill when I had seen him for the first time.

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

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