Thursday 29 June 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Josephine MacLeod : 10

It was from Alameda, California, he wrote me on April eighteenth 1900, the most beautiful letter I think he ever wrote. This is the last letter in Inspired Talks.

Later in 1900 my sister and Mr. Leggett took a house in Paris for the Exposition. We went over in June, and Swami followed in August. He stayed some weeks with us until he went to stay with Mr. Gerald Nobel, a bachelor. Afterwards he said of Mr. Nobel: "It is worth having been born to have made one friend as Mr. Nobel." So greatly he honoured this friend of ours. We entertained largely during these six months. Swami coming nearly every day to luncheon.

One day at luncheon in Paris Madame Emma Calve, the singer, said she was going to Egypt for the winter. So as I suggested accompanying her, she at once turned to Swami and said, "Will you come to Egypt with us as my guest?" He accepted. We started out via Vienna for two days. Constantinople for nine days, and four days in Athens, then to Egypt when after a few days Swami said, "I want to go." "Go where?" I asked. "Go back to India. "I said. "Yes, go. ""May I?" he asked. "Certainly". I said. So I went to Madame Calve and said. "Swami would like to go back to India." She said. "Certainly." She bought him a first class ticket and sent him back. He arrived there in time to hear of he death of Mr. Sevier, and he wrote me at (1 , 2) once of the serenity and beauty of the way in which Mrs. Sevier had taken the death, she continuing the life at the Mayavati Ashrama as if her husband were there.

Going up the Nile and meeting some charming English people who begged me to go to Japan with them, I had occasion to pass again through India en route. Again I saw Swamiji, and he said he would go to Japan if I wrote for him. In Japan I made the acquaintance of Okakura Kakuzu who had founded the fine arts Bijutsuin school of painting in Tokyo. He was very anxious to have Swami come over and be his guest in Japan. But Swami refusing to come. Mr. Okakura accompanied me to India to meet him. One of the happy moments of my life was when after a few days at Belur. Mr. Okakura said to me rather fiercely. "Vivekananda is ours. He is an Oriental. He is not yours." Then I knew there was a real understanding between them. A day or two after, Swami said to me, "It seems as if a long lost brother has come." Then I knew there was a real undemanding between these two men. And when Swami said to him. "Will you join us?" Mr. Okakura said, "No, I haven't finished with this world yet." Which was a very wise thing.

To be continued.... (Memoirs of  Josephine MacLeod)

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