IT has been my good fortune and my joy to know a man who truly "walked with God", a noble being, a saint, a philosopher, and a true friend. His influence upon my spiritual life was profound. He opened up new horizons before me; enlarging and vivifying my religious ideas and ideals; teaching me a broader understanding of truth. My soul will bear him eternal gratitude.
This extraordinary man was a Hindu monk or the order of the Vedantas. He was called the Swami Vivekananda, and was widely known in America for his religious teachings. He was lecturing in Chicago one year when I was there; and as I was at that time greatly depressed in mind and body. I decided to go to him, having seen how he had helped some of my friends.
An appointment was arranged for me; and when I arrived at his house. I was immediately ushered into his study. Before going I had been told not to speak until he addressed me. When I entered the room, therefore, I stood before him in silence for a moment. He was seated in a noble attitude of meditation, his robe of saffron yellow failing in straight lines to the floor, his head swathed in a turban bent forward, his eyes on the ground. After a brief pause he spoke without looking up.
"My child," he said, "what a troubled atmosphere you have: about you! Be calm! It is essential!"
Then in quiet voice, untroubled and aloof, this man, who did not even know my name, talked to me of my secret problems and anxieties. He spoke of things that I thought were unknown even to my nearest friends. It seemed miraculous, supernatural!
"How do you know all this?" I asked at last. "Who has talked of me to you?"
He looked at me with his quiet smile as though I were a child who had asked a foolish question.
"No one has talked to me," he answered gently. "Do you think that is necessary? I read in you as in an open book."
Finally it was time for me to leave.
"You must forget," he said as I rose. "Become gay and happy again. Build up your health. Do not dwelt in silence upon your sorrows. Transmute your emotions into some form of external expression. Your spiritual health requires it. Your art demands it."
I left him, deeply impressed by his words and his personality. He seemed to have emptied my brain of all its feverish complexities and placed there instead his clear and calming thoughts.
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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