Thursday 8 June 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Memories of Madam E. Calve - 4

This marvellous journey proved to be almost the last occasion on which I was to see the Swami. Shortly afterward he announced that he was to return to his own country. He felt that his end was reproaching, and he wished to go back to the community of which he was director and where he had spent his youth.

A year later we heard that he had died, after writing the book of his life, not one page of which was destroyed. He passed away in the state called samadhi, which means, in Sanskrit, to die voluntarily, from a will to die, without accident or sickness, saying to his disciples. "I will die on such a day."

Years later, when I was travelling in India, I wished to visit the convent where the Swami had spent his last days. His mother took me there. I saw the beautiful marble tomb that one of his American friends, Mrs. Leggett, had erected over his grave. I noticed that there was no name upon it. I asked his brother, who was a monk in the same order, the reason of this omission. He looked at me in astonishment, and with a noble gesture that I remember to this day. "He has passed on." he answered.

The Vedantas believe that they have preserved, in their original purity and simplicity, the teachings of Hinduism. They have no temples, saying their prayers in a simple oratory, with no symbolic figures or pictures to stimulate their piety. Their prayers are all addressed to the Unknown God.

"O, Thou who hast no name! O, Thou whom none dare name! O, Thou the Great Unknown!" they say in their supplications.

The Swami taught me a sort of respiratory prayer. He used to say that the forces of the deity, being spread everywhere throughout the ether, could be received into the body through the indrawn breath.

The monks of the Swami's brotherhood received us with simple, kindly hospitality. They offered us flowers and fruits, spreading a table for us on the lawn beneath a welcome shade.

At our feet the mighty Ganga flowed. Musicians played to us on strange instruments, weird, plaintive chants that touched the very heart. A poet improvised a melancholy recitative in praise of the departed Swami. The afternoon passed in a peaceful, contemplative calm.

The hours that I spent with these gentle philosophers have remained in my memory as a time apart. These beings, pure, beautiful, and remote, seemed to belong to another universe. a better and wiser world.

(Memoirs of Madam E. Calve)


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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