Many were the stories he told of his mother — the proud. little woman who tried so hard to hide her emotions and her pride in him. How she was torn between disapproval of the life he had chosen and her pride in the name he had made for himself. In the beginning she would have chosen a conventional life for him, perhaps marriage and worldly success, but she lived to see the beggar exalted and princes bowing before him. But in the meantime, hers was not an easy task. Asked, many years later, what kind of a child he was, she burst out with, "I had to have two nurses for him!"
Those of us who were privileged to see his mother, know that from her he inherited his regal bearing. This tiny woman carried herself like a queen. Many times did the American newspapers in later years refer to her son as "that lordly monk, Vivekananda". There was a virginal purity about her which it seems she was able to pass on, and which was perhaps her greatest gift. But could a soul so great find a perfect habitation? India and such parents gave him one that was a fairly satisfactory vehicle. How he loved his mother! Sometimes when he was in other parts of India the fear would come that something had happened to her, and he would send to inquire. Or perhaps he was in the monastery in Belur, in which case he would send a messenger post-haste. To the very end her comfort and her care was one of his chief considerations.
And so perhaps for days we re-lived his childhood in his father's house in the Simla quarter of Calcutta. His sisters for whom he had a special love and his father for whom he had a son's devotion, flitted across the picture. "To my father." he said, "I owe my intellect and my compassion." He would tell how his father would give money to a drunkard, knowing for what purpose it would be used. "This world is so terrible, let him forget it for a few minutes, if he can," the father would say, in self-defence. His father was lavish in his gifts. One day when he was more recklessly extravagant than usual, his youthful son said, "Father what are you going to leave me?" "Go, stand before your mirror," was the father's reply, "and you will see what I leave you."
As he grew to boyhood, his energy was turned into other directions. There came a time when he would gather his companions together and hold religious services in which preaching played an important part. "Coming events cast their shadows before." Years afterwards, Shri Ramakrishna said, that if he had not interfered. Naren would have become one of the great preachers of the world and the head of a sect of his own.
To be continued.... (Memoirs of Sister Christine)