TRAINING A DISCIPLE
His method was different with each disciple. With some, it was an incessant hammering. The severest asceticism was imposed with regard to diet, habits, even clothing and conversation. With others his method was not so easy to understand, for the habit of asceticism was not encouraged. Was it because in this case there was spiritual vanity to be overcome and because good had become a bondage? With one the method was ridicule — loving ridicule — with another it was sternness. We watched the transformation of those who put themselves into line with it. Nor were we ourselves spared. Our pet foibles were gently smiled out of existence. Our conventional ideas underwent a process of education. We were taught to think things through, to reject the false and hold to the true fearlessly, no matter what the cost. In this process much that had seemed worth while and of value was cast aside. Perhaps our purposes and aims had been small and scattered. In time we learnt to lift them into a higher, purer region, and to unite all little aims into the one great aim, the goal which is the real purpose of life, for which we come to this earth again and again. We learnt not to search for it in deserts, nor yet on mountain tops, but in our own hearts. By all these means the process of evolution was accelerated, and the whole nature was transmuted.
So is it any wonder that we shrank from the first impact of so unusual a power? Nor were we alone in this. Some time afterwards a brilliant American woman, in speaking of the different Swamis who had come to the United Stales, said. "I like Swami... better than Swami Vivekananda."To the look of surprise which met this statement she answered. "Yes, I know Swami Vivekananda is infinitely greater, but he is so powerful he overwhelms me." Later almost the same words came from the lips of a well-known teacher of one of the new cults whose message was so obviously influenced by Vedanta that I asked him whether he had ever come under the influence of Swami Vivekananda. "Yes, I knew him and heard him," he said. "but his power overwhelmed me. I was much more attracted to Swami...," mentioning a preacher of Vedanta from Northern India who had spent some time in the United States. What is the explanation? Is it that we are temperamentally attracted by certain qualities and personalities and repelled by others? Even for that there must be an explanation. Is it the fear that the little personal self will be overwhelmed and nothing will be left? "Verily, he that loseth his life shall find it." Still those who feared to be caught in the current of this great power were but few; the others by thousands were drawn with the irresistible force, even as iron filings to a magnet. He had a power of attraction so great that those who came near him, men and women alike, even children, fell under the magic spell he cast.
To be continued.... (Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda by Sister Christine)
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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