Tuesday 29 August 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 47


...Even after he left America, he still had great concern for those he left behind, who found life a great struggle. Especially did he feel for "women with men's responsibilities". Asked whether he endorsed a certain woman who was going about the country as a religious teacher and using his name and reputation to get a following, he said: "Poor thing! She has a husband to support, and she must get a certain amount every month." "But Swami, someone said, "she claims to be authorised by you to prepare students for your teaching. She says, if we go through her two preliminary classes, then we will be ready to be taught by you. It is so absurd and unscrupulous. To the first class she gives a few gymnastic exercises, and to the second she dictates some quotations or gems which she has gathered from various books on occultism. Should she be allowed to mislead people, take their money, and use your name?" All that he said was. "Poor thing! Poor thing! Shiva! Shiva!" With this "Shiva! Shiva!" he put the matter out of his mind. Someone asked him once what he meant when he said "Shiva! Shiva!" and he answered with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes "Shiver my timbers. Ho. ho, ho. and a bottle of rum." This was not flippancy. How could he answer a casual question otherwise? We had noticed that when something disturbed him, after allowing himself to be troubled by it for a few minutes, his "Shiva! Shiva!" seemed to end it. We knew that he had reminded himself of his true nature, in which everything of a disquieting nature was dissolved.

In New York once there was pitiful little group that clung to him with pathetic tenacity. In the course of a walk he had gathered up first one and then another. This ragged retinue returned with him to the house of 58th Street which was the home of the Vedanta Society. Walking up the flight of steps leading to the front door the one beside him thought. "Why does he attract such queer abnormal people?" Quick as a flash he turned and answered the unspoken thought. "You see. they are Shiva's demons."

Walking along Fifth Avenue one day, with two elderly forlorn devoted creatures walking in front, he said. "Don't you see, life has conquered them!" The pity. the compassion for the defeated in his tone! Yes, and something else — for then and there, the one who heard, prayed and vowed that never should life conquer her, not even when age, illness, and poverty should come. And so it has been. His silent blessing was fraught with power.

To be continued.... (Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda by Sister Christine)

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