Tuesday 10 October 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Devamata - 3

Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda by Sister Devamata

The silence of an empty hall recalled me to myself. Everyone was gone except the Swami and two others standing near the platform. I learnt later that they were Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear, ardent disciples of the Swami. Mr. Goodyear made the announcements at the meetings. After that I attended all the classes and lectures during the Swami's two seasons in New York, but I never came in close personal touch with him. There seemed to be an intangible barrier. Was it created by shyness or a sense of strangeness, or by my elder sister's prejudice? She had no sympathy with my Oriental studies and often said she wished I "could get salvation nearer home".

The meetings began in an upper room; then because of their increasing size they were transferred to the floor below. Later they moved to another house — one in a long monotonous row of dingy boarding houses. It was a heterogeneous gathering at the classes in those shabby lodgings — old and young, rich and poor, wise and foolish; stingy ones who dropped a button in the collection basket, and more generous ones who gave a dollar bill or even two. We all met day after day and became friends without words or association. Some of us never missed a meeting. We followed the course on bhakti-yoga and the course on jnana-yoga. We walked simultaneously along the paths of raja-yoga and karma-yoga. We were almost sorry that there were only four yogas. We would have liked to have six or eight, that the number of classes might be multiplied.

We were insatiable knowledge-seekers. We did not limit ourselves to any one doctrine or scripture. We went to one lecture in the morning, a second one in the afternoon, and sometimes to a third in the evening. Philosophy, metaphysics, astrology, each had its turn. Yet although we seemed to scatter our interest, our real loyalty belonged to the Swami. We recognized in him a power that no other teacher possessed. It was he alone who was shaping our thought and conviction. Even my dog — an Irish setter — felt this. He would stand perfectly still and a quiver would run through his body whenever Swamiji would lay his hand on his head and tell him he was a true yogi.

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

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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