Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda by Sister Devamata
The faithful group that followed the Swami wherever he spoke were as relentless as they were earnest. If he suggested tentatively omitting a class because of a holiday or for some other reason, there was a loud protest always. This one had come to New York specially for the teaching and wished to get all she could; another was leaving town soon and was unwilling to lose a single opportunity of hearing the Swami. They gave him no respite. He taught early and late. Among the most eager were a number of teachers, each with a blank book in hand; and the Swami's words were punctuated by the tap of their pencils taking rapid notes. Not a sentence went unrecorded; and I am sure that if later any one had made the circuit Of the New York Centres of New Thought, Metaphysics, or Divine Science, they would have heard everywhere Vedanta and yoga in more or less diluted form.
Through the late winter and spring of 1895 the work — carried on without the intermittence of the earlier teaching — gained tremendous momentum and fervour. We divided our interest no longer. It was wholly focussed on the message the Swami had to give. That had become the foundation of our daily living, the stimulus that urged us onward. For several consecutive months class followed class, lecture followed lecture. Now there remained only a final class and a final lecture. Then the last class was over and in a hush of sadness we filed out from the shabby lodging-house, dropping our farewell offering in the basket at the door.
There was still a final Sunday lecture. It look place in the Madison Square Concert Hall — a fairly large hall on the second floor behind the Madison Square Garden, a vast arena used for automobile exhibitions, bicycle races, horse shows, for anything that required space. The building seemed huge at that time, but later New York outgrew it. and it was torn down. The Concert Hall was much used by Glee Clubs, siring quartets, and lectures. I do not know how many it held, but it was full to the uttermost at that closing lecture — every seat, every foot of standing room was occupied.
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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