Monday 20 November 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India - 6

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Margaret towards her Karmabhoomi, Punyabhoomi

On an extremely foggy morning, Margaret left for India by a ship named as 'Mombasa'. Her mother, sister, brother and few friends had come to see her off. Mother and sister could not control their tears. The ship started sailing and as her people and the land of birth started receding in background her Karmabhoomi Bharat started occupying her mind. She was going there depending on the people of India. There was no organization behind her to support her or any financial support. The only person known to her was her Guru. Imagine what must be her thoughts.

The co-passengers were no less surprised. Some even tried to frighten Margaret. Someone told, 'You must take care day and night. In India, there is danger everywhere, in the water, which slowly kills, in the fruits, which poison, and in the flowers which intoxicate. It is a strange country where it is more serious to inflict the slightest injury on a cow, a monkey, or a peacock than to murder a man'. However, she was undeterred. She was longing to realize the truth of life, she was eager to offer herself to serve the people of her Master. Nevertheless, how those people would take to her? She had no idea.

Margaret's ship reached Calcutta on 28 January 1898. When she saw Swami Vivekananda was there to welcome her along with other monks she felt assured. One of the monks garlanded her. Margaret was overwhelmed with the welcome by so many persons, by such diversity of colours all around and yet blending in some unique harmony. First time she saw so many brown people wearing various dresses and colourful turbans. Margaret walked as if in a dream. That night she wrote a single line in her diary, 'Victory! I am in India'.

India was going to witness a very rare sight, a healing touch, Margaret Noble coming to India to serve Indians in Indian way and to learn from India. Initially, her staying arrangements were made in a mansion in Chowringhee, the areas where the British lived. Later two more disciples of Swami Vivekananda Josephine Macleod and Mrs. Bull who had come from America for few months visit were to join her. During the Swamiji's first American tour, these two women had made plans to visit their instructor's country, but he had tried to dissuade them. "Come by all means if you want to see poverty, degradation, filth, and men in rags who speak of God and who live only for God. But if you seek anything else, don't come," he said, and added, "We cannot bear one more word of criticism!" Now, four years later, he had himself invited them to come to India.

During first few days Margaret was taken for some sight-seeing along with few British friends but her interests lay in seeing Hindu quarters and thus whenever time permitted she would hire a buggy and drove through Hindu quarters which after some time was going to be her permanent abode. Her Bengali lessons also were started immediately.

To be Continue

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