Tuesday 28 November 2017

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India - 9

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Training of Nivedita - 1

Nivedita was initiated into Hindu Dharma but the process to be initiated in the service and worship of Mother India was a prolonged one and even painful.

The name was changed but the disciple needed to inculcate the spirit of India. Every morning along with few other monks Swamiji visited the three women – Josephine Macleod, Mrs Bull and Sister Nivedita who were then staying in one old cottage near Belur. Either in a verandah or under a tree he talked to them about various things, The central theme was always India. A new aspect of the Swami's personality was revealed to his disciples here. In West, 'he was a religious teacher wrapped in sunlit serenity and peace'. However, here he was 'the lover of his land, the Defender of his faith, impatient and restless, 'like a lion caught in a net'. Once Josephine Macleod asked him, "What shall we do for you?' He said, "Love India! Love her as she is!"

Those were not just some classes but Swamiji was training his disciple Nivedita to the life she was going to lead in India. She had a tough training ahead. Some days after the consecration ceremony along with some monks of Ramakrishna Mission and Nivedita and other disciples from West Swamiji set out on pilgrimage. It was a pilgrimage to understand India. What confidence Swamiji must be having in inherent strength and beauty of India that even in those days of slavery and degradation he dared to take his foreign disciples to see and understand India. Nivedita observed that Swamiji looked at his country with the eyes of an artist and a poet and with the sensibility of a mystic. He pointed out that every separate theme of life in India is like a unique prayer of the soul. How true was the remark, which Swami Vivekananda had made in London, 'I loved India before I came away; now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is holy to me now…' But for Nivedita it was still very difficult to understand. 

While living in England, like most of the English people, Nivedita thought that the British rule was beneficial to India. She thought that if both England and India would be able to love each other, it would do good to both the countries. Even after her coming to India, she initially maintained that stand. Swamiji had already made it clear to her that the service for which he had called her was not his own, but of Truth itself. However, Nivedita never dreamt that dedicated service implied complete forgetting of one's old self. She was learning to know and adore India, but that did not diminish her loyalty towards the Britain. She was British to the core of her being, proud of her race, its deeds and its history.

So, the day after her initiation, when Swamiji asked Nivedita, 'To which nation do you belong?' Nivedita proudly declared her loyalty to the British flag. Swamiji realized how deep were the western tendencies and ideas in Nivedita's mind. He realized that his disciple's love for his country was only superficial and until she identifies herself with India and her people, she cannot render service to India in real sense. Thus, a very difficult period of training began in the life of Nivedita.

To be Continue

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