Sunday 7 January 2018

Letter to Mrs. Eric Hammond - 2

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

August 7, 1898

Between Islamabad and Srinagar
 On the Jhelum, Kashmir
 Sunday morning, August 7, [1898]

   For him it was a wonderfully solemn moment. He was utterly absorbed though he was only there two minutes, and then he fled lest emotion should get the upper hand. He was utterly exhausted too—for we had had a long and dangerous climb on foot—and his heart is week. But I wish you could see his faith and courage and joy ever since. He says Siva gave him Amar (immortality) and now he cannot die till he himself wishes it. I am so so glad to have been there with him. That must be a memory for ever, must n't it ?—and he did dedicate me to Siva too—though it's not the Hindu way to let one share in the dedication—and since he told me so I have grown Hindu in taste with alarming rapidity.

                I am so deeply and intensely glad of this revelation that he has had. But oh Nell dear—it is such terrible pain to come face to face with something which is all inwardness to some one you worship, and for yourself to be able to get little further than externals. Swami could have made it live—but he was lost.

Even now I can scarcely look back on those hours without dropping once more into their abyss of anguish and disappointment, but I know that I am wrong—for I see that I am utterly forgiven by the King and that in some strange way I am nearer to him and to GOD for the pilgrimage. But oh for the bitterness of a lost chance—that can never never come again. For I was angry with him and would not listen to him when he was going to talk.

                I have a feeling dear Nell that you will have some strong quiet piece of comfort in your brave heart—but if only I had not been a discordant note in it all for him ! If I had made myself part of it, by a little patience and sympathy ! And that can never be undone. The only comfort is that it was my own loss—but such a loss !

                You see I told him that if he would not put more reality into the word Master he would have to remember that we were nothing more to each other than an ordinary man and woman, and so I snubbed him and shut myself up in a hard shell.

                He was so exquisite about it. Not a bit angry—only caring for little comforts for me. I suppose he thought I was tired • only he couldn't tell me about himself any more ! And the next morning as we came home he said "Margot, I haven't the power to do these things for you—I am not Ramakrishna Paramahamsa." The most perfect because the most unconscious humility you ever saw.

                But you know part of it is the inevitable suffering that comes of the different national habits. My Irish nature expresses every-thing, the Hindu never dreams of expression, and Swami is so utterly shy of priestliness, whereas I am always craving for it— and so on. Now that's enough selfishness—only remember I shall tell plenty of people I have been up there—but I shall tell no one what I've told you and you're not to be betrayed into any knowledge of the pilgrimage as anything but a sight.

                Your beautiful story of your vision and your most lovely word "reciprocating our highest consciousness" are a perfect treasure. I don't know if you ever got so far as to sit in the Buddha-attitude for meditation. I never took that seriously in England, but here in India one does it quite naturally and simply. And it is quite worthwhile. Swami Swarupananda helped me more than anyone else ever did. Meditation simply means concentration—absolute concentration of the mind on the given point, but there is some subtle magnetic condition which makes it easier—and so external conditions are worthwhile. For instance a skin rug to sit on is quite seriously a help. It isolates one and increases the magnetic power in some way. Swami on the other hand could not bear that—because the physical something would become so overwhelmingly strong.

                Swarup[ananda] says "and the minute you succeed in concentrating all your powers for a second, you have done it,—  the rest will speak for itself." But long before that—great things come to one—and if it is only the perfect stillness, it is something wonderful, don't you think so ? What Maeterlinck calls the "Great Active Silence".

                I have never had this experience of going to sleep, though I have tried once or twice. But I have heard of it.
Then an old Sannyasin lately told me that you should only have two subjects of meditation at first—and of these you should be always in the presence of some picture or symbol, so as to saturate your whole mind with the idea. One should be your Guru—and apart from him one concrete subject besides. After the concrete, one is able to meditate on the abstract.

                Do you care for these scraps of information ? I value them because personally they have been difficult to come by—but it is possible that you have long known them. There is something else I meant to tell you but I can't think at this moment, oh yes, about breathing. I was quite out of breath one night, and could not anyhow get quieted down, so I just went on with the mental effort, and presently I noticed that quite unconsciously I was "breathing inwardly" as they call it—and was perfectly in control. It is so curious how the instant a gleam comes to one, one under-stands suddenly the necessity of solitude and so many things that were only hearsay before.

                And now I must stop. There is no secret from Mr. Hammond in my letter, it is to you both. I wish it were beautiful and unselfish like yours.
Your own loving,
P. S.—I hope you have had a lovely time.

हमें कर्म की प्रतिष्ठा बढ़ानी होंगी। कर्म देवो भव: यह आज हमारा जीवन-सूत्र बनना चाहिए। - भगिनी निवेदिता {पथ और पाथेय : पृ. क्र.१९ }
Sister Nivedita 150th Birth Anniversary :
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