Wednesday 14 March 2018

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 38

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Nivedita as an Educationalist - 1

During her training period, Nivedita used to be very eager to discuss with Swami Vivekananda about the school for girls, which he wanted her to start. However, Swami Vivekananda always ignored that topic. He wanted Nivedita to be one with India before she opened the school. According to him the plans of work become integrated, and succeed by themselves, when they are the result of self-renunciation. To become a real educator of Hindu women, she must become a Hindu woman herself, even in her most spontaneous reactions.

During the pilgrimage, Swami Vivekananda would speak with a genuine fineness to the three women, at the same time addressing himself more particularly to Margaret, who had come to work with him among the poor. "Open your hearts wide to receive the treasure of the poor," he said to them all as they sat together. "For them you are God Himself entering their house. Famished, degraded, debased, they will confer on you the supreme good, since they see in you the Perfection to be worshiped. What do you bring them in exchange?" The question made them thoughtful.

One day Miss MacLeod asked him, "Swamiji, how can I serve you best?" "Love India!" he replied, "and serve her. Worship this land which is a prayer crying out toward Heaven."

On some days, he would remain entirely absorbed in his thoughts, absolutely inscrutable; and when Nivedita would be overwhelmed by the uncertainty in which she felt herself floundering. "What am I doing here for so long?" she complained to Miss McLeod. "Why doesn't the Swami speak to me about work, about the planned school?"

With the absence of haste that is characteristic of spiritual leaders, Swami Vivekananda was waiting until the heart of his disciple opened, and she learned by herself the secret of the right attitude to adopt. Lizelle Reymond writes, 'She did not realize that her will-to-action and her intelligence were standing between her and the broad road, which he wanted her to take. Blinded by her desire to succeed, to fulfill her task well, Margaret was incapable, as yet, of understanding the first lesson that India was teaching her; to live in the present moment, to find in the absence of "willing" the secret of disinterested work. The Swami remained silent because any words would have been in vain. She had to discover by herself that her progressive and "go ahead" educational methods were of little concern to India, and interested the Swami only a little. If he had summoned her it was because he needed her creative force, her stability and her rectitude, because he knew that she was capable of seeing the ideal behind the goal without worrying about the lack of means at the outset. Plans become integrated, and succeed by themselves, when they are the result of sell-renunciation'.

When Swamiji felt that Nivedita was ready to run the school, the work to get students started. But, who would send their daughters to a school run by a foreigner? Swami Vivekananda himself had to go and canvass for the school amongst his acquaintances. Ultimately, the school was opened on 12th November 1898. Sri Sarada Ma came for the opening and gave her blessings. After worshipping Sri Ramakrishna, she consecrated the school and blessed it, saying, 'I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may be upon the school and the girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal girls.' Nivedita became extremely delighted and recorded her feelings later as this: 'I cannot imagine a grander omen than her blessings, spoken over the educated Hindu womanhood of the future.' Afterwards too whenever Sri Sarada Devi was in Calcutta at the opening of a new, visited the school and added to joy and enthusiasm of all.

To be continued...

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