Tuesday 17 April 2018

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 46

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Nivedita as a writer - 4

Writings of Nivedita were a symphony of her insight in Indian wisdom and tradition, her intense love for India, her sharp intellect and her mastery over language. So beautiful, deep and moving were her writings that it is really difficult to translate those in other languages. May be that is the reason that most of her literature even today remains un-translated. Her literature has not only historical and literary value but are good guide in the task of nation-building too.

For example: while comparing with other nations she sums up in few words the journey and contribution of Hindu Nation from antiquity to till now. She writes, "Let it be said that to every people who possess the elements of truly national existence, with the responsibility of facing the problems of a nation, this question sooner or later comes to be faced. Have we in the past dreamt dreams great enough, thought thoughts noble enough, willed with a will clear enough, to enable us to strike out new paths into the untried, without error and without defeat? And perhaps of all the peoples of the world only the Hindu people, to this searching enquiry can answer yes".

Therefore, not just because Sister Nivedita was a great example of transformation but we have to study her life and works also because, even today she can give insight to us - the English educated -about our own nation and its significance.

Nivedita had the habit of taking down the notes of whatever Swami Vivekananda used to say during her training period. Then she would think over it. It helped her then to understand what Swamiji was trying to say. But once the soul of India was revealed to her, later with her powerful pen she interpreted it to the world. The best of Nivedita's books on Indian national life, a masterpiece, is 'The Web of Indian Life' and 'The Cradle tales of Hinduism'. As soon as the book 'The Web of Indian Life' was published it created quite a stir in India and abroad. The book is a respectful commentary on Indian culture. Through this book, Nivedita tried to give a fitting reply to all the slander and vile representations so far made by the Western scholars of Indian culture and civilization.

But Nivedita did not think that she had authored the book. She thought it was Swamiji's book. She only recorded the image of India that Swamiji had laid open before her. Dedicating the book, she inscribed the following words, which were favourites of Swamiji-Wahe Guru ki Fateh! Rabindranath Tagore wrote the introduction to its 1918 edition. Immediately after its publication, Nivedita wrote to Miss Josephine MacLeod, her intimate friend and the great admirer and friend of Vivekananda. 'You know that my book is out. I trust you really feel that it was written by Swami, I suppose it is.' In another letter to Miss Macleod she wrote: 'Suppose he had not come to London that time. Life would have been like a headless torso-for I always knew, I always said that a call would come. And it did…. Now I look at the book, and say: "If he had not come!" – for always I had that burning voice within, but nothing to utter. How often and often I have sat down, pen in hand, to speak, and there was no speech. And now, there is no end to it! As surely as I am fitted for my world, so surely is my world in need of me, waiting…'
Nivedita's book on Swami Vivekananda 'The Master as I saw Him' is the masterpiece. Nivedita's whole being has been expressed in it as a poetry in prose form. It is so beautiful and ethereal that even today its accurate, candid and moving translation is not done. Whatever was the best of her soul and her pen, is reflected in that book. 

To be continued...

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