Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Sister Nivedita’s Battle for Indian Ideals in America - 7

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:


The Hale family in particular had been the first family to take Swamiji into their home as one of their own family. Mrs Hale's daughter, Mary was the recipient of his many affectionate letters. It came as a shock to Nivedita that Mary was not in sympathy with her work. Nivedita felt discouraged. She had even written to Miss MacLeod, her moral supporter, that she had been willing to share her private diary with 'the Hale girls, but not another soul ever'. So Nivedita was surprised at the attitude of those whom she considered to be in the intimate circle of the Swami's friends. Miss MacLeod advised her to stand on her own feet. She wrote to Nivedita on 14 January 1900: "I have your long letter telling me that Mary Hale does not wish to act as your Secretary and of the general disapproval. If I had you here half an hour you would start again with greater courage and hope than you ever had before. I quite see the blow you have had. It was dreadful—but now that it is over it will influence your whole life and make you a success—independent of Swami. You will have Kali's blessings direct and Swami's perfect love and trust. ...You know and Swami knows that I have always felt you had a mission—your own message for this work—and you can do better work where he is not known. No one who has ever known and loved him can ever take anybody else's version of him—not even yours. As Saradananda used to say, they would not listen to Swami in the Ramakrishna days. So you must strike out alone with new people—make your own audiences—your own disciples in your own way, and two years of training in America is not too much. The women problem is left to you and Swami should be left out—obliterated in your outward work."

Nivedita wrote to Miss MacLeod on 9th January 1900: "It is so like climbing in gravel! Most people make me sit down for hours and tell them all about everything, and then they say they are so much interested and I have given them great pleasure but they never offer to give me anything back, not even one dollar. ... I know I must go on patiently until I meet the right people, whom I shall find here and there. If there are none, my poor babies cannot be educated, that is all! Tomorrow I start off on a little lecture tour, and shall be kept going for the rest of the month. The first fortnight in February is unfilled, and I must see schools in that time."

The next day, in Jackson, Michigan, Nivedita met Mr O'Donnell who was the Superintendent of all the Michigan Sunday schools, and a friend of Mrs Adams. After giving a talk at his home, as members of her audience rushed up to her enthusiastically, Nivedita said: 'I give you great pleasure, did I? Well, but are you going to give us anything?' (1.297) Nivedita wrote to Miss MacLeod: 'It was horrid of me I suppose—and It has been more and more my temper lately' (ibid.). One lady asked 'What can we do to help you?' (ibid.). Nivedita asked for a mere dollar a year for ten years. One person said: 'Oh I'm so thankful, I never wanted to give anyone a dollar in my life so much as I do you, this afternoon.' 'Yes, said the first woman. I knew you must want something we could do, for I've never noticed that great things could be done without money' (ibid.). Nivedita never lost hope. She wrote: 'And so they say they will form a group for me, and if Mother is really in it, I suppose they will. ... Someone called me down to receive a visitor with 5 dollars. "That won't go very far towards 15 or 20 thou sand!"—she said' (1.297–8). Nivedita gathered pathetically little, a few dollars, bit by bit. She then went on to try her luck in Detroit. From there she wrote to MacLeod on 16 January 1900: "Life brings experience. ... I suddenly found myself yesterday afternoon in a nest of thorns, and learnt the psychological process that makes Swami fight and attack! I nearly let go and did it myself—yesterday. ... The Women's Club, Detroit, after 26 years of civil war ...woke up yesterday afternoon to find me addressing it on India. ...


- Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana : Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana is a senior Sanyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.

To be continued...........