Friday, 29 June 2018

Sister Nivedita’s Battle for Indian Ideals in America - 10

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:


Mrs Ole Bull arranged for Nivedita to give a talk in Steinert Hall in Coply Square in the centre of town. Nivedita spoke of her educational work in India. She said in the course of her talk: "I think that we must gladly admit that the exchange of ideals between the nations of the eastern and western hemispheres cannot be wholly one-sided. While the western woman of today spiritually descended, as I believe, from the Roman-type of ideal womanhood, holds a near attainment to the ideal in energy, civic and political activity. The woman of the East is fully equal to her in other respects and is inevitably bound to teach her and lead her to a higher attainment of perfect womanhood. There is no ideal for the woman of the east outside of virtue, the spiritual ideal that we approach only by interior roads of thought and feeling. Hers are ideals of achievement in virtue and of service, of heroic deed and sacrifice, of passionate devotion to the ideal of purity which eastern society places before her."

In this Steinert Hall lecture, Nivedita spoke of the sacredness of marriage and motherhood in Indian society. In a newspaper report the next day, it was mentioned that her association with Hindu life had given her a unique insight into the Indian character and a good understanding of their myths and customs. Sri Sarada Devi had written to her in a letter dated 13 May 1900: 'You are indeed doing good work—but don't forget your Bengali! Or I shall not be able to understand you, when you come back. It gave me such delight to know that you are speaking of Dhruba, Savitri, Sita-Ram and so on there! The accounts of their holy lives are better than all the vain talk of the world, I am sure.

Nivedita in these last two lectures had given her most successful lectures. The training— Swamiji predicted—she would get in the West bore fruit at the end. However, the fund-raising for the school had not been successful; only a trickle of money came after so many struggles. A man from the 20th Century Club gave Nivedita twenty dollars and Mrs Cheney gave another twenty-five (1.359). Swamiji assured her through many letters, consoling her about not being able to raise money for her school. He at last wrote: 'If it does not come, who cares?' Nivedita returned to New York in early June 'after a long, gruelling, and largely fruitless work in the United States.'

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

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