Monday, 16 July 2018

Breakfast with the Sisters: A Meeting of Great Minds -14

Yet, does this mean that Christine abandoned ship and severed connections with Nivedita and the school that she had worked so hard for—that she left in 1911 to teach in the Brahmo school, not to return? This is what the story has been so far. But let's take another look: In June 1911 we find that both Christine and Nivedita were at Mayavati along with the Boses. Nivedita wrote: 'Christine remains here, till October. After that her plans are in some uncertainty'. At that time, after the death of Sara Bull, the money that Mrs Bull was giving for the school and for Christine had dried up. Mrs Bull was basically supporting both. Though Mrs Bull had included the school and Christine in her will, her daughter was contesting it in court. Everything looked bleak. Nivedita admitted that the school could not be run much longer.

At this point Mrs Bose made a suggestion. Nivedita wrote to the Ratcliffes on 12 June 1911: 'Bo [Mrs. Bose] is very ambitious to establish a training class for teachers, at the Brahmo School—and we discuss plans for this—in considerable detail. A syllabus seems to have been issued which is not altogether absurd in theory'. So the idea for teaching at the Brahmo School came from Mrs Bose, and was discussed among them. Thus, teaching there was not a surprise move on Christine's part. Both Christine and the school badly needed money, and this was a natural solution for both problems.

In August 1911, Nivedita at last learned that, due to the sudden death of Mrs Bull's daughter, some money would be coming—though, as Nivedita says, 'It does not leave us rich'. "On 31 August, she wrote to the Ratcliffes: You know by this time that we are not to be quite so easy in our circumstances as she [Mrs Bull] wished to make us. But there will be enough for a home, and the school is provided for, for the present. Meanwhile Christine has undertaken a year's work at the Brahmo Somaj training teachers, and supervising the primary school. This is not so much for a salary, as for the open air which her present state of health render imperatively necessary. I think she will gain much strength and breadth of view from this experience. This [meaning their own school] will continue to be her head quarters."

From : Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana :  Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana is a senior Sanyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission...to be continued