Vivekananda AutoBiography – 4.THE BARANAGORE MATH AND PERIPATETIC DAYS

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CHAPTER IV
THE BARANAGORE MATH AND PERIPATETIC DAYS

A

Then came the sad day when our old teacher died. We nursed him as best we could. We had no friends; who would listen to a few boys, with their crank notions? Nobody. At least, in India, boys are nobodies. Just think of it – a dozen boys telling people vast, big ideas, saying they were determind to work these ideas out in life. Everybody laughed. From laughter, it became serious; it became persecution. The parents of the boys came to feel like spanking everyone of us. And the more we were derided, the more determined we became.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say, “In the morning and evening, the mind remains highly imbued with sattwa ideas; those are the times when one should meditate with earnestness.”

After the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, we went through a lot of religious practice at the Baranagore Math. We used to get up at 3 A.M. and after washing our face etc. – some after taking bath, and some without it – we would sit in the worship-room and become absorbed in japam and meditation. What a strong spirit of dispassion we had in those days!

We had no thought even as to whether the world existed or not. Ramakrishnananda busied himself day and night with the duties pertaining to Sri Ramakrishna’s worship and service, and occupied the same position in the Math as the mistress of the house does in a family. It was he who would procure, mostly by begging, the requisite articles for Sri Ramakrishna’s worship and our sustenance. There were days when the Japam and meditation continued from morning till four or five in the afternoon. Ramakrishnanda waited and waited with our meals ready, till at last he would come and drag us
from our meditation by sheer force. Oh, what a wonderful constancy of devotion we noticed in him!

What was collected by begging and such other means, was utilised for defraying the Math expenses. Today, both Suresh Babu and Balaram Babu are no more. Had they been alive, they would have been exceedingly glad to see this Math (at Belur). Suresh Babu was in a way the founder of this Math. It was he who used to bear all the expenses of the Barangore Math. It was Suresh Mitra who used to worry most for us in those days. His devotion and faith have no parallel!

Owing to want of funds, I would sometimes fight for closing the Math altogether. But, I could never induce Ramakrishnananda to accede to the proposal… There were days when the Math was without a grain of food… If some rice was collected by begging, there was no salt to flavour it with!

On some days, there would be only rice and salt, but nobody cared about it in the least. We were then being carried away by a tidal wave of spiritual upsurage. Boiled Nimba leaves, rice and salt – this was the menu for a month at a stretch.Oh! Those wonderful days! The austerities of that period were enough to dismay supernatural beings, not to speak of men. But, it is a tremendous truth that if there is real worth in you, the more circumstances are against you, the more will that inner power manifest itself, But the reason why I provided for beds and a tolerable living in the Math is that the Sannyasins that are enrolling themselves nfiwadays will not be able to bear so much strain as we did. There was the life of Sri Ramakrishna to inspire us, and that was why we did not care much for privation and hardships. Boys of this generation will not be able to undergo so much hardship. Hence, it is that I have provided for some sort of habitation and a bare subsistence for them. If they get food and clothing, the boys will devote themselves to religious practice, and will learn to sacrifice their lives for the good of humanity.

Let outside people say anything against this sort of bedding and furniture. Even in jest they will at least once think of this Math. And they say it is easier to attain liberation through cherishing a hostile spirit!

After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away, all forsook us as so many worthless, ragged boys. Only people like Suresh Babu and Balaram Babu were our friends in that hour of need. And we shall never be able to repay our debts to them.

Then came a terrible time – for me personally and for all the other boys as well. But to me came such misfortune! On the one side was my mother, my brothers. My father died at that time, and we were left poor. Oh, very poor, almost starving all the time! I was the only hope of the family, the only one who could do anything to help them I had to stand between my two worlds. On the one hand, I would have to see my mother and brothers starve unto death; on the other, I had believed that [Sri Ramakrishna’s] ideas were for the good of India and the world, and had to be preached and worked out. And so the fight went on in my mind for days and months. Sometimes I would pray for five or six days and nights together without stopping. Oh, the agony of those days! I was living in hell! The natural affections of my boy’s heart drawing me to my family – I could not bear to see those who were the nearest and dearest to me suffering. On the other hand, nobody to sympathise with me. Who would sympathise with the imaginations of a boy – imaginations that caused so much suffering to others? Who would sympathise with me? None – except one [Sri Sarada Devi]. That one’s sympathy brought blessing and hope. . .

Well, that lady, his (Sri Ramakrishna’s) wife, was the only one who sympathised with the idea of those boys. But she was powerless. She was poorer, than we were. Never mind! We took the plunge, I believed, as I am living, that these ideas were going to revolutionise India and bring better days to many lands and foreign races. With that belief, came the realisation that it is better that a few persons suffer than that such ideas should die out of this world. What if a mother or two brothers die? It is a sacrifice. Let it be done. No great thing can be done without sacrifice. The heart must be plucked out and the bleeding heart placed upoh the altar. Then great things are done. Is there any other way? None have found it. I appeal to each one of you, to those who have accomplished any great thing. Oh, how much it has cost! What agony! what torture! What terrible sufferring is behind every deed of success, in every life! You know that, all of you.

And thus we went on, only a band of boys. The only thing we got from those around us was a kick and a curse, that was all.

Of course, we had to beg from door to door for our food – got hips and haws – the refuse of everything. A piece of bread here and there. We got hold of a broken-down old house, with hissing cobras living underneath; and because that was the cheapest, we went into that house and lived there.

Thus we went on for some years, in the meanwhile making excursions all over India, trying to carry out the idea gradually. Ten years were spent without a ray of light! Ten more years! A thousand times despondency came; but there was one thing always to keep u$ hopeful – the tremendous faithfulness to each other, the tremendous love among us. I have got a hundred men and women around me; if I become the devil himself tomorrow, they will say: “Here we are still! we will never give you up!” That is the great blessing. In happiness, in misery, in famine, in pain, in the grave, in heaven or in hell he, who never gives me up, is my friend. Is such friendship a joke? A man may have salvation through such friendship. If we have that faithfulness, why, there is the essence of all concentration. You need not worship any gods in the world if you have that faith, that strength, that love. Any one that was there was with us all throughout the hard time. That made us go from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, from the Indus to Brahmaputra.

This band of boys began to travel about. Gradually we began to draw attention; ninety per cent was antagonism, very little of it was helpful. For we had one fault, – we were boys – in poverty, and with all the roughness of boys.

He who has to make his own way in life is a bit rough; he has not much time to be smooth and suave and polite – “my lady and my gentleman,” and all that. You have seen that in life, alwaysl He is a rough diamond, he has not much polish, he is a jewel in an indifferent setting.

And there we were. “No compromise,” was the watchword. “This is the ideal and this has got to be realised. If we meet the king, though we die, we must give him a bit of our mind; if the peasant, the same.” Naturally, we met with antagonism.

But, mind you, this is life’s experience. If you really want the good of others the whole universe may stand against you, but cannot hurt you. It must crumble before the power of the Lord Himself in you, if you are sincere and really unselfish. And those boys were that. They came as children, pure and fresh from the hands of nature. Said our Master, “I want to offer at the altar of the Lord only those flowers that have not even been smelt, fruit that have not been touched with the fingers.” The words of the great man sustained us all. For he saw through the future life of those boys that he collected from the streets of Calcutta, so to say. People used to laugh at him when he said, ”You will see – this boy, that boy, what he becomes.” His faith was unalterable. “Mother showed it to me. I may be weak, but when She says this is so. She never makes mistakes, it must be so.”

So things went on and on for ten years without any light, but with our health breaking down all the time.

It tells on the body in the long run: sometimes one meal at nine in the evening, another time a meal at eight in the morning, another after two days, another, after three days – and always the poorest and roughest thing. Who is going to give to the beggar the good things he has? And then they have not much in India. And most of the time walking, climbing snow peaks, sometimes ten miles of hard mountain climbing just to get a meal. They eat unleavened bread in India, and sometimes they have it stored away for twenty or thirty days, until it is harder than bricks; and then they will give a crumb of that. I would have to go from house to house to collect suffi-cient food for one meal. And then the bread was so hard, it made my mouth bleed to eat it. Literally, you can break your teeth with that bread. Then I would put it in a pot and pour river water over it. For months and months, I lived that way – of course, it told on the health.

Sri Ramakrishna was a wonderful gardener. Therefore he has made a bouquet of different flowers and formed his Order. All different types and ideas have come into it, and many more will come. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, “Whoever has prayed to God sincerely

for one day, must come here.” Know each of those who are here [the Sannyasin disciples of Sri Ramakrishna], to be of great spiritual power. . . . When they will go out, they will be the cause of the awakening of spirituality in people. Know them to be part of the spiritual body of Sri Ramakrishna, who was the embodiment of infinite religious ideas. I look upon them with that eye. See, for instance, Brahmananda, who is here – even I have not the spirituality which he has. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon him as his mind-born son; and he lived and walked, ate and slept with him He is the ornament of our Math – our king.

He who has a dogged determination like that shall have everything…It is because we had such a determination that we have attained the little that we have. Otherwise, what dire days of privation we had to pass through! One day. for want of food I fainted in the outer platform of a house on the roadside, and quite a shower of rain drenched my head before I recovered my senses. Another day, I had to do odd jobs in Calcutta for the whole day without food, and had my meal on my return to the Math at ten or eleven in the night. And these were not solitary instances.

I worked for fulfilling the purpose for which the Lord (Sri Ramakrishna) came. He gave me the charge of them all (the youngsters) , who will contribute to the great wellbeing of the world, though most of them are not yet? aware of it. They are each a centre of religious power and in time that power will manifest itself.

The disciples of Jesus were all Sannyasins. The direct recipients of the grace of Sankara, Ramanuja, Sri Chaitanya and Buddha were all-renouncing Sannyasins. It is men of this stamp who have been spreading the Brahma-vidya in the world…In Veda, Vedanta. Itibasa (history) Purana (ancient tradition) , you will find everywhere that the Sannyasins have been the teachers of Religion in all ages and climes. History repeats itself. It will also be likewise now. The capable Sannyasin children of Sri Ramakrishna, the teacher of the great synthesis of religions, will be honoured everywhere as the teacher of men.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say, “Whoever has prayed to God sincerely for one day, must come here.” Know each of the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna to be of great spiritual powet. Do not think them to be ordinary souls. They will be the source of the awakening of spirituality in people. Know them to be part of the spiritual body of Sri Ramakrishna, who was the embodiment of infinite religious ideas. I look upon them with that eye. See Brahmananda – even I have not the spirituality which he has. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon him as his spiritual son and he lived and walked, ate and slept with him. He is the ornament of our Math-our King. Similarly Premananda, Turiyananda, Trigunantita, Akhandananda, Saradananda, Ramakrishnananda, Subodhananda and others.

To create a band of men who are tied and bound together with the most undying love in spite of differences, is it not wonderful? This band will increase.

The ways, movements and ideas of our Master were all cast in a new mould, so we are also of a new type. Sometimes dressed like gentlemen, we are engaged in lecturing; at other times, throwing all aside, with “Hara, Hara, Aum, Aum,” on the lips, ash smeared on the body, we are immersed in meditation and austerities in mountains and forests.

Referring to history, we see that only that fragment which is fit will survive and what makes fit to survive but character?…

Let me tell you a little personal experience. When my Master left the body, we were a dozen penniless and unknown young men. Against us were a hundred powerful organisations, struggling hard to nip us in the bud. But Ramakrishna had given us one great gift, the desire, and the lifelong struggle, not to talk alone, but to live the life. And today all India knows and reverences the Master, and the truths he taught are spreading like wildfire. Ten years ago, I . could not get a hundred persons together to celebrate his birthday anniversary. In 1894, there were fifty-thousand.

His thoughts and his message were known to very few capable of giving them out. Among others, he left a few young boys who had renounced the world, and were ready to carry on his work. Attempts were made to crush them. But they stood firm, having the inspiration of that great life before them. Having had the contact of that blessed life for years, they stood their ground. These young men living as Sannyasins, begged through the streets of the city where they were born, although some of them came from high families. At first, they met with great antagonism, but they persevered and went on from day to day spreading all over India the message of that great man, until the whole country was filled with the ideas he had preached.

I am not taking pride in this. But, mark you, I have told the story of that group of boys. Today, there is not a village, not a man, not a woman in India that does not know their work and bless them. There is not a famine in the land where these boys do not plunge in and try to work and rescue as many as they can.

I believed, and still believe that without my giving up the world, the great mission which Ramakrishna Parama-hamsa, my great Master, came to preach, would not see the light; and where would those young men be who have stood as bulwarks against the surging waves of materialism and luxury of the day? These have done a great deal of good to India, especially to Bengal, and this is only the beginning. With the Lord’s help, they will do things for which the whole world will bless them for ages. So on the one hand my vision of the future Indian religion and that of the whole world, my love for the millions of beings sinking down and down for ages with nobody to help them, nay nobody with even a thought for them; on the other hand, making those who are nearest and dearest miserable. I chose the former and “Lord will do the rest.” He is with me, I am sure of that, if of anything. So long as l am sincere, nothing can resist me because He will be my help. Many and many in India could not understand me; and how could they, poor men? Their thoughts never strayed beyond the everyday routine business of eating and drinking … But appreciation or no appreciation, I am born to organise
these young men……nay, more…… And this I will do or die. We are a unique company……Nobody amongst us has a right to force his faith upon others……Many of us do not believe in any form of idolatry…… What harm is there in worshipping the Guru when that Guru was a hundred times more holy than even the historical Prophets all taken together? If there is no harm in worshipping Christ, Krishna, or Buddha, why should there be any harm in -worshipping this man who never did or thought anything unholy, whose intellect only through intuition stands head and shoulders above all the other Prophets because they were all one-sided?

25-3-1887 – I have attained my present state of mind as a result of much suffering and pain. I now realise that without trials and tribulations, one cannot resign oneself to God and depend on Him absolutely.

I have noticed a peculiar thing. Some objects or places make me feel as if I had seen them before, in a previous birth. They appear familiar to me. One day I went to Sarat’s house on Amherst Street. Immediately I said to Sarat: “This house seems familiar to me. It seems to me that I have known the rooms, the passages, and the rest of the house for many, many days.”

April 9, 1887 – Now and then I feel great scepticism.

At Baburam’s house it seemed to me that nothing existed, as if there were no such thing as God.

Whatever spiritual discipline we are practising here (Baranagore Math) is in obedience to the Master’s command. But it is strange that Ram Babu criticises us for our spiritual practices, He says, “We have seen him (Sri Ramakrishna). What need have we of any such practice?” But the Master asked us to practise sadhana.

May 7, 1887 – I don’t care for anything, I shall fast un to death for the relization of God.

It seems there is no God. I pray so much, but there is no reply, none whatsoever.

How many visions I have seen! How many mantras shining in letters of gold! How many visions of the Goddess Kali! How many other divine forms! But still I have no peace.

B

Brindaban, 12-8-1888 – Leaving Ayodhya I have reached Brindaban, and am putting up at Kala Babu’s Kunja…..I have a mind to proceed very shortly to Hardwar.

20-8-1888 – I postpone my going to Haridwar for some days.

I saw many great men in Hrishikesh. One case that I remember was that of a man who seemed to be mad, He was coming nude down the street, with boys pursuing and throwing stones at him. The man was bubbling over with laughter, while blood was streaming down his face and neck. I took him and bathed the wound, putting ashes (made by burning a piece of cotton cloth) on it, to stop bleeding. And all the time, with peals of laughter, he told me of the fun the boys and he had been having throwing the stones. “So the Father plays,” he said.

Many of these men hide, in order to guard themselves against intrusion. People are a nuisance to them. One had human bones strewn about his cave, and gave it ouj that he lived on corpses. Another threw stones; and.so on.

Sometimes the thing comes upon them in a flash. There was a boy. for instance, who used to come to read the Upanishads with Abhedananda. One day, he turned and said, “Sir, is all this really true?” “Oh, Yes!” said A^bhedananda, “It may be difficult to realise, but it is certainly true.” And next day, that boy was a silent Sannyasin, nude, on his way to Kedarnath!

Baranagore: 19-11-1888 – A good deal of study is given to Sanskrit scriptures in this Math. This Math is not wanting in men of perseverence, talent and penetrative intellect.

Baghbazar: 28-11-1888 – I had an attack of fever sigain. I am ailing much.

Baranagore: 4-2-1889 – I am going now on a pilgrimage to the place of my Master’s nativity, and after a sojourn of few a days there, I shall present myself at Banaras.

22-2-1889 – I had intended to go to Banaras and I planned to reach there after visiting the birthplace of my Master. But, unluckily, on the way to that village, I had an attack of high fever followed by vomitting and purging as in cholera. There was again fever after three or four days.

Baghbazar (Calcutta) 21-3-1889 – I am very ill at present; there is fever now and then, but there is no disorder in the spleen or other organs. I am under homeopathic treatment. Now I have to give up completely the intention of going to Banaras. Whatever God dispenses will happen, later on according to the state of the body……My going there is very uncertain.

4-7-1889 – Some relative of my former life (i.e the life which I have renounced) has purchased a bungalow at Simultala (near Baidyanath – Bihar). The place being credited with a healthy climate, I stayed there tor some time. But the summer heat growing excessive, I had an attack of acute diarrhoea, and I have just fled away from the place. By the will of God, the last six or seven years of my life have been full of constant struggles with hindrances and obstacles of all sorts. I have been vouchsafed the ideal Shastra; I have seen the ideal man; and yet I fail myself to get on with anything to the end -this is my profound misery.

I see no chance of success, while remaining near Calcutta. In Calcutta, my mother and two brothers live, I am the eldest; the second.is preparing for the first Arts, ex&m., and the third is young.

They were quite well off before, but since my father’s death, it is going very hard with them – they even have to go fasting at times! To crown all, some relatives taking

advantage of their helplessness drove them away from the ancestral residence. Though a part of it is recovered through law suits at the High Court, destitution is now upon them, a matter of course in litigation.

Living near Calcutta, I have to witness their adversity; and the quality of Rajas prevailing, my egotism sometimes develops into the form of a desire that rises to plunge me into action; in such moments, a fierce fighting ensues in my mind. Now their law suit has come to an end. y

Simla: Cal. 14-7-89- My difficulties here have almost come to a close, only I have engaged the services of a broker for the sale of a piece of land, and I hope the sale will be over soon. In that case, I shall be free from all worry.

Calcutta, 4 July 1889 • By the will of God, the last six or seven years of my life have been full of constant struggles with hindrances and obstacles of all sorts. I have been vouchsafed the ideal Shastra; I have seen the ideal man; and yet fail myself to get on with anything to the end – this is my profound misery.
And particularly, I see no chance of success while remaining near Calcutta. In Calcutta live my mother and two brothers. I am the eldest; the second is preparing for the First Arts Examination, and the third is young. They were quite well off before, but since my father’s death, it is going very hard with them – they even have to go fasting at times! To crown all, some relatives, taking advantage of their helplessness, drove them away from the ancestral residence. Though a part of it is recovered through suing at the High Court, destitution is now upon them – a matter of course in litigation.
Living near Calcutta I have to witness their adversity, and the quality of Rajas prevailing, my egotism sometimes develops into the form of a desire that rises to plunge me into action; in such moments, a fierce fighting ensues in my mind, and so I wrote that the state of my mind was terrible. Now their lawsuit has come to an end

17-8-89 I have no partiality for any party in this caste question, because I know it is a social law and is based on diversity of Guna and Karma. It also means grave harm if one, bent on going beyond Guna and Karma, cherishes in mind any caste distinctions. In these matters, I have got some ideas through the grace of my Guru.

Baghbazar: 3-12-89 – Two of my brother-disciples are shortly leaving for Banaras. One is Rakhal (Brahma-nanda) by name, the other is Subodh (Subodhananda). The first named was beloved of my Master and used to stay much with him.

Gangadhar is now proceeding to Kailas. The Tibetans wanted to slash him up on the way, taking him to be a spy of the foreigners. Eventually some Lamas kindly set him free; his physical endurance has grown immensely – one night he passed uncovered on a bed of snow, and that without much hardship.

But there is the chain of iron, and there is the chain of gold. Much good comes of the latter, and it drops off by itself when all the good is reaped. The sons of my Master are indeed the great objects of my service, and here alone I feel I have some duty left for me. Perhaps, I shall send brother K, down to Allahabad or somewhere else as convenient.

Baidyanath: 24-12-1889 – I have been staying for the last few days at Baidyanath in Purna Babu’s lodge. I am suffering from indigestion, probably due to excess of iron in the water……I leave for Banaras tomorrow.

My idea is to remain there for some time, and to watch how Viswanath and Annapurna deal out my lot. And my resolve is something like “either to lay down my life or realise my ideal” –

Allahabad: 30-12-1889 – I was to go to Banaras, but news reached me that a brother-disciple, Yogananda by name, had been attacked with small-pox after arriving here from a pilgrimage to Chitrakuta, Omkarnath etc., and so I came to this place to nurse him.

Ghazipur: 24-1-90 – I reached Ghazipur three days ago. Here I am putting up in the house of Babu Satish Chandra Mukherjee, a friend of my early age.

The place is very pleasant. Close by flows the Ganges……

I again had a great mind to go over to Kashi (Banaras), but the object of my coming here, namely, an interview with the Babaji (Pavahari Baba, the great saint), has not yet been realised.

Ghazipur: 30-1-90 – Of the few places I have recently visited, this is the healthiest. The few days I passed at Banaras, I suffered from fever day and night……I have visited Pavahari Baba’s house – there are high walls all round, and it is fashioned like an English bungalow. There is a garden inside and big rooms, chimneys etc. He allows nobody to enter. If he is so ^inclined, he comes up to the door and speaks from inside -that is all. One day I went and waited and waited in the cold and had to return. After a few days’ stay at Banaras, I shall start for Hrishikesh.

It is so very difficult to meet Babaji. He does not step out of his home.

4-2-90 – Through sorfie good fortune, I have obtained an interview with Babaji. A great sage indeed! It is all very wonderful, and in this atheistic age, a tower-, ing representation of marvellous power born of Bhakti and Yoga! I have sought refuge in his grace, and he has given me hope – a thing very few may be fortunate enough to obtain. It is Babaji’s wish that I stay on for some days here, and he would do me some good. So following the saints bidding, I shall remain here for some time………

Unless one is face to face with the life of such men, faith in the scriptures does not grow in all its real integrity.

I am not leaving this place soon – it is impossible to turn down Babaji’s request.

A pain in the loins is giving me much trouble.

7-2-90 – Apparently in his features, the Babaji is a Vaishnava, the embodiment, so to speak, of Yoga, Bhakti and humility, His dwelling has walls on all sides with a few doors in them. Inside these walls, there is one long underground burrow wherein he lays himself up in Sama-dhi. He talks to others only when he comes out of the hole. Nobody knows what he eats, and so they call him Pavahari Baba (i. e . one living on air). Once he did not come out of the hole for five years, and people thought he had given up the body. But, now again he is -out. This time, however he does not show himself to people and talks from behind the door. Such sweetness in speech I have never come across! He does not give a direct reply to questions but says “What does this servant know?” But then fire comes out as the talking goes on. On my pressing him very much he said, “Favour me high-ly by staying here some days.” But he never speaks in this way; so from this I understood he meant to reassure me; and whenever I am importunate, he asks me to stay on. So I wait and hope. He is a learned man no doubt, nothing in the line betrays itself. He performs scriptural ceremonials, for from the full-moon day to the last day of the month, sacrificial oblations go on. So it is sure he is not retiring into the hole during this period.

13-2-90 – I am having some sort of pain in the loins which, being aggravated of late, gives much trouble. For two days I could not go out to meet Babaji, and so a man came from him to enquire about me. For this reason, I go today………Such amazing endurance and humility I have never seen.

14-2-90 – If

Mother [Sri Sarada Devi] has come, please convey to her my countless salutations, and ask her to bless me that I may have unflinching perseverance. Or, if that be impossible in this body, may it fall off soon!

25-2-90 – The lumbago is giving a good deal of trouble. It is three days since I came away from Babaji’s place, but he enquires of me kindly almost every day.

February: 90 – Brother Kali is having repeated attacks of fever at Hrishikesh. I have sent him a wire from this place. So if from the reply I find I am wanted by him, I shall be obliged to start direct for Hrishikesh from this place; otherwise, I go to Banaras. Weaving all this web of Maya? – and that is no doubt the fact.

PAVAHARI BABA

I once knew a Yogi, a very old man, who lived in a hole in the ground all by himself. All he had was a pan or two to cook his meals in. He ate very little and wore scarcely anything and spent most of his time meditating.

With him all people were alike. He had attained to non-injuring. What he saw in everything, in every person, in every animal was the Soul, the Lord of the universe. With him, every person and every animal was “my Lord.” He never addressed any person or animal in any other way. Well, one day a thief came his way and stole one of his pans. He saw him and ran after him. The chase was a long one. At last, the thief from exhaustion had to stop, and the Yogi running up to him, fell on his knees before him and said, “My Lord, you do me a great honour to come my way. Do me the honour to accept the other pan. It is also yours.” This old’man is dead now. He was full of love for everything in the world. He would have died for an ant. Wild animals instinctively knew this old man to be their friend. Snakes and ferocious animals would go into his hole and sleep with him. They all loved him and never fought in his presence.

The ideal of the Yogi is eternal peace and love through omniscience and omnipotence. I know of a Yogi who was bitten by a cobra, and so fell down on the ground. In the evening he revived again, and when asked what happened, he said, “A messenger came from my Beloved.” All hatred and anger and jealousy have been burned out of this man.

Like many others in India, there was no striking or stirring external activity in the life of Pavhari Baba. It was one more example of that Indian ideal of teaching through life and not through words. Persons of this type are entirely averse to preaching what they know, for they are for ever convinced that it is internal discipline alone that leads to Truth, and not words. Religion to them is no motive to social conduct, but an intense search after, and realisation of Truth in this life.

The present writer had occasion to ask the saint the reasonjof his not coming out of his cave to help the world. At first, with his native humility and humour, he gave the following strong reply:

“A certain wicked person was caught in some criminal act, and had his nose cut off as a punishment. Ashamed to show his noseless features to the world, and disgusted with himself, he fled into a forest, and there spreading a tiger skin on the ground, he would feign deep meditation, whenever he thought any body was about.

“This conduct, instead of keeping people off, drew them in crowds to pay their respects to this wonderful saint, and he found that his forest life had brought him once again an easy living. Thus years went by. At last, the people around became very eager to listen to some instruction from the lips of the silent meditative saint, and one young man was specially anxious to be initiated into the Order. It came to such a pass that any more delay in that line would undermine the reputation of the saint. So one day he broke his silence, and asked the enthusiastic young man to bring on the morrow a sharp razor with him. The young man, glad at the prospect of the great desire of his life being speedily fulfilled, came early the next morning with the razor. The noseless saint led him to a very retired spot in the forest, took the razor in his hand, opened it, and with one stroke cut off his nose repeating in a solemn voice, “Young man, this has been my initiation into the Order. The same I give to you. Do you transmit it diligently to others when the opportunity comes!” The young man could not divulge the secret of this wonderful initiation for shame, and carried out to the best of his ability the injunction of his master. Thus, a whole sect of nose-cut saints spread over the country. Do you want me to be the founder of another such?”

Later on, in a more serious mood, another query brought the answer: “Do you think that physical help is the only help possible? Is it not possible that one «mind can help other minds, even without the activity of the body?”

When asked on another occasion, why he, a great Yogi, should perform Karma, such as pouring oblations into the sacrificial fire, and worshipping the image of Sri Raghunathji, which are practices only meant for beginners, the reply came, “Why do you take for granted that everybody makes Karma for his own good? Cannot one perform Karma for others?”

One of his great peculiarities was his entire absorption in the task in hand, however trivial. The same amount of care and attention was bestowed on cleaning a copper pot, as on the worship of Sri Raghunathji, he himself being the best example of the secret he once told us of work, “The means should be loved and cared for as if it were the end itself.”

His humility was not kindred to that which means pain and anguish of self-abasement. It sprang naturally from the realisation of that which he once so beautifully explained to us: “O king, the Lord is the wealth of those who have nothing – yes, of those,” he continued, “who have thrown away all desires of possession, even that of one’s own soul.”

In appearance he was tall and rather fleshy, had but one eye, and looked much younger than his real age. His voice was the sweetest we have ever heard. The present writer owes a deep debt of gratitude to the departed saint and dedicates these lines, however, unworthy, to the memory of one of the greatest Masters he has loved and served.

Ghazipur: March 1890 – I am staying with Pava-hariji, the wonderful Raja-Yogin, and he has given me some hopes, too. There is a beautiful bungalow in a small garden belonging to a gentleman here. I mean to stay there. The garden is quite close to the Babaji’s cottage. A brother of the Babaji stays there to look after the comforts of the sadhus, and I have my Bhiksha at his place. Hence, with a view to seeing to the end of this fun, I give up for the present my plan of going to the hills. Let me wait and see what Babaji will give me.

My motto is to learn whatever good things I may come across anywhere. This leads many friends to think that it will take away my devotion to the Guru.

After Sri Ramakrishna’s leaving the body, I associated for some time with Pavhari Baba of Ghazipur. There was a garden not far distant from his Ashrama where I lived. People used to say it was a haunted garden, but I am a sort of demon myself and have not much fear of ghosts. In that garden there were many lemon trees which bore numerous fruits. At that time, I was suffering from diarrhoea, and there no food could be had except bread. So, to increase the digestive powers, I used to take plenty of lemons. Mixing with Pavhari Baba, I liked him very much and he also came to love me deeply. One day, I thought that I did not learn any art for making this weak body strong, after living with Sri Ramakrishna for so many years. I had heard that Pavhari Baba knew’the science of Hatha-yoga. So, I thought I would learn the practice of Hatha-yoga from him. and through it strengthen the body. By nature I have a dogged resolution and whatever I set my heart on, I always carry out. On the eve of the day on which I was to take initiation, (from Pavhari Baba), I was lying on a cot thinking and just then I saw the form of Sri Ramakrishna standing on my right side, looking steadfastly at me, as if very much grieved. I had dedicated myself to him, and at the thought that I was taking another Guru I was much ashamed and kept looking at him. Thus, perhaps, two or three hours passed, but no words escaped from my mouth. Then he disappeared all of a sudden. My mind became upset seeing Sri Ramakrishna that night; so, I postponed the idea of initiation from Pavhari Baba for the day. After a day or two again the idea of initiation from Pavhari Baba arose in the mind, and again in the night there was the appearance of Sri Ramakrishna as on the previous occasion. Thus when for several nights in succession I had the vision of Sri Ramakrishna, I gave up the idea of initiation altogether, thinking that as every time I resolved on it, I was getting such a vision, then no good but harm would come from it.

Ghazipur. 3-3-90 – The lumbago obstinately refuses to leave me, and the pain is very great. For the last few days I haven’t been able to go to see Pavhariji, but out of his kindness he sends every day for my report, but, now I see the whole matter is inverted in its bearings! While I myself have come as a beggar at his door, he turns round and wants to learn of me! This saint perhaps is not yet perfected – too much of works, vows, observances, and too much of self-concealment.

By my stay here, I have been cured of all other symptoms of malaria, only the pain in the loins make me frantic; day and night it is aching and chafes me very
much……I find wonderful endurance in Babaji, and that is why I am begging something of him, but no inkling of the mood to give, only receiving and receiving! So, I also fly off.

To no big person am I going any longer. “Remain, O mind, within yourself etc,” Says the poet Kamala-kanta.

So now the great conclusion is that Ramakrishna has no peer, nowhere else in this world exists that unprecedented perfection, that wonderful kindness for all, that does not stop to justify itself, that intense sympathy for the man in bondage. Either he must be an Avatara as he himself used to say, or else the ever-perfected divine man of whom the Vedanta speaks as the Free One who assumes a body for the good of humanity. This is my conviction sure and certain; and the worship of such a divine man has been referred to by Patanjali in the aphorism;

“Or the goal may be attained by meditating on a saint.” (Patanjal Darshan – aphorisun 1/37: The mind becomes calm when meditating on a person unattached to sense-object.)

Ghazipur: 3-3-50- I am a very soft-natured man in spite of the stern Vedantic views I hold. And this proves to be my undoing. At the slightest touch, I give myself away; for howsoever I may try to think only of my own good, I slip off in spite of myself to think of other people’s interests. This time it was with a very stern resolve that I set out to pursue my own good; but I had to run off at the news of the illness of a brother at Allahabad. And now comes this news from Hrishikesh and my mind has run off with me there.

15-3-90 – I am leaving this place tomorrow. Let me see which way destiny leads!

31-3-90 I haven’t been here for the last few days and am again away today. I have asked brother Gangadhar [Swami Akhandananda] to come here, and if he comes, we go over to Benares together. For some special reason, I shall continue to stay in secret in a village some distance off this place. The news of his arrival is not yet received and his health being bad, I am very anxious for his sake. I have behaved very cruelly towards him – that is, I have harassed him much to make him leave my company.

There is no help……I am so very weak-hearted, so much overmastered by the distractions of love!… What shall I say about the condition of my mind! Oh, it is as if the hell-fire is burning there day and night! Nothing,nothing could I do yet! And this life seems muddled away in vain; I feel quite helpless as to what to do! The Babaji throws out honeyed words and keeps me from leaving. Ah, what shall I say? I am… a man driven mad with mental agonies. Abhedananda is suffering from dysentery… My Gurubais must be thinking me very cruel and selfish. Oh, what can I do? Who will see deep down into my mind? Who will know how much I am suffering day and night?… My lumbago is as before.

2-4-90 – My salutations to Pramada Babu; his is a friendship which greatly benefits both my mind and body. And I am particularly indebted to him. Things will turn up some way, anyhow.

Baranagore: 10-5-90 – Directly the hot weather relaxes a little I am off from this place, but I am still at a loss where to go.

Baghbazar, Cal. 26-5-90 – I am Ramakrishna’s slave, having laid my body at his feet ”with til and tulsi leaves.” I cannot disregard his behest. If it is in failure that that great sage laid down his life after having attained to superhuman heights of Jnana, Bhakti, Love and Powers, and after having practised for forty years stern renunciation, non-attachment, holiness and great austeries, then where is there anything for us to count on? So, I am obliged to trust his words as the words of one identified with Truth.

Now his behest to me was that I should devote myself to the service of the Order of all – renouncing devotees founded by him, and in this, I have to persevere, come what may, being ready to take heaven, hell, salvation or anything that may happen to me.

His command was that his all-renouncing devotees should group themselves together and I am entrusted with seeing to this. Of course, it matters not if anyone of us goes out on visits to this place or that, but these shall be but visits, while his own opinion was that absolute homeless wandering suited him alone who was perfected to the highest point. Before that state, it is proper to settle somewhere to dive down into practice.

So in pursuance of this his commandment, his group of Sannyasins are now assembled in a dilapidated house at Baranagore, and two of his lay disciples, Babu Suresh Chandra Mitra and Babu Balaram Bose, so long provided for their food and house-rent.

For various reasons the body of Bhagavan Ramakrishna had to be consigned to fire… The remains of his ashes are now preserved, and if they can be now properly enshrined somewhere on the banks of the Ganges, I presume we shall be able in some measure to expiate the sin lying on our head. These sacred remains, his seat and his picture are everyday worshipped in our Math in proper form; a brother-disciple of mine, of Brahmin parentage, is occupied day and night with the task. The expenses of the worship used also to be borne by the two great souls mentioned above.

What greater regret there can be than this that no-memorial could yet be raised in this land of Bengal in the very neighbourhood of the place where he lived his life of sadhana – he by whose birth the race of Bengalees has-been sanctified, the land of Bengal has become hallowed; he who came on earth to save the Indians from the spell of the wordly glamour of Western culture, and who, therefore, chose most of his all-renouncing disciples from university men?

The two gentlemen mentioned above had a strong desire to have some land purchased on the banks of the Ganges and see the sacred remains enshrined on it, with the disciples living there together; and Suresh Babu had offered a sum of Rs. 1,000/- for the purpose, promising to give more, but for some inscrutable purpose of God, he left this world yesternight! And Balaram Babu’s death has already occurred.

Now there is no knowing as to where his disciples will stand with his sacred remains and his seat. The disciples are Sannyasins and are ready forthwith to depart anywhere their way may lie. But, I, their servant, am in an agony of sufferings, and my heart is breaking to think that a small peice of land could not be had in which to install the remains of Bhagavan Ramakrishna.

I have not the slightest qualm to beg from door to door for this noble cause, for the sake of my Lord and his Children… To my mind, if all these sincere, educated youthful Sannyasins of good birth fail to live up to the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna owing to want of an abode and help, then alas for our country!

If asked. “You are a Sannyasin, so why do you trouble over these desires?” – I would then reply, “I am Ramakrishna’s servant, and I am willing even to steal and rob, if by doing so, I can perpetuate his name in the land of his birth and sadhana, and help even a little his disciples to practise his great ideals… I have returned to Calcutta for this reason.

Baghbazar, Cal. 4-6-90 – It is quite true that the Lord’s Will will prevail. We are spreading out here and there in small groups of two or three. I got two letters from Brother Gangadhar. He is at present in’ the house of Gagan Babu, suffering from an attack of influenza. Gagan Babu is taking special care of him. He will come here as soon as he recovers.

6-7-90 – I had no wish to leave Ghazipur this time, and certainly not to come to Calcutta, but Kali’s illness made me go to Banaras, and Balaram’s sudden death brought me to Calcutta. So, Suresh babu and Balaram Babu have both gone! G.C. Ghosh is supporting the Math…I intend shortly, as soon as I can get my fare, to go up to Almora and thence to some place in Gbarwal on the Ganges where I can settle down for a long meditation-Gangadhar is accompanying me. Indeed it was with this desire and intention that I brought him down from Kashmir.

I am in fine health now.

Travels in India as an Unknown Sannyasin

I was once travelling in the Himalayas and the long road stretched before us. We poor monks cannot get any one to carry us, so we had to make all the way on foot. There was an old man with us. The way goes up and down for hundreds of miles, and when that old monk saw what was before him, he said, “Oh, Sir, how to cross it? I cannot walk any more, my chest will break.” I said to him, “Look down at your feet.” He did so, and I said, “The road that is under your feet is the road that you see before you; it will soon be under your feet.” The highest things are under your feet, because you are Divine Stars; all these things are under your feet. You can swallow the stars by the handful if you want; such is your real nature. Be strong, get beyond all superstition, and be free.

Many times I have been in the jaws of death, starving, footsore, and weary; for days and days I had had no food, and often could walk no further; I would sink down under a tree, and life would seem ebbing away. I could not speak; I could scarcely think, but at last the mind reverted to the idea: “I have no fear of death; I never hunger or thirst. I am it, I am it; the whole of nature cannot crush me; it is my servant. Assert thy strength, Thou Lord of Lords and God of Gods! Regain Thy lost empire! Arise and walk and stop not!” and I would rise up, re-invigorated, and here am I, living today.

Once when I was in Varanasi, I was passing through a place where there was a large tank of water on one side and a high wall on the other. It was in the grounds where there were many monkeys. The monkeys of Varanasi are huge brutes and are sometimes surly. They now took it into their heads not to allow me to pass through their street, so they howled and shrieked and clutched at my feet as I passed. As they pressed closer, I began to run, but the faster I ran, the faster came the monkeys and they began to bite at me. It seemed impossible to escape, but just then I met a stranger who called out to me, “Face the brutes!” I turned and faced the monkeys, and they fell Backand finally fled. That is a lesson for all life – face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall Backwhen we cease to flee before them. Once in Western India I was travelling in the desert country on the coast of the Indian Ocean. For days and days I used to travel on foot through the desert, but it was to my surprise that I saw every day beautiful lakes, with trees all around them, and the shadows of the trees upside down and vibrating there. “How wonderful it looks and they call this a desert country!” I said to myself. Nearly a month I travelled, seeing these wonderful lakes and trees and plants. One day I was very thirsty and wanted to have a drink of water, so I started to go to one of these clear, beautiful lakes, and as I approached, it vanished. And with a flash it came to my brain, “This is the mirage about which I have read all my life,” and with that came also the idea that throughout the whole of this month, every day, I had been seeing the mirage and did not know it. The next morning I began my march. There was again the lake, but with it came also the idea that it was the mirage and not a true lake.

Real monasticism is not easy to attain. There is no order of life so rigorous as this. If you stumble ever so little, you are hurled down a precipice – and are smashed to pieces. One day, I was travelling on foot from Agra to Vrindaban. There was no farthing with me. I was about a couple of miles from Vrindaban, when I found a man smoking on the roadside, and I was seized with a desire to smoke. I said to the man, “Hello, will you let me have a puff at your chillum?” He seemed to be hesitating greatly and said, “Sir, I am a sweeper!” Well, there was the influence of the old samskaras, and I immediately stepped Backand resumed my journey without smoking. I had gone a short distance when the thought occurred to me that I was a Sannyasin who had renounced caste, family, prestige and everything and still I drew Backas soon as the man gave himself out as a sweeper, and could not smoke the chillum touched by him! The thought made me restless at heart: then I had walked on half a mile. Again, I retraced my steps and came to the sweeper whom I found still sitting there. I hastened to tell him, “Do prepare a chillum of tobacco for me, my dear friend.” I paid no heed to his objection and insisted on having it. So, the man was compelled to prepare a chillum for me. Then I gladly had a puff at it and proceeded to Vrindaban.

You find that in every religion, mortifications and asceticisms have been practised. In these religious conceptions the Hindus always go to the extremes. I once saw a man who had kept his hands raised in this way, and I asked him how it felt when he did it first. He said it was awful torture. It was such a torture that he had to go to a river and put himself in water, and that allayed the pain for a little while. After a month, he did not suffer much. Through such practices, powers (Siddhis) can be attained.

When I was in Jaipur, I met a great grammarian and felt a desire to study Sanskrit grammar with him. Although he was a great scholar in that branch, he had not much aptitude for teaching. He explained to me the commentary on the first aphorism for three days continuously, still I could not grasp a bit of it. On the fourth day, the teacher got amazed and said, “Swamiji, I could not make you understand the meaning of the first aphorism even in three days; I fear, you will not be much benefited by my teaching.” Hearing these words, a great self-reproach came over me. Putting food and sleep aside, I set myself to study the commentry on the first aphorism independently. Within three hours the sense of the commentary stood explained before me as clearly as anything. Then going to my teacher, I gave him the sense of the whole commentary. My teacher, hearing me said, “How could you gather the sense so excellently within three hours, which I failed to explain to you in three days?’1. After that, every day, I began to read chapter after chapter, with great ease. Through concentration of mind everything can be accomplished – even mountains can be crushed to atoms. , – ‘

In Malabar……the women lead in everything.Exceptional cleanliness is apparent everywhere, and there is the great impetus to learning. When I myself was in that country, I met many women who spoke good Sanskrit, while in the rest of India, not one woman in a million can speak it.

Once while I was putting up at Manmatha Babu’s place (in Madras), I dreamt one night that my mother had died. My mind became much distracted. Not to speak of correspondence with anybody at home, I used to send no letters in those days even to our Math, (at Baranagore). The dream being disclosed to Manmatha, be sent a wire to Calcutta to ascertain facts about tbe matter. For the dream had made my mind uneasy on the one hand, and on the other, our Madras friends with all arrangements ready, were insisting on my departing for America immediately, and I felt rather unwilling to leave before getting any news of my mother. So Manmatha, who discerned this state of my mind suggested our repairing to a man living some way off from town, who having acquired mystic powers over spirits could tell fortunes, and read the past and future of man’s life. So at Manmatha’s request and to get rid of my mental suspense, I agreed to go to this man. Covering the distance partly by railway and partly on foot, we four of us – Manmatha, Alasinga, myself and another – managed to reach the place, and what met our eyes there was a man with ghoulish, haggard, sootblack appearance, sitting close to a cremation ground. His attendents used some Madrassi dialect to explain to us that this was the man with perfect power over the ghosts. At first, the man took absolutely no notice of us, and then, when we were about to retire from the place, he made a request to us to wait.

Our Alasinga was acting as the interpreter and he explained the request to us. Next, the man commenced drawing some figures with a pencil, and presently I found him getting perfectly still in mental concentration. Then, he began to give out my name, my genealogy, the history of my long line of forefathers, and said that Sri Ramakrishna was keeping close to me all through my wanderings, intimating also to me good news about my mother. He also foretold that I would have to go very soon to far-off lands for preaching religion. Getting good news thus about my mother, we all travelled Backto town, and after arrival there, received by wire from

Calcutta the assurance of mother’s doing well. Everything that the man had foretold came to be fulfilled to the letter, call it some fortuitous occurrence or anything you will.

I know very little of this science (of mind); but for the little that I gained, I worked for thirty years of my life, and for six years I have been telling people the little that I know. It took me thirty years to learn it; thirty years of hard struggle. Sometimes I worked at it twenty -hours during the twenty-four. Sometimes I slept only one hour in the night; sometimes I worked whole nights; sometimes I lived in places where there was hardly a sound, hardly a breath: sometimes I had to live in caves. Think of that. And yet I know little or nothing. I have barely touched the hem of the garment of this science. But, I can understand that it is true and vast and wonderful.

I have met some who told me they did remember their previous life. They had reached a point where they could remember their former incarnations.

When I became a Sannyasin I consciously took the step, knowing that this body would have to die of starvation. What of that, I am a beggar. My friends are poor. I love the poor, I welcome poverty. I am glad that I sometimes have to starve.

In the course of my wanderings, I was in a certain place where people came to me in crowds and asked for instruction. Though it seems almost unbelievable, people came and made me talk for three days and nights without
giving me a moment’s rest. They did not even ask me whether I had eaten. On the third night, when all the visitors had left, a lowcaste poor man came up to me and said, “Swamiji, I am much pained to see that you have not had any food these three days. You must be very tired and hungry. Indeed, I have noticed that you have not even taken a glass of water!” I thought that the Lord Himself had come in the form of this lowcaste man to test me. I asked him, “Can you give me something to eat?” The man said, “Swamiji, my heart is yearning to » give you food; but how can you eat
chapaties baked by my hands; If you allow me, I shall be most glad to bring flour, lentils, and other things and you may cook them yourself.” At that time, according to the monastic rules, I did not touch fire. So I said to him, “You had better give me the chapaties cooked by you. I will gladly take them.” Hearing this, the man shrank in fear; he was a subject of the Maharajah of Khetri and was afraid that if the latter came to hear that he, a cobbler, had given Chapatis to a Sannyasin, he would be severely dealt with and possibly banished from the State. I told him, however, that he need not fear and the Maharajah would not punish him. He did not belive me. But out of the kindness of his heart, even though he feared the consequence, he brought me the cooked food. I doubted at that time whether it would have been more palatable if Indra, a King of the Devas, should have held a cup of nectar in a golden basin before me. I shed tears of love and gratitude and thought, “Thousands of such large -hearted men live in lowly huts, and we despise them as low castes and untouchables.” When I became well acquainted with the Maharajah, I told him of the noble act of this man. Accordingly, within a few days the latter was called to the presence of the prince. Frightened beyond words, the man came shaking all over, thinking that some dire punishment was to be inflicted upon him. But the Maharajah praised him and put him beyond all want.

O, the days of suffering I passed through ! Once after eating nothing for three days, I fell down senseless on the road. I did not know how long I was in that state. When I regained my consciousness I found my clothing wet through a shower of rain. Drenched in it, I felt somewhat refreshed. I arose, and after trudging along some distance, I reached a monastery, and my life was saved by the food I received there.

I find that whenever I have made a mistake in my life, it has always been because self entered into the calculation; where self has not been involved, my judgement has gone straight to the mark.

Preparations for the Journey West

I had from before a desire to go to Chicago. When at Madras, the people there of their own accord, in conjunction with the H. H. of Mysore and Ramnad, made every arrangement to send me up…Between the H. H. of Khetri and myself there exist the closest ties of love. Well, I, as a matter of course, wrote to him that I was going to America. Now the Raja of Khetri thought in his love that I was bound to see him once before I departed, especially as the Lord gave him an heir to the throne and great rejoicings were going on there” and to make sure of my coming he sent his Private Secretary all the way to Madras to fetch me.

There were my Gurubhais at Junagad…Of them one is our leader. I met them after three years and we came together as far as Abu and then I left them.

Margoa : 1893 I reached here safe. I went to visit Panjim and a few other villages and temples nearby. I returned just today. I have given up the intention of visiting Gokarna, Mahabaleswar and other places. I start for Dharwar by the morning train tomorrow. Doctor Yogdekar’s friend was very hospitable to me. The town of Panjim is very neat and clean. Most of the Christians here are literate. The Hindus are mostly uneducated.

You see, in my travels through India all these years, I have come across many a great soul, many a heart overflowing with loving kindness, sitting at their feet I used to feel a mighty current of strength coursing into my heart, and the few words I tell you are only through the force of that current gained by coming in contact with them. Do not think I am myself something great!

Baroda : 26-4-92- I had not the least difficulty in reaching the house ( of Sri Haridas Viharidas Desai, Dewan of Junagad ) from the station of Nadiad-.Mr. Manibhai has provided every comfort for me…As to his company, I have only seen him twice; once for a minute and the other for 10 minutes at the most when he talked about the system of education here. Of course, I have seen the library and the pictures of Ravi Varma and that is about all worth seeing here. So, I am going off this evening to Bombay… At Nadiad, I met Mr. Manilal Nanubhai. He is a very learned and pious gentleman and I enjoyed his company much.

Poona : 15-6-92 1 came down with the Thakore Saheb of Mahabaleshwar and I am living here with him. I would remain here a week or more and then proceed to Rameshwar via Hyderabad……I saw the Surti tutor to the Prince of Bhavnagar – He is a perfect gentleman. It was quite a privilege to make his acquaitance, he is so good and noble-natured a man.

Bombay: 22-8-92 – Yesterday I saw Mr. Manahashukharam who has lodged a Sannyasi friend with him. He is very kind to me and so is his son… After remaining here for 15 or 20 days I would proceed towards Rameshwar.

Hyderabad: 21-2-93- A young graduate came to receive me at the station, and also a Bengali gentleman, At present I am living with the Bengali gentleman; (father of late Sarojini Naidu-Dr. Aghorenath Chatterjee) tomorrow, I go to live with the young friend for a few days and then I see the different sights here, and in a
few days expect to be at Madras……I cannot bear heat at all. So the next thing I would do would be to go Backto Bangalore and then to Ootacamund to pass the summer there. My brain boils in heat.

So all my plans have been dashed to the ground. That is why I wanted to hurry off from Madras early. In that case, I would have months left in my hands to seek for somebody amongst our nothern princes to send me over to America. But alas, it is now too late. First, I cannot wander about in this heat – I would die. Secondly, my fast friends in Rajputana would keep me bound down to their sides if they get hold of me and would not let me go over to Europe. So my plan was to get hold of some new person without my friend’s knowledge. But this delay at Madras has dashed all my hopes to the ground, and with a deep sigh, I give it up and the Lord’s will be done ! “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, for Thine is the glory and the Kingdom for ever and ever.

Khetri: 27-4-93 – As to my taking ship I have already made arrangements from Bombay……The Raja or my Gurubhais would be the last men to put any obstacles in my way……As for the Rajaji, his love for me is simply without limit.

Khetri : 28-4-93 – I am shortly going Backto Bombay, say in 20 days……Here the Khetri Rajaji was very, very anxious to see me and sent his Private Secretary to Madras; and so I was bound to leave for Khetri. But the heat is quite intolerable and so, I am flying off very soon- I have made the acquaintances of nearly all the Dakshini Rajas and have seen most queer sights in many places..I saw Ratilalbhai in the train. He is the same nice and kind gentleman.

Bombay: 22-5-93 – Reached Bombay a few days ago and would start off in a few days……The Private Secretary to H.H. of Khetri and I are now residing together. I cannot express my gratitude to him for his love and kindness to me. He is what they call a Tazimi Sardar in Rajaputana, i.e., one of those whom the Rajas receive by rising from their seats. Still he is so simple and sometimes his service for me makes me almost ashamed.

Bombay, 24 May 1893 – Arrangements are all ready for my starting for America on the 31st next.

The companionship of the holy and the wise is one of the main elements of spiritual progress. –

– SRI RAMAKRISHNA.

The first work that demands our attention is that the most wonderful truths confined in our Upanishads, in our Scriptures, in our Puranas – must be brought out from the books and scattered broadcast all over the land. –

– SWAMI VIVEKANANDA.

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