Vivekananda AutoBiography – 7.RETURN TO INDIA AND FOUNDING THE RAMAKRISHNA MISSION

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Vivekananda AutoBiography – 7.RETURN TO INDIA AND FOUNDING THE RAMAKRISHNA MISSIONBack

CHAPTER VII
RETURN TO INDIA AND FOUNDING THE RAMAKRISHNA MISSION

Westminster: 11-11-96 – I shall most probably start (for India) on the I6th of December, or may be a day or two later. I go from here to Italy, and after seeing a few places there, join the steamer (North German Lloyd S.S. Prinz Regent Luitpold) at Naples.

The first edition of Raja-Yoga is sold out and a second is in the press.

London : 20-32-96 – My present plan of work is to start two centres, one in Calcutta and the other in Madras, in which to train up young preachers. My interests are international and not Indian alone.

22-33-96 – I reach Madras about the 7th of Jan. I have three English friends with me. Two of them, Mr. and Mrs. Sevier, are going to settle in Almora. They are my disciples, and they are going to build the Math for me in the Himalayas.

3-12-96 – I am to start for India on the 16th with Captain and Mrs. Sevier and Mr. Goodwin. The Seviers and myself take steamer at Naples. And as there will be four days at Rome, I will look in to say good-bye to Alberta.

Things are in a “Hum” here just now; the big hall for the class at 39, Victoria, is full and yet more are coming.

Well, the good old country now calls me; I must go. So good-bye to all projects of visiting Russia this April.

I just set things going a little in India, and am off again for the ever beautiful U.S. and England etc………

The coming of Goodwin was very opportune as it captured the lectures here which are being published in a periodical form. Already there have been subscribers enough to cover the expenses.

Three lectures, next week, and my London work is finished for this season. Of course, everybody here thinks it foolish to give up just when the “boom” is on, but the Dear Lord says, “Start for old India,” and I obey……

Florence : 20-12-96 – I am on my way (to India).

Damper ; 3-3-97 – We are nearing Port Said after four days of frightfully bad sailing from Naples.

The ship is rolling as hard as she can.

From Suez begins Asia. Once more Asia. What am I ? Asiatic, European or American? I feel a curious medley of personalities in me.

I land in a few days at Colombo and mean to “do” Ceylon a bit…

I enjoyed Rome more than anything in the West, and after seeing Pompeii, I have lost all regard for the so
called “modern civilisation”……I was mistaken- when I told that sculpturing of the human figure was not developed in India as among the Greeks.

I had a curious dream on my return voyage from England. While our ship was passing through the Mediterranean Sea, in my sleep, a very old and venerable looking person, Rishi~like in appearance, stood before me and said, “Do ye come and effect our restoration. I am one of that ancient order of Theraputtas which had its origin in the teachings of the Indian Rishis. The truths and ideals preached by us have been given out by Christians as taught by Jesus; but for the matter of that, there was no such personality by the name of Jesus ever born. Various evidences testifying to this fact will be brought to light by excavating here”. “By excavating which place can those proofs and relics you speak of be found?” I asked. The hoary-headed one, pointing to a locality in the vicinity of Turkey, said, “See here.” Immediately after I woke up, and at once rushed to the upper deck and asked the captain, “What neighbourhood is the ship in just now ?” “Look yonder,” the captain replied, “there is Turkey and the Island of Crete.”

I was asked by an English friend on the eve of my departure, “Swami, how do you like your motherland after four years’ experience of the luxurious, glorious, powerful West ?” I could only answer, “India I loved before I came away, now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is now holy, it is now the holy land, the place of pilgrimage, the Tirtha.”

Pamban: 1897 – It is impossible for me to express my gratitude to H. H. the Rajah of Ramnad for his love towards me. If any good work has been done by me and through me, India owes much to this good man, for it was he who conceived the idea of my going to Chicago, and it was he who put that idea into my head and persistently urged me on to accomplish it.

Ramnad: 30-1-97 – Things are turning out most curiously for me. From Colombo in Ceylon, where I
landed, to Ramnad, the nearly southernmost point of the Indian Continent where I am just now as the guest of the Rajah of Ramnad, my journey has been a huge procession, crowds of people, illuminations, addresses etc. etc. A monument forty feet high is being built on the spot where I landed. The Rajah of Ramnad has presented his address to “His Most Holiness” in a huge casket of solid gold beautifully worked. Madras and Calcutta are on the tiptoe of expectation as if the whole nation is rising to honour me……I am on the very height of destiny. Yet, the mind turns to quietness and peace.

I wrote a letter to my people from London to receive Dr. Barrows kindly. They accorded him a big reception, but it was not my fault that he could not make any impression there. Calcutta people are a hard-headed lot! Now Barrows thinks a world of me, I hear! Such is the world.

When I returned to India after a visit to the West, several orthodox Hindus raised a howl against my association with the Western people and my breaking the rules of orthodoxy. They did not like me to teach the truths of the Vedas to the people of the West.

Madras: 1897 – There have been certain circumstances growing around me, tending to thwart me, oppose my progress and crush me out of existence, if they could. Thank God, they have failed, as such attempts will always fail. But there has been for the last three years a certain amount of misunderstanding, and so long as I was in foreign lands, I held my peace and did not even speak one word; but now, standing upon the soil of my motherland, I want to give a few words of explanation.

Not that I care what the result will be of these words… not that I care what feeling I shall evoke by these words: I care very little, for I am the same Sannyasin that entered this city (Madras) about four years ago with his staff and Kamandalu; the same broad world is before me.

Now I come to the reform societies in Madras. Some of these societies, I am afraid, try to intimidate me to join them. That is a strange thing for them to attempt. A man who has met starvation face to face for fourteen years of his life, who has not known where he will get a meal the next day and where to sleep, cannot be intimidated so easily. A man almost without clothes, who dared to live where the thermometer registered thirty degrees below zero, without knowing where the next meal was to come from, cannot be so easily intimidated, in India. This is the first thing I will tell them, I have a little will of my own. I have my little experience, too, and I have a message for the world which I will deliver without fear and without care for the future. To the reformers I will point out that I am a greater reformer than any of them. They want to reform only little bits. I want root and branch reform. That is my position.

Madras : 12-2-97 – I am to start by S. S. Mombasa next Sunday for Calcutta. I had to give up invitations from Poona and other places on account of bad health. I am very much pulled down by hard work and heat.

I did not go to America for the Parliament of Religions, but this demon of a feeling (for the people of India) was in me and within my soul. I travelled twelve years all over India, finding no way to work for my countrymen;
that is why I went to America. Who cared about the Parliament of Religions? Here was my own flesh and blood sinking every day, and who cared for them? This was my first step.

Alam Bazar Math: 25-2-97 – I have not a moment to die, as they say, what with processions and tom-tomings and various other methods of reception all over the country. I am almost dead. As soon as the birthday celebration (of Sri Ramakrishna) is over I will fly off to the hills. I do not know whether I would live even six months more or not unless I have some rest.

I wished rather that a great enthusiasm should be stirred up. Don’t you see, without some such things how would the people be drawn towards Sri Ramakrishna and be fired in his name? Was this ovation done for me personally, or was not his name glorified by this ? See, how much thirst has been created in the minds of men to know about him! Now they will come to know of him gradually; and will not that be conducive to the good of the country? If the people do not know him, who came for the welfare of the country, how can good befall them? When they know what he really was, then men, real men, will be made…So I say that I rather desired that there should be some bustle and stir in Calcutta, so that the public might be inclined to believe in the mission of Sri Ramakrishna. Otherwise what was the use of making so much fuss for my sake ? Have I become any greater now ?…I am the same now as I was before.

Darjeeling: 20-4-97- My illness is now much less – it may even be cured completely, if the Lord wills.

This Darjeeling is a beautiful spot with a view of the glorious Kanchanjanga (27,579 ft.) now and then, when the clouds permit it, and from a near hilltop one can catch a glimpse of Gouri Shankar (29,002 ft.) now and then. Then the people here too are so picturesque, the Tibetans and Nepalese, and above all, the beautiful Lep-cha women. One Colston Turnbull of Chicago was here a few weeks before I reached India. He seems to have had a great liking for me, with the result that Hindu people all liked him very much.

28-4-97 – The whole country here rose like one man to receive me. Hundreds of thousands of persons, shouting and cheering at every place, Rajahs drawing my carriage, arches all over the streets of the capitals with blazing mottos etc., etc.! But, unfortunately, I was already exhausted by hard work in England and this tremendous exertion in the heat of southern India prostrated me completely. I had, of course, to give up the idea of visiting other parts of India and fly up to the (nearest) hill station, Darjeeling. Now I feel much better.

I have just another chance of coming over to Europe. Raja Ajit Sinha and several other Rajas start next Saturday for England. Of course, they wanted hard to get me to go over with them. But, unfortunately, the doctors would not hear of my undertaking any physical or mental labour just now. So with the greatest chagrin, I had to give it up, reserving it for a near future.

My hair is turning grey in bundles and my face is getting wrinkles all over; that losing of flesh has given me twenty years of age more. And now I am losing flesh rapidly, because I am made to live upon meat and meat alone; no bread, no rice, no potatoes, not even a lump of sugar’in my coffee!

Baghbazar, Cal. (May 97) – The conviction has grown in my mind, after all my travels in various lands, that no great cause can succeed without an organisation.

Let this association be named after him in whose name, indeed, we have embraced the monastic life, and within twenty years of whose passing away a wonderful diffusion of his holy name and extraordinary life has taken place both in the East and the West.

This is on Sri Ramakrishna’s lines. He had an infinite breadth of feeling. I will break down the limits and scatter broadcast over the earth his boundless inspiration. We have been blessed with obtaining refuge at the feet of the Master, and we are born to carry his message to the world.

Calcutta : May 5, 97 – I have been to Darjeeling for a month to recuperate my shattered health. I am very much better now. The disease disappeared altogether in Darjeeling. I am going tomorrow to Almora, another hill station, to perfect this improvement.

Things are looking not very hopeful here, though the whole nation has risen as one man to honour me and people went almost mad over me ! The price of the land has gone very much high near Calcutta. My idea at present is to start three centres at three Capitals. These would be my normal schools, from thence I want to invade India.

India is already Ramakrishna’s, whether I live a few years more or not; and for a purified Hinduism, I have organised my work here a bit.

I had a very kind letter from Prof. James in which he points out my remarks about degraded Buddhism.

I am perfectly convinced that what they call modern Hinduism with all its ugliness is only stranded Buddhism. As for the ancient form which the Buddha preached, I have the greatest respect for it, as well as for His person. We Hindus worship Him as an Incarnation. Nor is the Buddhism of Ceylon any good. My visit to Ceylon has entirely disillusioned me. The real Buddhism I once thought of, would yet do much good. But I have given up the idea entirely, and I clearly see the reason why Buddhism was driven out of India.

I was one man in America and am another here (in India). Here the whole nation is looking upon me as their authority, there I was a much reviled preacher. Here, princes draw my carriage; there I would not be admitted to a decent hotel. My utterances here, therefore, must be for the good of the race, my people, however unpleasent they might appear to a few.

I was glad to see that there was yet a liberality of view at Kalighat. The temple authorities did not object in the least ro my entering in the temple, though they knew that I was a man who had returned from the West. On the contrary, they very cordially took me into the holy precincts and helped me to worship the Mother to my heart’s content.

There are moments when one feels entirely despondent, no doubt, – especially when one has worked towards an ideal, during a whole life time, and just when there is a bit of hope of seeing it partially accomplished, there comes a tremendous thwarting blow. I do not care for tbe disease but what depresses me is that my ideals have not had yet the least opportunity of being worked out. And you know the difficulty is money.

The Hindus are making processions and all that, but they cannot give money. The only help I got in the world was in England, from Miss S., and Mr. S……
I thought then that a thousand pounds were sufficient to start at least the principal centre in Calcutta, ten or twelve years ago. Since then the prices have gone up three or four times.

The work has been started anyhow. A rickety old little house has been rented for six or seven shillings, where about twenty-four young men are being trained. I had to go to Darjeeling for a month to recover my health, and I am very much better – without taking any medicine, only by the exercise of mental healing. I am going again to another hill-station tomorrow, as it is very hot in the plains … The London work is not doing well at all, I hear. And that was the main reason why I would not go to England, just now, although some of our Rajas going for the Jubilee tried their best to get me with them, as I would have to work hard again to revive the interest in Vedanta. And that would mean a good deal more trouble physically.

I may go over for a month or so very soon, however.

Only if I could see my work started here, how gladly and freely would I travel about!

Mr. and Mrs. Hammond wrote two very kind and nice letters, and Mr. Hammond, a beautiful poem in the Brahmavadin: although I did not deserve it a bit.

Almora: 20-5-97 – Even now money is floating on the waters, as it were… but it will surely come. When it comes, buildings, land and a permanent fund – every thing will come all right. But one can never rest assured until the chickens are hatched; and I am not now going down to the hot plains within two or three months. After that I shall make a tour and shall certainly secure some money.

On account of the great heat in Almora, I am now in an excellent garden twenty miles from there. This place is comparatively cooler but still warm. The heat does not seem to be particularly less than that of Calcutta…

The feverishness is all gone. I am trying to go to a still cooler place. Heat or the fatigue of walking, I find, at once produces trouble of the liver. The air here is so dry that there is a burning sensation in the nose all the time, and the tongue becomes, as it were, a chip of wood.

I am very well here, for life in the plains has become a torture. I cannot put the tip of my nose out in the streets, for there is a curious crowd! Fame is not all milk and honey !! I am going to train a big beard, now it is grey. It gives a venerable appearance.

To meet the expenses of my reception, the people of Calcutta made me deliver a lecture, and sold tickets !

Almora: 29-5-97 – I began to take a lot of exercise on horse-back, both morning and evening…….
I really began to feel that it was a pleasure to have a body.

Almora : 2-6-97 – I have been very, very bad indeed; I am now recovering a bit, – I hope to recover very soon…

I am afraid the work in London is going to pieces.

I am living in a beautiful garden belonging to a merchant of Almora, a garden abutting several miles of mountains and forests. Night before last a leopard came here and took away a goat from the flock kept in this garden. It was a frightful din the servants made and the barking of the big Tibet watchdogs. These dogs are kept chained at a distance all night since I am here, so that they may not disturb my sleep with their deep barks. The leopard thus found his opportunity and got a decent meal, perhaps, after weeks. May it do much good to him !

Miss Muller has come here for a few days and was rather frightened when she heard of the leopard incident.

Before me, reflecting the afternoon’s glow, stand long, long lines of huge snow peaks. They are about 20 miles as the crow flies from here, and forty through the circuitous mountain roads.

Almora : 2-6-97 – Sleep, eat and exercise-exercise, eat and sleep – that is what I am going to do some months yet! Mr. Goodwin is with me in his Indian clothes. I am very soon going to shave bis his head and make a fullblown monk of him.

10-6-97 – I am at present in excellent health.

20-6-97 – I have not had any news of the work (in London) for so long. I do not expect any help from India, in spite of all the jubilation over me. They are so poor !

But I have started work in the fashion in which I myself was trained – that is to say, under the trees, and keeping the body and soul together, anyhow. The plan has also changed a little. I have sent some of my boys to work in the famine district. It has acted like a miracle, I think, as I always thought – it is through the heart and that alone, that the world can be reached.

A number of boys are already in training, but the recent earthquake has destroyed the poor shelter we had to work in, which was only rented, anyway. Never mind. The work must be done without shelter, and under difficulties -• As yet it is shaven heads, rags and casual meals. This must change, however, and will, for are we not working for it, head and heart ?… One of my boys in training has been an executive engineer, in charge of a district. That means a very big position here (in India ). He gave it up like a straw !

20-6-97- I am all right now. Yesterday, I came to Almora and shall not go any more to the garden. Henceforth, I am Miss Muller’s guest.

30-6-97-I am leaving this place next Monday. Here I gave a lecture to an European audience in English, and another to the Indian residents in Hindi. This was my maiden speech in Hindi but everyone liked it for all that… Next Saturday, there will be another lecture for the Europeans.

Monday next, trip to Bareilly, then to Saharanpur, next to Ambala thence most probably to Mussoorie with Capt. Sevier, and as soon as it is a little cool, return to the plains, and journey to Rajputana, etc.

4-7-97 – Although I am still in the Himalayas and shall be here for at least a month more, I started the work in Calcutta before I came, and they write progress every week.

Just now I am very busy with the famine, and except for training a number of young men for future work, have not been able to put more energy into the teaching work. The ”feeding work” is absorbing all my energy and means. Although we can work only on a very small scale as yet, the effect is marvellous. For the first time since the days of Buddha, Brahmin boys are found nursing by the bed-side of cholera-stricken pariahs.

In India, lectures and teaching cannot do any good. What we want is Dynamic Religion. And that “God willing,” as the Mohammedans say, I am determined to show.

Almora : 9-7-97 – I had arranged to go with A to England, but the doctors not allowing, it fell through.

I have also a lot of cuttings from different American papers, fearfully criticising my utterances about American women, and furnishing me with the strange news that I had been outcast! as if I had any caste to lose, being a Sannyasin !

Not only no caste has been lost, but it has considerably shattered the opposition to sea-voyage – my going to the West…A leading Raja of the caste to which I belonged before my entering the Order got up a banquet in my honour, at which were present most of the big bugs of that caste… These feet have been washed and wiped and worshipped by the descendants of Kings, and there has been a progress through the country which none ever commanded in India.

It will suffice to say that the police were necessary to keep order if I ventured out into the street! That is outcasting indeed!

I never planned anything. I have taken things as they came; only one idea was burning in my brain; to start the machine for elevating the Indian masses – and that I have succeeded in doing to a certain extent. My boys are working in the midst of famine and disease and misery – nursing by the mat-bed of the cholera-stricken pariah and feeding the starving Chandala. He is with me, the Beloved, He was when I was in America, in England, when I was roaming about unknown from place to place in India. What do I care about what they talk – the babies, they do not know any better.

What! I who have realised the spirit and the vanity of all earthly nonsense, to be swerved from my path by babies’ prattle! Do I look like that ?

I had to talk a lot about myself…I feel my task is done – at most three or four years more of life are left. I have lost all wish for my salvation. I never wanted earthly enjoyments, I must see my machine in strong working order, and then knowing sure that I have put in a lever for the good of humanity, in India at least, which no power can drive back, I will sleep, without caring what will be next; and may I be born again and again, and suffer thousands of miseries so that I may worship the only God that exists, the only God I believe in, the sum total of all souls, – and above all, my God the wicked, my God the miserable, my God the poor of all races, of all species, is the special object of my worship.

My time is short. I have to unbreast whatever I have to say, without caring if it smarts some or irritates others; do not be frightened at whatever drops from my lips, for the Power behind me is not Vivekananda but He, the Lord, and He knows best.

If I have to please the world, that will be injuring the world… Every new thought must create opposition – in the civilised a polite sneer, in the vulgar savage howls and filthy scandals.

Almora: 10-7-97 – I am very busy, from here directing the work of my boys in some of the famine districts…

I had a mind to go to Tibet this year, but they would not allow me, as the road is dreadfully fatiguing. However, I content myself with galloping hard over pre-cipieces on mountain ponies.

Goodwin has gone to work in Madras on a paper, Prabuddha Bharata, to be started there soon.

Almora: 13-7-97 – Today, my health is a little bad owing to this riding on horseBackat break-neck speed in the sun. I took Sashi s medicine for two weeks; I find no special benefit. The pain in the liver is gone, and owing to plenty of exercise my hands and legs have become muscular, but the abdomen is di^ending very much.

I feci suffocated while getting up or sitting down. Perhaps, this is due to the taking of milk. Previously, I suffered from two attacks of sunstroke. From that time, my eyes become red if I expose myself to the sun, and the health continues to be bad for two or three days at a stretch.

Almora: 25-7-97 – I am having a good deal of riding and exercise but I had to drink a lot of skimmed milk per prescription of the doctors, with the result that I am more to the front than Back! I am always a forward man though, but do not want to be too prominent just now, and I have given up drinking milk…Miss Margaret Noble of Wimbledon is working hard for me.

I am glad to find that I am aging fast, my hair is turning grey. “Silver threads among the gold” – I mean black – are coming in fast.

It is bad for a preacher to be young, I think, as I did all my life. People have more confidence in an old man, and it looks more venerable…The world has its code of judgement which, alas, is very different from truth’s.

Madam Halboister has been helped by Vedanta and Yoga. I am unfortunately sometimes like the circus clown who makes others laugh, himself miserable!

Our difficulty in life is that we are guided by the present and not by the future. What gives us a little pleasure now drags us on to follow it; with the result that we always buy a mass of pain in the future for a little pleasure in the present.

The greatest misery in my life has been my own people-my brothers and sisters and mother, etc. Relatives
are like deadly clogs to one’s progress and is it not a wonder that people will still go on to find new ones by marriage!!!

He who is alone is happy. Do good to all, like everyone, but do not love anyone. It is a bondage, and bondage brings only misery. Live alone in your mind-that is happiness. To have nobody to care for and never minding who cares for you is the way to be free.

I am more a woman than a man… I am always dragging others’ pain into me – for nothing, without being able to do any good to anybody just as women, if they have no children; bestow all their love upon a cat!!!

Do you think this has any spirituality in it? Nonsense, it is all material, nervous bondage – that is what it is. O, to get rid of the thraldom of the flesh!!

Sturdy’s thermometer is now below zero, it seems. He seems to be greatly disappointed with my non-arrival in England this summer; what could I do?

We have started two Maths, one in Calcutta, the other in Madras, The Calcutta Math (a wretched rented house) was awfully shaken in the late earthquake.

Alwora : 25-7-97 – In a few days I am going down to the plains and from thence go to the western parts of the mountains. When it is cooler in the plains, I will make a lecture tour all over and see what work can be done.

29-7-97 – I am leaving this place the day after tomorrow – whether for Mussporie hills or somewhere else I shall decide later.

Yesterday, I delivered a lecture in the circle of the local English people, and all were highly pleased with it. But, I was very much pleased with the lecture in Hindi that I delivered the previous day; I did not know before that I could be oratorical in Hindi.

Ambala: 19-8-97 – I am now going to the hills at Dharamsala. I intend to start work in the Punjab after a few days;more rest in the Punjab hills. The Punjab and Rajputana are indeed fields for work.

My health was very bad recently. Now I am very slowly recovering. It will be alright if I stay in the hills for some more days.

Amritsar: 2-9-97 – Today, I am leaving by the 2 O’Clock train with all my party for Kashmir. The recent stay at Dharamsala hills has improved my health much, and the tonsilitis, fever, etc. have completely disappeared……

Niranjan, Latu, Krishna Lai, Dinanath, Gupta and Achyut are all going to Kashmir with me.

Srinagar (Kashmir): 13-9-97 – Now Kashmir. There is no place so beautiful as this; and the people also are fair and good-looking, though their eyes are not beautiful. But, I have also never seen elsewhere villages and towns so horribly dirty. In Srinagar, I am now putting up at the house of Rishibar Babu. He is very hospitable and kind. In a few days, I shall go out somewhere else on excursions; but, while returning, I shall come by way of Srinagar…As soon as we come down to the plains (Ambala) from Kashmir, I shall go to Lahore.

Since reaching Dharmasala, I have been all right. I like the cold places; there the body keeps well. I have a desire either to visit a few places in Kashmir and then choose an excellent site and live a quiet life there, or to go on floating on the water. I shall do what the doctor advises. The Raja is not here now. His brother, one just next to him in age, is the Commander-in-Chief. Efforts are being made to arrange a lecture under his chairmanship. If the meeting for the lecture is held in a day or two, I shall stay back, otherwise, I go out again on my travels. Sevier is still in Murree. His health is very bad, going about in jolting tongas and jatbas. In October I shall go down from here and shall deliver a few lectures in the Punjab. After that, I may go via Sind to Cutch, Bhuj and Kathiawar-even down to Poona if circumstances are favourable; otherwise, I go to Rajputana via Baroda. From Rajputana, I go to the North-Western Province, then Nepal, and finally Calcutta-this is my present programme. Everything, however, is in God’s hands.

Srinagar (Kashmir): 15-9-97 – Kashmir is the one land fit for Yogis, to my mind. But the land is now inhabited by a race which, though possessing great physical beauty, is extremely dirty. I am going to travel by water for a month, seeing the sights and getting strong. But the city is very malarious just now, and Sadananda and Krishnlal have got fever. Sadananda is all right today, but Krishnalal has fever yet. The doctor came today and gave him a purgative. He will be all right by tomorrow, we hope; and we start also tomorrow. The State has lent me one of its barges and it is fine and quite comfortable. They have also sent orders to the
Tahsildars of different districts. The people here are crowding in bands to see us and are doing everything they can to make us comfortable.

After a month, I go Backto the Punjab. I have travelled far and wide, but I have never seen such a country.

Srinagar 30-9-97 – I am leaving for the Punjab in in two or three days. Of the party, only Gupta and Achyut will accompany me.

As my health is now much better, I have decided to tour again in the same way as before. The people of our country have not yet offered me even as much as a pice for my travelling expenses. It is also a matter of shame to have to draw upon only the English disciples.

A monk from Ceylon, P. C. Jinawar Vamar by name, has written to me among other things that he wants to visit India. Perhaps, he is the same monk who comes of the Siamese royal family. His address is Wellawatta, Ceylon. He believes in the Vedanta.

Srinagar : 1-10-97 – I shall not try to describe Kashmir. Suffice it to say, I never felt sorry to leave any country except this paradise on earth; and I am trying my best, if I can, to influence the Raja to start a centre; so much to do here, and the material so hopeful.

Kashmir is a veritable heaven on earth. Nowhere else in the world is such a country as this. Mountains and rivers, trees and plants, men and women, beast and and birds – all vie with one another for excellence.

Since visiting Amarnath I feel as if Shiva is sitting on my head for twentyfour hours and would not come down.

I underwent great religious austerities at Amarnath and then in the temple of Kshir-Bhavani……

On the way to Amarnath, I made a very steep ascent on the mountain. Pilgrims do not generally travel by that path. But the determination came upon me that I must go by that path, and so I did. The labour of the strenuous ascent told on my body.

I entered the cave with only my kaupin (loin cloth) on and my body smeared with holy ash; I did not then feel any cold or heat. But when I came out of the temple, I was benumbed with cold.

I saw three or four white pigeons; whether they live in the cave or the neighbouring hills, I could not ascertain.

I have heard that the sight of the pigeons brings to fruition whatever desires you may have.

Since hearing that Divine Voice (inlthe Kshir Bhavani temple), I cherish no more plans. The idea of building Maths, etc. I have given up; as Mother wills so will it be.

Whether it be internal or external, if you actually hear with your ears such a disembodied voice, as I have done, can you deny it and call it false ?
Divine Voices are actually heard, just as you and I are talking.

Swami Vivekananda stayed in the Kshir Bhavani Devi temple for seven day8 and daily worshipped the Devi with offerings of Kshir (thickened milk) besides making Homa. One day, while worshipping, the thought arose in Swamiji’s mind, Mother Bhavani has been manifesting Her presence here far untold years. The Mohammedans came and destroyed the temple, yet the people of the place did nothing to protect Her. Alas, if I were then living, I could never have borne it silently.” When thinking in this strain his mind was oppressed with sorrow and anguish, he distinctly heard the voice of the Mother saying: “What even if unbelievers should enter My temples, and decile My images ! what is that to you ? Do you protect Me Or do I protect you ? “

97 – Reached Murree from Kashmir in the evening of the day before yesterday.

Murree : 10-10-97 – I am soon going to Rawalpindi tomorrow or the day after; then, I visit Lahore and other places via Jammu, and return to Rajputana via Karachi. I am doing well.

Murree: 11-10-97 -1 feel I have been working as if under an irresistible impulse for the last ten days, beginn-ing from Kashmir. It n^y be either a physical or a mental disease. Now I have come to the conclusion that I am unfit for further work……Whatever of Mother’s work
was to be accomplished through me, She made me do it, and has flung me aside breaking down my body and mind. Her will be done!

Now I retire from all work. In a day or two I shall give up every thing and wander about alone: I shall spend the rest of my life quietly in some place or other…I have all along been like a hero, I want my work to be quick like lightning and firm as adamant. Similarly, shall I die also …I have never retreated in a fight…There is success and failure in every work. But I am inclined to believe that one who is a coward will after death be born as an insect or a worm: there is no salvation for a coward even after millions of years of penance. Well, shall I after all be born as a worm?……In my eyes this world is a mere play,and it will always remain as such…I am a man of action… When I fight, I fight with girded loins – that much I fully understand; and I also understand that man, that hero, that God who says, “Don’t care, be fearless, brave one, here I am by your side.” To such a Man-God, I offer a million salutations. Their presence purifies the world; they are the saviours of the world. And the others who always wail, “Oh, don’t go forward, there is this danger, there is that danger,” – those dyspeptics – they always tremble with fear. But through the grace of the Divine Mother, my mind is so strong that even the most terrible dyspepsia shall not make me a coward – I am the child of the Divine Mother, the source of all power and strength. To me, cringing, fawning, whining, degrading inertia and hell are one and the same thing.

Jammu: 3-11-97 – I am going to write to Sturdy from Lahore, for which I start tomorrow. I have been here for 15 days to get some land in Kashmir from the Maharaja. I intend to come to Kashmir again next summer if I am here, and start some work.

Lahore : 11-11-97 – The lecture at Lahore is over somehow. I shall start for Dehra-Dun in a day or two.

I have now postponed my tour to Sind……because of various obstacles.

Probably, I shall leave Sadananda and Sudhir here after establishing a Society…Now no more lecturing – I go in a hurry straight to Rajaputana… Without regular exercise, the body does not keep fit; talking, talking all the time brings illness…

Lahore: 15-11-97 – In spite of my earnest wishes, I do not find it feasible to go to Karachi this time– Owing to my kidney trouble, I cannot count upon a long life.

It is one of my desires to start a Math in Calcutta, towards which as yet, I could do nothing. The people of my country have withheld the little help they used to give to our Math of late. They have got a notion that I have brought plenty of money from England! It is impossible to celebrate Sri Ramakrishna’s Festival this year, for the proprietors of Rasmani’s gardens would not let me go there as I am returned from the west! For these reasons I postpone my tour to Sind.

15-11-97 – My health is good; only I have to get up at night once or twice. I am having sound sleep; sleep is not spoiled even after exhausting lectures; and I am doing exercise everyday…

I start for Dehra-Dun this very day.

Dehra Dun : 24-11-97 – I am doing well now.

I have been suffering for a long time from some pain at the Backof my neck… The day after tomorrow I am leaving for Saharanpur, from there to Rajputana.

Delhi: 8-12-97 -We shall start for Khetri tomorrow. Gradually the luggage has greatly increased. After Khetri, I intend to send everybody to the Math (Belur).

Recently, I met at Dehra Dun the Udasi Sadhu, Kalyan Dev, and few others, I hear the people at Hrishi-kesh are very eager to see me, and are asking again and again about me.

Khetri: 14-12-97 – I have today sent the power of attorney with my signature… A Raja of a place in Bundel-khand named Chatrapur has invited me. I shall visit the place on my way to the Math. The Raja of Limbdi, too, is writing earnestly. I cannot avoid going there also, I shall make a lightning tour of Kathiawar – that is what it will come to…

Jaipur: 27-12-97 – I am not very well, but am going to Calcutta in a few days and will be all right.

Belur Math : 25-2-98 – My health has not been all right of late; at present, it is much better. Calcutta is unusually cool just now, and the American friends who are here are enjoying it ever so much. Today we take possession of the land we have bought and though it is not practicable to have the Mahotsav (of Sri Rama-krishna) on it just now, I must have something on it on Sunday. Anyhow, Sriji’s relics must be taken to our place for the day and worshipped…Every cent I had I have made over to Raja (Brahmananda) as they all say I am a spendthrift, and are afraid to keep money
with me……We have once more started the dancing business (Swamiji humorously alludes to the good old days with Sri Ramakrishna, in whose inspired company he and his brother-disciples used to sing and dance in ecstatic joy) here, Hari, Sarada and my own good self in a waltz. How we keep balance at all is a wonder to me!…

Sarat is hard at work as usual. We have got some good furniture now, and a big jump from the old chatai (mat) in the old Math to nice tables and chairs and three cots (Khats)…I am going to America again with Mrs. Bull in a few months

So, the Math here is a fait accompli and I am going over to get more help.

Belur Math : 25-2-98 – A friend to whom I owe much is here, presumably to take me to his place in Darjeeling. There are some American friends and every spare moment is occupied in working for the new Math and several organisations therein, and I expect to leave India next month for America.

2-3-98 – I am working hard to set things all right so that the machine may move forward when I am off the stage. Death I conquered long ago when I gave up life. My only anxiety is the work and even that to the Lord I dedicate and He knows best.

Belur Math : 2-3-98 – It was in southern India, when I came from London and when the people were feteing and feasting and pumping all the work out of me that an old hereditary disease made its appearance.*. The disease will take two or three years at worst to carry me off.

Darjeeling: 23-4-98 – My health was excellent on my return from Sandukphu (11,924 ft.) and other places, but after returning to Darjeeling, I had first an attack of fever, and after recovering from that I am now suffering from cough and cold. I try to escape from this place everyday; but they have been constantly putting it off for a long time. However, tomorrow, Sunday, I am leaving; after halting at Kharsana (Kurseong) for a day I start again for Calcutta on Monday.

29-4-98 – I have had several attacks of fever, the last being influenza. It has left me now, only I am very weak yet. As soon as I gather strength enough to undertake the journey, I come down to Calcutta.

If the plague comes to my native city, I am determined to make myself a sacrifice; and that I am sure is a “Darn sight better way to Nirvana” than pouring oblations to all that ever twinkled… I am going to start a paper – The Udbodhana – in Calcutta.

Almora: 20-5-98 – After I reached Nainital, Baburam went from here to Nanital on horseBackagainst everybody’s advice, and while returning he also accompanied us on horseback. I was far behind as I was in a dandi, When I reached the dak bungalow at night, I heard that Baburam had again fallen from the horse and had hurt one of his arms – though he had no fractures. Lest I should rebuke him, he stayed in a private lodging house. He did not meet that night. Next day, I was making arrangements for a dandi for him, when I heard that he had already left on foot. Since then I have not heard of him. I have wired to one or two places, but no news. Perhaps, he is putting up at some village. Very well !…

My health is much better, but the dyspepsia has not gone, and again insomnia has set in.

The climate at Almora is excellent at this time. Moreover, the bungalow rented by Sevier is the best in Almora. On the opposite side Annie Besant is staying in a small bungalow with Chakravarty. One day, I went to see him. Annie Besant told me entreatingly that there should be friendship between her organisation and mine all over the world, etc. etc. Today Besant will come here for tea. Our ladies are in a small bungalow nearby and are quite happy. Only Miss MacLeod is a little unwell today. Harry Sevier is becoming more and more a Sadhu as the days pass.

Srinagar: 17-7-98 – My health is alright. I have to get up seldom at night, even though I take twice a day rice and potatoes, sugars or whatever I get. Medicine is useless – it has no action on the system of a knower of Brahman!

Srinagar: 1-8 98 – The Maharaja of Kashmir has agreed to give us a plot of land. I have also visited the site. Now the matter will be finalised in a few days, if the Lord wills. Right now, before leaving, I hope to build a small house here. I shall leave it in the charge of Justice Mukherjee when departing…

Kashmir: 25-8-98 – It is a lazy life I have been leading for the last two months, floating leisurely in a boat, which is also my home, up and down the beautiful Jhelum, through the most gorgeous scenery God’s world can afford, in nature’s own park, where the earth, air, land, grass, plants, trees, mountains, snows and the human form all express on the outside at least, the beauty of the Lord : with almost no possessions, scarcely a pen or inkstand even, snatching up a meal whenever and wherever convenient, the very ideal of a Rip Van Winkle !

“Duty is the mid-day sun whose fierce rays are burning the very vitals of humanity.” It is necessary for a time as a discipline; beyond that, it is a morbid dream. Things go on all right whether we lend them our helping hands or not. We in delusion only break ourselves.

Srinagar: 28-8-98 – I have been away a few days. Now, I am going to join the ladies. The party there goes to a nice quiet spot behind the hill, in a forest, through which a murmuring stream flows, to have meditation deep and long under the deodars (trees of God) cross-legged a la Buddha.

Lahore : 16-10-98 – I have not witnessed the Durga Puja for the last nine years. So, I am starting for Calcutta.

Belur: Nov. 98 – The other day, I was a guest of Babu Priyanath Mukherjee at Baidyanath. There I had such a spell of asthma that I felt like dying. But from within, with every breath arose the deep-toned sound, “I am He, I am He.” Resting on the pillow, I was waiting for the vital breath to depart; and observing all the time that from within was coming the sound of “I am He, I am He ! ” I could hear along :”The Brahman, the One without a second, alone exists, nothing manifold exists in this world.

Calcutta : 12-11-98 – Sri Mother is going this morning to see the new Math (Belur). I am also going there.

l£was at the Cossipore garden that Sri Ramakrishna said to me, “Wherever you will take me on your shoulders, there I will go and stay, be it under a tree or in a hut.” It is, therefore, that I myself carried him on my shoulders to the new Math grounds. Know it for certain that Sri Ramakrishna will keep his seat fixed there for the welfare of the many, for a long time to come…

Each devotee colours Sri Ramakrishna in the light of his own understanding, and each forms his own ideas of him from his peculiar standpoint. He was, as it were, a great Sun, and each one of us is eyeing him, as it were through a different kind of coloured glass, and coming to look upon that one Sun as multicoloured…

Belur Math : 35-12-98 – The Mother is our guide and whatever happens or will happen is under Her ordination.

The Math : 33-4-99 – Two years of physical suffering have taken away twenty years off my life.

Belur Math : 16-4-99 – If by the sacrifice of some specially cherished object of either myself or my brother disciples, many pure and genuinely patriotic souls come forward to help our cause, we will not hesitate in the least to make that sacrifice, nor shed a tear-drop. But my hairs have turned grey since I began the study of man. I have some doubts about those patriotic souls who can join with us if only we give up the worship of the Guru. Well, if as they pose, they are indeed panting and struggling so much almost to the point of dissolution from their body to serve the country, how can the single accident of Guru-worship stop everything ! If this trifle of Guru-worship serves as a stone to choke one to death, we had better extricate one from this predicament.

When the mind and speech unite in earnestly asking for a thing, that prayer is answered.

SRI RAMAKRISHNA.

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