Powered by Bravenet Bravenet Blog

Thursday, May 24th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Mrs. Ole Bull

Prabuddha Bharata Office
Advaita Ashrama
Mayavati (via Almora)
Kumaon, Himalayas,

6th January, 1901

My dear Mother,

I send you forthwith a translation of the Nasadiya Hymn sent by Dr. Bose through you. I have tried to make it as literal as possible.

I hope Dr. Bose has recovered his health perfectly by this time.

Mrs. Sevier is a strong woman, and has borne her loss quietly and bravely. She is coming over to England in April, and I am going over with her.

I ought to come to England as early as I can this summer; and as she must go to attend to her husband's affairs, I accompany her.

This place is very, very beautiful, and they have made it simply exquisite. It is a huge place several acres in area, and is very well kept. I hope Mrs. Sevier will be in a position to keep it up in the future. She wishes it ever so much, of course.

My last letter from Joe informed me that she was going up the . . . with Mme Calve.I am very glad to learn that Margot is leaving her lore for future use. Her book has been very much appreciated here, but the publishers do not seem to make any effort at sale.

The first day's touch of Calcutta brought the asthma back; and every night I used to get a fit during the two weeks I was there. I am, however, very well in the Himalayas.

It is snowing heavily here, and I was caught in a blizzard on the way; but it is not very cold, and all this exposure to the snows for two days on my way here seems to have done me a world of good.

Today I walked over the snow uphill about a mile, seeing Mrs. Sevier's lands; she has made beautiful roads all over. Plenty of gardens, fields, orchards, and large forests, all in her land. The living houses are so simple, so clean, and so pretty, and above all so suited for the purpose.

Are you going to America soon? If not, I hope to see you in London in three months.

Kindly give my best wishes to Miss Olcock and kindly convey my undying love to Miss Muller the next time you see her; so to Sturdy. I have seen my mother, my cousin, and all my people in Calcutta.Kindly send the remittance you send my cousin to me--in my name so that I shall cash the cheque and give her the money.

Saradananda and Brahmananda and the rest were well in the Math when I last left them.

All here send love.

Ever your loving son,


PS. Kali has taken two sacrifices; the cause has already two European martyrs. Now, it is going to rise up splendidly.

My love to Alberta and Mrs. Vaughan.

The snow is lying all round six inches deep, the sun is bright and glorious, and now in the middle of the day we are sitting outside, reading. And the snow all about us! The winter here is very mild in spite of the snow. The air is dry and balmy, and the water beyond all praise


0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Wednesday, May 23rd 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To the Maharaja of Khetri


[December 1900]


Very glad to learn that you and the Coomar [the Royal Prince] are enjoying good health. As for me, my heart has become very weak. Change, I do not think, will do me any good, as for the last 14 years I do not remember to have stopped at one place for three months at a stretch. On the other hand, if by some chance I can live for months in one place, I hope it will do me good. I do not mind this, however; I feel that my work in this life is done. Through good and evil, pain and pleasure, my life-boat has been dragged on. The one great lesson I was taught is that life is misery, nothing but misery. Mother knows what is best. Each one of us is in the hands of Karma — it works out itself, and no nay. There is only one element in life which is worth having at any cost — and it is love. Love immense and infinite, broad as the sky and deep as the ocean. This is the one great gain in life. Blessed is he who gets it.

Ever yours in the Lord,



To Swami Turiyananda

(Translated from Bengali)


I am glad to hear that your leg is all right and that you are doing splendid work. My body is going on all right. The thing is, I fall ill when I take too much precaution. I am cooking, eating whatever comes, working day and night, and I am all right and sleeping soundly! 

I am going over to New York within a month. Has Sarada's magazine gone out of circulation? I am not getting it any longer. Awakened also has gone to sleep, I think. They are not sending it to me any more. Let that go. There is an outbreak of plague in our country; who knows who is alive and who is dead! Well, a letter from Achu has come today. He had hidden himself in the town of Ramgarh in Sikar State. Someone told him that Vivekananda was dead; so he has written to me! I am sending him a reply. 

All well here. Hope this finds you and all others well

Yours affectionately,




0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Tuesday, May 22nd 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Swami Ramakrishnananda


26th December, 1900.


I got all the news from your letter. If your health is bad, then certainly you should not come here; and also I am going to Mayavati tomorrow. It is absolutely necessary that I should go there once.

If Alasinga comes here, he will have to await my return. I do not know what those here are deciding about Kanai. I shall return shortly from Almora, and then I may be able to visit Madras. From Vaniyambadi I have received a letter. Write to the people there conveying my love and blessings, and tell them that on my way to Madras I shall surely visit them. Give my love to all. Don't work too hard. All is well here.

Yours affectionately,



To Josephine MacLeod

26th Dec., 1900.

This mail brought your letter including that of Mother and Alberta. What the learned friend of Alberta says about Russia is about the same I think myself. Only there is one difficulty of thought: Is it possible for the Hindu race to be Russianised?

Dear Mr. Sevier passed away before I could arrive. He was cremated on the banks of the river that flows by his Ashrama, à la Hindu, covered with garlands, the Brahmins carrying the body and boys chanting the Vedas.
The cause has already two martyrs. It makes me love dear old England and its heroic breed. The Mother is watering the plant of future India with the best blood of England. Glory unto Her!

Dear Mrs. Sevier is calm. A letter she wrote me to Paris comes back this mail. I am going up tomorrow to pay her a visit. Lord bless her, dear brave soul!

I am calm and strong. Occasion never found me low yet Mother will not make me now depressed.

It is very pleasant here, now the winter is on. The Himalayas will be still more beautiful with the uncovered snows.

The young man who started from New York, Mr. Johnston, has taken the vow of a Brahmachârin and is at Mayavati.

Send the money to Saradananda in the Math, as I will be away in the hills. 

They have worked all right as far as they could; I am glad, and feel myself quite a fool on account of my nervous chagrin.

They are as good and as faithful as ever, and they are in good health. Write all this to Mrs. Bull and tell her she was always right and I was wrong, and I beg a hundred thousand pardons of her.

Oceans of love for her and for M—
 I look behind and after 
 In my deepest sorrows 
  There is a soul of light. 
All love to M—, Mrs. C—, to Dear J.B.— , and to you, Dear Joe, Pranâms.



0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Monday, May 21st 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Deoghar Vaidyanath

(This is a letter of Swami Vivekananda that we found published in a book called the Bible Review. To the best of our knowledge, it's not found in the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda).

Deoghar Vaidyanath. Dec. 23, 1900.

Dear-------- ,

I am very glad to receive your letter. What you have under­stood is right. "The Lord whose nature is unspeakable love", that this characteristic of God mentioned by Narada is manifest and admitted on all hands is the firm conviction of my life. The aggregate of many individuals is called Samashti (the whole), and each individual is called Vyashti (a part). You and I—each is Vyashti, society is Samashti. You, I, an an­imal, a bird, a worm, an insect, a tree, a creeper, the earth, a planet, a star,—each is Vyashti, while this universe is Samashti, which is called Virat, Hiranyagarbha or Ishwara in Vedanta, and Brahma, Vishnu, Devi, etc., in the Puranas. Whether or not Vyashti has individual freedom, and if it has, what should be its measure, whether or not Vyashti should com­pletely sacrifice its own will, its own happiness for Samashti,— are the perennial problems before every society. Society every­where is busy finding the solution of these problems. In modern Western society these loom large. The doctrine which demands the sacrifice of individual freedom to social supremacy is called Socialism, while that which advocates the cause of the individ­ual is called Individualism.

Our motherland is a glowing example of the results and con­sequences of the eternal subjection of the individual to society and forced self-sacrifice by dint of institution and discipline. In this country men are born according to shastric injunctions, they eat and drink by rule throughout life, they go through marriage and kindred functions in the same way; in short, they even die according to shastric injunctions. This hard discipline, with the exception of one great good point, is fraught with evil. The good point is that men can do one or two things easily and well, hav­ing practiced them every day through generations. The delicious rice and curry which a cook of this country prepares with the aid of three lumps of earth and a few sticks can be had nowhere else. With the simple mechanism of an antediluvian loom worth one Re. 1 and the feet put in a pit, it is possible to make kin-cobs worth Rs. 20 a yard in this country alone. A torn mat, an earthen lamp and that fed by castor oil,—with the aid of mate­rials as these, wonderful savants are produced in this country alone. An all-forbearing attachment to an ugly and deformed wife and a lifelong devotion to a worthless and villainous husband are possible in this country alone. Thus far the bright side.

But all these are done by people led like lifeless machines; there is no mental activity, no unfoldment of the heart, no vibra­tion of life, no flux of hope; there is no strong stimulation of the will, no experience of keen pleasure nor the contact of intense sorrow; there is no stir of inventive genius, no desire for novelty, no interest for new things. Clouds never pass away from this mind, the radiant picture of the morning sun never charms this heart. It never even occurs to the mind if there is any better state than this; where it does, it cannot convince; in the event of conviction, effort is lacking; and even where there is effort, lack of enthusiasm kills it out.

If living by rule alone ensures excellence, if it be virtue to strictly follow the customs handed down through generations, say then, who is more virtuous than a tree, who is a greater devotee, a holier saint than a railway train? Who has ever seen a piece of stone transgress a natural law? Who has ever known cattle to commit sin?

The huge steamer, the mighty railway engine—they are non-intelligent, they move, turn and run, but they are without intelligence. And yonder tiny worm which moved away from the railway line to save its life, why is it intelligent? There is no manifestation of will in the machine, the machine never wishes to transgress law; the worm wants to oppose law, rises against law whether it succeeds or not; therefore it is intelligent. Hap­piness is greater, jida is higher, in proportion as this will is more successfully manifest. The will of God is perfectly fruit­ful, therefore He is the highest.

What is education? Is it book-learning? No. Is it diverse knowledge? Not even that. The training by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruit­ful, is called education. Now consider, is that education, which resulting in a continuous checking of the will by force through generations has now well-nigh killed it, under whose sway— why mention new ideas—even the old ones are disappearing one by one, is that education which is slowly making man a ma­chine? It is more blessed, in my opinion, to go wrong impelled by one's free will and intelligence than to be good as an automa­ton. Again, can that be called a society which is formed by an aggregate of men who are like lumps of clay, like lifeless ma­chines, like heaped up pebbles? How can such society fare well? Were good possible, then instead of being slaves for hundreds of years we would have been the greatest nation on earth, and this soil of India, instead of being a mine of stupid­ity, would have been the eternal fountain-head of learning.

Is not self-sacrifice, then, a virtue? Is it not the one virtuous deed to sacrifice the happiness of one, the wellfare of one for the sake of many? Exactly, but as the Bengali adage goes, "Can beauty be manufactured by rubbing and scrubbing? Can love be generated by effort and compulsion?" What glory in the renun­ciation of an eternal beggar? What virtue in the sense-control of one devoid of sense-power? What again is the self-sacrifice of one devoid of idea, devoid of heart, devoid of ambition and de­void of the conception of society?   What expression of devotedness to husband by forcing a widow to commit suttee! Why make people do virtuous deeds by teaching superstitions? I tell you, liberate, undo the shackles of people as much as you can. Can dirt be washed by dirt? Can bondage be removed by bondage? Where is the instance? When you would be able to sacrifice all desire for happiness for the sake of society, then you would be the Buddha, then you would be free; that is far off. Again, do you think the way to it lies through oppression? "Oh, what examples of self-denial are our widows! Is another such custom possible? Oh, how sweet is child-marriage! Can it be other­wise than love between husband and wife in such marriage?"— is the whine going around nowadays. But as to the males, the masters of the situation, there is no need of denial for them. Is there a virtue higher than serving others? But the same does not apply to Brahmans—you, others do it! The truth is, that in this country parents and relatives can ruthlessly sacrifice the best interests of their children and others for their own self­ish ends, to save themselves a compromise in society, and the teachings of generations rendering the mind callous has made it perfectly easy. The brave alone can deny self. The coward, afraid of the lash, with one hand wipes his eyes and gives with the other. What avail such gifts? It is a far cry to love uni­versal. The young plant should be hedged in and taken care of. One can hope to gradually attain to universal love, if one can learn to love one object unselfishly. If devotion to one par­ticular Ishtadeva is attained, devotion to the universal Virata is gradually possible.

Therefore, when one has been able to deny himself for an in­dividual, one should talk of self-sacrifice for the sake of society, not before. Actions with desire lead to actions without desire. Is the renunciation of desire possible, if it did not exist in the beginning? And what could it mean? Can light have any meaning if there is no darkness?

Worship with desire, with attachment comes first. Commence with the worship of the little, then the greater will come of itself.

Be not anxious. It is against the big tree that the great wind strikes. "Poking a fire makes it burn better; a snake struck on the head raises its hood," and so on. When there comes af­fliction in the heart, the storm of sorrow blows all around, and it seems light will be seen no more, when hope and courage are almost gone, it is then in the midst of this great spiritual tem­pest, the light of Brahman within gleams. Brought up in the lap of luxury, never shedding a drop of tear, who has ever be­come great, has ever unfolded the Brahman within? Why do you fear to weep? Weep. Weeping clears the eyes and brings about intuition, then the vision of diversity, man, animal, tree, slowly melting away, makes room for infinite realization of Brahman. Then, "Verily, seeing the same God equally exist­ent everywhere, he does not injure self by self, and so goes to the supreme goal."  (Gita. xiii. 28.)

Ever your well-wisher,


From Prabuddha Bharata.


0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Sunday, May 20th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Josephine MacLeod

The Math, Belur,
11th Dec., 1900.
Dear Joe,
I arrived night before last. Alas! my hurrying was of no use.
Poor Captain Sevier passed away, a few days ago -- thus two great Englishmen gave up their lives for us -- us the Hindus. Thus is martyrdom if anything is. Mrs. Sevier I have written to just now, to know her decision.I am well, things are well here -- every way. Excuse this haste. I will write longer ere long.
Ever yours in truth,


To Mrs. Ole Bull

The Math, Belur,
Howrah Dist., Bengal, India,
15 December, 1900.
My Dear Mother,
Three days ago I reached here. It was quite unexpected--my visit, and everybody was so surprised.
Things here have gone better than I expected during my absence, only Mr. Sevier has passed away. It was a tremendous blow, sure, and I don't know the future of the work in the Himalayas. I am expecting daily a letter from Mrs. Sevier who is there still.
How are you? Where are you? My affairs here will be straightened out shortly, I hope, and I am trying my best to straighten them out. 
The remittance you send my cousin should henceforth be sent to me direct, the bills being drawn in my name. I will cash them and send her the money. It is better the money goes to her through me.
Saradananda and Brahmananda are much better and this year there is very little malaria here. This narrow strip on the banks of the river is always free from malaria. Only when we get a large supply of pure water the conditions will be perfected here.


To Sister Nivedita

19th Dec., 1900.

Just a voice across the continents to say, how do you do? Are you not surprised? Verily I am a bird of passage. Gay and busy Paris, grim old Constantinople, sparkling little Athens, and pyramidal Cairo are left behind, and here I am writing in my room on the Ganga, in the Math. It is so quiet and still! The broad river is dancing in the bright sunshine, only now and then an occasional cargo boat breaking the silence with the splashing of the oars. It is the cold season here, but the middle of the day is warm and bright every day. But it is the winter of Southern California. Everything is green and gold, and the grass is like velvet; yet the air is cold and crisp and delightful.

Yours etc.,



0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Saturday, May 19th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Sister Christine

[On a postcard, showing the temple of Hepaistos, popularly called Thesion, Swami Vivekananda wrote.]

[Postmarked: Athens,

November 11, 1900]

Great fun. I write without the possibility of being written to, as I am changing place all the time. How do you do?



To Miss Josephine MacLeod


26th November, 1900.


The steamer was late; so I am waiting. Thank goodness, it entered the Canal this morning at Port Said. That means it will arrive some time in the evening if everything goes right. 

Of course it is like solitary imprisonment these two days, and I am holding my soul in patience.

But they say the change is thrice dear. Mr. Gaze's agent gave me all wrong directions. In the first place, there was nobody here to tell me a thing, not to speak of receiving me.

Secondly, I was not told that I had to change my Gaze's ticket for a steamer one at the agent's office, and that was at Suez, not here. It was good one way, therefore, that the steamer was late; so I went to see the agent of the steamer and he told me to exchange Gaze's pass for a regular ticket.

I hope to board the steamer some time tonight. I am well and happy and am enjoying the fun immensely. How is Mademoiselle?

Where is Bois? Give my everlasting gratitude and good wishes to Mme. Calve. She is a good lady.

Hoping you will enjoy your trip.

Ever affectionately yours,




0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Friday, May 18th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Madame Emma Calve

(Translated from the original in French)

October, 1900.
I have been very happy and content here. I am having the best of times after many years. I find life here with Mr. Bois very satisfactory — the books, the calm, and the absence of everything that usually troubles me.
But I don't know what kind of destiny is waiting for me now
My letter is funny, isn't it? But it is my first attempt.
Yours faithfully,



To Miss Alberta Sturges

[Swami Vivekananda sent the following postcard.

November 1, 1900]
Dear Alberta,
How are you? I am having a grand Turkish time.


To Sister Christine

[On a postcard, picturing the old decayed fortress walls of Istanbul, Swami Vivekananda wrote the following note.]

[Postmarked: November 1, 1900]
Dear Christina--
I am having a good time here. So I hope you also are having in Detroit--
Yours truly,


To Sister Nivedita

[On a picture postcard showing dervishes and local fish merchants, Swami Vivekananda wrote the following note.]

November 1, 1900]
Dear Margo [Margot], the blessings of the howling dervishes go with you — Yours in the Lord,


P.S. All love to Mrs. Bull.




0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Thursday, May 17th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Mrs. Ole Bull


22nd October 1900


I am sorry to learn you are not well. Hope you will soon be better. Things seem to turn out better for me.

Mr. Maxim of the gun fame is very much interested in me, and he wants to put in his book on China and the Chinese something about my work in America

I have not any documents with me; if you have, kindly give them to him. He will come to see you and talk it over with you. Canon Hawes [Reverend Hugh Reginald Haweis] also keeps track of my work in England. So much about that.

It may be that Mother will now work up my original plan of international work. In that case, you will find your work of the Conference has not been in vain.

It seems that after this fall in my health, physical and mental, it is going to open out that way — larger and more international work. Mother knows best.

My whole life has been divided into successive depressions and rises — and so, I believe, is the life of everyone.

I am glad, rather than not, these falls come. I understand it all; still, I suffer and grumble and rage!! Perhaps that is a part of the cause of the next upheaval.

I think you will be in America by the time we return; if not, I will see you in London again. Anyhow, adieu for the present. We start day after tomorrow for Egypt etc. And all blessings ever be on you and yours is, as always, my prayer.

Your son,


PS: To Margot [Sister Nivedita] my love, and I am sure she will succeed.



0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Wednesday, May 16th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

 To Sister Christine

6 Place Des Etats Unis,

14th October, 1900.

{original in French}
God bless you at each step, my dear Christine, such is my constant prayer!

Your letter, so beautiful and so calm, has given me that fresh energy which I am often losing.

I am happy, yes, I am happy, but the cloud has not left me entirely. It sometimes comes back, unfortunately, but it no longer has the morbidity it used to have.

I am staying with a famous French writer, M. Jules Bois. I am his guest. As he is a man making his living with his pen, he is not rich; but we have many great ideas in common and feel happy together.

He discovered me a few years ago and has already translated some of my pamphlets into French. We shall in the end find what we are looking for, isn't it?

Thus, I shall travel with Madame Calve, Miss MacLeod, and M. Jules Bois. I shall be the guest of Madame Calve, the famous singer. We shall go to Constantinople, the Near East, Greece, and Egypt. On our way back, we shall visit Venice.

It may be that I shall give a few lectures in Paris after my return, but they will be in English with an interpreter. I have no time any more, nor the power to study a new language at my age. I am an old man, isn't it?

Mrs. Funke is ill. I think she works too hard. She already had some nervous trouble. I hope she will soon be well.

I am sending all the money I earned in America to India. Now I am free, the begging-monk as before. I have also resigned from the Presidentship of the Monastery. Thank God, I am free! It is no more for me to carry such a responsibility. I am so nervous and so weak.

"As the birds which have slept in the branches of a tree wake up, singing when the dawn comes, and soar up into the deep blue sky, so is the end of my life."

I have had many difficulties, and also some very great successes. But all my difficulties and suffering count for nothing, as I have succeeded. I have attained my aim. I have found the pearl for which I dived into the ocean of life. I have been rewarded. I am pleased.

Thus it seems to me that a new chapter of my life is opening. It seems to me that Mother will now lead me slowly and softly. No more effort on roads full of obstacles, now it is the bed prepared with birds' down. Do you understand that? Believe me, I feel quite sure.

The experience of all my life, up to now, has taught me, thank God, that I always find what I am looking for with eagerness. Sometimes it is after much suffering, but it does not matter! All is forgotten in the softness of the reward. You are also going through troubles, my friend, but you shall have your reward. Alas! What you now find is not a reward but an additional affliction.

As to myself, I see the cloud lifting, vanishing, the cloud of my bad Karma. And the sun of my good Karma rises--shining, beautiful, and powerful. This will also be the case for you, my friend. My knowledge of this language has not the power to express my emotion. But which language can really do so?

So I drop it, leaving it to your heart to clothe my thought with a soft, loving, and shining language. Good night, gute Nacht !

Your devoted friend,


PS. We shall leave Paris for Vienna on October 29th. Mr. Leggett is leaving for the United States by next week. We shall notify the Post Office to forward our letters to our further destinations.



0 Comment(s) / View Entry

Tuesday, May 15th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading

To Swami Turiyananda

(Original in Bengali)


September, 1900.


Just now I received your letter. Through Mother's will all work will go on; don't be afraid. I shall soon leave for some other place. Perhaps I shall be on a tour of Constantinople and other places for some time. Mother knows what will come next.

I have received a letter from Mrs. Wilmot. From this, too, it appears that she is very enthusiastic. Sit firm and free from worries. Everything will be all right

If hearing the Nada etc. does anyone harm, he can get rid of it if he gives up meditation for a time and takes to fish and meat. If the body does not become progressively weak, there is no cause for alarm. Practice should be slow.

I shall leave this place before your reply comes. So do not send the reply to this letter here. I have received all the issues of Sarada's paper, and wrote to him lots a few weeks ago.

I have a mind to send more later on. There is no knowing where my next stop will be. 

This much I can say that I am trying to be free from care.

I received a letter from Kali, too, today. I shall send him a reply tomorrow. The body is somehow rolling on. Work makes it ill, and rest keeps it well — that is all. Mother knows. Nivedita has gone to England.

She and Mrs. Bull are collecting funds. She has a mind to run a school at Kishengarh with the girls she had there. Let her do what she can. I do not intervene any more in any matter — that is all.

My love to you. But I have nothing more to advise as regards work.

Yours in service,



0 Comment(s) / View Entry