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Wednesday, November 14th 2018

10:57 AM

Daily Reading


To Swami Ramakrishnananda

(Original in Bengali)

U.S.A.,
11th April, 1895.
MY DEAR SHASHI,
. . . You write that you have recovered from your illness; but you must henceforth be very careful. Late dinners or unwholesome food, or living in a stinking place may bring on a relapse, and make it hard to escape the clutches of malaria. First of all you should hire a small garden-house — you may get one for thirty or forty rupees. Secondly, see that cooking and drinking water be filtered — a bamboo filter of a big size will do. Water is the cause of all sorts of disease. It is not the clearness or dirtiness of water, but its being full of disease germs, that causes disease. Let the water be boiled and filtered. You must all pay attention to your health first. A cook, a servant, clean beds, and timely meals — these are absolutely necessary. Please see that all these suggestions be carried out in toto. . . . The success of your undertakings depends wholly upon your mutual love. There is no good in store so long as malice and jealousy and egotism will prevail. ... Kali's pamphlet is very well written and has no exaggerations. Know that talking ill of others in private is a sin. You must wholly avoid it. Many things may occur to the mind, but it gradually makes a mountain of a molehill if you try to express them. Everything is ended if you forgive and forget. It is welcome news that Shri Ramakrishna's festival was celebrated with great éclat. You must try so that there is a muster of a hundred thousand people next year. Put your energies together to start a magazine. Shyness won't do any more.... He who has infinite patience and infinite energy at his back, will alone succeed. You must pay special attention to study. Do you understand? You must not huddle together too many fools. I shall be glad if you bring together a few real men. Why, I don't hear even a single one opening his lips. You distributed sweets at the festival, and there was singing by some parties, mostly idlers. True, but I don't hear what spiritual food you have given. So long as that nil admirari attitude is not gone, you will not be able to do anything, and none of you will have courage. Bullies are always cowards.
Take up everyone with sympathy, whether he believes in Shri Ramakrishna or not. If anybody comes to you for vain dispute, politely withdraw yourselves. ... You must express your sympathy with people of all sects. When these cardinal virtues will be manifested in you, then only you will be able to work with great energy. Otherwise, mere taking the name of the Guru will not do. However, there is no doubt that this year's festival has been a great success, and you deserve special thanks for it; but you must push forward, do you see? What is Sharat doing? Never shall you be able to know anything if you persist in pleading ignorance. ... We want something of a higher tone — that will appeal to the intellect of the learned. It won't do merely to get up musical parties and all that. Not only will this festival be his memorial, but also the central union of an intense propaganda of his doctrines. ... All will come in good time. But at times I fret and stamp like a leashed hound. Onward and forward, my old watchword. I am doing well. No use going back to India in a hurry. Summon all your energies and set yourselves to work heart and soul; that will really be heroic. 

Yours affectionately,

VIVEKANANDA

 

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Wednesday, November 14th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Mrs. Ole Bull

54 W. 33rd St., New York,
11th April, 1895
Dear Mrs. Bull,
. . . I am going away to the country tomorrow to see Mr. Leggett for a few days. A little fresh air will do me good, I hope.
I have given up the project of removing from this house just now, as it will be too expensive, and moreover it is not advisable to change just now. I am working it up slowly.
. . . I send you herewith the letter from H. H. the Maharaja of Khetri; also enclose the slip on Gurjun oil for leprosy. Miss Hamlin has been helping me a good deal. I am very grateful to her. She is very kind and, I hope, sincere. She wants me to be introduced to the ... "right kind of people". This is the second edition of the "Hold yourself steady" business, I am afraid. The only "right sort of people" are those whom the Lord sends--that is what I understand in my life's experience. They alone can and will help me. As for the rest, Lord help them in a mass and save me from them.
Every one of my friends thought it would end in nothing, this my getting up quarters all by myself, and that no ladies would ever come here . Miss Hamlin especially thought that "she" or "her right sort of people" were way up from such things as to go and listen to a man who lives by himself in a poor lodging. But the "right kind" came for all that, day and night, and she too. Lord! how hard it is for man to believe in Thee and Thy mercies! Shiva! Shiva! Where is the right kind and where is the bad, mother? It is all He ! In the tiger and in the lamb, in the saint and sinner all He ! In Him I have taken my refuge, body, soul, and Atman. Will He leave me now after carrying me in His arms all my life? Not a drop will be in the ocean, not a twig in the deepest forest, not a crumb in the house of the god of wealth, if the Lord is not merciful. Streams will be in the desert and the beggar will have plenty, if He wills it. He seeth the sparrow's fall. Are these but words, mother, or literal, actual life?
Truce to this "right sort of presentation". Thou art my right, Thou my wrong, my Shiva. Lord, since a child I have taken refuge in Thee. Thou wilt be with me in the tropics or at the poles, on the tops of mountains or in the depth of oceans. My stay--my guide in life--my refuge--my friend--my teacher--my God--my real Self, Thou wilt never leave me, never . I know it for sure. Sometimes I become weak, being alone and struggling against odds, my God; and I think of human help. Save Thou me for ever from these weaknesses, and may I never, never seek for help from any being but Thee. If a man puts his trust in another good man, he is never betrayed, never forsaken. Wilt Thou forsake me, Father of all good, Thou who knowest that all my life I am Thy servant and Thine alone? Wilt Thou give me over to be played upon by others, or dragged down by evil?
He will never leave me, I am sure, mother.
Your ever obedient son,
Vivekananda
 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, November 13th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Alasinga Perumal

U. S. A.,
4th April, 1895.
DEAR ALASINGA,

Your letter just to hand. You need not be afraid of anybody's attempting to hurt me. So long as the Lord protects me I shall be impregnable. Your ideas of America are very hazy. . . . This is a huge country, the majority do not care much about religion. . . . Christianity holds its ground as a mere patriotism, and nothing more.
. . . Now my son, do not lose courage. . . . Send me the Vedanta-Sutras and the Bhâshyas (commentaries) of all the sects.... I am in His hands. What is the use of going back to India? India cannot further my ideas. This country takes kindly to my ideas. I will go back when I get the Command. In the meanwhile, do you all gently and patiently work. If anybody attacks me, simply ignore his existence. . . . My idea is for you to start a Society where people could be taught the Vedas and the Vedanta, with the commentaries. Work on this line at present. . . . Know that every time you feel weak, you not only hurt yourself but also the Cause. Infinite faith and strength are the only conditions of success.
Be cheerful. . . . Hold on to your own ideal. . . . Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the Yankees say, "boss" others. Be the servant of all.

Ever yours with blessings,

VIVEKANANDA

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To Mr. Francis Leggett

NEW YORK,
10th April, 1895.
DEAR FRIEND,
It is impossible to express my gratitude for your kindly inviting me to your country seat [Ridgely]. I am involved in a mistake now and find it impossible for me to come tomorrow. Tomorrow I have a class at Miss Andrews' of 40 W. 9th Street. As I was given to understand by Miss MacLeod that that class could be postponed, I was only too glad at the prospect of joining the company tomorrow. But I find that Miss MacLeod was mistaken and Miss Andrews came to tell me that she could not by any means stop the class tomorrow or even give notice to the members, who are about 50 or 60 in number.
In view of this I sincerely regret my inability and hope that Miss MacLeod and Mrs. Sturges will understand that it is an unavoidable circumstance, and not the will, that stands in the way of my taking advantage of your kind invitation.
I shall only be too glad to come day after tomorrow, or any other day this week, as it suits you.
Ever sincerely yours,

VIVEKANANDA

 





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Monday, November 12th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Miss. Isabelle McKindley

54 W., 33 NEW YORK, 
27th March, 1895.
DEAR SISTER
Your kind note gave me pleasure inexpressible. I was also able to read it through very easily. I have at last hit upon the orange and have got a coat, but could not as yet get any in summer material. If you get any, kindly inform me. I will have it made here in New York. Your wonderful Dearborn Ave. misfit tailor is too much even for a monk. 
Sister Locke writes me a long letter and perhaps wondering at my delay in reply. She is apt to be carried away by enthusiasm; so I am waiting, and again I do not know what to answer. Kindly tell her from me that it is impossible for me to fix any place just now. Mrs. Peake though noble, grand, and very spiritual, is as much clever in worldly matter as I, yet I am getting cleverer every day. Mrs. Peake has been offered, by some one whom she knows only hazily in Washington, a place for summer. 
Who knows that she will not be played upon? This is a wonderful country for cheating, and 99.9 per cent have some motive in the background to take advantage of others. If any one just but closes his eyes for a moment, he is gone!! Sister Josephine is fiery. Mrs. Peake is a simple good woman. I have been so well handled by the people here that I look round me for hours before I take a step. Everything will come to right. Ask Sister Josephine to have a little patience. 
You are every day finding kindergarten better than running an old man's home I am sure. You saw Mrs. Bull, and I am sure you were quite surprised to find her so tame and gentle. Do you see Mrs. Adams now and then? Mrs. Bull has been greatly benefited by her lessons. I also took a few, but no use; the ever increasing load in front does not allow me to bend forward as Mrs. Adams wants it. If I try to bend forward in walking, the centre of gravity comes to the surface of the stomach, and so I go cutting front somersaults. 
No millionaire coming? Not even a few hundred thousands? Sorry, very sorry!!! I am trying my best; what I can do? My classes are full of women. You of course cannot marry a woman. Well, have patience. I will keep my eyes open and never let go an opportunity. If you do not get one, it would not be owing to any laziness at least on my part. 
Life goes on the same old ruts. Sometimes I get disgusted with eternal lecturings and talkings, want to be silent for days and days. 
Hoping you the best dreams (for that is the only way to be happy).

I remain ever your loving bro.,

VIVEKANANDA
 

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Sunday, November 11th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Mrs. Ole Bull 

54 W. 33rd St., New York,
21st March, 1895
Dear Mrs. Bull,
I am astonished to hear the scandals the Ramabai circles are indulging in about me. Don't you see, Mrs. Bull, that however a man may conduct himself, there will always be persons who invent the blackest lies about him? At Chicago I had such things every day against me. And these women are invariably the very Christian of Christians! . . . I am going to have a series of paid lectures in my rooms (downstairs), which will seat about a hundred persons, and that will cover the expenses. I am in no great hurry about the money to be sent to India. I will wait. Is Miss Farmer with you? Is Mrs. Peake at Chicago? Have you seen Josephine Locke? Miss Hamlin has been very kind to me and does all she can to help me.
My master used to say that these names, as Hindu, Christian, etc., stand as great bars to all brotherly feelings between man and man. We must try to break them down first. They have lost all their good powers and now only stand as baneful influences under whose black magic even the best of us behave like demons. Well, we will have to work hard and must succeed.
That is why I desire so much to have a centre. Organisation has its faults, no doubt, but without that nothing can be done. And here, I am afraid, I will have to differ from you--that no one ever succeeded in keeping society in good humour and at the same time did great works. One must work as the dictate comes from within, and then if it is right and good, society is bound to veer round, perhaps centuries after one is dead and gone. We must plunge heart and soul and body into the work. And until we be ready to sacrifice everything else to one Idea and to one alone, we never, never will see the light.
Those that want to help mankind must take their own pleasure and pain, name and fame, and all sorts of interests, and make a bundle of them and throw them into the sea, and then come to the Lord. This is what all the Masters said and did.
I went to Miss Corbin's last Saturday and told her that I should not be able to come to hold classes any more. Was it ever in the history of the world that any great work was done by the rich? It is the heart and the brain that do it ever and ever and not the purse.My idea and all my life with it--and to God for help; to none else! This is the only secret of success. I am sure you are one with me here. My love to Mrs. Thursby and Mrs. Adams.
Ever yours in grateful affection,
Vivekananda
 

 

 

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Saturday, November 10th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Miss Mary Hale

DEAR SISTER,

I am afraid you are offended and did not answer any of my letters. Now I beg a hundred thousand pardons. By very good luck, I have found the orange cloth and am going to have a coat made as soon as I can. I am glad to hear you met Mrs. Bull. She is such a noble lady and kind friend. Now, sister, there are two very thin Sanskrit pamphlets in the house. Kindly send them over if it does not bother you. The books from India have arrived safe, and I had not to pay any duty on them. I am surprised that the rugs do not arrive yet. I have not been to see Mother Temple any more. I could not find time. Every little bit of time I get I spend in the library.

With everlasting love and gratitude to you all,

Ever your loving brother,


VIVEKANANDA.


PS. Mr. Howe has been a very constant student except the last few days. Kindly give my love to Miss Howe.


V.

Note: Swamiji wrote to Mary Hale in a letter from New York that one guesses should bear the date March 12, 1895, or thereabouts. As presently published in the Complete Works (8: 375 Letter # LXXII), this letter is undated but is placed between those dated March 17 and April 14, 1896. It seems clear from its contents, however, that Swamiji wrote it in March of the previous year. Compare, for instance, his letter to Isabelle McKindley dated March 12, 1895-- From Swami Vivekananda in The West New Discoveries Volume 3 by Marie Louise Burke)


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To Mrs. G. W. Hale

[54 W. 33rd St., New York]
14 March 1895
Dear Mother,
The last letter you sent over is a notice from the Chicago post office of a parcel received by them. I think it is some books sent to me from India. The rugs cannot come through the post office (?) I do not know what to do. I send you therefore back this notice, and if they deliver it to you, all right--else I hope you will ask them to send it over to New York and kindly give them my address.
Yours obediently,
Vivekananda

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To Mrs. G. W. Hale

54 W. 33., New York
18 March [February] 1895
Dear Mother,
I am sure you are all right by this time. The babies write from time to time and so I get your news regularly. Miss Mary is in a lecturing mood now--good for her. Hope she will not let her energies fritter away now--a penny saved is a penny gained. Sister Isabel[le] has sent me the French Books and the Calcutta pamphlets have arrived, but the big Sanskrit books ought to come. I want them badly. Make them payable here, if possible, or I will send you the postage.
I am doing very well. Only some of these big dinners kept me late, and I returned home at 2 o'clock in the morning several days. Tonight I am going to one of these. This will be the last of its kind. So much keeping up the night is not good for me. Every day from 11 to 1 o'clock I have classes in my rooms and I talk [to] them till they [grow] tired. The Brooklyn course ended yesterday. Another lecture I have there next Monday.
Bean soup and rice or barley is now my general diet. I am faring well. Financially I am making the ends meet and nothing more because I do not charge anything for the classes I have in my rooms. And the public lectures have to go through so many hands.
I have a good many lectures planned ahead in New York, which I hope to deliver by and by. Sister Isabel wrote to me a beautiful letter and she does so much for me. My eternal gratitude to her.
Baby has stopped writing; I do not know why.
Kindly tell Baby to send me a little Sanskrit book which came from India. I forgot to bring it over. I want to translate some passages from it.
Mr. [Charles M.] Higgins is full of joy. It was he who planned all this for me, and he is so glad that everything succeeded so well.
Mrs. Guernsey is going to give up this house and going to some other house. Miss [Florence] Guernsey wants to marry but her father and mother do not like it at all. I am very sorry for her, poor "Sister Jenny" 86 --and so many men are after her. Here is a very rich railway gentleman called Mr. [Austin] Corbin; his only daughter, Miss [Anna] Corbin, is very much interested in me. And though she is one of the leaders of the 400, 87 she is very intellectual and spiritual too, in a way. Their house is always chock full of swells and foreign aristocracy. Princes and Barons and whatnot from all over the world. Some of these foreigners are very bright. I am sorry your home-manufactured aristocracy is not very interesting. Behind her parlor she has a long arbour with all sorts of palms and seats and electric light. There I will have a little class next week of a score of long-pockets. The Fun is not bad. "This world is a great humbug after all", Mother. "God alone is real; everything else is a dream only." Mother Temple 88 says she does not like to be bossed by you and that is why she does not come to Chicago. She is very happy nearby. Between swells and Delmonico and Waldorf dinners, my health was going to be injured. So I quickly turned a thorough vegetarian to avoid all invitations. The rich are really the salt of this world--they are neither food nor drink. Goodbye for the present.
Your ever affectionate Son,
Vivekananda

 

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Friday, November 9th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Miss. Isabelle McKindley

54 WEST, 33 NEW YORK,
25th February, 1895.
DEAR SISTER,
I am sorry you had an attack of illness. I will give you an absent treatment though your confession takes half the strength out of my mind.
That you have rolled put of it is all right. All's well that ends well.
The books have arrived in good condition and many thanks for them.
Your ever affectionate bro.,
VIVEKANANDA.

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To Miss Emma Thursby

228 West 39th Street
New York,
February 26th, 1896
Dear Miss Thursby,
Will you oblige me by giving Mr. Goodwin any particulars you can with reference to the business arrangements made for my 6 lectures with Miss Corbin. He will see her, with the idea of obtaining payment.
Thanking you in anticipation, and with best regards,
Very truly yours,
Vivekananda

 
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To Alasinga Perumal

U.S.A.
6th March, 1895
Dear Alasinga,

. . . Do not for a moment think the "Yankees" are practical in religion. In that the Hindu alone is practical, the Yankee in money-making, so that as soon as I depart, the whole thing will disappear. Therefore I want to have a solid ground under my feet before I depart. Every work should be made thorough. . . . You need not insist upon preaching Shri Ramakrishna. Propagate his ideas first, though I know the world always wants the Man first, then the idea. . . . Do not figure out big plans at first, but begin slowly, feel your ground, and proceed up and up.
. . . Work on, my brave boys. We shall see the light some day.
Harmony and peace! . . . Let things slowly grow. Rome was not built in a day. The Maharaja of Mysore is dead--one of our greatest hopes. Well! the Lord is great. He will send others to help the cause.
Send some Kushasanas (small sitting-mats) if you can.
Yours ever with blessings,
Vivekananda

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To Mrs. G. W. Hale

54 W. 33rd St., New York
11 March 1895
Dear Mother,
Many thanks for your kind letter. I will be only too glad to have an orange coat, provided it be light as summer is approaching.
I do not remember whether the Cook's letters of credit I have are limited as to their time or not. It is high time we look into them. If they are limited, don't you think it is better to put them in some bank? I have about a thousand dollars in the Boston bank and a few hundred in the New York--they all go to India by this week or next. So it is better that I look into the Cook's letters, and it will be foolish to get into trouble by having them past the date.
There are a few more Sanskrit books which have not been sent--one pretty thick and broad, the other two very thin. Kindly send them as soon as you can.
Mrs. [Milward] Adams, Mrs. [Ole] Bull, and Miss Emma Thursby are gone to Chicago today.
With eternal love to the babies and to you and Father Pope.
I remain ever your affectionate Son,
Vivekananda

 

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Thursday, November 8th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Vaikunthanath Sanyal

(Original in Bengali)

54 W. 33rd ST., NEW YORK,
9th February, 1895.
DEAR SANYAL,
. . Paramahamsa Deva was my Guru, and whatever I may think of him in point of greatness, why should the world think like me? And if you press the point hard, you will spoil everything. The idea of worshipping the Guru as God is nowhere to be met with outside Bengal, for other people are not yet ready to take up that ideal. . . . Many would fain associate my name with themselves — "I belong to them!" But when it comes to doing something I want, they are nowhere. So selfish is the whole world! 
I shall consider myself absolved from a debt of obligation when I succeed in purchasing some land for Mother. I don't care for anything after that.
In this dire winter I have travelled across mountains and over snows at dead of night and collected a little fund; and I shall have peace of mind when a plot is secured for Mother.
Henceforth address my letters as above, which is to be my permanent seat from now. Try to send me an English translation of the Yogavâsishtha Râmâyana. . . . Don't forget those books I asked for before, viz Sanskrit Nârada and Shândilya Sutras.
" — Hope is the greatest of miseries, the highest bliss lies in giving up hope."

Yours affectionately,

VIVEKANANDA.

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To Mrs. Ole Bull

54 W. 33rd St., New York,
14th Feb., 1895
Dear Mrs. Bull,
Accept my heartfelt gratitude for your motherly advice. I hope I will be able to carry out them in life.How can I express my gratitude to you for what you have already done for me and my work, and my eternal gratitude to you for your offering to do something more this year. But I sincerely believe that you ought to turn all your help to Miss Farmer's Greenacre work this year. India can wait as she is waiting centuries and an immediate work at hand should always have the preference.Again, according to Manu, collecting funds even for a good work is not good for a Sannyasin, and I have begun to feel that the old sages were right. "Hope is the greatest misery, despair is the greatest happiness." It appears like a hallucination. I am getting out of them. I was in these childish ideas of doing this and doing that.
"Give up all desire and be at peace. Have neither friends nor foes, and live alone. Thus shall we travel having neither friends nor foes, neither pleasure nor pain, neither desire nor jealousy, injuring no creatures, being the cause of injury to no creatures--from mountain to mountain, from village to village, preaching the name of the Lord."
"Seek no help from high or low, from above or below. Desire nothing--and look upon this vanishing panorama as a witness and let it pass."
Perhaps these mad desires were necessary to bring me over to this country. And I thank the Lord for the experience.
I am very happy now. Between Mr. Landsberg and me, we cook some rice and lentils or barley and quietly eat it, and write something or read or receive visits from poor people who want to learn something, and thus I feel I am more a Sannyasin now than I ever was in America.
"In wealth is the fear of poverty, in knowledge the fear of ignorance, in beauty the fear of age, in fame the fear of backbiters, in success the fear of jealousy, even in body is the fear of death. Everything in this earth is fraught with fear. He alone is fearless who has given up everything" (Vairagya-Shatakam , 31).
I went to see Miss Corbin the other day, and Miss Farmer and Miss Thursby were also there. We had a nice half-hour and she wants me to hold some classes in her home from next Sunday.
I am no more seeking for these things. If they come, the Lord be blessed, if not, blessed more be He.
Again accept my eternal gratitude.
Your devoted son,
Vivekananda

 

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Wednesday, November 7th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Sister Christine

24th Jan. '95 ['96]
Dear Christina,
I have not heard from you [for] long. Hope everything is going on well with you and Mrs. Phunkey [Funke].
Did you receive my poem? 106 I had a letter from Mrs. Phelps today. I am coming to Detroit next March early, as I will have to finish my February course in New York. The public lectures will be printed as they are delivered right along. The class lectures will very soon be collected and edited in little volumes.
May the Lord bless you ever and ever.
Yours ever with love and blessings,
Vivekananda

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To Professor John H. Wright

54 W. 33 Street
New York
1 February 1895
Dear Adhyapakji,
You must be immersed in your work now; however, taking advantage of your kindness to me, I want to bother you a little.
What was the original Greek idea of the soul, both philosophical and popular? What books can I consult (Translations, of course) to get it?
So with the Egyptians and Babylonians and Jews?
Will you kindly name me the books? I am sure you are perfectly well and so are Mrs. Wright and the children.
Ever gratefully and fraternally,
Yours,
Vivekananda

 
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To Miss. Mary Hale

54 W. 33RD STREET, N.Y., 
1st February, 1895.
DEAR SISTER (Miss Mary Hale) 
I just received your beautiful note.... Well, sometimes it is a good discipline to be forced to work for work's sake, even to the length of not being allowed to enjoy the fruits of one's labour.... I am very glad of your criticisms and am not sorry at all. The other day at Miss Thursby's I had an excited argument with a Presbyterian gentleman, who, as usual, got very hot, angry, and abusive. However, I was afterwards severely reprimanded by Mrs. Bull for this, as such things hinder my work. So, it seems, is your opinion. 
I am glad you write about it just now, because I have been giving a good deal of thought to it. In the first place, I am not at all sorry for these things — perhaps that may disgust you — it may. I know full well how good it is for one's worldly prospects to be sweet. I do everything to be sweet, but when it comes to a horrible compromise with the truth within, then I stop. I do not believe in humility. I believe in Samadarshitva — same state of mind with regard to all. The duty of the ordinary man is to obey the commands of his "God", society; but the children of light never do so. This is an eternal law. One accommodates himself to surroundings and social opinion and gets all good things from society, the giver of all good to such. The other stands alone and draws society up towards him. The accommodating man finds a path of roses; the non-accommodating, one of thorns. But the worshippers of "Vox populi" go to annihilation in a moment; the children of truth live for ever. 
I will compare truth to a corrosive substance of infinite power. It burns its way in wherever it falls — in soft substance at once, hard granite slowly, but it must. What is writ is writ. I am so, so sorry, Sister, that I cannot make myself sweet and accommodating to every black falsehood. But I cannot. I have suffered for it all my life. But I cannot. I have essayed and essayed. But I cannot. At last I have given it up. The Lord is great. He will not allow me to become a hypocrite. Now let what is in come out. I have not found a way that will please all, and I cannot but be what I am, true to my own self. "Youth and beauty vanish, life and wealth vanish, name and fame vanish, even the mountains crumble into dust. Friendship and love vanish. Truth alone abides." God of Truth, be Thou alone my guide! I am too old to change now into milk and honey. Allow me to remain as I am. "Without fear — without shopkeeping, caring neither for friend nor foe, do thou hold on to Truth, Sannyâsin, and from this moment give up this world and the next and all that are to come — their enjoyments and their vanities. Truth, be thou alone my guide." I have no desire for wealth or name or fame or enjoyments, Sister — they are dust unto me. I wanted to help my brethren. I have not the tact to earn money, bless the Lord. What reason is there for me to conform to the vagaries of the world around me and not obey the voice of Truth within? The mind is still weak, Sister, it sometimes mechanically clutches at earthly help. But I am not afraid. Fear is the greatest sin my religion teaches. 
The last fight with the Presbyterian priest and the long fight afterwards with Mrs. Bull showed me in a clear light what Manu says to the Sannyasin, "Live alone, walk alone." All friendship, all love, is only limitation. There never was a friendship, especially of women, which was not exacting. O great sages! You were right. One cannot serve the God of Truth who leans upon somebody. Be still, my soul! Be alone! and the Lord is with you. Life is nothing! Death is a delusion! All this is not, God alone is! Fear not, my soul! Be alone. Sister, the way is long, the time is short, evening is approaching. I have to go home soon. I have no time to give my manners a finish. I cannot find time to deliver my message. You are good, you are so kind, I will do anything for you; and do not be angry, I see you all are mere children. 
Dream no more! Oh, dream no more, my soul! In one word, I have a message to give, I have no time to be sweet to the world, and every attempt at sweetness makes me a hypocrite. I will die a thousand deaths rather than lead a jelly-fish existence and yield to every requirement of this foolish world, no matter whether it be my own country or a foreign country. You are mistaken, utterly mistaken, if you think I have a work, as Mrs. Bull thinks; I have no work under or beyond the sun. I have a message, and I will give it after my own fashion. I will neither Hinduise my message, nor Christianise it, nor make it any "ise" in the world. I will only my-ise it and that is all. Liberty, Mukti, is all my religion, and everything that tries to curb it, I will avoid by fight or flight. Pooh! I try to pacify the priests!! Sister, do not take this amiss. But you are babies and babies must submit to be taught. You have not yet drunk of that fountain which makes "reason unreason, mortal immortal, this world a zero, and of man a God". Come out if you can of this network of foolishness they call this world. Then I will call you indeed brave and free. If you cannot, cheer those that dare dash this false God, society, to the ground and trample on its unmitigated hypocrisy; if you cannot cheer them, pray, be silent, but do not try to drag them down again into the mire with such false nonsense as compromise and becoming nice and sweet. 
I hate this world, this dream, this horrible nightmare with its churches and chicaneries, its books and blackguardisms, its fair faces and false hearts, its howling righteousness on the surface and utter hollowness beneath, and, above all, its sanctified shopkeeping. What! measure my soul according to what the bond-slaves of the world say? — Pooh! Sister, you do not know the Sannyasin. "He stands on the heads of the Vedas!" say the Vedas, because he is free from churches and sects and religions and prophets and books and all of that ilk! Missionary or no missionary, let them howl and attack me with all they can, I take them as Bhartrihari says, "Go thou thy ways, Sannyasin! Some will say, 'Who is this mad man?' Others, 'Who is this Chandâla?' Others will know thee to be a sage. Be glad at the prattle of the worldlings." But when they attack, know that, ''The elephant passing through the market-place is always beset by curs, but he cares not. He goes straight on his own way. So it is always, when a great soul appears there will be numbers to bark after him." (Tulasidasa) 
I am living with Landsberg at 54 W. 33rd Street. He is a brave and noble soul, Lord bless him. Sometimes I go to the Guernseys' to sleep. 
Lord bless you all ever and ever — and may He lead you quickly out of this big humbug, the world! May you never be enchanted by this old witch, the world! May Shankara help you! May Umâ open the door of truth for you and take away all your delusions!

Yours with love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.
 

 

 

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Tuesday, November 6th 2018

12:05 AM

Daily Reading


To Mrs. Ole Bull

Brooklyn
20th January, 1895

(Written to Mrs. Ole Bull whom Swamiji called "Dhira Mata", the "Steady Mother" on the occasion of the loss of her father)

. . . I had a premonition of your father's giving up the old body and it is not my custom to write to anyone when a wave of would-be inharmonious Maya strikes him. But these are the great turning points in life, and I know that you are unmoved. The surface of the sea rises and sinks alternately, but to the observant soul--the child of light--each sinking reveals more and more of the depth and of the beds of pearls and coral at the bottom. Coming and going is all pure delusion. The soul never comes nor goes. Where is the place to which it shall go when all space is in the soul ? When shall be the time for entering and departing when all time is in the soul ? 
The earth moves, causing the illusion of the movement of the sun; but the sun does not move. So Prakriti, or Maya, or Nature, is moving, changing, unfolding veil after veil, turning over leaf after leaf of this grand book--while the witnessing soul drinks in knowledge, unmoved, unchanged. All souls that ever have been, are, or shall be, are all in the present tense and--to use a material simile--are all standing at one geometrical point. Because the idea of space does occur in the soul, therefore all that were ours, are ours, and will be ours, are always with us, were always with us, and will be always with us. We are in them. They are in us. Take these cells {diagram}. Though each separate, they are all nevertheless inseparably joined at AB.

 

There they are one. Each is an individual, yet all are one at the axis AB. None can escape from that axis, and however broken or torn the circumference, yet by standing at the axis, we may enter any one of the chambers. This axis is the Lord. There we are one with Him, all in all, and all in God.
The cloud moves across the face of the moon, creating the illusion that the moon is moving. So nature, body, matter moves on, creating the illusion that the soul is moving. Thus we find at last that, that instinct (or inspiration?) which men of every race, whether high or low, have had to feel, viz. the presence of the departed about them, is true intellectually also.
Each soul is a star, and all stars are set in that infinite azure, that eternal sky, the Lord. There is the root, the reality, the real individuality of each and all. Religion began with the search after some of these stars that had passed beyond our horizon, and ended in finding them all in God, and ourselves in the same place. The whole secret is, then, that your father has given up the old garment he was wearing and is standing where he was through all eternity. Will he manifest another such garment in this or any other world? I sincerely pray that he may not, until he does so in full consciousness. I pray that none may be dragged anywhither by the unseen power of his own past action. I pray that all may be free, that is to say, may know that they are free. And if they are to dream again, let us pray that their dreams be all of peace and bliss. . . .
Yours etc.,
Vivekananda

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To Miss Isabelle McKindley

528, 5TH AVE., NEW YORK, 
24th Jan., 1895.
Dear Miss Bell, 
I hope you are well. . . . 
My last lecture was not very much appreciated by the men but awfully so by vemen. You know this Brooklyn is the centre of anti-women's rights movements; and when I told them that women deserve and are fit for everything, they did not like it of course. Never mind, the women were in ecstasies. 
I have got again a little cold. I am going to the Guernseys. I have got a room downtown also where I will go several hours to hold my classes etc. Mother Church must be all right by this time, and you are all enjoying this nice weather. Give Mrs. Adams mountain high love and regard from me when you see her next. 
Send my letters as usual to the Guernseys. 
With love for all,

Ever your aff. bro.,

VIVEKANANDA
 

 

 

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