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To Mrs. Ole Bull
4th September, 1899.
My Dear Mother,
It is an awful spell of the bad turn of fortune with me last six months. Misfortune follows me ever wherever I go. In England, Sturdy seems to have got disgusted with the work; he does not see any asceticism in us from India. Here no sooner I reach than Olea gets a bad attack.
Shall I run up to you? I know I cannot be of much help, but I will try my best in being useful.
I hope everything will soon come right with you, and Olea will be restored to perfect health even before this reaches you. Mother knows best; that is all about me.
Ever yours affectionately,
To Mr. E. T. Sturdy*
14th September, 1899.
MY DEAR STURDY,
I have been simply taking rest at the Leggetts' and doing nothing. Abhedananda is here-he has been working hard.
He goes in a day or two to resume his work in different places for a month. After that he comes to New York to work.
I am trying to do something in the line you suggested, but don't know how far an account of the Hindus will be appreciated by the Western public when it comes from a Hindu.
Well, I was given some correspondence between you and Miss Noble to read the other day-I am sorry we could not come up to your ideal. But my experience of life is we so rarely find a person who comes up to that. Then again it is almost impossible for anyone to keep steady on the plane we assign to him in the ideal. We are so human, and liable to change for good or worse. At the same time like the earth's rotating we are always leaving the changes in us out of calculation, and attribute it all to the external ideals.
Mrs. Johnson [Mrs. Ashton Jonson]-is of opinion, no spiritual person ought to be ill-it also seems to her now that my smoking is sinful &,c. &c.
That was Miss Muller's reason for leaving me, my illness. They may be perfectly right, for aught I know, and you too, but I am what I am. In India the same defects, plus eating with Europeans have been taken exception to by many. I was driven out of a private temple by the owner for eating with Europeans. I wish I was malleable enough to be moulded into whatever one desired but unfortunately I never saw a man who could satisfy everyone. Nor can anyone who has to go to different places possibly satisfy all
When I first came to America, they ill-treated me if I had not trousers on. Next I was forced to wear cuffs and collars, else they would not touch me etc., etc. They thought me awfully funny if I did not eat what they offered etc., etc. . .ÂÂ
In India the moment I landed they made me shave my head and wear "Kaupin" (loin cloth), with the result that I got diabetes etc. Saradananda never gave up his underwear â this saved his life, with just a touch of rheumatism and much comment from our people.
I hear also that there has been some talk about the money you gave me., I got ÂÂÂ£500 = 7500 Rs.+ ÂÂÂ£500 = 7500 Rs. from Miss Soutter [Souter], Miss Muller gave through Goodwin 30,000 Rs. total 45,000 Rs. Miss Muller got us to buy a piece of land which cost 40,000 Rs: and about 4,000 to level it and fill up the huge gaps in it, as it was a dockyard. I have a building on it-not large-and a chapel and library &c. That hasÂÂÂ ÂÂÂ ÂÂÂ ÂÂÂ ÂÂÂ been paid for by the Indian friends-and Mrs. Bull of America.
The land alone with the improvements will cover more than the sum I got from my English friends. An inquiry in the Registrar's records of the Howrah Dist. Bengal will show the truth of what I state nor have I even spent a penny of the money given to me by anyone in any country for my work on myself. For my own private expenses I in America used to get money by lecturing or writing in the papers. In India Mrs. Sevier and the Rajah of Khetri used to give me little sums to cover it. Whenever you think it necessary the accounts of every penny the Eng. people gave me is ready.
Miss Noble's school was started with funds I got in India from the Maharajah of Kashmir and my Madras publications and her own money largely. Mrs. Johnson thinks the attitude of Miss Noble towards me is very unsatisfactory-and I am responsible for that. I do not know how I can be responsible for ideas another person has of me of which I am not even cognisant of!!! How could I know your or Mrs. Johnson's present mental attitude towards me if you did not through the American friends let me know of it?
I am told there has been some discussion about some funds between you and Miss Noble-am I to be responsible for that too? Did I write to you to give me any money? I don't remember myself asking for pecuniary help from anybody anywhere. If they helped me of their own accord I took it, when they gave it to me personally I spent it; mostly on others; when for the work-it has been spent on the work. I can understand well how differences of opinion tastes and ideals should naturally arise in the course of years-but how so much hatred and dislike may slowly and without any warning expression, gather round little trifling personal peculiarities I cannot understand.
I so long thought it was only the fault of enslaved races like mine; but that manlier races like yours should also have it, and suddenly bring it to light without any previous warning, makes me sad.
Of course, it is my Karma, and I am glad that it is so. For, though it smarts for the time, it is another great experience of life, which will be useful, either in this or in the next.
Of course it is my Karma-and I am glad that it is sofor, though it smarts for the time, it is another great experience of life, which will be useful either in this or in the next.
If you or Miss Muller or Miss Soutter repent of the help you gave to my work-only give me time, I will try my best to pay it back....
As for me, I am always in the midst of ebbs and flows. I knew it always and preached always that every bit of pleasure will bring its quota of pain, if not with compound interest. I have a good deal of love given to me by the world; I deserve a good deal of hatred therefore. I am glad it is so â as it proves my theory of "every wave having its corresponding dip" on my own person.
As for me I stick to my nature and principle-once a friend always a friend, also the true Indian principle of looking subjectively for the cause of the objective.
I am sure that the fault is mine and mine only for every wave of dislike or hatred that I get-it could not be otherwise and thanking you and Mrs. Johnson for this calling me once more to the internal,
I remain as ever with love and blessings