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To Vaikunthanath Sanyal
(Original in Bengali)
54 W. 33rd ST., NEW YORK,
9th February, 1895.
. . 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 â "I belong to them!" But when it comes to doing something I want, they are nowhere. So selfish is the whole world!ÂÂÂ
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.
" â Hope is the greatest of miseries, the highest bliss lies in giving up hope."
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,