Saturday, May 28, 2011

September 11, 2010 – 117 Years - Swamiji’s Great Journey to the west and to the parliament of religions.

Very happy Ganesh Chatruthi.!!!

There is big hue and cry about September 11th in today’s media because of the human massacre which happened at WTC - THAT WAS AN HUMAN TRAGEDY INDEED. BUT most of us might NOT realise that 117 years have passed { To this day – The 11th September, 2010 } since Swamiji’s Great Journey to the west and to the parliament of religions.

September 11, 2010 – 117 Years,
September 11, 2009 - 116 Years,
September 11, 2008 – 115 Years,
September 11, 2007 – 114 Years,
September 11, 2006 – 113 Years,
September 11, 2005 – 112 Years,
September 11, 2004 – 111 Years,
September 11, 2003 – 110 Years,
September 11, 1993 – 100 Years,
On Monday, September 11, 1893….

Hence let’s go back in time and revisit the trail of Swamiji by his letters and by his reminiscences.


( From the book Life of Swami Vivekananda: - )

In a letter from Yokohama to the group of disciples in Madras, one finds the Swami Vigorously denouncing the evils of our country and try to rouse Indians from the inertia into which we had sunk thought priest craft and social tyranny. What he desired was that Indians should be “MEN“. He wrote in a letter part of which is embedded here: -

“ I want that numbers of our young men should pay a visit to Japan and China every year. Especially to Japanese, India is still the dreamland of everything high and good. And you, what are you ? …….talking twaddle all your lives, vain talkers, what are you ? Come see these people, and then go and hide your faces in shame. A race of dotards, you lose you caste if you come out! Sitting down these hundreds of years with an ever-increasing load of crystallized superstition on your heads, for hundreds of years spending all your energy upon discussing the touchableness or untouchablness of this food or that, with all humanity crushed out of you by the continuous social tyranny of ages – what are you ? And what are you doing now ? ……promenading the sea – shores with books in your hands – repeating undigested stray bits of European brainwork, and the whole soul bent upon getting a thirty – rupee clerkship, or at best becoming a lawyer – the height of young India’s ambition – and every student with a whole brood of hungry children cackling at his heels and asking for bread! Is there not water enough in this sea to drown you, books, gowns, university diplomas, and all ? “

This intense note of criticism, enthusiasm, and inspiration which came from Yokohama stirred the Swami’s disciples in Madras. The letter shows that his heart was always Indian. His outburst is that of a patriot who, finding in other nations a more modern, organized, and self-reliant public life, desires it for his native land.

Swami now boarded the new 6,000 – ton Empress of India, which left Yokohama on July 14 and sailed from Vancouver.

HMS Empress of India seen in the 1890's

It was here that Swami met a Miss Kate Sanborn, prominent and friendly women on her way from Japan to her home in Massachusetts. “I talked with them all “she wrote in her autobiographical book, Abandoning on Adopted farm…....

“ but most of all I was impressed by the monk, a magnificent specimen of manhood – six feet two, as handsome as Salvini { a then famous Italian actor } at his best, with a lordly, imposing stride, as if he ruled the universe, and soft, dark eyes that could flash fire if roused, or dance with merriment if the conversation amused him…

He wore a bright yellow turban many yards in length, a red ochre robe, the badge of his calling; this was tied with a pink sash, broad and heavily befringed. Snuff-brown trousers and russet shoes completed the outfit.

He spoke better English than I did, was conversant with ancient and modern literature, would quote easily and naturally from Shakespeare or Longfellow or Tennyson, Darwin, Muller, Tyndall, could repeat pages of our Bible, was familiar with and tolerant of all creeds. He was an education, an illumination, a revelation!

I told him, as we separated, I should be most pleased to present him to some men and woman of learning and general culture, if by any chance he should come to Boston.”

Swami Vivekananda had little idea that his meeting with Kate Sanborn had been a meeting of destiny and one that would have great import during his early days in America. That long trip continued until the evening of the fifth day, probably July 30, when did the Swami reach his destination. It was Sanborn who introduced distinguished persons to Swamiji.

Professor John Henry Wright, who no doubt had heard a great deal about the Swami from the Sanborns, invited him to spend the week-end of August 26 and 27 at Annisquam, Massachusetts, a small and quiet village resort on the Atlantic seaboard, some thirty miles north-east of Boston, where he and his family were vacationing. The Swami and the professor, whose learning was said to be encyclopedic, had long conversations at Annisquam, discussing all manner of subjects for hours on end.

Professor Wright was so deeply impressed with the Swami that he insisted that he represent Hinduism at that important gathering, saying , “ The is the only way you can be introduced to the nation at large.”

The Swami explained his difficulties and said that he had no credentials. Whereupon Professor Wright exclaimed, “TO ASK YOU, SWAMI, FOR CREDENTIALS IS LIKE ASKING THE SUN TO STATE IT’S RIGHT TO SHINE!”He then assured the Swami that he would take it upon himself to see that he had a place as a delegate. He wrote at once to the Chairman of the committee for the Selection of Delegates, stating, “Here is a man who is more learned then all our learned professors put together.”

He was lost and knew not what to do. At length, he lay down in a huge empty box in the railway yards. Two days later he was to shake America with his address at the Parliament; but now, so destiny decided, he had to sleep like some outcase – unknown, unaided, and despised.

On the next day, exhausted, he sat down on the street-side determined to abide by the will of the Lord. At this juncture the door of a fashionable residence opposite him opened and a regal – looking woman came across ot him. She addressed him in a soft voice and accents of refinement, “Sir, are you a delegate to the parliament of Religions?” The Swami told her his difficulties. Immediately she invited him into her house and gave orders to her servants that he should be taken to a room and attended to in every way. She promised the Swami that after he had had his breakfast she herself would accompany him to the offices of the Parliament of Religions.

With Mrs. Hale he called on the officers of the Parliament, gave his credentials, and was gladly accepted as a delegate.

From here on it is HISTRORY. It would be of high treason on my part, if I remain muted in putting forth the grandeur tenure of his on this earth of ours. Which is only of 14,407 days [39 years,5 months,22 days - {{12.01.1863 - 4.07.1902}}] out of which only 3285 days [ 9 Years - {{ 11.09.1893 - 4.07.1902}} ] was his appearance in the public coliseum of world. And it will take humanity centuries to decipher, decrypt, understand and implement his call to humanity.

- Thanks
Rajhashekher BC - Raj
Sat, 11 September, 2010 4:40:17 PM


" Now and then, at long intervals of time, a being finds his way to this planet who is unquestionably a wanderer from another sphere; who brings with him to this sorrowful world some of the glory, the power, the radiance of the far distant region from which he came. ......Such a being is beyond all comparison, fro he transcends all ordinary standards and ideals. Others may be brilliant, his mind is luminous...Others may be great, they great only as compared with those in their own class. Others may be good, powerful, gifted, having more goodness, more of power, more of genius than their fellowmen. It is only a matter of comparison...But with Swami Vivekananda, there could be no comparison. He was in a class by himself. He belonged to another order. He was not of this world. He was a radiant being who had descended from another, a higher sphere for a definite purpose. One might have known that he would not stay long ...."
- Sister Christine.

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