Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quintessential Essence of Swami Vivekananda's Universal Mission

The grand tenure of Swami Vivekananda on this earth of our's was only 14,407 days [39 years, 5 months, 22 days - {12.01.1863 - 4.07.1902}] out of which only 3,285 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. On this momentous day of July 4th, let me invite each of you to the below Foreword Note from the book on Josephine Macleod, which portrays the quintessential essence of Swami Vivekananda's grand universal mission.

Foreword Note : -

Josephine MacLeod was an aristocratic, cultured, liberal, idealistic, and spiritual American woman. She never married and was free from earthly ties and attachments. She had a tremendous passion for truth from her very childhood, and that made her free. In New York City, on January 29, 1895, she went to hear a lecture by Swami Vivekananda. She later wrote: “He said something, the particular words of which I do not remember, but instantly to me that was truth, and the second sentence he spoke was truth, and the third sentence was truth. And I listened to him for seven years and whatever he uttered was to me truth." This encounter transformed her life. Joe become an ardent follower of Vivekananda and carried his message of truth until she died in 1949.

Love is a constructive force, uniting each and all. Hatred is a destructive force, separating on from another. Joe once asked Swami Vivekananda, " Swamiji, How can I best help you ? " His answer was, "Love India". Joe's love for India made a bridge between the East and the West. I treasure her verbal testimony about Vivekananda that was taped at Ridgely by Paul Sturges On July 10, 1043. Her powerful voice distinctly declared: " He {Swamiji} said: " Never forget who you are. Incidentally you are an American and a woman, but always you are a child of God. That's your birthright....And so tell yourself that incessantly. Till you get the courage that comes, know that there is this power within you as well as without." thus Swamiji unveiled the divine nature of this American woman.

Love and freedom are the two basic things that help human beings to grow. Josephine MacLeod had both. She become a universal woman and a great lover of humanity. On September 1, 1986, at Rameswaram on the coast of the Indian Ocean. I heard a thrilling story about her from Swami Sarvajnananda, an old monk of the Ramakrishna Order. I taped his eyewitness account in which he stated: Miss Macleod generally spent six months in America and six months in India.

She came to Madras another time { probably in the 1930's }, on her way to Calcutta. She took a taxi from the Madras harbor and arrived at the Madras Math about 1:30 in the afternoon. The shrine was closed. The priest swami had already put the Lord to bed. Miss MaCLeod said to Swami Sharvananda, the head of the Math, "I want to go to Swamiji's room". Swami Sharvananda politely replied: "Swamiji is resting now. You will have to wait until 4 O'clock." "Nonsense!" said Miss MacLeod. "Swamiji is resting! If he were alive he would have come to receive me at the port. And you say that he is resting! Please open the door right now." Swami Sharvananda asked a monk to open the door of Swamiji's room. I put Swamiji's picture on the pillow, and Miss Macleod then sat on his bed with her eyes closed. After some time she came out and retuned to the harbor." Hearing this story, I realized the power of love. This American woman's genuine love had wiped out the orthodox rule of a Hindu monastery.

Love is reciprocal. " I love the Yankees," said Swamiji. He gave his lifeblood to awaken their spiritual consciousness. The Americans, especially women, understood and appreciated Swamiji’s spiritual power, unselfish love, pristine purity, burning renunciation, and universal message of Vedanta. Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of Vivekananda, wrote to Joe on April 11, 1906: “ You see, when we understood Swamiji and remember him are dead, there will come a long period of obscurity and silence, for the work that he did. It will SEEM to be forgotten, until suddenly, in 150 or 200 years, it will be found to have transformed the west.”

In her reminiscences, Joe recorded that last conversation she had with Swami Vivekananda, which took place at Belur Math in March 1902. She wrote: “He said to me “ I shall never see forty”. I, knowing he was thirty-nine, said to him, “But Swami, Buddha did not do his great work until between forty and eighty.” But he said, “I delivered my message and I must go.” I asked , “ Why go?” and he said, “ The shadow of a big tree will not let the smaller trees grow up. I must go to make room.” Vivekananda died on July 4, 1902. Joe was then in London. She cried for years and at last this saying of Maurice Maeterlinck brought solace to her: “If you have been greatly influenced by anyone, prove it in your life, and not by your tears.”

This book is a biography of Josephine MacLeod, but interwoven with it is Vivekananda’s Vedantic mission. One will find in this book religion, philosophy, and mysticism; manners, customs, and cultures of the East and the West. Joe was a world traveler and she encircled the globe many times by ship. Her travelogues and descriptions of famous people and places all over the world are highly educational. Her all – encompassing love for humanity made her famous world-wide. She had an amazing personality, and she knew all types of people, from the kind in the palace to the begger on the street.

In 1897 Vivekananda established the Ramakrishna Mission to serve human beings as God. This book will tell readers how this American woman became a great instrument in helping and protecting the youngest , poorest and smallest religious organization, the Ramakrishna Order.

She lived for months at a time at the guest house of the Ramakrishna Monastery on the Ganges, and was very close to the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. As her mind was saturated with the ideas and ideals of Swamiji, she inspired the Order’s next generation of monks and helped many of them who came to the West.

No history is complete. Thomas Carlyle said, “ Biography is the only true history. “ Linda Prugh, the author of this book, worked extremely hard to research and document in detail the early history of the Ramakrishna movement in the West as well as in the East. She meticulously examined hundreds of Josephine MacLeod’s letters, and interviewed people who had known Joe. I have read her manuscript and appreciate her sincere devotion to Vivekananda.

St. Louis, Missouri
July 4, 1998.

Swami Chetanananda

- Thanks
Rajhashekher BC - Raj
MONDAY, jUly 04, 2011

“The thing that held me in {Swami Vivekananda } was his UNLIMITEDNESS! I never could touch the bottom - or top - or sides!........." “It is the 'truth' that I saw in Swamiji that has set me 'free'. One's faults seem so insignificant. Why remember them, when one has the Ocean of Truth to be one's playground? "

I feel that Swamiji was a rock for us to stand upon - that was His function in my life. Not worship, nor glory, but a steadiness under one's feet for experiments! "

- Josephine Macleod

1 comment:

  1. Such an inspiring article. Purity resonates with purity. Inspiring life of Miss Josephine MacLeod.