Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda - Vol-9

CLXXIV

To Sister Christine

VEDANTA SOCIETY,
102 EAST 58TH STREET,
NEW YORK,
27th June 1900.

DEAR CHRISTINA,

This is my plan just now. I will have to remain in New York a few days yet to see my books through. I am going to publish another edition of Karma-Yoga and the London lectures in a book form. Miss Waldo is editing them, and Mr. Leggett will publish.

Then, I think, if I am to remain in this country a few weeks more, it is better that you get a rest and change. Newport  is a celebrated seaside place - four hours from New York. I am invited there. I will go there this week and, as promised, I [will] find quiet and retirement and freedom. I will try to find a place for you and wire you as soon as found.

I am sure in Detroit you cannot have rest. A little change of place and quiet from time to time is a great factor in renewing one's vigour.

Well, if you think that you would have better rest and quiet in Detroit, drop a line and I come. It is only seventeen hours from New York to Detroit, and I am quite strong to undertake it. I am free to go already; only I really want you to take a good, long rest for some weeks at least.

Don't be afraid of expenses. Mother has amply provided that and will provide, so long I am unselfish.
Think [over] all the pros and cons, and write at your earliest convenience.

I am going to Newport anyway, just to see what it looks like. I will write you all about [it] as soon as I am there.

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA.

CLXXV

To Mrs. Alice (Shanti) Hansbrough

THE VEDANTA SOCIETY,
102 EAST 58TH STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y.
[End of June 1900]

DEAR MRS. HANSBROUGH -

I have not written you a line since you left San Francisco. I am well and things are going on well with me.

I am in New York once more, where they have got now a home for the Society and their headquarters. I and the other Swamis also live there.

A San Francisco lady [Miss Minnie C. Boock] now here owns a plot of land near Mt. Hamilton, 12 miles east of Lick observatory - 160 acres in area. She is going to make us a present of it. It would be nice for a summer gathering for us in California. If friends like to go there now, I will send them the written authority. Will you write to Mrs. Aspinall and Miss Bell etc., about it? I am rather desirous it should be occupied this summer as soon as possible. There is only a log cabin on the land; for the rest they must have tents.

I am sorry I cannot spare a Swami yet.

With all love to you and Mrs. [Carrie Mead] Wyckoff and the baby of the family.

Ever yours in the Truth,

VIVEKANANDA

P.S. Tell Helen [the youngest Mead sister] - I thank her for her kind invitation, but [am] so sorry [I] can not accept it now. After all, you three sisters have become a part of my mind forever. What about the club?

V.

CLXXVI

To Sister Christine

[On July 3, 1900, before departing for Detroit with Swami Turiyananda and Miss Minnie Boock, Swami Vivekananda dispatched a telegram.]

[POSTMARKED: NEW YORK
July 3, 1900]

STARTED REACH TOMORROW WEDNESDAY 2 P.M. COME STATION WABASH.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA


CLXXVII

To Mrs. Alice (Shanti) Hansbrough

102 E. 58TH STREET,
NEW YORK,
3rd July 1900.

MY DEAR MRS. HANSBROUGH -

This is to introduce Swami Turiyananda. The lady who gave the piece of land for Vedanta work belongs to Los Angeles. She has taken Turiyananda with her. He is a great spiritual teacher - but has no experience in platform work.

The best thing would be to help him to start a centre for quiet and rest and meditation in the land near San Jose.With all love to the holy Trinity. 

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA

CLXXVIII

To Swami Abhedananda

102 E. 58TH STREET,
NEW YORK,
24 July 1900.

DEAR ABHEDANANDA,

I would have gladly remained here, but sastây kisti mât.  Got a fine berth - one room all to myself - on a fine vessel.  As soon as August comes it will be a terrible Bhida [crowd] as the companies are reducing prices.

Things are going quite all right. Mr. Johnson has returned to their house, and all the rooms are full except two. You write to Mrs. Crane whether you want to get them or not.

You need not feel the least anxiety about the N.Y. work; it will go as a marriage bull next season. Give my love to Mrs. [Mary B.] Coulston and explain to her the circumstances.

With all love,

VIVEKANANDA


CLXXIX

To Sister Christine

A BORD DE PAQUEBOT LA CHAMPAGNE,
Friday morning, 9 a.m.,
3rd August 1900.

DEAR CHRISTINA,

It is foggy this morning. We are in the channel - expect to reach [Le Havre] at 12 a.m. [noon]. It has been a very bad voyage - rolling and raining and dark nearly all the time. Terrible rolling all through. Only last night I had good sleep. On other occasions the rolling makes me sleep well, but this time I don't know what was the matter; the mind was so whirling. Anyway, I am well and soon to reach land.

Hope to reach Paris this evening.

I send this to Detroit, expecting you there.

With all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CLXXX

To Mrs. Francis Leggett

[Swami Vivekananda sent the following telegram on Friday, August 3, 1900, when the S.S. Champagne (which he had boarded in New York on July 26) docked at Le Havre, France.]

[Postmarked: Friday, August 3, 1900]

ARRIVE A HUIT HRES STLAZARE - VIVEKANANDA

[Translation: "I arrive at eight o'clock (p.m.) St. Lazare - VIVEKANANDA".]


CLXXXI

To Sister Christine

6, PLACE DES ETATS-UNIS
14th August 1900

DEAR CHRISTINE,

Your letter from New York reached just now. You must have got mine from France, directed to 528 Congress.

Well - it was a dreary, funeral-like time. Just think what it is to a morbid man like me!

I am going to the Exposition, etc., trying to pass time. Had a lecture here. Père Haycinth [Hyacinthe], the celebrated clergy - man here, seems to like me much. Well, well what? Nothing. Only, you are so good, and I am a morbid fool - that is all about it. But "Mother" - She knows best. I have served Her through weal or woe. Thy will be done. Well, I have news of my lost brother [Mahendranath Datta]. He is a great traveller, that is good. So you see, the cloud is lifting slowly. My love to your mother and sister and to Mrs. Funkey [Funke].

With love,

VIVEKANANDA

CLXXXII

To Sister Nivedita

6, PLACE DES ETATS UNIS,
PARIS,
23rd August 1900.

DEAR NIVEDITA,

The manuscript accounts of the Math just reached. It is delightful reading. I am so pleased with it.

I am going to print a thousand or more to be distributed in England, America and India. I will only add a begging paragraph in the end.

What do you think the cost will be?

With love to you and Mrs. Bull,

VIVEKANANDA.

CLXXXIII

To Sister Christine

6, PLACE DES ETATS-UNIS, PARIS
23rd August 1900

DEAR CHRISTINE,

What is the matter with you? Are you ill? Unhappy? What makes you silent? I had only one little note from you in all this time.

I am getting a bit nervous about you - not much. Otherwise I am enjoying this city. Did Mrs. A. P. Huntington write you?

I am well - keeping well as far as it is possible with me.

With love,

VIVEKANANDA

CLXXXIV

To Sister Christine

6 PLACE DES ETATS UNIS,
PARIS,
15th September 1900.

DEAR CHRISTINA,

Your letter was very reassuring. I am so glad this summer did you good. So you did not get enamoured of New York City.

Well, I am getting enamoured of Paris. I now am living with a M. Jules Bois, a French savant, who has been a student and admirer of my works.

He talks very little English; in consequence, I have to trot out my jargon French and am succeeding well, he says. I can now understand if he will talk slowly.

Day after tomorrow I go to Bretagne [Brittany] where our American friends are enjoying the sea breeze - and the massage.

I go with M. Bois for a short visit; après cet [after that] I don't know where I go. I am getting quite Frenchy, connaissezvous [do you know]? I am also studying grammaire and hard at work. [Sentence torn off] In a few months I hope to be Frenchy, but by that time I will forget it by staying in England.

I am strong, well and content - no morbidity.

Au revoir,

VIVEKANANDA.

CLXXXV

To Mrs. Ole Bull

66, RUE AMPERE
22nd October 1900

DEAR MOTHER,

I am sorry to learn you are not well. Hope you will soon be better. Things seem to turn out better for me.

Mr. Maxim of the gun fame is very much interested in me, and he wants to put in his book on China and the Chinese something about my work in America.  I have not any documents with me; if you have, kindly give them to him. He will come to see you and talk it over with you. Canon Hawes [Reverend Hugh Reginald Haweis] also keeps track of my work in England. So much about that. It may be that Mother will now work up my original plan of international work. In that case, you will find your work of the Conference  has not been in vain.

It seems that after this fall in my health, physical and mental, it is going to open out that way - larger and more international work. Mother knows best.

My whole life has been divided into successive depressions and rises - and so, I believe, is the life of everyone. I am glad, rather than not, these falls come. I understand it all; still, I suffer and grumble and rage!! Perhaps that is a part of the cause of the next upheaval.

I think you will be in America by the time we return; if not, I will see you in London again. Anyhow, adieu for the present. We start day after tomorrow for Egypt etc. And all blessings ever be on you and yours is, as always, my prayer.

Your son,

VIVEKANANDA

PS: To Margot [Sister Nivedita] my love, and I am sure she will succeed.

V.

CLXXXVI

To Miss Alberta Sturges

[Swami Vivekananda sent the following postcard.]

[CONSTANTINOPLE,
November 1, 1900]

DEAR ALBERTA,

How are you? I am having a grand Turkish time.

Yours,

VIVEKANANDA


CLXXXVII

To Sister Christine

[On a postcard, picturing the old decayed fortress walls of Istanbul, Swami Vivekananda wrote the following note.]

[Postmarked: November 1, 1900]

DEAR CHRISTINA -

I am having a good time here. So I hope you also are having in Detroit -

Yours truly,

VIVEKANANDA.

CLXXXVIII

To Sister Nivedita

[On a picture postcard showing dervishes and local fish merchants, Swami Vivekananda wrote the following note.]

[POSTMARKED: CONSTANTINOPLE
November 1, 1900]

Dear Margo [Margot], the blessings of the howling dervishes go with you - Yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA.

P.S. All love to Mrs. Bull.

V

CLXXXIX

To Sister Christine

[On a postcard, showing the temple of Hepaistos, popularly called Thesion, Swami Vivekananda wrote.]

[POSTMARKED: ATHENS,
November 11, 1900]

Great fun. I write without the possibility of being written to, as I am changing place all the time. How do you do?

VIVEKANANDA

CXC

To Maharaja Ajit Singh, the Raja of Khetri

THE MATH
BELOOR
HOWRAH DIST.
[December 1900]

YOUR HIGHNESS -

Very glad to learn that you and the Coomar [the Royal Prince] are enjoying good health. As for me, my heart has become very weak. Change, I do not think, will do me any good, as for the last 14 years I do not remember to have stopped at one place for three months at a stretch. On the other hand, if by some chance I can live for months in one place, I hope it will do me good. I do not mind this, however; I feel that my work in this life is done. Through good and evil, pain and pleasure, my life-boat has been dragged on. The one great lesson I was taught is that life is misery, nothing but misery. Mother knows what is best. Each one of us is in the hands of Karma - it works out itself, and no nay. There is only one element in life which is worth having at any cost - and it is love. Love immense and infinite, broad as the sky and deep as the ocean. This is the one great gain in life. Blessed is he who gets it.

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA


CXCI

To Mrs. Ole Bull (in London)

DACCA,
20 March 1901.

MY DEAR MOTHER,

At last I am in Eastern Bengal. This is the first time I am here, and never before knew Bengal was so beautiful. You ought to have seen the rivers here - regular rolling oceans of fresh water, and everything so green - continual production. The villages are the cleanest and prettiest in all India.Joe [Miss Josephine MacLeod] is perhaps by this time in Japan. I received a long and beautiful letter from Margot. Tell Margot that there has been of late a regular fall of fortune on the Kashmir Raja; things are all changing to his benefit. Mr. Mookherjey is now Governor of Kashmir. Saradananda had a bad fever. He is well now, but weak. He possibly goes to Darjeeling for a change. Mrs. [M. N.] Banerjey, who is at Calcutta, is very anxious to take him to the hills. Mohin [Mahendranath Datta], my brother, is in India, in Karachi near Bombay, and he corresponds with Saradananda. He writes to say he is going to Burma, China, etc. The traders who lure him have shops in all those places. I am not at all anxious about him. He is a very selfish man.

I have no news from Detroit. I received one letter from Christina nine months ago, but I did not reply. Perhaps that may have vexed her.

I am peaceful and calm - and am finding every day the old begging and trudging life is the best for me after all.

Mrs. Sevier I left at Belur. She is the guest of Mrs. Banerjey, who has rented Nilambar Mookherjey's house on the river (the old Math). She goes very soon to Europe.

Things are going on, as is in the nature of things. To me has come resignation.

With all love,

Ever your Son,

VIVEKANANDA.

PS - All blessings on Margot's work. Mother is leading, I am sure.

V.


CXCII

To Ramesh Chandra Dutta 

THE MATH, P.O. BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
4 April 1901. 

DEAR SIR,

I am so very glad to learn from a person of your authority of the good work Sister Nivedita is doing in England. I join in earnest prayer with the hopes you entertain of her future services to India by her pen.

I have not the least desire that she should leave her present field of utility and come over to India.

I am under a deep debt of gratitude to you, Sir, for your befriending my child, and hope you will never cease to advise her as to the length of her stay in England and the line of work she ought to undertake.

Her book on Kâli has been very popular in India. The debt our Motherland already owes you is immense, and we are anxiously awaiting the new book of yours.

May all blessings ever attend you and yours is the constant prayer of -

Yours humbly,

VIVEKANANDA.


CXCIII

To Sister Nivedita

THE MATH, BELUR,
HOWRAH DISTRICT, BENGAL,
4 April 1901.

DEAR MARGOT,

A letter came just now from Mr. R. Dutt [Ramesh Dutta] praising you and your work in England very much and asking me to wish you to stop longer in England.

It requires no imagination to learn that I am overjoyed at all the news about you Mr. Dutt so kindly sends.

Of course, you stay as long as you think you are working well. Yum [Miss Josephine MacLeod] had some talk about you with Mother [Holy Mother, Sarada Devi], and she desired you to come over. Of course, it was only her love and anxiety to see you - that was all; but poor Yum has been much too serious for once, and hence all these letters. However, I am glad it should happen, as I learnt so much about your work from Mr. Dutt, who can't be accused of a relative's blind love.

I have written to Mrs. Bull already about this matter. I am now at last in Dacca and had some lectures here. I depart for Chandranath tomorrow, near Chittagong, the farthest eastern extremity of Bengal. My Mother, aunt, cousin, another cousin's widow, and nine boys are with me. They all send you love.

I had just now a few lines from Mrs. Bull, also a letter from Mr. Sturdy. As it would be almost impossible for me to write for some days now, I ask you to thank Mrs. Bull for me for her letter, and tell her kindly that I have just now a long letter from Miss [Christina] Greenstidel of Detroit. She mentions a beautiful letter from Mrs. Bull. Sturdy writes about the publication of any further edition of Raja-Yoga by Longmans. I leave that consideration with Mrs. Bull. She may talk over the matter with Sturdy and do what she thinks proper.

Please give Sturdy my best love, and tell him I am on the march and will take time to reply to his letter; in the meanwhile the business will be looked after by Mrs. Bull.

With everlasting love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CXCIV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
HOWRAH DIST., BENGAL,
[April 4, 1901]

DEAR CHRISTINE,

The subsequent proceedings have been so much interesting; and the interest has been growing so rapidly of late, that one could scarcely utter a word. 

I am glad to learn of Mrs. [Ole] Bull's sweet letter to you; she is an angel. You are peaceful and happy - good. I am growing towards it too.

I am en route to Chandranath on pilgrimage.

I have been anxiously awaiting a letter from you, and it seemed it would never come.

I am sure to be happy - can't help thinking so. After so much struggle, the result must come. Things take their own course; it is I who am to brighten up, I find. And I am trying my best. And you can help me by writing nice letters now and then; will you?

Margot [Sister Nivedita] is doing splendid work in England with Mrs. Bull's backing. Things are going on nicely.

I am sleeping better and the general health is not bad.

With everlasting love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.

P.S. Please enquire of Miss [Sarah Ellen] Waldo about the publication of Karma and Jnâna Yogas and write.


CXCV

Letter of Introduction

GAUHATI
April 17, 1901

I have great pleasure in certifying the great amiability and helpfulness of the brothers Shivakanta and Lakshmikanta, Pandas of Shri Kamakhya Peetham.

They are men who help most and are satisfied with the least.

I can unhesitatingly recommend them to the Hindu public visiting this most holy shrine.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

CXCVI

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
HOWRAH DIST., BENGAL,
13th May 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

I arrived in the Math yesterday. This morning came your short note. You must have got my letters by this time, and [I] hope this will give you a taste of how sometimes silence is gold.I have beautiful letters from everywhere this morning and am quite happy. I paid a long visit of two months to Assam and different parts of eastern Bengal. For combined mountain and water scenery, this part of the country is unrivalled.

Either I am to go to Europe this summer, and thence to the U.S., or you come over to India - things are all getting ready to that end. Mother knows Her ways. For one thing, I am calm, very calm, and hope to keep a hold on this state for a long time; and you are my best help to keep this poise, are you not? I will write more in my next; just now these few lines - and a hundred pardons I beg for their scantiness. Yet silence tells more sometimes than all the speech in the world.

With all love and blessings,

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA.


CXCVII

To Mrs. Ole Bull

THE MATH, BELUR
13 May 1901

DEAR MOTHER,

I reached Calcutta yesterday. This morning arrived your letter containing three cheques for my cousin. They shall reach her regularly.

I have not had any letter from Joe [Miss Josephine MacLeod] from Japan, but several I find awaiting me from on board steamer. She also sends me a newspaper cutting to be sent to Professor Geddes. I enclose it in this letter and expect you to direct it to Prof. Geddes.

Saradananda has been three weeks in Darjeeling, where he has improved greatly. I wish he will remain some time longer there. Mr. Bannerjy is the kindest of hosts.

Mrs. Sevier is in London at 2, Maisemore Mansions, Canfield Gardens, London, N.W.

You are right: my experiences are bringing about calmness - great calmness.

Mrs. Patterson and children are off to Europe. General [C. B. Patterson] is alone and very desirous that I would call. I will the next time I go to town.

My cousin and mother and the rest send love, and my eternal love you know always.

Ever your son,

VIVEKANANDA

P.S. All love and blessings for Margot [Sister Nivedita].


CXCVIII

To Mrs. Alice (Shanti) Hansbrough

THE MATH
HOWRAH DIST.,
BENGAL, INDIA
3rd June 1901

DEAR MRS. HANSBROUGH -

The contribution of six pounds and three shillings to the Math by the Los Angeles club has duly reached. Swami Brahmananda will write to you a separate acknowledgement. But as I happen to be here just now and have not had long any direct communication with you, I feel like having a chat with you as of yore, even though it be through the post. Now how are you and the Baby and the holy Trinity and the oldest who brings up the rear?

How are all our Los Angeles friends? Poor Mrs. [Emeline F.] Bowler, I hear, has passed away. She was an angel. Where is Miss Strickney? Please tender her my sincerest love, gratitude and prayers when you meet her next.

How are all the San Francisco friends? How is our Madam (Mrs. Benjamin Aspinall.) - the noble, the unselfish? What is she doing now? Quietly gone back to her Home of Truth work?

Are you pleased with Turiyananda and his work? Is the [Shanti] Ashrama progressing?

With everlasting love and blessings,

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA


CXCIX

To Mr. Okakura Kakuzo

THE MATH, BELUR
HOWRAH DIST.
BENGAL, INDIA
18th June 1901

DEAR FRIEND -

Allow me to call you a friend. We must have been such in some past birth. Your cheque for 300 rupees duly reached and many thanks for the same.

I am just thinking of going to Japan, but with one thing or another and my precarious health, I cannot expedite matters as I wish.

Japan to me is a dream - so beautiful that it haunts one all his life.

With all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA
Kakudzo [Kakuzo] Okakura Esq.
Tokyo, Japan


CC

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL, INDIA,
[End of June 1901]

DEAR CHRISTINA,

Your very welcome letter just reached. A few days ago a precious little bit of poem also reached. I wish it ever so much you were the writer thereof. Anyhow, most of us feel, though unable to express; and then, "There are thoughts that lie too deep for tears". Regularity in anything is not in my line of life, but that need not make you irregular. I pray you to drop a few lines every now and then. Of course, when I am not in this body, I am sure the news will reach you, and then you will have to stop writing.

Miss MacLeod wishes me to join her in Japan, but I am not sure. Most probably I am not going, especially as I expect both her and Mrs. Ole Bull in India, in November. Two whole months consumed in coming and going; only one month's stay in Japan - that does not pay, I am afraid.

Say, I am getting enormously fat about the middle - alas!

Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier, who is now in England, returns in a few months to India. She has invited Mrs. Bull etc. to be her guests in the Himalayas. I wish they could be there during summer.

I have manfully borne the terrific heat of my country in the plains, and now I am facing the deluging rains of my country. Do you know how I am taking rest? I have got a few goats and sheep and cows and dogs and cranes! And I am taking care of them the whole day! It is not trying to be happy; what for? Why should one not be unhappy as well - both being nonsense? - but just to kill time.

Do you correspond with Mrs. Bull or Nivedita?

Don't worry, don't be anxious; for me the "Mother" is my protection and refuge; and everything must come round soon, better than my fondest dreams can paint.

With all love,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCI

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
6th August 1901.

Letters are sometimes, dear Christina, like mercy - good to the one that sends and the other that receives.I am so happy that you are calm and resigned as ever. You are ever that. "Mother knows", indeed; only I know that "Mother" not only knows, but does - and is going to do something very fine for me in the near future. What do you think will be very good for me on earth? Silver? Gold? Pooh! I have got something infinitely better; but a little gold will not be amiss to keep my jewel in proper surroundings, and it is coming, don't you think so?

I am a man who frets much, but waits all the same; and the apple comes to my mouth by itself. So, it is coming, coming, coming.

Now, how are you? Growing ever thinner, thinner, thinner, eh? Do have a very good appetite and good sleep in anticipation of the coming good time - to be in trim for welcoming its advent.

How did the heat feel this year? We read all sorts of horrible stories about American heat waves. You have beaten the world's records, even in heat - that's Yankee push, surely.

Well, you are right as about taste: I renounce the yellow of gold and the white of silver, but stick to amber always - that is to my taste.

Amber and corals I always hated; but of late I am awakening to their beauty. One learns as he lives, is it not?

I am going to Darjeeling tomorrow for a few days and will write to you from there. Now gute Nacht [good night] and au revoir [good-bye] for the present.

Ever yours truly,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
27th August 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

I am expecting a long, long letter from you; and, like all expectations of mine, [it] will not be realized, I fear.

Well, I need not bother you with the usual string of questions: How are you? What are you doing all this summer? etc. I am sure the Mother will [do] so much as to keep you in good health at least.

Now, Christina, for many reasons this letter happens to be short, very. It is written with the special purpose that as soon as you get this, send me your latest photograph.

Did you write to Miss [Sarah Ellen] Waldo about the publication of the books? I get no news and, what is more important, no money (that is between you and me) from the sale.

Did you have any news of Margot [Sister Nivedita], of Mrs. [Ole] Bull etc.? And are you happy? I sometimes feel I am, other times it is clouded. Well, it is all the body, after all - material. Goodbye.

Yours with love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.

PS - Do send the photo as soon as possible.

V.


CCIII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
2nd September 1901.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

I have been looking at one of your old photos - the only one you sent four or five years ago; and then I remember how changed and reduced you looked last summer; and it came to me that you must be awfully thin now, as it seems very hard for you to get rid of anxieties. This is simply foolish. Things will, of course, take their shape. We only make ourselves miserable by moping. It is very hard to manipulate one's philosophy to contribute to one's daily need. So it is with you, as with me. But it is easiest to take the teacher's chair and read a lecture. And that has been my life's business!! Indeed, that is the reason why there are more disciples up to the mark than teachers. The upshot of all this is that you must create a huge appetite, then gorge, then sleep and grow fat, fat, fat. Plump is the English word, is it not?

As for me, I am very happy. Of course, Bengal brings the asthma now and then, but it is getting tame, and the terrible things - Bright's disease and diabetes - have disappeared altogether. Life in any dry climate will stop the asthma completely, I am sure. I get reduced, of course, during a fit, but then it takes me no time to lay on a few layers of fat. I have a lot of cows, goats, a few sheep, dogs, geese, ducks, one tame gazelle, and very soon I am going to have some milk buffaloes. These are not your American bison, but huge things - hairless, half-aquatic in habits, and [that] give an enormous quantity of very rich milk.

Within the last few months, I got two fits [of asthma] by going to two of the dampest hill stations in Bengal - Shillong and Darjeeling. I am not going to try the Bengalee mountains any more.

Mrs. Bull and Nivedita are in Norway. I don't know when they [will] come over to India. Miss MacLeod is in Japan. I have not heard from her [for] a long while. They all are expected here in November, and will have a "hot time in this old town"  etc. I pray you can come, and the Mother will open the door for it. I cannot but say my prayers mostly have been heard, up to date.

Well now, Christina, send me one of your latest photos next mail, will you? I want to see how much of fat you have accumulated in one year.

Anyhow, I will have to go to America with Mrs. Bull, I am sure. [Excision]  By the by, excusez-moi,  our Calcutta is never so hot as your Detroit or New York, with its added advantage - we are not required by our society to wear many things. The old Greeks used to think that wearing too many clothes and [feeling] shame to show any part of the body a peculiarity of barbarians! So the Hindus think, down to the present day. We are the most scantily clothed people in the whole world. Bless the Lord! How one would live otherwise in our climate!

3rd September -

I left the letter unfinished last night. The foreign English mail starts day after tomorrow. So begin again. The moon is not up yet, but there is a sunless glow upon the river. Our mighty Ganges (She is indeed mighty now, during the rains) is splashing against the walls of the house. Numerous tiny boats are flitting up and down in the dark; they have come to fish for our shads, which come up the river this season.

How I wish you were here to taste our shads - one of the most delicate fish in the world. It is raining outside - pouring. But the moment this downpour ceases, I rain through every pore - it is so hot yet. My whole body is covered by big patches of prickly heat. Thank goodness there are no ladies about! If I had to cover myself in this state of things, I surely would go crazy.

I have also my theme, but I am not despondent. I am sure very soon to pan it out into a beautiful ecstasy [excision]. I am half-crazy by nature; then my overtaxed nerves make me outrageous now and then. As a result I don't find anybody who would patiently bear with me! I am trying my best to make myself gentle as a lamb. I hope I shall succeed in some birth. You are so gentle. Sometimes I did frighten you very much, did I not, Christina? I wish I were as gentle as you are. Mother knows which is best.

I would not take any supper tonight, as I ate rather heartily of the aforesaid shad! Then I have to think, think, think on my theme; and some subjects I think best in bed because the whole is made clear to me in dream. Therefore, I am going to bed, and gute Nacht, bon soir,  etc., etc. No, no, it is now about 10 a.m. in Detroit. Therefore, a very happy day to you. May all good realities reach you today while I am expecting dreams.

Ever yours with love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCIV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
25th September 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

I could not write you last mail, excusez [excuse]. But I have been expecting one from you for a long time. Hope one will come this mail.

I am just thinking of going over to Japan, as Miss [Josephine] MacLeod is so insistent. Perhaps something will be done; who knows?

From Japan, of course, a peep into America seems inevitable.

Not much news of Mrs. [Ole] Bull or Margot [Sister Nivedita]. Margot is rested, well, and strong. She will come to India someday, perhaps. I am soon expecting Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier though. Her work is needing her. Her beautiful home in the Himalayan forests is a temptation, especially now when a huge tiger is roaming in her compound and killed a horse, a buffalo, and her pair of mastiffs in broad daylight; a number of bears [are] playing havoc with her vegetable garden; and lots of porcupines [are] doing mischief everywhere!!! She went out of the way to buy land in a forest - she and her husband liked it so much.

There is not much to write this week. Words only tire one, except one which is inexhaustible, infinite.

So, goodbye till next week.

Ever with love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.

PS - Just now comes a telegram from Miss MacLeod and a letter also. She is so insistent that I am thinking of going over to Japan. In that case, we cross over to America this winter, and thence to England.

Yours,

V.

CCV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
8th October 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINA,

Yours of September 9 came to hand yesterday. I congratulate you on your successful visit to the Huron Lake; a few more of them (according to your letter) will force you to sympathize with our condition - oh, the gasping and the melting and the puffing and all the rest of them!

However, nothing in the world like a plump, ripe fruit.

I had to give up my trip to Japan: firstly, because I am not in a working trim yet; secondly, [I] don't much care to make such a long voyage (one month) alone; thirdly, what am I to talk to them, I wonder.

Our heat too has been fierce and is continuing unusually long this year. I am blacker than a Negro by this time.

The California work is progressing famously. They want one or two men more. I would send, if I could, but I have not any more spare men. Poor Turiyananda is suffering from malaria yet, and is awfully overworked.

Do you know whether they published my Jnana-Yoga or not? I got a copy of a second edition of Karma-Yoga only.

I am bobbing up and down in the current of life. Today it is rather down, so I finish the letter here.

Yours with all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCVI

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
14th October 1901.

MY DEAR CHRISTINA,

Just now came a letter from Mrs. Bull, but none from you, as I expected one this mail.

Mrs. Bull writes, "I wrote Christina recently to ask her if she were to be free in case the opportunity opened for her to go to the East. I send you her reply".

I went through several times your letter to Mrs. Bull. It surely was horrible; and you have been all this time hiding the real state of affairs from me and posing great cheerfulness!!

You will be a precious fool to lose the opportunity if such comes and is offered by Mrs. Bull. You will only have to take a year's leave. The rest will all be arranged by Mrs. Bull, including, I am sure, all your anxiety for those you will have to leave behind in Detroit.

You have been good, too good to be human, and you are so, still. But it is no use making oneself unnecessarily miserable. "Mother's will", surely, if the chance comes; and it has got to come, I know.

I would not write you about my health; for after all this hide and seek, even though it was for my good, I think you have not much of a right to know the truth about my health.

But to some things you have eternal rights, and amongst others, to my eternal love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.

CCVII

To Sister Nivedita

THE MATH,
P.O. BELUR, HOWRAH,
12th November 1901.

MY DEAR MARGO [MARGOT],

Since the Durgâ Pujâ I have been very ill, and so could not reply to your letter earlier.

We had a grand Puja here of Durga, lasting nearly four days; but, alas, I was down with fever all the time.

We had a grand image, and a huge Puja it was. Then we had the Lakshmi Puja following close, and then night before yesterday, we had the Kali Puja. It is always after midnight - this Puja. I am better now, and we will find a house for you as soon as you come.

I am so glad you are accompanying Mrs. [Ole] Bull. She requires all care; and she always thinks of herself the last. Joe [Miss Josephine MacLeod] is coming to India shortly - at Christmas time with some Japanese friends. I am expected to meet her in Madras.

I am going off to the N.W.P. [North-Western Provinces] etc. soon, as Bengal is malarious - now that the rains are over.

Mrs. Bull has been a mother to us all, and any time and service spent for her is as nothing to what she has been doing for us all. Remain with her as long as she wants you - the work can wait well; "Mother" sees to her work. We needn't be anxious.

By the by, Miss [Henrietta] Müller is here in Calcutta. She wrote a letter to Akhandananda, with whom she has been in regular correspondence - care of the Math. So I sent some flowers and fruits and a letter of welcome to her hotel. I have not had a reply yet.

Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier, I expect, has already started. Swarupananda had his heart weakened by the constant uphill and downhill. He is here and improving.

Things are going on well with us, slowly but surely. The boys of late have been very active, and it is work only that tells and nothing else.

Yours with all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCVIII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, P.O. BELUR, HOWRAH,
12th November 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINA,

The morning's mail brought me a photograph from Detroit. I thank the sender very much for promptness. Well, I liked it much. But the old one is the profile view; this, the front. Then again, the phenomenal fat seems to be only imaginary on somebody's part. In a way, I am more used to the old one, and, as such, I cannot slight an old friend. So let me say both are good. The one is an evolution of the other - for the better. I expected a line but it has not arrived yet; [it] may tomorrow. We have a proverb here: "One river is equal to forty miles". There is only a river between Calcutta and our Math, and yet such a round - about way for the mail. Sometimes it comes dribbling for days.

Mrs. [Ole] Bull and Nivedita must have started for the U.S. by this time. Nivedita is sure to see you in Detroit. Mrs. Bull is anxious to induce you to join her Indian party via Japan. If you can take leave for some months, do come. Mother will arrange anyhow; I need not trouble myself.

Mrs. Sevier has started already, it seems - alone.

We had grand Pujas (worships) here in our Math this year. The biggest of our Pujas is the Mother worship, lasting nearly four days and nights. We brought a clay image of Mother with ten hands, standing with one foot on a lion, the other on a demon. Her two daughters - the Goddess of Wealth and the Goddess of Learning and Music - on either side on lotuses; beneath, her two sons - the God of War and that of Wisdom.

Thousands of people were entertained, but I could not see the Puja, alas! I was down with high fever all the time. Day before yesterday, however, came the Puja of Kali. We had an image, too, and sacrificed a goat and burned a lot of fireworks. This night every Hindu home is illuminated, and the boys go crazy over fireworks. There are, of course, several cases of severe burns in the hospitals. We had less fireworks but more Puja, recitation of Mantras, offering of flowers, food and songs. It lasted only one night.

I am expected to leave Calcutta and Bengal in a few days, as this country becomes very malarious this month, after the rains. It is pleasant and cool now, and the north Himalayan wind is blowing.We have fenced in a lot of our grounds to protect our vegetables from our cows and goats and sheep. The other day one of my [a portion excised] . . . but the mother was either so wicked or [a portion excised] . . . that she would not look at her young. I tried to keep them alive on cow's milk, but the poor things died in the night! Two of my ducks are sitting on their eggs. As this is their first time, and the male does not help them a bit, I am trying my best to keep up their strength by good feeding. We cannot keep chickens here - they are forbidden to us.

With all love,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCIX

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, P.O. BELUR, HOWRAH,
25th November 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

It seems your bottle of nerve tonic did not do you much good, your assurances to the contrary. It must have been a curious error. I must have been down with fever or asthma or something else at that time. Still a thousand, thousand pardons. This was my first, and it will be my last, offence. Your letter that went to Miss [Josephine] MacLeod has not come back yet. Perhaps Miss MacLeod is bringing the letter with her, as she is coming over to India from Japan herself, accompanied by her Japanese converts (male, of course, as she is a lady missionary).

Well, well, I so wish things would so arrange themselves that I could see you once more. Mother knows. By the by, my right eye is failing me badly. I see very little with that one. It will be hard for me for some time either to read or write; and as it is getting worse every day, my people are urging me to go to Calcutta and consult a doctor. I will go soon, as soon as I recover from a bad cold I have on.

I am so glad you were so taken by Abhedananda; only I thought one Hindu was good for a lifetime.

Poor Miss Joe [Miss Josephine MacLeod] - so she remains ignorant as to the real cause of my not going over to Japan! You need not be the least anxious - there is no harm done; and if there were, Joe and especially Mrs. [Ole] Bull make it their life's duty to befriend those I love.

I will try your tonic when it arrives; and the gift, I pray, will even be followed by the giver, for surely a [words excised] . . . is more stimulating and healing than dead drugs.

With all love,

VIVEKANANDA.

CCX

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, P.O. BELUR, HOWRAH
27th November 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

It is almost sure, I did not write any letter to you that week in which [I] made that infamous blunder. As I wrote you two letters a few days previously, it is not at all probable that I wrote you another. Then Miss [Josephine] MacLeod [would have] sent the letter back. I must have written only one letter that week to Miss MacLeod, giving her my reasons for not going to Japan; and somehow it so happened that the hand wrote the most familiar name on the envelope. So you need not expect any letter of yours back from Japan, as there was none; and if there were, you shall have it.

I am just under another spell of catarrh and asthma. Yesterday a cyclone blew over the place and several trees and a bit of the roof are damaged. It is gloomy yet and cold. You know it is almost impossible to write with the asthma on. So au revoir [good-bye].

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXI

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, P.O. BELUR, HOWRAH
12th December 1901

DEAR CHRISTINE,

Well, then, you wanted to know all about my state of health, and you insist. You shall have it.

You know, the last three years I have been getting albuminuria now and then. It is not constant, nor is it yet of any organic character. The kidneys are structurally all right. Only they throw out albumen now and then. This is worse than throwing out sugar in diabetes. Albumen poisons the blood, attacks the heart and does all sorts of mischief. Catching cold always increases it. This time it has caused a small blood vessel in the right eye to burst, so that I scarcely see with that eye.

Then the circulation has become very rapid. The doctors have put me to bed; and I am forbidden to eat meat, to walk or even stand up, to read and write.

Already there is some benefit in this lying-down process, as I sleep a lot and have a good appetite and am digesting my meals. Curious, is it not, that inactivity should bring on sleep and appetite? There is no cause to be anxious at all.

Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier arrived in Calcutta three days ago; and by the last advice from Nivedita, Mrs. Bull and she will start on the 13th December, if they can secure berths, or on the 30th December at least. I pray Mrs. Bull has already invited you and that you have got your year's leave and are coming over, and that you will get this letter in India redirected. If Mother does not fulfil this prayer, sure She will take me across the water soon, and [line excised] . . . . The doctor says if I keep to my bed for three months, I will get completely cured.

Now, don't worry. If good days are not coming, we will make them, that is all. Hang it! I must have good days now and, that too, very soon. You know, I always keep my word. Mother must do it, or I throw Her overboard. I am not so submissive as you are.

Our old-school physicians pour in tons of iron and other metals - including gold, silver, pearls, etc. - down our throats. I should be a man of iron by this time; perhaps yours will be the last touch to make my body one of steel.

This is our best season for eating turtles, but they are all black. The green [ones] can only be found in America. Alas! I am prevented from the taste of meat.

Now, noble heart, take courage. Don't mope: you have buffeted [too] many a storm in life, old war horse, to be like a silly boarding-school girl. Things must go all right. I am not going to die or to be ill just now; I am determined to be healthy. You know my grit.Miss [Josephine] MacLeod sent you your letter. What was it about? Was there anything queer? I am glad she had it. She writes beautifully about you. She has already started, and we will have a jolly good company this winter here in Calcutta. Mrs. [Ole] Bull, Miss MacLeod, Mrs. Sevier and Nivedita and I will be overjoyed if somebody else will be thrown into the bargain. I can't get any more value, eh? I must stop. Am going to look after my geese and ducks just for five minutes, breaking the doctor's command to lie down all the time. One of the geese is a silly, fearful bird, always despondent and anxious. She likes to be all alone by herself and is miserable - very much like another goose I know in another place.

Here my story ends
And spinach top bends.
Why is spinach withering?
Because the goat is browsing.
Why is the goat browsing?
Because no grass is growing.
Why no grass is growing?
The gardener is not watering.
Why there is no watering?
The Master is not commanding.
Why is he not commanding?
An ant has bitten the Master!

This is a nursery rhyme told after a story, and it is true of us all. It is only an ant bite, after all - the trouble here; is it not?

Ever yours,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL, INDIA,
18th December 1901.

DEAR CHRISTINE,

I am much better, and the rest is doing me good. I have found out that lying in bed all the time gives me as much sleep as wanted and good digestion too. Albumen and sugar vanish immediately [when] I begin taking rest.

Mrs. Bull and Nivedita start for India from Marseilles today, and unless they change their plan, [they] must be in India before this reaches you - two weeks before.Herewith I send you four hundred and eighty dollars by cheque drawn on Thomas Cook & Son, Broadway, New York. They have no branch office in Detroit. On receipt of this, you write to Thomas Cook & Son, Broadway, New York, that you have got a cheque from India - mentioning the amount and number - drawn by Thomas Cook & Son on the firm of Thomas Cook & Son, and want to be advised as to how to cash it. Don't send the cheque ahead. (Excuse all these details. I feel you are a baby in business, though I am worse.) This is to pay your "passage to India"  if you think fit to accept Mrs. Sevier's invitation. If you get leave and come, I am sure you will find somebody who is coming to England, at least. Then from there, again, somebody who is coming to Egypt. You come with them as far as Italy, thence direct on a boat to India.

Second-class passage across the Atlantic is all right, but the second class from Italy to Bombay is rather bad. There are always a few rough men and fast women. There is money enough for travelling first class all through, if you so like.

The Mother will see to it, even as [She did when] this money came. Drop me a line as soon as you engage your passage -better a week ahead; otherwise I don't see how the letter can reach me. The vessel to India you get from London; and possibly a letter may reach me with the name of the vessel, etc. In any case, however, you wire me as soon as you land and get into a good hotel. You will find many persons to receive you - and me too, most probably.

In case, however, things take another turn and you cannot come, no matter. Do with the money just as it pleases you.

It is very probable that after Miss [Josephine] MacLeod and Mrs. [Ole] Bull have been through India, they are going home via Japan; and, of course, I am going with them. In that case I will be in California next fall.

It will be a nice trip, and would it not be a fine tour round the world if you get leave and come?

Do just as the Mother opens the way for you, and do not worry.

Yours with all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA


CCXIII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL, INDIA,
25th December 1901.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year is the usual congratulation. Alas! The stars brought you a tremendous blow. (Sister Christine's mother had passed away.) Blessed be the name of the Lord. After all, it is only "Thy will be done" - our only refuge. I will not insult you by offering you consolation - you know it all already. Only this line to remind you of one who is in entire sympathy with you and who knows that all your plans must be good in joy or sorrow, as you are dedicated to the eternal Mother. Well, the Mother phenomenal has merged in the Mother absolute, eternal. Thy will be done.

By this time you must have made a decision, or, rather, the "Mother" has shown you the way, surely. I rest content.

The soldier of the Queen has gone abroad to fight for Her cause, leaving all he loves to Her care. The soldier is to look to his duty. The Queen of the Universe knows the rest.

With all love as usual,

VIVEKANANDA.

CCXIV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR, DIST. HOWRAH,
23rd January 1902.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

By this time you must have settled your plans. Don't worry, however, on my account. I only want to see you rested and well rested, wherever you be.

Excuse this rather long delay in writing. Owing to various reasons I could not, but [was] mentally sending you good wishes all along.

Miss [Josephine] MacLeod has arrived with her Japanese friends: Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo], a professor of art, and Mr. Hori, a Brahmachârin. The latter has come to India to study Sanskrit and English. The former came to see India, the Motherland of Japanese culture and art. Well, Mrs. [Ole] Bull and Nivedita are also expected in a few days. As it seems now, this whole party is going to Japan - minus Nivedita. She remains here to work.

Now, I am going to try my hand in Japan and, if possible, in China. Oh, how I wish you were coming with Nivedita to make one of the party to Japan! Yet, do not put yourself to unnecessary trouble for that. There is Japan, and there is the U.S., after all, where we meet. You will only break yourself in trying to "hustle up". No Hurry, No Worry. I am rather anxious in not hearing from you for weeks. I pray you are not ill, anyway.

To Mother have I given you over. She protects Her own, ever and ever, I have no fear.

With all love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXV

To Miss Josephine MacLeod

GOPAL LAL VILLA, BENARAS CANTONMENT
7th Feb. 1902.

MY DEAR JOE -

We have safely reached Benaras, and Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo] has already done Benaras. He goes to see Sarnath (the old Buddhistic place) today and starts on his tour tomorrow.

He has asked Niranjan [Swami Niranjanananda] to accompany him and he has consented.

Kanay [Nirbhayananda] has supplied him with everything he asked for - and he asks me also to send you the accounts. This, on the other page.

I hope Nivedita and Mrs. [Ole] Bull have safely arrived. I am rather better than at Buddha Gaya. This house is nice - well furnished and has a good many rooms and parlours. There is a big garden all round and beautiful roses - and gigantic trees. It is rather cooler here than at Gaya. There was no hitch to our friends being admitted into the chief temple and [allowed to] touch the Sign of Shiva and to worship. The Buddhists, it seems, are always admitted.

With all love and welcome to Mrs. Bull and Nivedita - if they have arrived - and all to you,

VIVEKANANDA

[Enclosed in the above letter was the following accounts list.]

4TH FEBRUARY 1902. Rs 100
Rs. As. P.

Train hire from Gaya to Benares 20 4 0
Cab hire 5 0 0
Tel message 2 0 0
Refreshment Room (Morning) 1 8 0
Cooly hire Gaya 0 10 0
Tobacco etc. 0 5 0
Refreshment Room (Evening) 2 0 3
Cooly hire (at Benares) 1 1 0
Cab hire at Benares 1 10 0
------------------
Total 34 6 3
------------------

5TH FEBRUARY

Paid to Medicine for Mr. K. Okakura 1 8 0
" [Ditto] Oatmeal & corn - flour 1 4 0
" Tobacco etc. 0 6 3
" Bread etc. 0 2 0
Paid to Barber 0 3 0
" Fish 0 7 6
-----------------
Total 3 14 9
-----------------

6TH FEBRUARY 1902
Pickles 1 0 0
Sweetmeats 0 9 0
Carriage hire 1 8 0
Priests of Vishvanath etc. 10 4 0
----------------
Total 13 5 0
----------------

Things purchased for store at Gopal Lal Villa before Swamiji's arrival 17 11 9
----------------
Total 69 5 9

Paid to Expenses from Calcutta to Buddh Gaya 30 10 3

----------------
Rs.100 0 0

("P." stands for pie-s, twelve of them making one Anna (As.) and sixteen annas making one rupee (Rs.).)


CCXVI

To Miss Josephine MacLeod

GOPAL LAL VILLA
BENARAS CANTONMENT
14 February 1902.

DEAR JOE -

I received a note yesterday from Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo]. They have seen Agra on their way to Gwalior. They must be there now.

The wire he sent to Japan was to Mr. [Tokuno] Oda to come immediately. There was a work. "Six" in it also.

It is quite cool here even now - and will remain so for this month at least. Is it getting warm in Calcutta?

I hope Mrs. [Ole] Bull and Nivedita are getting well rested after that tremendous journey.

I am so so.

The boys all send love.

Ever Yours with love and blessings,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXVII

To Mrs. Alice (Shanti) Hansbrough

BENARAS
14 Feb. 1902

MY DEAR MRS. HANSBROUGH,

I am eternally indebted to you for what you did for me in the past, and infinitely more now for what you are doing for Turiyananda.

A gloom came over the Math when news reached Calcutta of his severe illness. Now, I hope, he has recovered completely, and I will be so glad to get the news from you.

It seems the American climate does not suit him. In that case it will be better for him to come over to India whenever he thinks fit.

In all probability I am going to Japan in a month or two. Ramakrishnananda accompanies me. Turiyananda may come over to Japan and I go to America. "Mother" knows best, however, and we obey.

I am just now in Benaras for a few days. All letters should, however, be addressed to the Belur Math.

Kindly convey my best love to Turiyananda and to yourself, the holy family and the other friends.

Ever yours in the Lord,

VIVEKANANDA

PS. Let Turiyananda take rest all the time now. He must not work at all till I reach Japan or America.


CCXVIII

To Sister Nivedita

GOPAL LAL VILLA,
BENARAS CANTONMENT,
4th March 1902.

MY DEAR MARGO [MARGOT],

It is night now, and I can hardly sit up or write, yet still feel duty bound to write to you this letter, fearing lest it becomes my last, it may put others to trouble.

My condition is not at all serious, but it may become [so] any time; and I don't know what is meant by a low fever that almost never leaves me and the difficulty of breathing.

Well, I sent Christina [Greenstidel] £100 from Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier for a travel to India, as she lost her mother at that time. Her last letter informs me that she sails on February 15th. In that case, her reaching India is very near. I expect, of course, some information as to the port and steamer next week. In case I pass away, which I would like very much to do in this city of Shiva, do you open her letters directed to me, receive the girl, and send her back home. If she has no money to go back, give her a passage - even if you have to beg.

I have spent the little money I brought from Europe in feeding my mother and paying her debts. What little remains I cannot touch, as that is the expense for the pending lawsuit.

In case I rally, I will inform you of the time of her arrival, and, in that case, you will have to see that she comes in safe to some station in Bareilly, where I [will] meet her. And she is to be the guest of Mrs. [Charlotte] Sevier. I am also going to take another chance in Almora.Ramakrishnananda came a few weeks before I came away, and the first thing he did was to lay down at my feet 400 Rs. he had collected in so many years of hard work!!! It was the first time such a thing has happened in my life. I can scarcely suppress my tears. Oh, Mother!! Mother! There is not all gratitude, all love, all manliness dead!!! And, dear child, one is enough - one seed is enough to reforest the world.

Well, that money is in deposit in the Math. I never mean to touch a penny of that. When I asked Ramakrishnananda to give that money to his people, he replied he did not care a hang to give to anybody except me and was only sorry he could scrape that little in four years! Well, if I pass away, see that 400 Rs. is paid back - every rupee to him. Lord bless you and Ramakrishnananda.

I am quite satisfied with my work. To have left two true souls is beyond the ambition of the greatest.

Ever your loving father,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXIX

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH, BENGAL,
30th March 1902.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

You know how welcome you are - I need not express it. This is a land where expressions are studiously subdued. Margot [Sister Nivedita] and Joe [Miss Josephine MacLeod] have already written and made arrangements at Bombay. I expect and wait for you here in Calcutta. I wish I could be in Bombay to receive you, but all our wishes are not to be fulfilled.

Come over straight; only take great, great care of the heat by protecting the back of the head.

The trains here are not so safe as in your country, so have a little care of your things during night travel.

If you feel tired, take rest in Bombay. Mrs. [Ole] Bull, Joe and Margot are anxiously awaiting you, and so is

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXX

To Mrs. Ole Bull

[THE MATH, P.O. BELUR, DIST. HOWRAH,
March (?) 1902]

DEAR MOTHER, 

I am glad Chinnu has arrived. Any hour you like will suit [me] for your coming tomorrow. But it is ferocious heat here from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I would, therefore, suggest that you start after breakfast and remain the day here and have some Bengalee fish lunch, and go back in the evening.

I insist on your taking a cab here and back. A cab to come and go costs quite as much or less than a boat, and there is no change [of transportation]. If the cabby does not understand Belur, tell him to go to a place two miles south of Bally. He must know Bally, and then let him ask his way to the Math.

One such drenching and capsizing experience as Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo] had the other day will unsettle your nerves for days; and we expect such rough weather every evening this month. The land route is nearer, easier, and cheaper from where you are. I have also instructed your servant, the bearer of the letter.

Ever your Son,

VIVEKANANDA.

CCXXI

To Miss Josephine MacLeod

THE MATH
2nd April 1902

MY DEAR JOE -

The telegram is already gone, and I expect you will fill all arrangements there.

The Dak bungalows en route to Mayavati provide no food, nor have they cooks.

Provisions have to be taken at Kathgodam and arrangements made.

If you find any difficulty, go straight to Almora and make your arrangements at leisure. The Dak bungalows on the way to Almora provide food and in Almora there is a nice Dak bungalow.

Hoping everything will come your way, as it always does - (except Grandpa's  health).

Yours affectionately,

VIVEKANANDA

I like Mr. [Tokuno] Oda much - he means business.

V.


CCXXII

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR,
DIST. HOWRAH,
15th May 1902.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

So glad to learn you like Mayavati. The heat here has come in earnest, and no rain. I drink very little water though.

I have given up all idea of going to Mayavati or Almora. I bear the heat well, but the rains here are to be avoided. I will remove [myself] to somewhere else then.

No news from Calcutta. I am in a hurry. Write me the details of whatever you see or feel there - about men and things.

Yours with all love,

VIVEKANANDA.


CCXXIII

To Mme. Emma Calvé

[This letter of condolence was written upon the death of Mme. Calvé's father and enclosed in a letter to Miss Josephine MacLeod.]

THE MATH, BELUR

HOWRAH DISTRICT
BENGAL, INDIA
the 15th May 1902

MY DEAR MADEMOISELLE,

With great sorrow I learn the sad bereavement that has come upon you.

These blows must come upon us all. They are in the nature of things, yet they are so hard to bear.

The force of association makes out of this unreal world a reality; and the longer the company, the more real seems the shadow. But the day comes when the unreal goes to the unreal, and, ah, how sad to bear.

Yet that which is real, the Soul, is ever with us, omnipresent. Blessed is the person who has seen the real in this world of vanishing shadows.

I hope, dear Mademoiselle, you have greatly improved in health since our last meeting in Egypt.

May the Lord always shower His choicest blessings on you is the everlasting prayer of

VIVEKANANDA


CCXXIV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR, DIST. HOWRAH,
27th May 1902.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

I am sorry I could not visit the mountains this time. My health, though not improved as much as I [had] wished, is not bad. The liver has been benefited - [that] is a great gain. The rains will commence very soon in the hills. So it is useless for me to take all the trouble of that terrible route.

I am so happy to learn the mountains are doing you good. Eat a lot, sleep as much as you can, and get plump. Stuff yourself till you get plump or you burst.

So the place did not suit Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo] - why? There must have been something to annoy him very much that he left the place so abruptly. Did he not like the scenery? Was it not sublime enough for him? Or the Japanese do not like sublimity at all? They only like beauty.

One of the boys writes that the little boy is getting disobedient etc. Mrs. Sevier wants me to take him down. So I do. I have asked Sadananda and another monk (whom I want for work here) to go to Almora and wait for the monsoon, and when it breaks, to come down.

If you feel you are becoming the least burdensome to Mrs. Sevier, write me immediately. It would be a sin to put further pressure on her - she does so much for me. However, she likes you very much and writes that you look be-au-ti-ful in saris.

I have just now two kids and three lambs added to the family. There was one more kid, but he got himself drowned in the yellow fish tank. How is Margot? Is she still there, or gone away with Mr. Okakura? How is she pulling on with the boys?

What do you do the whole day? How do you pass the day? Write me all details, and frequently; but do not expect long letters from me often.

Give my love to Mrs. Sevier, to Margot and the rest, and you may take a few spoonfuls, if you like,

with only this,

VIVEKANANDA.

PS - Have an eye on the little chap. The boys are already jealous of him. They did spoil another boy that way before.

V.


CCXXV

To Sister Christine

THE MATH, BELUR, DIST. HOWRAH,
14th June 1902.

MY DEAR CHRISTINE,

Your letters had to wait a few days, as I was out of town in a village.  Well, many thanks for all the information I got. Mr. Okakura [Kakuzo] has been to the Math, but I was away. He will be in Calcutta a few weeks more and then goes to Bombay. He intends taking a house near the city to learn intimately the customs of Bengalees. I am so glad to learn Margo's [Sister Nivedita's] intention to stop at Mayavati longer. She really requires good rest, and she had none in Europe, I am sure of that. If she were amenable to my advice as of old, I would take away every book and every scrap of paper from her, make her walk some, eat a lot and sleep a lot more. As to talking, I would have the merriest conversation all the while.

I have a beautiful letter from Mrs. Sevier, and [am] so happy to learn that she loves you more and more. But plumpness is the criterion, mon amie [my friend], for a' [all] that.

So there was a great flutter in our dovecote owing to my letters, but things must have assumed their old form by this time. The boy, my nephew, is going to be sometime yet in the Ashrama; make him talk English with a good accent - do. No foreign language can be learnt properly unless you talk in it from childhood. Mr. Bose  is still there, I hope; and you must have liked him immensely. He is a man, a brick. Tender him my best regards, will you?

Have you any water in the lakes now? Do you get the snows clearer? It has been raining all through this summer here. We had very few burning days, only a number of stuffy ones. Our rains also have nearly set in. In a week the deluge will commence in earnest.

As for me, I am much stronger than before; and when seven miles of jolting in a bullock-cart and railway travel of thirty-four miles did not bring back the dropsy to the feet, I am sure it is not going to return.

But anyway, it is the Math that suits me best just now.

With all love,

VIVEKANANDA.

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