"Man is higher than all animals, than all angels; none is greater than man." - Swami Vivekananda












PRABUDDHA BHARATAPrabuddha Bharata | December 1906  






     Prabuddha Bharata-100 Years Ago



     The Master as I Saw Him




     The summer of 1898 stands out in my memory as a series of pictures, painted like old altar-pieces against a golden background of religious ardour and simplicity and all alike glorified by the presence of one who, to us in his immediate circle, formed their central point. Е

     It would be easy to lose oneself here in the beauties of our journeys, in descriptions of mountain-forests on the road to Almora, or of cathedral rocks and corn-embosomed villages in the Jhelum Pass. For as one returns upon that time its record is found in a constant succession of scenes of loveliness. Not least of these pictures is the memory of the handsome old woman wearing the crimson coronet and white veil of Kashmiri peasants, who sat at her spinning-wheel under a great chenaar-tree in a farm-yard, surrounded by her daughters-in-law, when we passed that way, and stopped to visit her. It was the Swami's second call on her. He had received some small kindness at her hands the year before, and had never afterwards tired of telling how after this, when he had asked, before saying farewell, " And, mother, of what religion are you?" her whole face had lighted up with pride and joy, and her old voice had rung out in triumph as she answered loudly and clearly, "I thank our God, by the mercy of the Lord, I am a Mussulman!"

     Or I might tell of the avenue of lofty Lombardy poplars outside Srinagar, so like the well-known picture by Hobbema, where we listened to discourse after discourse on India and the Faith.

     Or I might linger over the harvest merriment of the villagers playing in reaped fields on moonlit evenings or talk of the red bronze of amaranth crops, or the green of young rice under tall poplars at Islamabad. Forget-me-nots of a brilliant blue form the commonest wild flower of the Kashmiri summer, but in autumn and spring the fields and river banks are violet-tinged with small purple irises, and one walk amongst their spear-like leaves as if they were grass. How infinitely tender are the suggestions of those little iris-covered hillocks rounding off the rise of some road-side against the sky, that mark the burial places of the Mussulman dead!

     Here and there, too, amidst grass and irises, one comes on groups of gnarled apple-trees, or pear, or plum, the remains of the village orchards which the State once upon a time supplied to all its subjects free of cost. Walking here once at twilight along the high banks of the river, I watched a party of Mussulman herdsmen, crooks in hand, driving a small flock of long-haired goats before them to their village. And then, as they came to a knot of apple-trees, they stopped awhile, and spreading a blanket for praying-carpet, they proceeded to offer their evening worship in the deepening dusk. Verily, says my heart, there is no end of beauty, there is no end.

     But in good sooth it is not of these things that I am attempting, in the course of the present pages, to speak. Mine is the broken and faltering witness of one who is fain to tell-not of geography nor of politics, nor yet of the ways and customs of interesting peoples and unknown races, but rather of the glimpses vouchsafed to her of a great religious life of the ancient order living itself out amidst the full and torturing consciousness of all the anomalies and perplexities of the Modern Transition. Е

     I see in him the heir to the spiritual discoveries and religious struggles of innumerable teachers and saints in the past of India and the world, and at the same time the pioneer and prophet of a new and future order of development. Е And I pray only to give always true witness, without added interpolation or falsifying colour.



                                                                                     - Sister Nivedita

International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015






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