Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vivekananda's Last Day in Valley


Years were 1897-98. Vivekananda wanted to set up as Math in Srinagar. He needed some land. Like most visitors, he stayed on houseboats, traveled on boats. Camped at sweet European camping spots. Met the royalties. But land was refused by the British Regent Adelbert Talbot. With his foreign friends, he celebrated American Independence day floating on Jhelum, holding on to a locally made crude American flag. He even wrote a poem about the day: Bethink thee how the world did wait, And search for thee, through time and clime. A few years later, died on the same day of July. In Kashmir, he visited Mughal gardens - Shalimar, Nishat... and ancient temples - Bijbehar and Mattan. He climbed hills- Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat, and trekked his way to mountain abode of god Amarnath.  Here he told shell shocked Sadhu's to not treat Muslims, and others, as infidels. Suffered what his doctor called a 'massive heart attack'. Survived and claimed: 'Now I have seen Shiva too'. In valley, he worshiped four-year-old daughter of his Mohammedan boatman as goddess Uma. He told Pandits that it is fine to send their children to a missionary school. At Kshir Bhawani, he wondered why Goddess of this land didn't protect herself from the Muslims. Said the Mother Goddess told her, 'It's alright! I protect you, not the other way around.' Here he picked up a Muslim devotee, a man he cured of migraine by a roll of a hand overhead. Here he made a mistake and found himself in middle of an ancient game of metaphysical star war. This man used to be a devotee of a local Muslim Fakir. This Fakir on losing a soul, cursed the man in orange robe, 'Before you leave this valley, you shall taste your own blood. You shall remember, you have a body too. You shall vomit blood.' And the words soon turned true. The story goes: Just before leaving the valley, Vivekananda vomited blood. It shook his core: 'I have seen gods, talked to them, understood their mind, and yet something as crude as this can happen to me. I can be cursed. How? Why? What chance do the common folk have? What are we up against?' His mind tossed and turned. His disciples took notes. Once back in his land, virgin-widow of his dead Guru advised, 'Even Shankaracharya couldn't survive these machinations. Even your Guru Ramakrishna was once cursed and vomited blood. Don't worry. It probably saved your life. Had the blood gone to your head, you would have surely died. It's probably all the yoga that you do.' Some disciples wrote: Even gods are susceptible to craft. Rules of craft-  words, written, said and thought - are all binding even on God.

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* Based on 'The Life of the Swami Vivekananda' by Swami Virajananda (Publisher K.C. Ghosh, 1912) [archive.org]

4 comments:

  1. Spell-binding piece. Loved its energy, and its imagery so evocative.
    Bravo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. nice account,but i doubt about the actual words of the Mother "Sarda" to swamiji.Hope you can present the actual words here

    ReplyDelete

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