Insidence at the Cassipore Garden-House on the night of MahaSivaratri

Written by VHouse Admin. Posted in Talks and Reminiscences

Source:  Life of Swami Vivekananda Volume 1 [Page:166]

Early picture of The Cossipore Garden House

Naren (later Swami Vivekananda) was becoming aware of the spiritual power within him. There were moments when he, as it were, touched divinity and became almost physically conscious of Reality by the spiritual transmutation of the internal faculties of sense. His thought became a sweeping power. On one occasion he displayed it. It was on Shivaratri (the Night of Shiva) in March 1886. Naren was seated with three or four brother-disciples in a room in the compound of the Cossipore garden-house. They had fasted the whole day and intended to spend the night in meditation, worship and prayer. A mild shower of rain fell in the evening and the starlit sky was in parts fleeced with clouds. After finishing the worship, Japa and meditation proper to the first quarter of the night, Naren was resting and conversing with others, sitting on the worshipper’s seat. One of the brother disciples went out to prepare a smoke for him and another went to the main residence on a piece of work. Just then a feeling of divine power came to Naren. He wanted to test it out that night, and said to Kali (later Swami Abhedananda) who was sitting close to him, “Just touch me after a while.” When the brother disciple who had gone to prepare tobacco entered the room, he saw Naren sitting motionless in meditation and Kali, with his eyes shut, touching Naren’s right knee with his right hand. He noticed that Kali’s hand was trembling. After a minute or two Naren opened his eyes and said, “That is enough. How did you feel?” Kali answered, “I felt a shock as though from an electric battery. My hand was shaking all the while.” The brother disciple asked Kali, “Was your hand trembling because you were touching Naren?” Kali answered, “Yes, I could not keep it steady, though I tried.”

A little later the young men applied themselves to the worship and meditation proper to the second quarter of the night. Kali entered into deep meditation at that time. He was never seen to enter into such deep meditation before. His whole body became stiff, with his neck and head inclined slightly forward. Consciousness of the outer world seemed to have completely left him for some time. Everyone present thought that he was having such meditation as a result of having touched Naren a little while previously. Naren also noticed that state and indicated it to a companion by a sign.

After the last quarter’s worship was over at four in the morning, Shashi came to the worship – room and said to Naren, “The Master wants you.” Naren went upstairs with Shashi to the Master. No sooner had the Master seen Naren than he said, “What is this? Spending with hardly anything accumulated! Allow it first to accumulate sufficiently in yourself; then you will know where and how to spend it. Mother Herself will teach you. Don’t you see what harm you have done to him by injecting your attitude of mind into him? He has been progressing till now with a particular mental attitude, the whole of which has now been destroyed, like a miscarriage during the sixth month of pregnancy. What’s done is done. Don’t act so thoughtlessly from now on. The boy, however, is lucky that greater harm has not befallen him.” Naren said afterwards, “I was completely flabbergasted. The Master was able to know whatever we did at the time of worship. What else could I do but keep silent when he scolded me like that!”*

Swami Abhedananda (Kali) narrates this same incident in his autobiography. The gist of his account is as follows:

On the Shivaratri night, when Naren and I were meditating, Naren’s body suddenly began to shake. He asked me to put my hand on his thigh and see if I felt anything. When I put my hand there, I felt as though I had touched an electric battery, and as though a magnetic current were causing a violent tremor in his body. Gradually this current became so strong that my hand too began to shake. Naren did not infuse any power into me on this occasion; he only thought that he could do so. In order to disabuse Narendra of this illusion the Master said to him later, “This is the time to gain power, not to spend it”

The Great, the Glorious and the Majestic Self

Written by Web Admin. Posted in Explore, Talks and Reminiscences, Vivekananda

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. He walks among men, but he is not at home here. He is a pilgrim, a stranger, he tarries but a night.

He shares the life of those about him, enters into their joys and sorrows, rejoices with them, mourns with them, but through it all, he never forgets who he is, whence he came, or what the purpose of his coming. He never forgets his divinity. He remembers that he is the great, the glorious, the majestic Self. He knows that he came from that ineffable, supernal region which has no need of the sun or moon, for it is illumined by the Light of lights. He knows that he was, long before the time when “all the sons of God sang together for joy”.
Such a one, I have seen, I have heard, I have revered. At his feet I have laid my soul’s devotion.

Such a being is beyond all comparison, for he transcends all ordinary standards and ideals. Others may be brilliant, his mind is luminous, for he had the power to put himself into immediate contact with the source of all knowledge. He is no longer limited to the slow processes to which ordinary human beings are confined. Others may be great, they are great only as compared with those in their own class. Others may be good, powerful, gifted, having more of goodness, more of power, more of genius than their fellowmen. It is only a matter of comparison. A saint is more holy, more pure, more single-minded than ordinary men. 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.

Is it to be wondered at that nature itself rejoices in such a birth, that the heavens open and angels sing paeans of praise?

Blessed is the country in which he was born, blessed are they who lived on this earth at the same time, and blessed, thrice blessed are the few who sat his feet.

Source: From the Book Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda – Sister Christine