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extensively in Northern India.

The physicians had advised him to go as soon as


possible to Almora, where the air was dry and cool, and he had been invited by
prominent people in Northern India to give discourses on Hinduism.
Accompanied by some of his brother disciples and his own disciples, he left
Calcutta, and he was joined later by the Seviers, Miss Mller, and Goodwin.
In Lucknow he was given a cordial welcome. The sight of the Himalayas in
Almora brought him inner peace and filled his mind with the spirit of
detachment and exaltation of which these great mountains are the symbol. But
his peace was disturbed for a moment when he received letters from American
disciples about the malicious reports against his character spread by Christian
missionaries, including Dr. Barrows of the Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
Evidently they had become jealous of the Swami's popularity in India. Dr.
Barrows told the Americans that the report of the Swami's reception in India
was greatly exaggerated. He accused the Swami of being a liar and remarked: "I
could never tell whether to take him seriously or not. He struck me as being a
Hindu Mark Twain. He is a man of genius and has some following, though only
temporary."
The Swami was grieved. At his request the people of Madras had given Dr.
Barrows a big reception, but the missionary, lacking religious universalism, had
not made much of an impression.
In Almora the Swamiji's health improved greatly. On May 29 he wrote to a
friend: 'I began to take a lot of exercise on horseback, both morning and evenin
g.
Since then I have been very much better indeed....I really began to feel that it
was a pleasure to have a body. Every movement made me conscious of strength
every movement of the muscles was pleasurable....You ought to see me,
Doctor, when I sit meditating in front of the beautiful snow-peaks and repeat
from the Upanishads: "He has neither disease, nor decay, nor death; for verily,
he has obtained a body full of the fire of yoga."'
He was delighted to get the report that his disciples and spiritual brothers wer
e
plunging heart and soul into various philanthropic and missionary activities.
From Almora he went on a whirlwind tour of the Punjab and Kashmir, sowing
everywhere the seeds of rejuvenated Hinduism. In Bareilly he encouraged the
students to organize themselves to carry on the work of practical Vedanta. In
Ambala he was happy to see his beloved disciples Mr. and Mrs. Sevier. After
spending a few days in Amritsar, Dharamsala, and Murree, he went to Kashmir.
In Jammu the Swami had a long interview with the Maharaja and discussed
with him the possibility of founding in Kashmir a monastery for giving young
people training in non-dualism. In the course of the conversation he sadly
remarked how the present-day Hindus had deviated from the ideals of their
forefathers, and how people were clinging to various superstitions in the name o
f
religion. He said that in olden days people were not outcasted even when they
committed such real sins as adultery, and the like; whereas nowadays one
became untouchable simply by violating the rules about food.
On the same topic he said a few months later, at Khetri: 'The people are neither
Hindus nor Vedantins
they are merely "don't touchists"; the kitchen is their
temple and cooking-pots are their objects of worship. This state of things must
go. The sooner it is given up, the better for our religion. Let the Upanishads
shine in their glory, and at the same time let not quarrels exist among differen
t
sects.'
In Lahore the Swami gave a number of lectures, among which was his famous
speech on the Vedanta philosophy, lasting over two hours. He urged the students
of Lahore to cultivate faith in man as a preparation for faith in God. He asked
them to form an organization, purely non-sectarian in character, to teach
hygiene to the poor, spread education among them, and nurse the sick. One of
his missions in the Punjab was to establish harmony among people belonging to
different sects, such as the Arya Samajists and the orthodox Hindus. It was in

Lahore that the Swami met Mr. Tirtha Ram Goswami, then a professor of
mathematics, who eventually gained wide recognition as Swami Ram Tirtha.
The professor became an ardent admirer of Swami Vivekananda.