To Sister Nivedita
1719 TURK STREET,
28th March, 1900.
MY DEAR MARGOT,
I am so glad at your good fortune. Things have got to come round if we are steady. I am sure you will get all the money you require here or in England.
I am working hard; and the harder I work, the better I feel. This ill health has done me a great good, sure. I am really understanding what non-attachment means. And I hope very soon to be perfectly non-attached.
We put all our energies to concentrate and get attached to one thing; but the other part, though equally difficult, we seldom pay any attention to — the faculty of detaching ourselves at a moment’s notice from anything.
Both attachment and detachment perfectly developed make a man great and happy.
I am so glad at Mrs. Leggett’s gift of $1,000. She is working up, wait. She has a great part to play in Ramakrishna’s work, whether she knows it or not.
I enjoyed your accounts of Prof. Geddes, and Joe has a funny account of a clairvoyant. Things are just now beginning to turn. . . .
This letter, I think, Will reach you at Chicago. . . .
I had a nice letter from Max Gysic, the young Swiss who is a great friend of Miss Souter. Miss Souter also sends her love, and they ask to know the time when I come over to England. Many people are inquiring, they say.
Things have got to come round — the seed must die underground to come up as the tree. The last two years were the underground rotting. I never had a struggle in the jaws of death, but it meant a tremendous upheaval of the whole life. One such brought me to Ramakrishna, another sent me to the U.S., this has been the greatest of all. It is gone — I am so calm that it astonishes me sometimes!! I work every day morning and evening, eat anything any hour — and go to bed at 12 p.m. in the night — but such fine sleep!! I never had such power of sleeping before!
Yours with all love and blessings,
To Miss Mary Hale
1719 TURK STREET,
28th March, 1900.
WELL BLESSED MARY,
This is to let you know “I am very happy”. Not that I am getting into a shadowy optimism, but my power of suffering is increasing. I am being lifted up above the pestilential miasma of this world’s joys and sorrows; they are losing their meaning. It is a land of dreams; it does not matter whether one enjoys or weeps; they are but dreams, and as such, must break sooner or later. How are things going on with you folks there? Harriet is going to have a good time at Paris. I am sure to meet her over there and parler fransaise! I am getting by heart a French dictionnaire! I am making some money too; hard work morning and evening; yet better for all that. Good sleep, good digestion, perfect irregularity.
You are going to the East. I hope to come to Chicago before the end of April. If I can’t, I will surely meet you in the East before you go.
What are the McKindley girls doing? Eating grapefruit concoctions and getting plump? Go on, life is but a dream. Are you not glad it is so? My! They want an eternal heaven! Thank God, nothing is eternal except Himself. He alone can bear it, I am sure. Eternity of nonsense!
Things are beginning to hum for me; they will presently roar. I shall remain quiet though, all the same. Things are not humming for you just now. I am so sorry, that is, I am trying to be, for I cannot be sorry for anything and more. I am attaining peace that passeth understanding, which is neither joy nor sorrow, but something above them both. Tell Mother that. My passing through the valley of death, physical, mental, last two years, has helped me in this. Now I am nearing that Peace, the eternal silence. Now I mean to see things as they are, everything in that peace, perfect in its way. “He whose joy is only in himself, whose desires are only in himself, he has learned his lessons.” This is the great lesson that we are here to learn through myriads of births and heavens and hells — that there is nothing to be asked for, desired for, beyond one’s Self. “The greatest thing I can obtain is my Self.” “I am free”, therefore I require none else for my happiness. “Alone through eternity, because I was free, am free, and will remain free for ever.” This is Vedantism. I preached the theory so long, but oh, joy! Mary, my dear sister, I am realising it now every day. Yes, I am — “I am free.” “Alone, alone, I am the one without a second.”
Ever yours in the Sat-Chit-Ânanda,
PS. Now I am going to be truly Vivekananda. Did you ever enjoy evil! Ha! ha! you silly girl, all is good! Nonsense. Some good, some evil. I enjoy the good and I enjoy the evil. I was Jesus and I was Judas Iscariot; both my play, my fun. “So long as there are two, fear shall not leave thee.” Ostrich method? Hide your heads in the sand and think there is nobody seeing you! All is good! Be brave and face everything — come good, come evil, both welcome, both of you my play. I have no good to attain, no ideal to clench up to, no ambition to fulfil; I, the diamond mine, am playing with pebbles, good and evil; good for you — evil, come; good for you-good, you come too. If the universe tumbles round my ears, what is that to me? I am Peace that passeth understanding; understanding only gives us good or evil. I am beyond, I am peace.