17th February, 1896
. . . I have used some very harsh words in my letters, which you ought to excuse, as you know, I get nervous at times. The work is terribly hard; and the more it is growing, the harder it is becoming. I need a long rest very badly. Yet a great work is before me in England.
Have patience, my son–it will grow beyond all your expectations. . . . Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.
I have succeeded now in rousing the very heart of the American civilisation, New York, but it has been a terrific struggle. . . . I have spent nearly all I had on this New York work and in England. Now things are in such a shape that they will go on. Just as I am writing to you, every one of my bones is paining after last afternoon’s long Sunday public lecture. Then you see, to put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out of dry philosophy and intricate mythology and queer startling psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple, popular, and at the same time meet the requirements of the highest minds–is a task only those can understand who have attempted it. The dry, abstract Advaita must become living–poetic–in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and practical psychology–and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. That is my life’s work. The Lord only knows how far I shall succeed. “To work we have the right, not to the fruits thereof.” It is hard work, my boy, hard work! To keep one’s self steady in the midst of this whirl of Kama-Kanchana (lust and gold) and hold on to one’s own ideals, until disciples are moulded to conceive of the ideas of realisation and perfect renunciation, is indeed difficult work, my boy. Thank God, already there is great success. I cannot blame the missionaries and others for not understanding me–they hardly ever saw a man who did not care in the least about women and money. At first they could not believe it to be possible; how could they? You must not think that the Western nations have the same ideas of chastity and purity as the Indians. Their equivalents are virtue and courage. . . . People are now flocking to me. Hundreds have now become convinced that there are men who can really control their bodily desires; and reverence and respect for these principles are growing. All things come to him who waits. May you be blessed for ever and ever!
Yours with love,