A Wise Letter Written by Vivekananda in 1900

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This, I transcribed from Ram Dass’s Podcast Epidsode #43. 

Ram Dass read a letter written by Swami Vivekananda to Miss Josephine McCloud, in April of 1900. This was a few years before Swami Vivekananda died in his late 30s. Vivekananda was a very deep disciple of Ramakrishna. And Vivekananda took the teachings out into the world and into America and played a key role in bringing Eastern spiritual ideas into the West in the 1890s.

Next, the letter…

“After all, Jo, I am only a boy who used to listen with rapt wonderment to the wonderful words of Ramakrishna under the Banyan tree at Dakshineswar. That is my true nature. 

Doing good and so forth are all super impositions. Now I again hear the voice, the same old voice thrilling my soul. Bonds are breaking. Love dying. Work becoming tasteless. The glamor is off life. 

Yes, I come. Nirvana is before me. I feel it at times – the same infinite ocean of peace, without a ripple, a breath. 

Since the beginning of this year I have not dictated anything in India, you know that. I am drifting again in the warm heart of the river. I dare not make a splash with my hands or feet for fear of breaking the wonderful stillness that makes one feel sure the world is an illusion. 

Behind my work, was ambition. Behind my love, was personality. Behind my purity, was fear. Behind my guidance, was thirst for power. Now, they are vanishing. I drift. I come, Mother, a spectator, no more an actor. Things are seen and felt like shadows.”

Swami Vivekananda

Note that this conclusion makes me think of the message in the book, “The Unteathered Soul” by Michael Singer. His message was to release all attachments by becoming “the witness” within. In the last paragraph of his letter, Vivekananda lists attachments of ambition, personality, fear, and thirst for power related to the ways he’d “acted” in life so far. Now, he has become the “spectator” instead of an “actor”. It seems to me that this is like Singer telling us to be the “witness” instead of the ego that reacts to situations with attachment. ~ Clare

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