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Letters written from London

(April to July)


To the Hale sisters

20th April, 1896.
Greetings to you from the other shore. The voyage has been pleasant and no sickness this time. I gave myself treatment to avoid it. I made quite a little run through Ireland and some of the Old English towns and now am once more in Reading amidst Brahma and Maya and Jiva, the individual and the universal soul, etc. The other monk is here; he is one of the nicest of men I see, and is quite a learned monk too. We are busy editing books now. Nothing of importance happened on the way. It was dull, monotonous, and prosaic as my life. I love America more when I am out of it. And, after all, those years there have been some of the best I have yet seen.
Are you trying to get some subscribers for the Brahmavadin? Give my best love and kindest remembrance to Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Conger. Write me as soon as is convenient all about yourselves, and what you are doing, what breaks the monotony of eating, drinking, and cycling. I am in a hurry just now, shall write a bigger letter later; so good-bye and may you be always happy. 

Your ever affectionate brother,


PS. I will write to Mother Church as soon as I get time. Give my love to Sam and sister Locke. 




To Sister Christine

High View, Caversham
Reading, London.
26th April '96
Dear Christina,
How are things going on with you? I am all safe and sound here in England. Going to begin work from May fourth. How is Mrs. Funkey [Funke]?
Give them all my Love. Write me all about yourself and Mrs. Funkey when you have time. Address me at 63 St., George's Road, S.W. London.
Where is Krip. [Swami Kripananda]? What is he doing now? Has he been able to get up any classes yet? Has his temper gone down?
Give them all my love--and [to] Miss Hamilton and to all my friends and to the Rabbi [Grossman of Detroit].
Yours ever with love and blessings,



To Members of the Alambazar Math

High View, Caversham,
27th April, 1896
{original in Bengali}
Dear {members of the Alambazar Math},
. . . Let me write something for you all. It is not for gaining personal authority that I do this, but for your good and for fulfilling the purpose for which the Lord came. He gave me the charge of you all, and you shall contribute to the great well?being of the world though most of you are not yet aware of it this is the special reason of my writing to you. It will be a great pity if any feeling of jealousy or egotism gain ground amongst you. Is it possible for those to establish cordial relations on earth who cannot cordially live with one another for any length of time? No doubt it is an evil to be bound by laws, but it is necessary at the immature stage to be guided by rules; in other words, as the Master used to say that the sapling must be hedged round, and so on. Secondly, it is quite natural for idle minds to indulge in gossip, and faction?mongering, and so forth. Hence I jot down the following hints. If you follow them, you will undoubtedly prosper, but if you don't do so, then there is a danger of all our labours coming to naught.
First let me write about the management of the Math:
1. For the purposes of the Math please hire a commodious house or garden, where everyone may have a small room to himself. There must be a spacious hall where the books may be kept, and a smaller room for meeting the visitors. If possible, there should be another big hall in the house where study of the scriptures and religious discourses will be held every day for the public.
2. Anyone wishing to visit anybody in the Math should see him only and depart, without troubling others.
3. By turns someone should be present in the hall for a few hours every day for the public, so that they may get satisfactory replies to what they come to ask.
4. Everyone must keep to his room and except on special business must not go to others' rooms. Anyone who wishes may go to the Library and read, but it should be strictly forbidden to smoke there or talk with others. The reading should be silent.
5. It shall be wholly forbidden to huddle together in a room and chat the whole day away, with any number of outsiders coming and joining in the hubbub.
6. Only those that are seekers after religion may come and peacefully wait in the Visitors' Hall and when they have seen the particular persons they want, they should depart. Or, if they have any general question to ask, they should refer to the person in charge of that function for the day and leave.
7. Tale?bearing, caballing, or reporting scandals about others should be altogether eschewed.
8. A small room should serve as the office. The Secretary should live in that room, which should contain paper, ink, and other materials for letter?writing. He should keep an account of the income and expenditure. All correspondence should come to him, and he should deliver all letters unopened to their addressees. Books and pamphlets should be sent to the Library.
9. There will be a small room for smoking, which should not be indulged in outside this room.
10. He who wants to indulge in invectives or show temper must do so outside the boundaries of the Math. This should not be deviated from even by an inch.


1. Every year a President should be elected by a majority of votes. The next year, another, and so on.

2. For this year make Brahmananda the President and likewise make another the Secretary, and elect a third man for superintending the worship etc., as well as the arrangement of food.
3. The Secretary shall have another function, viz to keep watch over the general health. Regarding this I have three instructions to give:
(i) In every room for each man there shall be a Nair charpoy, mattress, etc. Everyone must keep his room clean.
(ii) All arrangements must be made to provide clear and pure water for drinking and cooking purposes, for it is a deadly sin to cook sacramental food in impure or unclean water.
(iii) Give everyone two ochre cloaks of the type that you have made for Saradananda, and see that clothing is kept clean.
4. Anyone wishing to be a Sannyasin should be admitted as a Brahmacharin first. He should live one year at the Math and one year outside, after which he may be initiated into Sannyasa.
5. Make over charge of the worship to one of these Brahmacharins, and change them now and then.


There shall be the following departments in the Math:
I. Study . II. Propaganda . III. Religious Practice .
I.Study The object of this department is to provide books and teachers for those who want to study. Every morning and evening the teachers should be ready for them.
II. Propaganda Within the Math, and abroad. The preachers in the Math should teach the inquirers by reading out scriptures to them and by means of question?classes. The preachers abroad will preach from village to village and try to start Maths like the above in different places.
III. Religious Practice This department will try to provide those who want to practise with the requisites for this. But it should not be allowed that because one has taken to religious practice he will prevent others from study or preaching. Any one infringing this rule shall be immediately asked to clear out, and this is imperative.
The preachers at home should give lessons on devotion, knowledge, Yoga, and work by turns; for this, the days and hours should be fixed, and the routine hung up at the door of the class?room. That is to say, a seeker after devotion may not present himself on the day fixed for knowledge and feel wounded thereby; and so on.

None of you are fit for the Vamachara form of practice. Therefore this should on no account be practised at the Math. Anyone demurring to this must step out of this Order. This form of practice must never even be mentioned in the Math. Ruin shall seize the wicked man, both here and hereafter, who would introduce vile Vamachara into His fold!


1. If any woman comes to have a talk with a Sannyasin, she should do it in the Visitors' Hall. No woman shall be allowed to enter any other room except the Worship?room.
2. No Sannyasin shall be allowed to reside in the Women's Math. Anyone refusing to obey this rule shall be expelled from the Math. "Better an empty fold than a wicked herd."
3. Men of evil character shall be rigorously kept out. On no pretence shall their shadow even cross the threshold of my room. If anyone amongst you become wicked, turn him out at once, whoever he be. We want no black sheep. The Lord will bring lots of good people.
4. Any woman can come to the class?room (or preaching hall) during class time or preaching hour, but must leave the place directly when that period is over.
5. Never show temper, or harbour jealousy, or backbite another in secret. It would be the height of cruelty and hard?heartedness to take note of others' shortcoming instead of rectifying one's own.
6. There should be fixed hours of meals. Everyone must have a seat and a low dining table. He will sit on the former and put his plate on the latter, as is the custom in Rajputana.


All the office?bearers you should elect by ballot, as was the mandate of Lord Buddha. That is to say, one should propose that such and such should be the President this year; and all should write on bits of paper 'yes' or 'no' and put them in a pitcher. If the 'yes' have a majority, he should be elected President, and so on. Though you should elect office?bearers in this way, yet I suggest that this year Brahmananda should be President, Nirmalananda, Secretary and Treasurer, Sadananda Librarian, and Ramakrishnananda, Abhedananda, Turiyananda, and Trigunatitananda should take charge of the teaching and preaching work by turns, and so on.
It is no doubt a good idea that Trigunatita has of starting a magazine. But I shall consent to it if only you can work jointly.

About doctrines and so forth I have to say only this, that if anyone accepts Paramahamsa Deva as Avatara etc., it is all right; if he doesn't do so, it is just the same. The truth about it is that in point of character, Paramahamsa Deva beats all previous records; and as regards teaching, he was more liberal, more original, and more progressive than all his predecessors. In other words, the older Teachers were rather one?sided, while the teaching of this new Incarnation or Teacher is that the best point of Yoga, devotion, knowledge, and work must be combined now so as to form a new society. . . . The older ones were no doubt good, but this is the new religion of this age the synthesis of Yoga, knowledge, devotion, and work the propagation of knowledge and devotion to all, down to the very lowest, without distinction of age or sex. The previous Incarnations were all right, but they have been synthesised in the person of Ramakrishna. For the ordinary man and the beginner, steady devotion (Nishtha) to an ideal is of paramount importance. That is to say, teach them that all great Personalities should be duly honoured, but homage should be paid now to Ramakrishna. There can be no vigour without steady devotion. Without it one cannot preach with the intensity of a Mahavira (Hanuman). Besides, the previous ones have become rather old. Now we have a new India, with its new God, new religion, and new Vedas. When, O Lord, shall our land be free from this eternal dwelling upon the past? Well, a little bigotry also is a necessity. But we must harbour no antagonistic feelings towards others.
If you consider it wise to be guided by my ideas and if you follow these rules, then I shall supply on all necessary funds. . . . Moreover, please show this letter to Gour?Ma, Yogin?Ma, and others, and through them establish a Women's Math. Let Gour?Ma be the President there for one year, and so on. But none of you shall be allowed to visit the place. They will manage their own affairs. They will not have to work at your dictation. I shall supply all necessary expenses for that work also.

May the Lord guide you in the right direction! Two persons went to see the Lord Jagannatha. One of them beheld the Deity while the other saw some trash that was haunting his mind! My friends, many have no doubt served the Master, but whenever anyone would be disposed to consider himself an extraordinary personage, he should think that although he was associated with Shri Ramakrishna, he has seen only the trash that was uppermost in his mind! Were it not so, he would manifest the results. The Master himself used to quote, "They would sing and dance in the name of the Lord but come to grief in the end." The root of that degeneration is egotism to think that one is just as great as any other, indeed! "He used to love me too!" one would plead. Alas, Nick Bottom, would you then be thus translated? Would such a man envy or quarrel with another and degrade himself? Bear in mind that through His grace lots of men will be turned out with the nobility of gods ay, wherever His mercy would drop! . . . Obedience is the first duty. Well, just do with alacrity what I ask you to. Let me see how you carry out these few small things. Then gradually great things will come to pass.
PS. Please read the contents of this letter to all, and let me know whether you consider the suggestions worth carrying out. Please tell Brahmananda that he who is the servant of all is their true master. He never becomes a leader in whose love there is a consideration of high or low. He whose love knows no end, and never stops to consider high or low, has the whole world lying at his feet.




To Mr. E.T. Sturdy

April, 1896
Thursday Afternoon.

I forgot to tell you in the morning that Prof. Max Müller also offered in his letter to me to do everything he could if I went to lecture at Oxford. 

Yours affectionately,


PS. Have you written for the Artharva-Veda Samhita edited by Shankara Pandurang? 



To Mrs. Ole Bull

63 St George's Road
London. S.W.
May 8, 1896
Dear Mrs. Bull--
Your last letter to Sturdy at hand. They, I am sorry to say, leave us nowhere. I could not make anything out of them.
What are we to do? Is the book going to be published or not? Prof. [William] James's introduction 110 is of no use in England. So why wait so long for that; and what use are those long explanations about him?
Our hands are tied down. Why do you not write something plain and decisive? Life is short and time is flying. I am so sorry you are losing sight of that. Your letters are full of explanations [and] directions, but not one word about what is to be done!!! So much red tape about printing a little book!! Empires are managed with less manipulation than that, I am sure!! So kindly write at your earliest something precise about the book and whether it is going to be printed or not, and pray make the writing a little legible.
Poor Sturdy is out of his wits as to what to do; he has gone through the Mss. long ago.
Joking apart, I am very sorry you are not coming over this year. We are in Lady Isabel's house. 111 Miss [Henrietta] Muller has taken some rooms in it too. Goodwin is here with us. We have not yet made any big stir here. The classes have begun; they are not yet what we expected. We [have] had only two yet.
We will work on steadily the next 4 or 5 months. Sturdy is as patient and persevering and hopeful as ever.
It is cool enough here yet to have a fire in the grate.
Give my love to Mrs. Adams, Miss Thursby and all other friends. My love to Mr. Fox and blessings.
Yours with love and blessings,



To Professor John Henry Wright

63 St. George's Road
London, S.W.

16th May, 1896.

Dear Adhyapakji*,
Last mail brought the very very sad news of the blow that has fallen on you.
This is the world my brother this illusion of Maya the Lord alone is true. The forms are evanescent; but the spirit, being in the Lord and of the Lord, is immortal and omnipresent. All that we ever had are round us this minute, for the spirit can neither come nor go, it only changes its plane of manifestation.
You are strong and pure and so is Mrs. Wright, and I am sure that the Divine in you has arisen and thrown away the lie and delusion that there can be death for anyone.
"He who sees in this world of manifoldness that one support of everything, in the midst of a world of unconsciousness that one eternal consciousness, in this evanescent world that one eternal and unchangeable, unto him belongs eternal peace."
May the peace of the Lord descend upon you and yours in abundance is the prayer of

Your ever loving friend,

*The letter was written on the death of his daughter, aged 16



To Mrs. Ole Bull

63 St. George's Road, London,
30th May, 1896.
Dear Mrs. Bull,
. . . Day before yesterday I had a fine visit with Prof. Max Muller. He is a saintly man and looks like a young man in spite of his seventy years, and his face is without a wrinkle. I wish I had half his love for India and Vedanta. At the same time he is a friend of Yoga too and believes in it. Only he has no patience with humbugs.
Above all, his reverence for Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is extreme, and he has written an article on him for the Nineteenth Century . He asked me, "What are you doing to make him known to the world?" Ramakrishna has charmed him for years. Is it not good news? . . .
Things are going on here slowly but steadily. I am to begin from next Sunday my public lectures.
Yours ever in grateful affection,



To Miss. Mary Hale

30th May, 1896.
Your letter reached just now. Of course, you were not jealous but all of a sudden were inspired with sympathy for poor India. Well, you need not be frightened. Wrote a letter to Mother Church weeks ago, but have not been able to get a line from her yet. I am afraid the whole party have taken orders and entered a Catholic convent — four old maids are enough to drive any mother to a convent. I had a beautiful visit with Prof. Max Müller. He is a saint — a Vedantist through and through. What think you? He has been a devoted admirer of my old Master for years. He has written an article on my Master in The Nineteenth Century, which will soon come out. We had long talk on Indian things. I wish I had half his love for India. We are going to start another little magazine here. What about The Brahmavadin? Are you pushing it? If four pushful old maids cannot push a journal, I am blowed. You will hear from me now and then. I am not a pin to be lost under a bushel. I am having classes here just now. I begin Sunday lectures from next week. The classes are very big and are in the house. We have rented it for the season. Last night I made a dish. It was such a delicious mixture of saffron, lavender, mace, nutmeg, cubebs, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cream, limejuice, onions, raisins, almonds, pepper, and rice, that I myself could not eat it. There was no asafoetida, though that would have made it smoother to swallow.
Yesterday I went to a marriage à la mode. Miss Müller, a rich lady, a friend who has adopted a Hindu boy and to help my work has taken rooms in this house, took us to see it. One of her nieces was married to somebody's nephew I suppose. What tiring nonsense! I am glad you do not marry. Good-bye, love to all. No more time as I am going to lunch with Miss MacLeod. 

Yours ever affectionately,




May, 1896.
In London once more. The climate now in England is nice and cool. We have fire in the grate. We have a whole house to ourselves, you know, this time. It is small but convenient, and in London they do not cost so much as in America. Don't you know what I was thinking — about your mother! I just wrote her a letter and duly posted it to her, care of Monroe & Co., 7 Rue Scribe, Paris. Some old friends are here, and Miss MacLeod came over from the Continent. She is good as gold, and as kind as ever. We have a nice little family, in the house, with another monk from India. Poor man! — a typical Hindu with nothing of that pluck and go which I have, he is always dreamy and gentle and sweet! That won't do. I will try to put a little activity into him. I have had two classes already — they will go on for four or five months and after that to India I go. But it is to Amerique — there where the heart is. I love the Yankee land. I like to see new things. I do not care a fig to loaf about old ruins and mope a life out about old histories and keep sighing about the ancients. I have too much vigour in my blood for that. In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything. I have become horribly radical. I am just going to India to see what I can do in that awful mass of conservative jelly-fish, and start a new thing, entirely new — simple, strong, new and fresh as the first born baby. The eternal, the infinite, the omnipresent, the omniscient is a principle, not a person. You, I, and everyone are but embodiments of that principle, and the more of this infinite principle is embodied in a person, the greater is he, and all in the end will be the perfect embodiment of that and thus all will be one as they are now essentially. This is all there is of religion, and the practice is through this feeling of oneness that is love. All old fogy forms are mere old superstitions. Now, why struggle to keep them alive? Why give thirsty people ditch-water to drink whilst the river of life and truth flows by? This is only human selfishness, nothing else. Life is short — time is flying — that place and people where one's ideas work best should be the country and the people for everyone. Ay, for a dozen bold hearts, large, noble, and sincere!
I am very well indeed and enjoying life immensely.

Yours ever with love,




To Swami Ramakrishnananda

(Original in Bengali)

May (?) 1896.

. . . This City of London is a sea of human heads — ten or fifteen Calcuttas put together. One is apt to be lost in the mazes unless he arranges for somebody to meet him on arrival. . . . However, let Kali start at once. If he be late in starting like Sharat, better let no one come. It won't do to loiter and procrastinate like that. It is a task that requires the height of Rajas (activity). . . . Our whole country is steeped in Tamas, and nothing but that. We want Rajas first, and Sattva will come afterwards — a thing far, far removed.

Yours affectionately,


To Mrs. Bull

63 St. George's Road, London S.W.
5th June, 1896.
Dear Mrs. Bull,
The Raja-Yoga book is going on splendidly. Saradananda goes to the States soon.
I do not like any one whom I love to become a lawyer, although my father was one. My Master was against it, and I believe that that family is sure to come to grief where there are several lawyers. Our country is full of them; the universities turn them out by the hundreds. What my nation wants is pluck and scientific genius. So I want Mohin to be an electrician. Even if he fails in life, still I will have the satisfaction that he strove to become great and really useful to his country. . . . In America alone there is something in the air which brings out whatever is best in every one. . . . I want him to be daring, bold, and to struggle to cut a new path for himself and his nation. An electrical engineer can make a living in India.
Yours with love,
PS. Goodwin is writing to you this mail with reference to a magazine in America. I think something of the sort is necessary to keep the work together, and shall of course do all that I can to help it on in the line he suggests.
. . . I think it very probable that he will come over with Saradananda.



To Sister Nivedita

7th June, 1896.
My ideal indeed can be put into a few words and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life.
This world is in chain of superstition. I pity the oppressed, whether man or woman, and I pity more the oppressors.
One idea that I see clear as daylight is that misery is caused by ignorance and nothing else. Who will give the world light? Sacrifice in the past has been the Law, it will be, alas, for ages to come. The earth's bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all. Buddhas by the hundred are necessary with eternal love and pity.
Religions of the world have become lifeless mockeries. What the world wants is character. The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love, selfless. That love will make every word tell like thunderbolt.
It is no superstition with you, I am sure, you have the making in you of a world-mover, and others will also come. Bold words and bolder deeds are what we want. Awake, awake, great ones! The world is burning with misery. Can you sleep? Let us call and call till the sleeping gods awake, till the god within answers to the call. What more is in life? What greater work? The details come to me as I go. I never make plans. Plans grow and work themselves. I only say, awake, awake!
May all blessings attend you for ever! 

Yours affectionately,




To Swami Ramakrishnananda

(Original in Bengali)

24th June, 1896.
Max Müller wants all the sayings of Shri Ramakrishna classified, that is, all on Karma in one place, on Vairagya in another place, so on Bhakti, Jnana, etc., etc. You must undertake to do this forthwith. ... We must take care to present only the universal aspect of his teachings. . . .
Sharat starts for America tomorrow. The work here is coming to a head. We have already got funds to start a London Centre. Next month I go to Switzerland to pass a month or two there, then I shall return to London. What will be the good of my going home? — This London is the hub of the world. The heart of India is here. How can I leave without laying a sure foundation here? Nonsense! For the present, I shall have Kali here, tell him to be ready. ...
We want great spirit, tremendous energy, and boundless enthusiasm, no womanishness will do. Try to go on exactly as I wrote to you in my last. We want organisation. Organisation is power, and the secret of this is obedience.
Yours affectionately,




To Swami Ramakrishnananda

(Original in Bengali)

3rd July, 1896.
Send Kali to England as soon as you get this letter. . . . He will have to bring some books for me. I have only got Rig-Veda Samhitâ. Ask him to bring the Yajur-Veda, Sâma-Veda, Atharva-Samhita, as many of the Brâhmanas as he can get, beginning with the Shatapatha, some of the Sutras, and Yâska's Nirukta. . . .
Let there be no delay as in Sharat's case, but let Kali come at once. Sharat has gone to America, as he had no work to do here. That is to say, he was late by six months, and then when he came, I was here. . . .
Yours affectionately,



To Mrs. Ole Bull

63 St. George's Road, London, S.W.
6th July 1896
Dear Mrs. Bull--
I have sent to Mr. Leggett by last mail the power of attor-ney, and, as you desired, this is to notify you of the fact and absolve you from the responsibilities of the power of attorney which I gave you in America last year.
Yours affectionately,
Saradananda and Goodwin have arrived, I am sure, by this time. I have a nice letter from Dr. Jain [Dr. Lewis G. Janes]. I am going to Switzerland for a vacation in a few days. I mean to stay there a month or more. I will return to London in the next fall. I do not know when I go back to India.
Things are growing nicely here.
With love to all,
Yours affectionately,



To Mr. Francis Leggett

6th July, 1896.
. . . Things are going on with me very well on this side of the Atlantic.
The Sunday lectures were quite successful; so were the classes. The season has ended and I too am thoroughly exhausted. I am going to make a tour in Switzerland with Miss Müller. The Galsworthys have been very very kind. Joe (Miss Josephine MacLeod, also referred to as Joe.) brought them round splendidly. I simply admire Joe in her tact and quiet way. She is a feminine statesman or woman. She can wield a kingdom. I have seldom seen such strong yet good common sense in a human being. I will return next autumn and take up the work in America.
The night before last I was at a party at Mrs. Martin's, about whom you must already know a good deal from Joe.
Well, the work is growing silently yet surely in England. Almost every other man or woman came to me and talked about the work. This British Empire with all its drawbacks is the greatest machine that ever existed for the dissemination of ideas. I mean to put my ideas in the centre of this machine, and they will spread all over the world. Of course, all great work is slow, and the difficulties are too many, especially as we Hindus are the conquered race. Yet, that is the very reason why it is bound to work, for spiritual ideals have always come from the downtrodden. Jews overwhelmed the Roman Empire with their spiritual ideals. You will be pleased to know that I am also learning my lessons every day in patience and, above all, in sympathy. I think I am beginning to see the Divine, even inside the high and mighty Anglo-Indians. I think I am slowly approaching to that state when I should be able to love the very "Devil" himself, if there were any.
At twenty years of age I was the most unsympathetic, uncompromising fanatic; I would not walk on the footpath on the theatre side of the streets in Calcutta. At thirty-three, I can live in the same house with prostitutes and never would think of saying a word of reproach to them. Is it degenerate? Or is it that I am broadening out into the Universal Love which is the Lord Himself? Again I have heard that if one does not sea the evil round him he cannot do good work — he lapses into a sort of fatalism. I do not see that. On the other hand, my power of work is immensely increasing and becoming immensely effective. Some days I get into a sort of ecstasy. I feel that I must bless every one, everything, love and embrace everything, and I do see that evil is a delusion. I am in one of these moods now, dear Francis, and am actually shedding tears of joy at the thought of you and Mrs. Leggett's love and kindness to me. I bless the day I was born. I have had so much of kindness and love here, and that Love Infinite that brought me into being has guarded every one of my actions, good or bad, (don't be frightened), for what am I, what was I ever, but a tool in His hands, for whose service I have given up everything, my beloved ones, my joys, my life? He is my playful darling, I am His playfellow. There is neither rhyme nor reason in the universe! That reason binds Him? He the playful one is playing these tears and laughters over all parts of the play! Great fun, great fun, as Joe says.
It is a funny world, and the funniest chap you ever saw is He — the Beloved Infinite! Fun, is it not? Brotherhood or playmatehood — a school of romping children let out to play in this playground of the world! Isn't it? Whom to praise, whom to blame, it is all His play. They want explanations, but how can you explain Him? He is brainless, nor has He any reason. He is fooling us with little brains and reason, but this time He won't find me napping.
I have learnt a thing or two: Beyond, beyond reason and learning and talking is the feeling, the "Love", the "Beloved". Ay, saké, fill up the cup and we will be mad.
Yours ever in madness,


(Swami Vivekananda enclosed the following document with the above letter written to Francis Leggett.)

6th July 1896

Herewith I constitute you as my attorney and representative in regards to all publication pamphlets etc., written or dictated by me, their copyright, sale, etc., in the U.S. of America.

Yours affectionately,




To Dr. Lewis I. Janes

6th July, 1896.
Yours of the 25th June has duly reached and gave me great pleasure. I am so glad to see the noble work progressing. I had learnt with the greatest delight from Mrs. Bull of the work that is going to be done in Cambridge this winter and no better person could have been selected to direct it as yourself. May all power attend you. I will be only too glad to write for the magazine from time to time and my first instalment was to be in a few weeks, when I hope to get some leisure. Certainly it goes without saying that no one of the types we call religious ought to die — they like races require fresh infusion of blood in the form of ideas. It is wonderful to be able to sympathise with others from their standpoints of view.
By this time Goodwin and the other Swami must have reached America. They I trust will be of help to you in your noble work. Godspeed to all good work and infinite blessings on all workers for good. 

Yours ever in the truth,





To Mrs. G. W. Hale

July 7, 1896
Dear Mother--
[On the] 18th of this month I start for Switzerland for a holiday. I will come back to London again to work in the Autumn. The work in England bids fair to be much better and deeper than in the U.S. And here in London is the heart of India also. Where are you now? I am passing through Geneva on my way to the Hills. I will be there a day or two.
If you be somewhere near, I will make it a point to come to see you. Did you hear Annie Besant? How did you like her? What about your plans of going to India next winter? What about the innocents 113 at home? I haven't had any news of them. My love to Father Pope, Mother Temple 114 and yourself. Kindly answer as I will be only a few days here.
Ever yours with love and gratitude,


To the Hale sisters

7th July, 1896.
The work here progressed wonderfully. I had one monk here from India. I have sent him to the U.S.A. and sent for another from India. The season is closed; the classes, therefore, and the Sunday lectures are to be closed on the 16th next. And on the 19th I go for a month or so for quiet and rest in the Swiss Mountains to return next autumn to London and begin again. The work here has been very satisfactory. By rousing interest here I really do more for India than in India. Mother wrote to me that if you could rent your flat, she would be glad to take you with her to see Egypt. I am going with three English friends to the Swiss Hills. Later on, towards the end of winter, I expect to go to India with some English friends who are going to live in my monastery there, which, by the by, is in the air yet. It is struggling to materialise somewhere in the Himalayas.
Where are You? Now the summer is in full swing, even London is getting very hot. Kindly give my best love to Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Conger, and all the rest of my friends in Chicago. 

Your affectionate brother,




To Mrs. Ole Bull

63 St. George's Road, London S.W.,
8th July, 1896.
Dear Mrs. Bull,
The English people are very generous. In three minutes' time the other evening, my class raised 150 for the new quarters for next autumn's work. They would have given 500 on the spot if wanted, but we want to go slow, and not rush into expense. There will be many hands here to carry on the work, and they understand a bit of renunciation, here--the deep English character.
Yours with best wishes,



A letter to the editor, which appeared in the July 11, 1896 issue of the Light


Allow me to put a few words in your estimable journal as comments on an article in your paper dated July 4th. I must thank you without reserve for the kind and friendly spirit manifested throughout the article towards me and the philosophy I preach; but, as there is a fear of misconstruction in one part of it — especially by my Spiritualistic friends — I want to clear my position. The truth of correspondence between the living and the dead is, I believe, in every religion, and nowhere more than in the Vedantic sects of India, where the fact of mutual help between the departed and the living has been made the basis of the law of inheritance. I would be very sorry if I be mistaken as antagonistic to any sect or form of religion, so far as they are sincere. Nor do I hold that any system can ever be judged by the frauds and failures that would naturally gather round every method under the present circumstances. But, all the same, I cannot but believe that every thoughtful person would agree with me when I affirm that people should be warned of their dangers, with love and sympathy. The lecture alluded to could but accidentally touch the subject of Spiritualism; but I take this opportunity of conveying my deep admiration for the Spiritualist community for the positive good they have done already, and are doing still: (1) the preaching of a universal sympathy; (2) the still greater work of helping the human race out of doctrines which inculcate fear and not love. Ever ready to co-operate with, and at the service of, all who are striving to bring the light of the spirit,

I remain yours sincerely,




To Dr. Nanjunda Rao

14th July, 1896.
The numbers of Prabuddha Bharata have been received and distributed too to the class. It is very satisfactory. It will have a great sale, no doubt, in India. In America I may get also a number of subscribers. I have already arranged for advertising it in America and Goodyear has done it already. But here in England the progress will be slower indeed. The great drawback here is — they all want to start papers of their own; and it is right that it should be so, seeing that, after all, no foreigner will ever write the English language as well as the native Englishman, end the ideas, when put in good English, will spread farther than in Hindu English. Then again it is much more difficult to write a story in a foreign language than an essay. I am trying my best to get you subscribers here. But you must not depend on any foreign help. Nations, like individuals, must help themselves. This is real patriotism. If a nation cannot do that, its time has not yet come. It must wait. It is from Madras that the new light must spread all over India. With this end you must stork. One point I will remark however. The cover is simply barbarous. It is awful and hideous. If it is possible, change it. Make it symbolical and simple, without human figures at all. The banyan tree does not mean awakening, nor does the hill, nor the saint, nor the European couple. The lotus is a symbol of regeneration.
We are awfully behindhand in art especially in that of painting. For instance, make a small scene of spring re-awakening in a forest, showing how the leaves and buds are coming again. Slowly go on, there are hundreds of ideas to be put forward. You see the symbol I made for the Raja-Yoga, printed by Longman Green and Co. You can get it at Bombay. It consists of my lectures on Raja-Yoga in New York.
I am going to Switzerland next Sunday, and shall return to London in the autumn, and take up the work again. . . . I want rest very badly, you know.

Yours with all blessings etc.,




To Rev. Haweis *


63 St George's Road, London SW
17th July (1896)

Dear Friend

Many many thanks for your very instructive book.
I have been going through a few pages already and have already learned a few great and beautiful lessons. One specially where you insist that the life of Lord Jesus is the only commentary to his teachings and whenever the teachings as recorded contradict the life we are sure that the record was wrong. That is wonderful insight and Keen reason. I am sure to read the book several times over and learn many a lesson. May the Lord speak through you long - for the world needs and never more than now, inspired souls like yourself.
Ever yours in the Lord.

* Not found in the Complete Works.
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To Mrs. Ole Bull

63 St. George's Road, London
18th July '96
Dear Mrs. Bull,
I received your last note duly--and you already know my gratitude and love for you and that I perfectly agree with most of your ideas and work.
I did not understand, however, one point. You speak of Sturdy and myself being members. Members of what? I, as you well know, can not become a member of any society.
I am very glad to learn that you have been favourably impressed by Saradananda. There is one big mistake you are labouring under. What do you mean of [my] writing to my workers more confidentially and not to you? I seldom write to anyone--I have no time to write. I have no workers. Everyone is independent to work as one likes. I do not bother my head about these little things at all. I can give ideas--that is all; let people work them out any way they like, and Godspeed to all.
"He who works unattached to persons and giving up the fruits of work is a genuine worker"--Gita.
Yours Ever with love and gratitude,













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