Letters written from New York
To Mrs. Ole Bull
124 E. 44th Street, New York
14th April, 1896
Dear Mrs. Bull,
. . . Here is a curious person who comes to me with a letter from Bombay. He is a practical mechanic and his one idea is to see cutlery and other iron manufactories in this country. . . . I do not know anything about him, but even if he be a rogue, I like very much to foster this sort of adventurous spirit among my countrymen. He has money enough to pay his way.
Now, if with all caution testing of his genuineness of spirit, you feel satisfied, all he wants is to get some opportunities of seeing these manufactories. I hope he is true and that you can manage to help him in this.
Yours with kind regards,
To Dr. Nanjunda Rao
14th April, 1896.
DEAR DR. NANJUNDA RAO,
I received your note this morning. As I am sailing for England tomorrow, I can only write a few hearty lines. I have every sympathy with your proposed magazine for boys, and will do my best to help it on. You ought to make it independent, following the same lines as the Brahmavâdin, only making the style and matter much more popular. As for example, there is a great chance, much more than you ever dream of, for those wonderful stories scattered all over the Sanskrit literature, to be re-written and made popular. That should be the one great feature of your journal. I will write stories, as many as I can, when time permits. Avoid all attempts to make the journal scholarly — the Brahmavadin stands for that — and it will slowly make its way all over the world, I am sure. Use the simplest language possible, and you will succeed. The main feature should be the teaching of principles through stories. Don't make it metaphysical at all. As to the business part, keep it wholly in your hands. "Too many cooks spoil the broth." In India the one thing we lack is the power of combination, organisation, the first secret of which is obedience.
I have also promised to help starting a magazine in Bengali in Calcutta. Only the first year I used to charge for my lectures. The last two years, my work was entirely free of all charges. As such, I have almost no money to send you or the Calcutta people. But I will get people to help you with funds very soon. Go on bravely. Do not expect success in a day or a year. Always hold on to the highest. Be steady. Avoid jealousy and selfishness. Be obedient and eternally faithful to the cause of truth, humanity, and your country, and you will move the world. Remember it is the person, the life, which is the secret of power — nothing else. Keep this letter and read the last lines whenever you feel worried or jealous. Jealousy is the bane of all slaves. It is the bane of our nation. Avoid that always All blessings attend you and all success.
To Swami Trigunatitananda
14th April, 1896.
Glad to hear everything in your letter. I have got news that Sharat arrived safe. I am in receipt of your letter and the copy of the Indian Mirror. Your contribution is good, go on writing regularly. ... It is very easy to search for faults, but the characteristic of a saint lies in looking for merits — never forget this. ... You need a little business faculty. ... Now what you want is organisation — that requires strict obedience and division of labour. I shall write out everything in every particular from England, for which I start tomorrow. I am determined to make you decent workers thoroughly organised. ...
The term "Friend" can be used with all. In the English language you have not that sort of cringing politeness common in Bengali, and such Bengali terms translated into English become ridiculous. That Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was God — and all that sort of thing — has no go in countries like this. M— has a tendency to put that stuff down everybody's throat, but that will make our movement a little sect. You keep aloof from such attempts; at the same time, if people worship him as God, no harm. Neither encourage nor discourage. The masses will always have the person, the higher ones the principle; we want both. But principles are universal, not persons. Therefore stick to the principles he taught, let people think whatever they like of his person. ... Truce to all quarrels and jealousies and bigotry! These will spoil everything. "But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." "
— Those who are the devotees of My devotees are My best devotees."
To the Hale Sisters
6 WEST 43RD STREET,
14th April, 1896.
I arrived safe on Sunday and on account of illness could not write earlier. I sail on board the White Star Line Germanic tomorrow at 12 noon. With everlasting memory of love, gratitude and blessings,
I am, your ever loving brother,