Sister Nivedita

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Sister Nivedita
Kali the Mother
Sister Nivedita - Kali the Mother.jpg
PDF (111 pages)
          Sister Nivedita
The Master as I Saw Him
Sister Nivedita - The Master as I Saw Him.jpg
PDF (242 pages)

(Sri Aurobindo:) “I knew very well Sister Nivedita (she was for many years a friend and a comrade in the political field) and met Sister Christine, — the two closest European disciples of Vivekananda. Both were Westerners to the core and had nothing at all of the Hindu outlook; although Sister Nivedita, an Irishwoman, had the power of penetrating by an intense sympathy into the ways of life of the people around her, her own nature remained non-Oriental to the end. Yet she found no difficulty in arriving at realisation on the lines of Vedanta.”[1]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “I met Sister Nivedita first at Baroda when she came to give some lectures there. I went to receive her at the station and to take her to the house assigned to her”[2]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “Khaserao and myself went to receive her at the station. … On the way from the station to the town she cried out against the ugliness of the College building and its top-heavy dome and praised the Dharmashala near it. Khaserao stared at [her] and opined that she must be at least slightly cracked to have such ideas!”[3]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “I also accompanied her to an interview she had sought with the Maharaja of Baroda. She had heard of me as one who “believed in strength and was a worshipper of Kali” by which she meant that she had heard of me as a revolutionary. I knew of her already because I had read and admired her book “Kali the Mother”. It is in these days that we formed our friendship.”[4]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “I was present at her interview with the Maharaja whom she invited to support the secret revolution; she told him that he could communicate with her through me. Sayajirao was much too cunning to plunge into such a dangerous business and never spoke to me about it. That is all I remember.”[5]

(Purani:) “I have heard that Nivedita also was some sort of a revolutionary.

(Sri Aurobindo:) What do you mean by ‘some sort’? She was one of the revolutionary leaders. She went about visiting various places to come into contact with the people. She was open, frank and talked freely of her revolutionary plans to everybody. There was no concealment about her. Whenever she used to speak on revolution, it was her very soul, her true personality that came out. Her whole mind and life expressed itself thus. Yoga was Yoga, but it was revolutionary work that seemed intended for her. That is fire! Her book, Kali the Mother, is very inspiring but revolutionary and not at all non-violent.”[6]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “The Ramakrishna Mission was a little afraid of Nivedita's political activities and asked her to keep them separate from its work.

(Purani:) What about her yogic achievements?

I don't know. Whenever we met we spoke about politics and revolution. But her eyes showed a power of concentration and revealed a capacity for going into trance.

(Nirodbaran:) She came to India with the idea of doing Yoga.

Yes, but she took up politics as a part of Vivekananda's work. Her book The Master as I Saw Him is one of the best on Vivekananda.”[7]

“X. is collecting Sister Nivedita's letters in order to publish them. In one of them it seems to be said that you gave Nivedita the charge of editing “Bande Mataram” after you left Calcutta.

(Sri Aurobindo:) No. It was the Karmayogin. You can tell her that. There is no harm now in saying it, as it is all a long time ago. I saw Nivedita before I left Calcutta for Chandernagore, and asked her to take charge of the paper, which she did. It was from her that I had got the news of my contemplated arrest. She had many friends in Government circles. On getting that news I wrote the article “My Political Will” [“An Open Letter to My Countrymen”] which stopped my arrest.”[8]

“An Open Letter to My Countrymen”

Karmayogin - An Open Letter to My Countrymen.jpg
PDF (11 pages)

(Editors' note, Karmayogin:) “Sri Aurobindo left Calcutta for Chandernagore in the middle of February 1910. His connection with the Karmayogin ceased with his sudden departure. The editorial matter in the issue of 19 February certainly was written by him. Most articles in subsequent issues were written by Sister Nivedita.”[9]

  1. Letters on Himself and the Ashram, p.25
  2. Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.99
  3. Ibid., p.73
  4. Ibid., p.99
  5. Ibid., p.73
  6. Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.185, 21 January 1939
  7. Ibid., p.186
  8. Ibid., p.240, 5 February 1939
  9. Karmayogin, p.459

See also