Sister Nivedita | Wikipedia audio article

Sister Nivedita | Wikipedia audio article


Sister Nivedita (Bengali pronunciation: [sister
niːbediːtaː] listen ; born Margaret Elizabeth Noble; 28 October 1867 – 13 October 1911)
was an Irish teacher, author, social activist, school founder and disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She spent her childhood and early youth in
Ireland. From her father, a college professor, she
learned the ideal of service to mankind as the true service to God. She worked as a school teacher and later also
opened a school. She was engaged to marry a Welsh youth, but
he died soon after their engagement. Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895
in London and travelled to Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), India in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita
(meaning “Dedicated to God”) when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on 25 March
1898. In November 1898, she opened a girls’ school
in the Bagbazar area of Calcutta. She wanted to educate girls who were deprived
of even basic education. During the plague epidemic in Calcutta in
1899, Nivedita nursed and took care of the poor patients. Nivedita had close associations with the newly
established Ramakrishna Mission. Because of her active contribution in the
field of Indian Nationalism, she had to publicly dissociate herself from the activities of
the Ramakrishna Mission under the then president Swami Brahmananda. She was very close to Sarada Devi, the spiritual
consort of Ramakrishna and one of the major influences behind Ramakrishna Mission, and
also with all brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She died on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads, “Here lies Sister Nivedita
who gave her all to India”.==Early life==
Margaret Elizabeth Noble was born on 28 October 1867 in the town of Dungannon in County Tyrone,
Ireland to Mary Isabel and Samuel Richmond Noble; she was named for her paternal grandmother. The Nobles were of Scottish descent, settled
in Ireland for about five centuries. Her father, who was a pastor, taught that
service to mankind is the true service to God. The Nobles had six children of whom only Margaret
(the eldest), May, and Richmond survived. When Margaret was one year old Samuel moved
to Manchester, England; there he enrolled as a theological student of the Wesleyan Church. Young Margaret stayed with her maternal grandfather,
Hamilton, in Northern Ireland. When she was four years old she returned to
live with her parents at Great Torrington in Devonshire. Margaret was her father’s favourite child. When Samuel Noble conducted services or visited
the poor, she accompanied him. Margaret’s father died in 1877 when she was
ten years old. Margaret with her mother and two siblings
returned to her grandfather Hamilton’s home in Ireland. Margaret’s mother, Mary took up a kindergarten
course in London and became a teacher. Later, Mary helped her father to run a guest-house
near Belfast. Hamilton was one of the first-ranking leaders
of the freedom movement of Ireland. Besides her father’s religious temperament,
Margaret imbibed the spirit of freedom and love for her country through her grandfather
Hamilton.Margaret was educated at Halifax College, run by a member of the Congregationalist
Church. The headmistress of this college taught her
about personal sacrifice. She studied subjects, including physics, arts,
music, and literature. At the age of seventeen in 1884, she first
started a career in teaching at a school in Keswick. In 1886, she went to Rugby to teach in an
orphanage. A year later, she took up a post at the coal-mining
area Wrexham in North Wales. Here, she revived her spirit of service and
love for the poor which she had inherited from her father. At Wrexham, Margaret became engaged to be
married to a Welsh youth who died soon after the engagement. In 1889, Margaret moved to Chester. By this time, her sister May and brother Richmond
were living in Liverpool. Soon, their mother Mary joined them. Margaret was happy to be reunited with her
family. Occasionally, she went to Liverpool to stay
with them.Margaret resumed her studies in the field of education. She became acquainted with the ideas of the
Swiss education reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and with the German Friedrich Fröbel. Both Pestalozzi and Froebel emphasized the
importance of preschool education. They opined that education should begin by
gratifying and cultivating the normal aptitude of the child for exercise, play, observation,
imitation, and construction. A group of teachers in England was attracted
to this novel method of teaching and they tried to put it into practice. Thus, the ‘New Education’ was advocated and
Margaret, too, became a part of it. Soon, she became a favourite writer and speaker
at the Sunday Club and the Liverpool Science Club.In 1891, Margaret settled in Wimbledon
and helped a Mrs. de Leeuw, to start a new school in London. The new experiment in teaching gave her great
joy. After a year, in 1892, Margaret started her
own independent school at Kingsleygate. At her school, there were no restrictive set
methods and formal learning. Children learned through play. At this time, Margaret learned to be a critic
of art from one of her staff teachers, Ebenezer Cooke, a well-known art master and reformer
of art education.As she gained mastery as an educator, she also became a prolific writer
in paper and periodicals and a popular speaker. Soon she became a name among the intellectuals
of London and became acquainted with some of the most learned and influential people
of her time. Among them were Lady Ripon and Lady Isabel
Margesson. They were the founders of a literary coterie,
which came to be known as the Sesame Club. The Times of London of 26 October 1911, wrote
about Margaret, “A trained teacher of exceptional gifts, she was one of a group of educationists
who in the early nineties founded the Sesame Club.” Famous writers, such as Bernard Shaw and Thomas
Huxley, were some of the regular speakers at the Sesame Club. Discussions were held here on literature,
ethics, politics, and other similar subjects.In 1892, when the Home Rule Bill for Ireland
was before the Parliament, Margaret spoke fearlessly in favour of it.==Seeker of Truth==
Coming from a religious background, Margaret had learned Christian religious doctrines
from young. From childhood, she had learned to venerate
all religious teachings. The Baby Jesus was her object of adoration
and worship. However, as she bloomed into womanhood, doubt
in the Christian doctrines crept in. She found the teachings were incompatible
with Truth. As these doubts became stronger, her faith
in Christianity was shaken. For seven long years, Margaret was unable
to settle her mind and this led to unhappiness. She tried to absorb herself in church service. However, her troubled soul could not find
satisfaction and she longed for Truth.Search for truth made Margaret take up the study
of natural science. Later, in a lecture delivered at the Hindu
Ladies’ Social Club in Bombay in 1902, she said: During the seven years of wavering it occurred
to me that in the study of natural science I should surely find the Truth I was seeking. So I began ardently to study how this world
was created and all things in it and I discovered that in the laws of Nature at least there
was consistency, but it made the doctrines of the Christian religion seem all the more
inconsistent. Just then I happened to get a life of Buddha
and in it I found that here also was a child who lived ever so many centuries before the
Child Christ, but whose sacrifices were no less self-abnegating than those of the other. This dear child Gautama took a strong hold
on me and for the next three years I plunged into the study of the religion of Buddha,
and became more and more convinced that the salvation he preached was decidedly more consistent
with the Truth than the preachings of the Christian religion.==Meeting with Swami Vivekananda==In November 1895, she met Swami Vivekananda
for the first time, who had come from America to visit London and stayed there for three
months. On a cold afternoon, Swami Vivekananda was
explaining Vedanta philosophy in the drawing room of an aristocratic family in London. Lady Isabel Margesson, a friend of Margaret,
invited Ebenezer Cooke, who was part of the teaching staff at Margaret’s ‘Ruskin School’,
to this meeting. Margaret went with him, with much curiosity
and interest. Margaret did not know this evening would change
her life completely. Margaret described her experience of the occasion. “A majestic personage, clad in a saffron gown
and wearing a red waistband, sat there on the floor, cross-legged. As he spoke to the company, he recited Sanskrit
verses in his deep, sonorous voice.” Margaret had already delved deeply into the
teachings of the East, and the novelty was not what she heard on this occasion, but the
personality of Swamiji himself. She attended several other lectures by Swami
Vivekananda. She asked a lot of questions, and his answers
dispelled her doubts and established her faith and reverence for the speaker. Nivedita wrote in 1904 to a friend about her
decision to follow Swami Vivekananda as a result of her meeting him in England in November
1895: Suppose he had not come to London that time! Life would have been a headless dream, for
I always knew that I was waiting for something. I always said that a call would come. And it did. But if I had known more of life, I doubt whether,
when the time came, I should certainly have recognized it. Fortunately, I knew little and was spared
that torture … Always I had this burning voice within, but nothing to utter. How often and often I sat down, pen in hand,
to speak, and there was no speech! And now there is no end to it! As surely I am fitted to my world, so surely
is my world in need of me, waiting – ready. The arrow has found its place in the bow. But if he had not come! If he had meditated, on the Himalayan peaks! … I, for one, had never been here. She started taking interest in the teachings
of Gautama Buddha, and her discussions with Swami Vivekananda were an alternate source
of peace and benediction. She wrote: To not a few of us, the words of Swami Vivekananda
came as living water to men perishing of thirst. Many of us had been conscious for years past
of that growing uncertainty and despair with regard to Religion, which has beset the intellectual
life of Europe for half a century. Belief in the dogmas of Christianity had become
impossible to us, and we had no means, such as we now hold, by which to separate the doctrinal
shell from the kernel of reality in our faith. To these the Vedanta has given intellectual
confirmation and philosophical expression of their own mistrusted intuitions. Vivekananda’s principles and teachings influenced
her and this brought about a visible change in her. Seeing the fire and passion in her, Swami
Vivekananda could foresee her future role in India. 25 March 1898, was the holiest and most unforgettable
day of Nivedita’s (Margaret) life. That was the day on which her guru dedicated
her to God and to the service of India. Swami Vivekananda was deeply pained by the
wretchedness and misery of the people of India under the British rule and his opinion was
that education was the panacea for all evils plaguing the contemporary Indian society,
especially that of Indian women. Margaret was chosen for the role of educating
Indian women. In his letter to Margaret, Vivekananda wrote,
“Let me tell you frankly that I am now convinced that you have a great future in the work for
India. What was wanted was not a man but a woman,
a real lioness, to work for the Indians, women especially.”==Travel to India==
Responding to Swami Vivekananda’s call, Margaret travelled to India, leaving behind her friends
and family, including her mother. Mombasa, the ship bringing Margaret to India,
reached Calcutta on 28 January 1898. On 22 February, Margaret visited Dakshineshwar
temple, the place where Ramakrishna did his sadhana. Swami Vivekananda devoted the initial few
days in teaching her about India and its people, and helping her develop the love for the people;
he was broadening her character. He explained India’s history, philosophy,
literature, the life of the common mass, social traditions, and also the lives of great personalities,
both ancient and modern, to her. A few weeks later, two of Swami Vivekananda’s
women disciples in America, Sara C. Bull, wife of famous Norwegian violinist and composer
Ole Bull and Josephine MacLeod arrived in India. The three became lifelong friends. On 11 March 1898, Swami Vivekananda organized
a public meeting at Star Theatre to introduce Sister Nivedita to the people of Calcutta. In his speech, Swami Vivekananda said – “England
has sent us another gift in Miss Margaret Noble.” In this meeting, Margaret expressed her desire
to serve India and its people. On 17 March she met Sarada Devi who greeted
Margaret affectionately as Khooki (i.e. little girl).===Brahmacharya===
On 25 March 1898, at Nilambar Mukherjee Garden, Swami Vivekananda formally initiated Margaret
in the vow of Brahmacharya (lifelong celibacy) and gave her the name of “Nivedita”, the dedicated
one. Swami Vivekananda said to her “Go thou and
follow Him, Who was born and gave His life for others five hundred times before He attained
the vision of the Buddha.”Though Sister Nivedita expressed her desire to take the ultimate
vow of Sannyasa, Swami Vivekananda did not approve of it. Later, after the demise of Swami Vivekananda,
on 28 July 1902, Nivedita wrote to the Editor of the Statesman the following letter: … Mr own position towards this religious
treasure is that of the humblest learner, merely a Brahmacharini, or novice, not a Sannyasini
or fully professed religious, without any pretentions to Sanskrit learning, and set
free by the great kindness of my superiors to pursue my social, literary and educational
work and studies, entirely outside their direction and supervision. Swami Vivekananda was anxious to mold Nivedita
as a Hindu Brahmacharini. He wanted her to be a Hindu in thoughts and
actions. He encouraged her to visit Hindu ladies to
observe their way of life. He told her: You have to set yourself to Hinduize your
thoughts, your needs, your conceptions and your habits. Your life, internal and external, has to become
all that an orthodox Brahmana Brahmacharini’s ought to be. The method will come to you, if only your
desire it sufficiently. But you have to forget your own past and to
cause it to be forgotten. You have to lose even its memory.==Relationship with Sarada Devi==Within a few days of her arrival in India,
on 17 March 1898, Margaret met Sarada Devi, wife and spiritual consort of Ramakrishna,
who, surpassing all language and cultural barriers, embraced her as “khooki” or “little
girl” in Bengali. It was St.Patrick’s Day, a very holy & special
day in Margaret’s life, and Nivedita recounted it as her “day of days.” Until her death in 1911, Nivedita remained
one of the closest associates of Sarada Devi. On 13 November 1898, the Holy Mother Sarada
Devi came to open Nivedita’s newly founded school. After worshiping Ramakrishna she consecrated
the school and blessed it, saying: ‘I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may
be upon the school and the girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal
girls.’ Nivedita was delighted and recorded her feelings
later as “I cannot imagine a grander omen than her blessings, spoken over the educated
Hindu womanhood of the future.” The first photograph of Sarada Devi was taken
at Nivedita’s house. Nivedita wrote in a letter to her friend Nell
Hammond about Sarada Devi after her first few meetings with her, “She really is, under
the simplest, most unassuming guise, one of the strongest and greatest of women.” An excerpt is provided here from the Gospel
of Holy Mother, where Sarada Devi’s impressions about Nivedita are captured vividly: Referring to Nivedita, she [Sarada Devi] said,
“What sincere devotion Nivedita had! She never considered anything too much that
she might do for me. She would often come to see me at night. Once seeing that light struck my eyes, she
put a shade of paper on the lamp. She would prostrate herself before me and,
with great tenderness, take the dust off my feet with her handkerchief. I felt that she not even hesitated to touch
my feet.” The thought of Nivedita opened the floodgate
of her mind and she suddenly became grave… The Mother now and then expressed her feelings
towards the Sister. She said at last, “The inner soul feels for
a sincere devotee.”==Travels==
Nivedita travelled to many places in India, including Kashmir, with Swami Vivekananda,
Josephine Mcleod, and Sara Bull. This helped her in connecting to the Indian
masses, Indian culture, and its history. She also went to the United States to raise
awareness and get help for her cause. On 11 May 1898, she went with Swami Vivekananda,
Sara Bull, Josephine MacLeod, and Swami Turiyananda, on a journey to the Himalayas. From Nainital, they travelled to Almora. On 5 June 1898, she wrote a letter to her
friend Nell Hammond exclaiming, “Oh Nell, Nell, India is indeed the Holy Land.” In Almora, she first learned the art of meditation. She wrote about this experience, “A mind must
be brought to change its centre of gravity… again the open and disinterested state of
mind welcomes truth.” She also started learning Bengali from Swami
Swarupananda. From Almora, they went to Kashmir valley where
they stayed in houseboats. In the summer of 1898, Nivedita travelled
to Amarnath with Swami Vivekananda. Later in 1899 she travelled to the United
States with Swami Vivekananda and stayed in Ridgely Manor in Virginia. She later recorded some of her tour and experiences
with her master (guru) in the book The Master as I Saw Him and Notes on Some Wanderings
with Swami Vivekananda. She often used to refer to Swami Vivekananda
as “The King” and considered herself as his spiritual daughter (Manaskanya in Bengali).==Swami Vivekananda’s death==Sister Nivedita saw Swami Vivekananda for
the last time on 2 July 1902 at Belur Math. Vivekananda was observing the Ekadashi fasting
on that day. However, when his disciples took their meal,
he himself served them joyfully. After the meal, Vivekananda poured water over
Nivedita’s hands, and dried them with a towel. Nivedita recorded it in The Master As I Saw
Him in the following words: “It is I who should do these things for you,
Swamiji! Not you, for me!” was the protest naturally
offered. But his answer was startling in its solemnity
— “Jesus washed the feet of His disciples!” Something checked the answer “But that was
the last time!” as it rose to the lips, and the words remained unuttered. This was well. For here also, the last time had come. Swami Vivekananda died at 9:10 p.m. on 4 July
1902. On that night, Nivedita dreamed Sri Ramakrishna
was leaving his body a second time. On the next morning, Swami Saradananda from
Belur Math sent a monk with a letter to Sister Nivedita and conveying the message of Vivekananda’s
death. Instantly everything around Nivedita’s eyes
became blank. She immediately rushed to the Math and reached
the place around 7 a.m and entered the room of Vivekananda. There she found Swamiji’s body was laid on
the floor. She sat near Vivekananda’s head and fanned
his body with a hand fan until his body was taken down at 2 p.m. to the porch leading
to the courtyard. In the afternoon of 5 July, Swami Vivekananda’s
body was taken for cremation. Vivekananda’s body was wrapped in a saffron
cloth. Nivedita wished to take a small portion of
that cloth so that she could send it as a memento to Josephine MacLeod. Understanding the mind of Nivedita Swami Saradananda
asked her to cut a small portion of the Swami’s cloth. But, Nivedita was unsure whether the act would
be proper or not and decided not to take it. When Vivekananda’s body was being cremated
she sat all the while looking at the burning pyre. Around six o’clock in the evening, the burning
flame was about to go out. Suddenly Nivedita felt somebody had pulled
her sleeve. She turned around and found a small piece
of saffron cloth which had somehow come out of the pyre during cremation. Nivedita lifted and took the cloth considering
it as a message from the Swami. In her letter to Josephine MacLeod on 14 September
1902, Nivedita wrote: …But your real message came at the burning
pyre itself… At 6 o’clock… as if I were twitched by the
sleeve, I looked down, and there, safe out of all that burning and blackness, there blew
to my feet the very two or three inches I had desired out of the border of the cloth. I took it as a Letter from Him to you, from
beyond the grave.==Works of Sister Nivedita=====Girls’ school in Bagbazar===Nivedita was planning to open a school for
girls who were deprived of even basic education. She toured England and America on a lecture
tour designed to raise monies to establish a girls school.The main reason why Swamiji
invited Nivedita to India was to spread education to the women of the country. This is why, when Nivedita informed Vivekananda
about her planning, he felt very excited. He organized a meeting at Balaram Bose’s
house on this issue. Many lay devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, including
Mahendranath Gupta ( popularly known as Sri M., the chronicler of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna),
Suresh Dutta, Haramohan etc. attended this meeting. In this meeting, Nivedita explained her plan
of the proposed school and requested everyone to send their girls to the school to study. During her speech, Vivekananda entered the
room and took a seat behind everyone. Nivedita did not notice it. But, when Nivedita appealed to collect girl
students for the school, she suddenly discovered Vivekananda in the room pushing others and
prompting – “Ye, get up, get up! It’s not good enough to just become girls’
fathers. All of you must cooperate in the matter of
their education as per national ideals. Stand up and commit. Reply to her appeal. Say, ‘We all agree. We shall send our girls to you.'” But no one stood up to support Nivedita’s
proposal. Finally, Vivekananda forced Haramohan to agree
to the proposal and behalf of Haramohan Vivekananda promised to send her girls to the school. On 13 November 1898, on the day of Kali Puja,
at 16 Bosepara Lane in the Bagbazar area of Calcutta, she started the school. The school was inaugurated by Sarada Devi,
in the presence of Swami Vivekananda and some of the other disciples of Ramakrishna. Sarada Devi blessed and prayed for the school
saying – “I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may be upon the school and the
girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal girls.” Nivedita went from home to home in educating
girls, many of whom were in pitiable condition owing to the socio-economic condition of early
20th century India. In many cases, she encountered refusal from
the male members of the girl’s family. Nivedita had widows and adult women among
her students. She taught sewing, elementary rules of hygiene,
nursing, etc., apart from regular courses. Collecting money for the school was not an
easy task. She had to earn money from her writings and
giving lectures and later she spent all to meet the expenses of the school.She took part
in altruistic activities. She worked to improve the lives of Indian
women of all castes.===Work during plague epidemic===
During the outbreak of a plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Nivedita nursed and took
care of the patients, cleaned rubbish from the area, and inspired and motivated many
youths to render voluntary service. She inserted appeals for help in the English
newspapers and requested for financial support for her plague relief activities. She also organized the day-to-day activities,
inspected the work and personally handed over the written instructions for the preventive
measures by moving around. She was a friend to many intellectuals and
artists in the Bengali community, including Rabindranath Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose,
Abala Bose, and Abanindranath Tagore. Later she took up the cause of Indian independence. Sri Aurobindo was one of her friends as well.===Cultivation of Indian culture===
She took an active interest in promoting Indian history, culture, and science. She actively encouraged Dr. Jagadish Chandra
Bose, the Indian scientist and philosopher to pursue original scientific research and
helped him financially as well in getting due recognition when he was faced with an
indifferent attitude of the British Government. Bose, whom she called “khoka” or the “little
one” in Bengali, and his wife Abala Bose, were in very close terms with her. Keeping in view Nivedita’s contribution
to the scientific research work of Jagadish Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore said: “In the
day of his success, Jagadish gained an invaluable energizer and helper in Sister Nivedita, and
in any record of his life’s work her name must be given a place of honour.” Her identity as both a westerner by birth
and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda enabled her to do several things that might have been
difficult for Indians. For example, she promoted pan-Indian nationalism.===Contribution towards Indian nationalism
===Nivedita was a prolific writer and extensively
toured India to deliver lectures, especially on India’s culture and religion. She appealed to the Indian youth to work selflessly
for the cause of the motherland along the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. Initially, Nivedita, like contemporary intellectuals
from Europe, was optimistic about British rule in India and believed that it was possible
for India and England to love each other. However, in the course of her stay, she came
to witness the brutal side of the British rule, the repression and oppression and the
division between the ruling elite and the ruled; she concluded that it was necessary
for India to gain independence to prosper. Therefore, she devoted herself wholeheartedly
to the cause of opposing the British rule. In February 1902, Mahatma Gandhi, or Mr.M.K.Gandhi
as he was known then, visited Nivedita in Calcutta.After Vivekananda’s death, being
acutely aware of the inconvenience of the newly formed Ramakrishna Mission on account
of her political activities, she publicly dissociated herself from it. However, until her last days, she had a very
cordial relationship with the brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda like Swami Brahmananda,
Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda) and Swami Saradananda, who helped her in her charitable
and educational activities in every possible way; she was very close to the holy mother,
Sarada Devi. Nivedita had initially worked with Okakura
of Japan and Sarala Ghoshal who was related to the Tagore family. She later started working on her own and maintained
a direct relationship with many of the young revolutionaries of Bengal, including those
of Anushilan Samity, a secret organization. She inspired many youths in taking up the
cause of freeing India through her lectures. She also exposed Lord Curzon after his speech
at the University of Calcutta in 1905 where he mentioned that truth was given a higher
place in the moral codes of the West, than in East. She undertook her own research and made it
public that in the book Problems of The Far East by Curzon she had proudly described how
he had given false statements about his age and marriage to the president of the Korean
Foreign Office to win his favour. This statement when published in newspapers
like Amrita Bazar Patrika and The Statesman caused a furore and forced Curzon to apologize. In 1905 the British Government under Curzon
initiated the partition of Bengal which was a major turning point in the Indian independence
movement. Nivedita played a pioneering role in organizing
the movement. She provided financial and logistical support
and leveraged her contacts to get information from government agencies and forewarn the
revolutionaries. She met Indian artists like Abanindranath
Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Havell and inspired them to develop pure Indian school
of art. She always inspired and guided the talented
students of the Calcutta Art School to move along the forgotten tracks of ancient Indian
art like Nandalal Bose, Asit Kumar Haldar and Surendranath Gangopadhyay. She exerted great influence on famous Tamil
poet, Subrahmanya Bharati, who met her only briefly in 1906. She influenced Bharathi to work for the freedom
of women in the country, which he did all through his life Nivedita designed the national
flag of India with the thunderbolt as the emblem against a red background. Nivedita tried her utmost to inculcate the
nationalist spirit in the minds of her students through all their daily activities. She introduced singing of the song Vande Màtaram
in her school as a prayer. Nivedita provided guarded support to Annie
Besant and was very close to Aurobindo Ghosh (later Sri Aurobindo), one of the major contributors
towards the early nationalist movement. She edited Karma Yogin, the nationalist newspaper
of Aurobindo. The following piece is from an editorial in
Karma Yogin, written by Nivedita, which depicts her intense respect for India: The whole history of the world shows that
the Indian intellect is second to none. This must be proved by the performance of
a task beyond the power of others, the seizing of the first place in the intellectual advance
of the world. Is there any inherent weakness that would
make it impossible for us to do this? Are the countrymen of Bhaskaracharya and Shankaracharya
inferior to the countrymen of Newton and Darwin? We trust not. It is for us, by the power of our thought,
to break down the iron walls of opposition that confront us, and to seize and enjoy the
intellectual sovereignty of the world.==Death==Nivedita died on 13 October 1911, aged 43,
in Roy Villa, Darjeeling. Today, her memorial is located below the Railway
station on the way to the Victoria Falls (of Darjeeling) with these words inscribed in
her epitaph – “Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India”. Swami Vivekananda wrote a poem to Sister Nivedita,
A benediction to Sister Nivedita. In this poem, Vivekananda condensed all his
hopes, aspirations, and good wishes for his disciple, Nivedita as The mistress, servant,
friend in one to India’s future son–==Influence==
Sister Nivedita remains one of the most influential female figures of India. Her book Kali, the Mother influenced Abanindranath
Tagore who painted Bharat Mata. In 2010, the office of the board of West Bengal
Board of Secondary Education in Salt Lake City, Kolkata was named after Sister Nivedita. The Sister Nivedita Academy, an institution
dedicated to her memory has been established in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Several schools and colleges have been named
after her. In 1968, the Indian Government issued a postal
stamp in her memory. The Nivedita bridge near Dakhineswer, Kolkata
is named in her honour. In 2015, a new Government Degree College at
Hastings House, Alipur, Kolkata was named after Sister Nivedita.Sister Nivedita was
one of the important influential force on Jagadish Chandra Bose. She supported him by organizing the financial
support and editing his manuscripts, she made sure that Bose was able to continue with and
share his work.==Books==Her works included The Web of Indian Life,
which sought to rectify many myths in the Western world about Indian culture and customs,
Kali the Mother, The Master as I Saw Him on Swami Vivekananda, Notes of Some Wanderings
with the Swami Vivekananda on her travels from Nainital, Almora and other places with
Swamiji, The Cradle Tales of Hinduism on the stories from Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata,
Studies from an Eastern Home, Civil Ideal and Indian Nationality, Hints on National
Education in India, Glimpses of Famine and Flood in East Bengal—1906. Kali the Mother, Swan Sonnenschein & Co.,. 1900. The Web of Indian Life, W. Heinemann 1904
Cradle Tales of Hinduism, Longmans 1907 An Indian Study of Love and Death, Longmans,
Green & Co., The Master as I Saw Him, 1910
Select essays of Sister Nivedita, 1911 Ganesh & Co.,
Studies from an Eastern Home, Longmans, Green & Co., 1913
Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists, London : George G. Harrap & Co., 1913
Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda, 1913
Footfalls of Indian History, Longmans, Green & Co., 1915
Religion and Dharma, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915
Civic & national ideals. Udbodhan Office. 1929.A newly annotated edition of The Ancient
Abbey of Ajanta, that was serialized in The Modern Review during 1910 and 1911, was published
in 2009 by Lalmati, Kolkata, with annotations, additions, and photographs by Prasenjit Dasgupta
and Soumen Paul. Another collection of essays relating to Buddhism
has been published by New Age Publishers of Kolkata titled Studies in Buddhism, that has
been compiled and annotated by Prasenjit Dasgupta and Soumen Paul.===The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita
===Volume 1: The Master as I Saw Him; Notes of
Some Wanderings; Kedar Nath and Bhadri Narayan; Kali the Mother. ISBN 978-81-8040-458-0
Volume 2: The Web of Indian Life; An Indian Study of Love and Death; Studies from an Eastern
Home; Lectures and Articles. ASIN B003XGBYHG
Volume 3: Indian Art; Cradle Tales of Hinduism; Religion and Dharma; Aggressive Hinduism. ISBN 978-1-177-78247-0
Volume 4: Footfalls of Indian History; Civic Ideal and Indian Nationality; Hints on National
Education in India; Lambs Among Wolves. ASIN B0010HSR48
Volume 5: On Education; On Hindu Life, Thought and Religion; On Political, Economic and Social
Problems; Biographical Sketches and Reviews. ASIN B0000D5LXI===Biographies===
In 1952, Ramakrishna Mission Sister Nivedita Girls’ School during its Golden Jubilee Celebration,
decided to bring out a biography of Sister Nivedita in English and Bengali. Though there were some biographies in English
and Bengali before this, they lack in historical facts. The historical account of Sister Nivedita’s
life in Bengali was written by Pravrajika Muktiprana of Sri Sarada Math and was published
in 1959. The materials for the biographies were sourced
from Sister Nivedita’s own works, letters and diaries, references made to her by some
of her contemporaries, and interviews with those who had worked with her and her own
students. Later, in 1961, the English version of the
book written by Pravrajika Atmaprana was published as Sister Nivedita of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. Since then, the books had seen several revisions. Letters of Sister Nivedita was first published
in two volumes in 1982 by Sankari Prasad Basu. There were more than 800 letters, half of
which were written to Miss Josephine MacLeod. These letters vibrant with her thoughts and
feelings cast a lot of light on the versatile genius of Nivedita.In 1975, Barbara Fox published
in London a biography of Sister Nivedita titled Long Journey Home. This work attempt to gauge Nivedita’s work
from an English woman’s point of view. Nivedita Lokmata in Bengali was published
in three volumes by Sankari Prasad Basu in 1968, 1987, and 1988 respectively.==See also==
Bhagini Nivedita

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