Difference between revisions of "Niveditā, Sister"

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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
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Niveditā, Sister
 +
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‘Great things can be done by great sacrifices only!’ averred Vivekānanda (A. D. 1863-1902). Niveditā—the Dedicated One —his illustrious disciple, did exactly that. She sacrificed her people, her country and her culture, to devote every breath of her life for the cause she loved—at the command of her guru, her mentor—serving India and its people. She showed Indians how to be truly Indian. She made the Hindus feel a few inches taller, by her overflowing love and admiration for Hinduism which she vigorously propagated, a la Vivekānandal
 +
 +
Margaret Elizabeth Noble—that was her original name—was born at Dungannon (Ireland) on October 28, 1867.
 +
 +
Rev. Samuel Richmond Noble and Mary Isabel were her parents.
 +
 +
After being ordained as a Protestant preacher, Samuel started living at Great Torrington in Devonshire (England) along with his family. However, when death snatched him away at the young age of thirtyfour, Mary Noble shifted back to her father’s place in Ireland where Margaret continued her education.
 +
 +
She completed her education at the
 +
 +
age of seventeen and became a teacher in a school at Keswick (England). Later she
 +
 +
shifted to Wimbledon and started her own school using the newly discovered Froebel-method. She spent ten years as a teacher, from A. D. 1884-1894.
 +
 +
Though she was deeply religious by nature and loved Jesus with all her heart, the Christian doctrines of the Church did not satisfy her spiritual hunger. Though the life and teachings of the Buddha, which she happened to read at that time, brought some solace to her troubled soul, the inner turbulence continued, leaving many a question unanswered.
 +
 +
It was at this critical juncture of her life that she learnt of the arrival of a ‘Hindu Yogi’ whose discourses and personality had started casting a spell as it were, on the Londonites.
 +
 +
Vivekānanda visited England twice, the second visit being a much longer one. By listening to his talks and getting her doubts cleared through searching questions, for which she got scintillating answers, Margaret was now fully convinced of Vivekānanda’s greatness and accepted him as her spiritual Master.
 +
 +
One day, when he was talking of his plan of work which included the upliftment of Indian women through proper education and training, and hinted that she could be of great help in the same, she felt an inner urge to accept the call.
 +
 +
It needed her quite some time to make up her mind. Vivekānanda wrote her a long letter explaining the various problems and difficulties she would have to face in India if she decided to take the plunge. However, the great assurance that the Svāmi gave to her, that he will stand by her unto death, irrespective of her decision, settled the issue.
 +
 +
Margaret arrived at Calcutta on the 28th January 1898 and was received by Svāmi Vivekānanda himself. She was first accommodated in a hotel for a few days and later shifted to a cottage in Belur, at the site newly bought by her guru for establishing the future monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. Mrs. Sara Bull and Miss Josephine Macleod, two well-known American disciples of the Svāmi, joined her at this time.
 +
 +
The teacher, to assist in whose mission she had come, started training her in right earnest by narrating to her (and the other ladies) tales and history of the Indian people, about their courage, heroism and faith, as also the purity and sacrifices of its noble women.
 +
 +
He introduced her to the people of Calcutta in a big public meeting, where she too spoke about the influence of Indian spiritual thought on England.
 +
 +
The most memorable day in her life was her meeting Srī Sāradā Devī (the divine consort of Srī Rāmakṛṣṇa) (A. D. 1853-1920) better known as the Holy Mother, on the 17th March, for the first time. The Mother greeted her very affectionately which made a tremendous impression on her mind.
 +
 +
Margaret had started very earnestly to cast off her arrogance and superiority complex and Indianise herself by hard tapas or austerity, like an orthodox Indian lady.
 +
 +
When Vivekānanda was convinced that she was ripe and ready for the great work he had in mind, he performed a simple religious ceremony, administered
 +
 +
some lifelong vows and dedicated her to the service of God. He gave her a new
 +
 +
name, ‘Niveditā’ (one who is offered to or dedicated to God).
 +
 +
Travelling with her guru through the various places of pilgrimage and of historical interest, she learnt a lot, not only about India and her people, but also about her guru himself, the various facets of his fascinating personality.
 +
 +
After returning, she lived for some time in the house of the Holy Mother, getting a first-hand knowledge and taste of an orthodox Hindu household.
 +
 +
As per the directions of her teacher, she started in her newly acquired house in the same area, a school for girls. It was inaugurated by no less a person than the Holy Mother herself on the auspicious Kālīpujā day (13th November 1898), Vivekānanda and other members of the Ramakrishna Order also being present.
 +
 +
Though ignorance and wrong understanding prevented the orthodox and high-caste Hindus to send their girls to Niveditā’s school at first, her earnestness and entreaties quickly won them over. The school soon became full of pupils, bubbling with various activities. Niveditā taught them the three R’s, painting, sewing and clay-modelling and told inspiring stories.
 +
 +
A severe epidemic of plague broke out in Calcutta in March 1899. As per the directions of Svāmi Vivekānanda, Niveditā, with the help of some Svāmis and volunteers, organised relief work excellently, thereby earning the gratitude of the people of the city. This was the maiden relief work of the Ramakrishna Mission.
 +
 +
To raise funds for her school which
 +
 +
was growing at a fast pace, she travelled widely, both in England and in America.
 +
 +
She returned to India in February 1902. She then reopened the school on the sacred Vasanta Pañcami day, considered as specially auspicious for the worship of Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning.
 +
 +
As the school flourished, a section for educating the women also was added.
 +
 +
(Since 1963, The school, now known as “Sister Niveditā Girls’ School,” is under the management of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.)
 +
 +
Inscrutable are the ways of the unseen hand. Niveditā had met the Svāmi on the 2nd July 1902. On the 4th he was gone!
 +
 +
Though this was a terrible blow to her, it also steeled her to rededicate herself for the work he had entrusted to her. Hereafter, India became her object of love, adoration and commitment.
 +
 +
Having grown up in her younger days in an atmosphere of Irish rebellion for freedom from the shackles of England, Niveditā could easily understand and appreciate the struggle for political freedom launched by the Indian people. She now plunged into this movement—after resigning from the Ramakrishna Order which could not associate itself with any political movement—and became a source of inspiration, not only to the youth but also to the great leaders of the movement itself. Her whirlwind tour of the country as also fiery speeches and an uncompromising attitude helped to rouse many an Indian from sloth and slumber.
 +
 +
She introduced the singing of the famous ‘Vande Mātaram’—which was an anathema to the British rulers—in her school. She encouraged the Indian artists to revive the ancient art of their motherland. She inspired Indian scientists
 +
 +
like Jagadish Chandra Bose (A. D. 1858-1937) in their research work. She vigorously propagated the need for good education on national lines, the upliftment of women and unity among all the peoples of the country irrespective of race, religion or local culture.
 +
 +
Niveditā was fortunate in getting the love, affection and blessings of the Holy Mother Sāradā Devī in an abundant measure. She cherished this till her last breath.
 +
 +
Continuous travelling and hard work told upon her frail health. She fell seriously ill, once in 1905 and again in 1911. She passed away peacefully on the 13th October 1911, at Darjeeling.
 +
 +
The place where her mortal remains were cremated, has a memorial with this inscription: here repose the ASHES OF
 +
 +
SISTER NIVEDITĀ (MARGARET E. NOBLE) OF THE RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA, WHO GAVE HER ALL TO INDIA. 13, OCTOBER 1911.
 +
 +
Niveditā was a prolific writer. There are fifteen books penned by her which have been brought out as a set of volumes under the general title The Complete Works of Sister Niveditā Vol. I to IV, (Publication: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Niveditā Girls’ School, Calcutta 1967-1968) during her centenary year (1967). Out of them, the two books—The Master as I saw Him and Notes on Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda —give us a fascinating picture of the great Svāmi.
 +
 +
If India is free today, the credit for inspiring her national leaders of the freedom movement, goes as much to Niveditā as to her guru, Svāmi Vivekānanda.
 +
 +
See also SĀRADĀDEVĪ (ŚRĪ) and VIVEKĀNANDA (SVĀMI).
 +
 +
 +
==References==
 +
{{reflist}}
 +
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
 +
== OLD CONTENT ==
 
Niveditā, Sister
 
Niveditā, Sister
 
‘Great things can be done by great sacrifices only!’ averred Vivekānanda (A. D. 1863-1902). Niveditā—the Dedicated One —his illustrious disciple, did exactly that. She sacrificed her people, her country and her culture, to devote every breath of her life for the cause she loved—at the command of her guru, her mentor—serving India and its people. She showed Indians how to be truly Indian. She made the Hindus feel a few inches taller, by her overflowing love and admiration for Hinduism which she vigorously propa¬gated, a la Vivekānandal
 
‘Great things can be done by great sacrifices only!’ averred Vivekānanda (A. D. 1863-1902). Niveditā—the Dedicated One —his illustrious disciple, did exactly that. She sacrificed her people, her country and her culture, to devote every breath of her life for the cause she loved—at the command of her guru, her mentor—serving India and its people. She showed Indians how to be truly Indian. She made the Hindus feel a few inches taller, by her overflowing love and admiration for Hinduism which she vigorously propa¬gated, a la Vivekānandal

Revision as of 09:19, 12 October 2014

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Nivedita, Sister, NiveditA, Sister, Niveditaa, Sister


Niveditā, Sister

‘Great things can be done by great sacrifices only!’ averred Vivekānanda (A. D. 1863-1902). Niveditā—the Dedicated One —his illustrious disciple, did exactly that. She sacrificed her people, her country and her culture, to devote every breath of her life for the cause she loved—at the command of her guru, her mentor—serving India and its people. She showed Indians how to be truly Indian. She made the Hindus feel a few inches taller, by her overflowing love and admiration for Hinduism which she vigorously propagated, a la Vivekānandal

Margaret Elizabeth Noble—that was her original name—was born at Dungannon (Ireland) on October 28, 1867.

Rev. Samuel Richmond Noble and Mary Isabel were her parents.

After being ordained as a Protestant preacher, Samuel started living at Great Torrington in Devonshire (England) along with his family. However, when death snatched him away at the young age of thirtyfour, Mary Noble shifted back to her father’s place in Ireland where Margaret continued her education.

She completed her education at the

age of seventeen and became a teacher in a school at Keswick (England). Later she

shifted to Wimbledon and started her own school using the newly discovered Froebel-method. She spent ten years as a teacher, from A. D. 1884-1894.

Though she was deeply religious by nature and loved Jesus with all her heart, the Christian doctrines of the Church did not satisfy her spiritual hunger. Though the life and teachings of the Buddha, which she happened to read at that time, brought some solace to her troubled soul, the inner turbulence continued, leaving many a question unanswered.

It was at this critical juncture of her life that she learnt of the arrival of a ‘Hindu Yogi’ whose discourses and personality had started casting a spell as it were, on the Londonites.

Vivekānanda visited England twice, the second visit being a much longer one. By listening to his talks and getting her doubts cleared through searching questions, for which she got scintillating answers, Margaret was now fully convinced of Vivekānanda’s greatness and accepted him as her spiritual Master.

One day, when he was talking of his plan of work which included the upliftment of Indian women through proper education and training, and hinted that she could be of great help in the same, she felt an inner urge to accept the call.

It needed her quite some time to make up her mind. Vivekānanda wrote her a long letter explaining the various problems and difficulties she would have to face in India if she decided to take the plunge. However, the great assurance that the Svāmi gave to her, that he will stand by her unto death, irrespective of her decision, settled the issue.

Margaret arrived at Calcutta on the 28th January 1898 and was received by Svāmi Vivekānanda himself. She was first accommodated in a hotel for a few days and later shifted to a cottage in Belur, at the site newly bought by her guru for establishing the future monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. Mrs. Sara Bull and Miss Josephine Macleod, two well-known American disciples of the Svāmi, joined her at this time.

The teacher, to assist in whose mission she had come, started training her in right earnest by narrating to her (and the other ladies) tales and history of the Indian people, about their courage, heroism and faith, as also the purity and sacrifices of its noble women.

He introduced her to the people of Calcutta in a big public meeting, where she too spoke about the influence of Indian spiritual thought on England.

The most memorable day in her life was her meeting Srī Sāradā Devī (the divine consort of Srī Rāmakṛṣṇa) (A. D. 1853-1920) better known as the Holy Mother, on the 17th March, for the first time. The Mother greeted her very affectionately which made a tremendous impression on her mind.

Margaret had started very earnestly to cast off her arrogance and superiority complex and Indianise herself by hard tapas or austerity, like an orthodox Indian lady.

When Vivekānanda was convinced that she was ripe and ready for the great work he had in mind, he performed a simple religious ceremony, administered

some lifelong vows and dedicated her to the service of God. He gave her a new

name, ‘Niveditā’ (one who is offered to or dedicated to God).

Travelling with her guru through the various places of pilgrimage and of historical interest, she learnt a lot, not only about India and her people, but also about her guru himself, the various facets of his fascinating personality.

After returning, she lived for some time in the house of the Holy Mother, getting a first-hand knowledge and taste of an orthodox Hindu household.

As per the directions of her teacher, she started in her newly acquired house in the same area, a school for girls. It was inaugurated by no less a person than the Holy Mother herself on the auspicious Kālīpujā day (13th November 1898), Vivekānanda and other members of the Ramakrishna Order also being present.

Though ignorance and wrong understanding prevented the orthodox and high-caste Hindus to send their girls to Niveditā’s school at first, her earnestness and entreaties quickly won them over. The school soon became full of pupils, bubbling with various activities. Niveditā taught them the three R’s, painting, sewing and clay-modelling and told inspiring stories.

A severe epidemic of plague broke out in Calcutta in March 1899. As per the directions of Svāmi Vivekānanda, Niveditā, with the help of some Svāmis and volunteers, organised relief work excellently, thereby earning the gratitude of the people of the city. This was the maiden relief work of the Ramakrishna Mission.

To raise funds for her school which

was growing at a fast pace, she travelled widely, both in England and in America.

She returned to India in February 1902. She then reopened the school on the sacred Vasanta Pañcami day, considered as specially auspicious for the worship of Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning.

As the school flourished, a section for educating the women also was added.

(Since 1963, The school, now known as “Sister Niveditā Girls’ School,” is under the management of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.)

Inscrutable are the ways of the unseen hand. Niveditā had met the Svāmi on the 2nd July 1902. On the 4th he was gone!

Though this was a terrible blow to her, it also steeled her to rededicate herself for the work he had entrusted to her. Hereafter, India became her object of love, adoration and commitment.

Having grown up in her younger days in an atmosphere of Irish rebellion for freedom from the shackles of England, Niveditā could easily understand and appreciate the struggle for political freedom launched by the Indian people. She now plunged into this movement—after resigning from the Ramakrishna Order which could not associate itself with any political movement—and became a source of inspiration, not only to the youth but also to the great leaders of the movement itself. Her whirlwind tour of the country as also fiery speeches and an uncompromising attitude helped to rouse many an Indian from sloth and slumber.

She introduced the singing of the famous ‘Vande Mātaram’—which was an anathema to the British rulers—in her school. She encouraged the Indian artists to revive the ancient art of their motherland. She inspired Indian scientists

like Jagadish Chandra Bose (A. D. 1858-1937) in their research work. She vigorously propagated the need for good education on national lines, the upliftment of women and unity among all the peoples of the country irrespective of race, religion or local culture.

Niveditā was fortunate in getting the love, affection and blessings of the Holy Mother Sāradā Devī in an abundant measure. She cherished this till her last breath.

Continuous travelling and hard work told upon her frail health. She fell seriously ill, once in 1905 and again in 1911. She passed away peacefully on the 13th October 1911, at Darjeeling.

The place where her mortal remains were cremated, has a memorial with this inscription: here repose the ASHES OF

SISTER NIVEDITĀ (MARGARET E. NOBLE) OF THE RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA, WHO GAVE HER ALL TO INDIA. 13, OCTOBER 1911.

Niveditā was a prolific writer. There are fifteen books penned by her which have been brought out as a set of volumes under the general title The Complete Works of Sister Niveditā Vol. I to IV, (Publication: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Niveditā Girls’ School, Calcutta 1967-1968) during her centenary year (1967). Out of them, the two books—The Master as I saw Him and Notes on Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda —give us a fascinating picture of the great Svāmi.

If India is free today, the credit for inspiring her national leaders of the freedom movement, goes as much to Niveditā as to her guru, Svāmi Vivekānanda.

See also SĀRADĀDEVĪ (ŚRĪ) and VIVEKĀNANDA (SVĀMI).


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Niveditā, Sister ‘Great things can be done by great sacrifices only!’ averred Vivekānanda (A. D. 1863-1902). Niveditā—the Dedicated One —his illustrious disciple, did exactly that. She sacrificed her people, her country and her culture, to devote every breath of her life for the cause she loved—at the command of her guru, her mentor—serving India and its people. She showed Indians how to be truly Indian. She made the Hindus feel a few inches taller, by her overflowing love and admiration for Hinduism which she vigorously propa¬gated, a la Vivekānandal Margaret Elizabeth Noble—that was her original name—was born at Dungan¬non (Ireland) on October 28, 1867. Rev. Samuel Richmond Noble and Mary Isabel were her parents. After being ordained as a Protestant preacher, Samuel started living at Great Torrington in Devonshire (England) along with his family. However, when death snatched him away at the young age of thirtyfour, Mary Noble shifted back to her father’s place in Ireland where Margaret continued her education. She completed her education at the age of seventeen and became a teacher in a school at Keswick (England). Later she shifted to Wimbledon and started her own school using the newly discovered Froebel- method. She spent ten years as a teacher, from A. D. 1884-1894. Though she was deeply religious by nature and loved Jesus with all her heart, the Christian doctrines of the Church did not satisfy her spiritual hunger. Though the life and teachings of the Buddha, which she happened to read at that time, brought some solace to her troubled soul, the inner turbulence continued, leaving many a question unanswered. It was at this critical juncture of her life that she learnt of the arrival of a ‘Hindu Yogi’ whose discourses and person¬ality had started casting a spell as it were, on the Londonites. Vivekānanda visited England twice, the second visit being a much longer one. By listening to his talks and getting her doubts cleared through searching ques¬tions, for which she got scintillating answers, Margaret was now fully con¬vinced of Vivekānanda’s greatness and accepted him as her spiritual Master. One day, when he was talking of his plan of work which included the upliftment of Indian women through proper education and training, and hinted that she could be of great help in the same, she felt an inner urge to accept the call. It needed her quite some time to make up her mind. Vivekānanda wrote her a long letter explaining the various problems and difficulties she would have to face in India if she decided to take the plunge. However, the great assurance that the Svāmi gave to her, that he will stand by her unto death, irrespective of her decision, settled the issue. Margaret arrived at Calcutta on the 28th January 1898 and was received by Svāmi Vivekānanda himself. She was first accommodated in a hotel for a few days and later shifted to a cottage in Belur, at the site newly bought by her guru for establishing the future monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. Mrs. Sara Bull and Miss Josephine Macleod, two well-known American disciples of the Svāmi, joined her at this time. The teacher, to assist in whose mission she had come, started training her in right earnest by narrating to her (and the other ladies) tales and history of the Indian people, about their courage, heroism and faith, as also the purity and sacrifices of its noble women. He introduced her to the people of Calcutta in a big public meeting, where she too spoke about the influence of Indian spiritual thought on England. The most memorable day in her life was her meeting Srī Sāradā Devī (the divine consort of Srī Rāmakṛṣṇa) (A. D. 1853-1920) better known as the Holy Mother, on the 17th March, for the first time. The Mother greeted her very affec¬tionately which made a tremendous impression on her mind. Margaret had started very earnestly to cast off her arrogance and superiority complex and Indianise herself by hard tapas or austerity, like an orthodox Indian lady. When Vivekānanda was convinced that she was ripe and ready for the great work he had in mind, he performed a simple religious ceremony, administered some lifelong vows and dedicated her to the service of God. He gave her a new name, ‘Niveditā’ (one who is offered to or dedicated to God). Travelling with her guru through the various places of pilgrimage and of historical interest, she learnt a lot, not only about India and her people, but also about her guru himself, the various facets of his fascinating personality. After returning, she lived for some time in the house of the Holy Mother, getting a first-hand knowledge and taste of an orthodox Hindu household. As per the directions of her teacher, she started in her newly acquired house in the same area, a school for girls. It was inaugurated by no less a person than the Holy Mother herself on the auspicious Kālīpṅjā day (13th November 1898), Vivekānanda and other members of the Ramakrishna Order also being present. Though ignorance and wrong under-standing prevented the orthodox and high- caste Hindus to send their girls to Niveditā’s school at first, her earnestness and entreaties quickly won them over. The school soon became full of pupils, bubbling with various activities. Niveditā taught them the three R’s, painting, sewing and clay-modelling and told inspiring stories. A severe epidemic of plague broke out in Calcutta in March 1899. As per the directions of Svāmi Vivekānanda, Niveditā, with the help of some Svāmis and volunteers, organised relief work excellently, thereby earning the gratitude of the people of the city. This was the maiden relief work of the Ramakrishna Mission. To raise funds for her school which was growing at a fast pace, she travelled widely, both in England and in America. She returned to India in February 1902. She then reopened the school on the sacred Vasanta Pañcami day, considered as specially auspicious for the worship of Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning. As the school flourished, a section for educating the women also was added. (Since 1963, The school, now known as “Sister Nivedita Girls’ School,” is under the management of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.) Inscrutable are the ways of the un¬seen hand. Niveditā had met the Svāmi on the 2nd July 1902. On the 4th he was gone! Though this was a terrible blow to her, it also steeled her to rededicate herself for the work he had entrusted to her. Hereafter, India became her object of love, adoration and commitment. Having grown up in her younger days in an atmosphere of Irish rebellion for freedom from the shackles of England, Niveditā could easily understand and appreciate the struggle for political free¬dom launched by the Indian people. She now plunged into this movement—after resigning from the Ramakrishna Order which could not associate itself with any political movement—and became a source of inspiration, not only to the youth but also to the great leaders of the movement itself. Her whirlwind tour of the country as also fiery speeches and an uncompro-mising attitude helped to rouse many an Indian from sloth and slumber. She introduced the singing of the famous ‘Vande Mātaram’—which was an anathema to the British rulers—in her school. She encouraged the Indian artists to revive the ancient art of their motherland. She inspired Indian scientists like Jagadish Chandra Bose (A. D. 1858- 1937) in their research work. She vigor¬ously propagated the need for good education on national lines, the upliftment of women and unity among all the peoples of the country irrespective of race, religion or local culture. Niveditā was fortunate in getting the love, affection and blessings of the Holy Mother Sāradā Devī in an abundant meas¬ure. She cherished this till her last breath. Continuous travelling and hard work told upon her frail health. She fell seriously ill, once in 1905 and again in 1911. She passed away peacefully on the 13th October 1911, at Darjeeling. The place where her mortal remains were cremated, has a memorial with this inscription: HERE REPOSE THE ASHES OF SISTER NIVEDITA (MARGARET E. NOBLE) OF THE RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA, WHO GAVE HER ALL TO INDIA. 13, OCTOBER 1911. Niveditā was a prolific writer. There are fifteen books penned by her which have been brought out as a set of volumes under the general title The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita Vol. I to IV, (Publication: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Nivedita Girls’ School, Calcutta 1967-1968) during her centenary year (1967). Out of them, the two books—The Master as I saw Him and Notes on Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda —give us a fascinating picture of the great Svāmi. If India is free today, the credit for inspiring her national leaders of the free¬dom movement, goes as much to Niveditā as to her guru, Svāmi Vivekānanda. See also SĀRADĀDEVĪ (ŚRĪ) and VIVEKĀNANDA (SVĀMI