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SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

Pilgrimage

As a sannyasi, one cannot be tied to a particular place. Even the Mutt is a kind of a prison. Attachment to a particular place is also wrong. It was the great good fortune of India that Narendra took to sannyasa and became ' Vivekanda'. Bharat became his home and its inhabitants his brothers. The sacred task of wiping the tears of his unfortunate brothers was dear to his heart. He had to travel all over the country. His assets were - a saffron robe, 'Kamandalu' (an ascetic's waterpot) and 'danda' (staff). On his way he visited many holy places. He lodged at huts and choultries and slept on the bare ground. He satisfied his hunger by begging for food. He was in the company of sadhus, spending the time in religious discussions and holy rituals.

He traveled on foot or by any vehicle whose driver was hospitable. Varanasi was the first city that Vivekanda visited. During his stay there, he met many scholars and exchanged ideas with them. In philosophical disputations he triumphed over them. In Ayodhya, his imagination pulsated with the memory of Sri Rama and Seta. In Agra the Taj filled him with wonder. On his way to Brindavean, he smoked a hukka borrowed from a passer-by that was a fisherman; he drank water in a pariah's house; begged for alms and accepted food from a cobbler. As he stepped into Brindavan (where Lord Krishna is believed to have lived) he was in ecstasy.

At Alwar, some Muslims became his disciples. While Swamiji used to eat in their houses, he became acquainted with Maharaja Mangal Singh. Initially the Prince had no faith in the Swami. There was a heated debate between the two. "Swamiji, I have no faith in idol worship," said the Maharaja. The Swamiji replied, "An idol is only a symbol. It is not something to sneer at. Every devotee has his own way of realizing God. It depends on the individual's devotion." The Prince was not satisfied with Swamiji's explanation. There was a portrait of the Maharaja on the wall. The Swamiji asked the Diwan (chief minister) by his side, "Whose picture is that?" "The Maharaja's," replied the Diwan. Vivekananda said, "Spit on it." The Diwan was taken aback. "Why are you unhappy?" asked the Swamiji. The Diwan thought this man was certainly mad. Swamiji explained: "After all, the photograph is just a shadow of your Maharaja. It is devoid of flesh and blood." "But then it reminds us of the Maharaja, does it not?" said the Diwan. Wisdom then dawned on the Maharaja. He apologized to the Swamiji. Later the Swamiji went to Mount Abu, passing through jaipur and Ajmer. He spent some time in tapas (prayer and meditation) in a cave.

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Vivekananda - The Valiant monk who proclaimed in America the greatness of Hinduism and its culture..
About Swami Vivekananda
Introduction
Spirited But Mischievous
Greatness Foreshadowed
The Parents
In Search Of The Guru
The Attraction  And The Test
The Guru Is No More
You are Here! Pilgrimage
Some Experiences
Plans To Go To America
On Foreign Soil
Thunderous Response
Fulfilment
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