Swami Vivekananda in London
This is the only translation into English that we know of, of portions of the Bengali book Londoner Swami Vivekananda by his younger brother, Mahendranath Datta, who lived with him for much of his time in England, in1895 and 1896. The book was published in 1937 by Mahendra Publishing Committee, Calcutta. The book's author reports the events and remarks surrounding Swami Vivekananda and his close associates. He also includes his own profuse observations and theories regarding the teachings Swamiji gave in London. The present writer has translated only the first of these two features, reports relevant for us today. Some in India doubt the accuracy of Mahendra Datta's memory and even veracity, in his accounts, partly because the book was written some years after the author had returned to India and because of his penchant for the miraculous. However, it is highly probable that he kept a journal and he could not have grossly misreported. The material is valuable, not only for what it gives us of Swami Vivekananda's daily life, but also for the light it throws on the lives of Swami Saradananda and J.J. Goodwin. We feel this to be ample justification for making it available to the public. Sister Gargi (Marie Louise Burke) had first rights to it and used some of the information in her biographical books on Swami Vivekananda. The book was dedicated to J.J. Goodwin. The Preface tells us that Goodwin had two unmarried sisters. He had filled seven notebooks with Swami Vivekananda’s words. These were sent by Alasinga Perumal and others to the mother, Mgrs. Goodwin, who, unable to decipher the shorthand, destroyed them. Sister Nivedita attempted to trace the family but could not. In London a woman in nurse’s uniform used to take down Swamiji’s lectures in shorthand. Who she was or where she lived no one knows. Mahendra is going to do his best; he has not put in his own opinions or feelings [in this portion of the book]; he records here what little he can recall.
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