Millennium Post

Mumbai RKM celebrates Swamiji's visit to West

Kolkata: Mumbai Ramakrishna Mission in collaboration with Maharastra government celebrated the 126th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's first visit to the West.

Swamiji left for the United States of America on May 31, 1893 from Gateway of India.

A programme was held at the Gateway of India on Friday morning which was attended by monks of Ramakrishna Mission, devotees and admirers of Swamiji.

Swamiji left for USA via Japan. Some young admirers of Swamiji had raised funds for his trip. Ajit Singh, Raja of Khetri sent his private secretary to see off his guru.

In Japan, Swamiji came in contact with Jamsetji N Tata and visited a matchstick manufacturing factory.

At that time, Tata used to import matchsticks from Japan and sold them in the Indian market. In Japan, on the request of Tata, Swamiji changed the steamer to travel together to reach Vancouver. Tata was on a business trip while Swamiji was scheduled to attend the World Parliament of Religions. But his friends of India were not sure when the conference would be held.

Swamiji struggled hard in the US and finally addressed the World Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893. The rest is history. He subsequently address the conference on September 15, 19, 20, 26 and 27. He became the most popular speaker and the most sought after person at the conference.

However, Swamiji's visit to the West was not liked by his fellow Indians in India who considered crossing the sea was a sin. Among his critics were the Bramhins who refused to accept him as a monk. However, Swamiji did not succumb to their pressure and in a letter to Raja Peyari Mohon Mukherjee of Uttarpara, he said those who visit the West do great service to the nation.

Swamiji believed that for India's growth coming close to the West was mandatory. "We will bring technology from the West and in return will give our spirituality," he said. In the editorial written by him in Udbodhan Patrika, RKM's Bengali mouthpiece, he said: "The purpose of Udbodhan will be the meeting of East and West."

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