An educative anecdote from the Swamiji’s life.
There is a very interesting and educative anecdote from the life of the great Indian monk, Swami Vivekananda who, in his very short life of just about 39 years between January 1863 to July 1902 dazzled the world with his brilliance and eloquence and strode like a Colossus on the world’s arena of Spirituality, transforming the lives of millions of people.
He is best remembered for his stunning speech at the World’s very first ‘Parliament of Religions’ held at Chicago between 11th to 27th 1893. But that’s a different story.
This anecdote is about the time when the Swamiji was traveling in India by train. There were a few British people in the same compartment who were amused at his monk attire and his sage-like demeanor. Assuming that this Indian native would not be knowing the English language, they proceeded to make snide remarks and jokes about him. His nonchalant and unconcerned behavior only reinforced their beliefs that he didn’t understand English.
However when a station approached and the Swamiji bought and started reading an English language daily, they were horrified! Amazed at his unfazed reaction to their rudeness and mockery, they hesitatingly addressed him and said by way of apology, “Good sir, you have apparently heard and understood all we said about you, but you don’t seem to be upset!”
To this, Swamiji smiled and offered a pen from his pocket to them as gift. Confused by this, they declined to accept the gift. Then the Swami Vivekananda smiled at them kindly and asked, “I offered you a gift which you rejected. So whose is it now?”
“Yours of course,” they said.
“ Likewise, your remarks remain with you as I haven’t accepted them.”
Seeing his smiling face devoid of any resentment, they realized that they were fortunate to be traveling with a highly evolved Soul.
Har har Mahadev!