I was never a missionary, nor ever would be one-my place is in the Himalayas. I am longing for a flight to the Himalayas. And then I will buy a little place in the Himalayas-a whole hill-about say, six thousand feet high with a grand view of the eternal snows. There must be springs and a tiny lake. Cedars-the Himalayan cedar forests-and flowers, flowers everywhere. I will have a little cottage; in the middle, my vegetable gardens, which I will work myself –and –and –my books –and see the face of man only once in a great while. And the world may go to ruin round about my ears, I would not care.
Today I walked over the snow uphill about a mile, seeing Mrs. Sevier’s lands; she has made beautiful roads all over. Plenty of gardens, fields, orchards, and large forests, all in her land. The living houses are so simple, so clean, and so pretty, and above all so suited for the purpose….The snow is lying all round six inches deep, the sun is bright and glorious, and now in the middle of the day we are sitting outside, reading. And the snow all about us! The winter here is very mild in spite of the snow. The air is dry and balmy, and the water beyond all praise.
…on the heights of the Himalayas I have a place where I am determined nothing shall enter except pure truth. There I want to work out this idea…The purpose is to train seekers of truth and to bring up children without fear and without superstition. They shall not hear about Christs and Buddhas and Shivas and Vishnus-none of these. They shall learn, from the start, to stand upon their own feet. They shall learn from their childhood that God is the spirit and should be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Everyone must be looked upon as spirit. That is the ideal.
Swami Vivekananda could visualise the coming of his western and consumed as he was with India’s uplift, he desired a healthy exchange of ideas between the East and the West. Mayavati was selected as the venue and the sublime Himalayas formed the backdrop for the scene of cultural integration. Mayavati Ashrama takes pride in its association with such a noble cause and in spreading the ennobling Ideas of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda and Vedanta through its journal Prabuddha Bharata and books.
The Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati, came into existence in M arch 1899 and has steadily continued to abide by the directions given by Swamiji. The Ashrama was nourished by the pioneers, Swami Swarupananda and the Seviers – the godly couple who have become immortal for their extraordinary lives and adherence to the lofty principles of Advaita. The sudden demise of Mr. Sevier brought Swamiji to Mayavati and the fledgling monastery regained strength. The story of Mayavati Ashrama is replete with interesting incidents and anecdotes from the lives of monastics and dedicated devotees who sacrificed their all in answer to Swami Vivekananda’s call.
There was a long felt need to introduce the lives and ideas so intricately connected with the Mayavati Ashrama to all its admirers. This book is compiled from the Mayavati centenary number of prabuddha Bharata, published in January 1999. In this, the reader will find a narration of the Ashrama’s history since inception, and some of the memorable events of the early days of the Ashrama. Reminiscences from the pan of a few gifted ex-inmates and visitors have added to the charm of a this book. We record our gratefulness to all the contributors and hope that the reader will be transported to the Himalayan habitat through the beautiful pictures and descriptions.
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