Dakshineshwar Temple Authority atones
Dakshineshwar Temple Authority atones for the sin committed against Swamiji 118 years ago
By Asim Kumar Mitra
On the eve of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday (12thJanuary, according tithi it was 15th January) a twenty feet high bronze statue was established in the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Complex. This was a significant incident as Swami Vivekananda was considered to be an outcaste in the eyes of Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Trust because he visited the land of mlechchas i. e. America where he went to deliver speeches on Hindu religion at World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. It was a battle fought by Swamiji single handedly on behalf of the Hindus and won it. In facts he was recognised as the ‘hero’ of that battle which was known as World Parliament of Religions.
Most unfortunate part of the story is that after coming back home from America he went to see maa bhabatarini or Maa Kali to offer his pranam he was not allowed to enter the temple complex and he was stopped at the gate and physically turned out from the vicinity. This shameful incident happened at a place where Swami Vivekananda first met his Gurudev Param Purush Shri Ramakrishna who personally had darshan of Maa Kali who insisted Naren (This was his name before he became Swami Vivekananda) to bow before Maa and ask for anything he likes. There were so many such incidents at the Leela Bhumi of Sri Ramakrishna. And the so called obscurantist and superstitious were not even apologetic for this incident because they thought it was the right kind of punishment he should suffer. Since 1893 till his death in 1902 Swamiji was not allowed to enter the temple.
So when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had unveiled the bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda on 7th January, 2012, it automatically had become an historical event. She was instrumental to atone a sin committed by the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Trustee Board about 120 years ago by establishing the statue at Dakshineshwar. But then one should not forget the name of Shri Kushal Choudhury, Secretary of the Trustee Board, under whose initiation all the members of the Trustee Board were motivated to take such an historic decision.
It is in fitness of things that one should know under what circumstances Swami Vivekananda went to the land of Mlechchas (foreigners). Time and again Swamiji had mentioned in his letters to Alasinga and Ramkrishnananda that he had no intention to attend the Parliament of World Religions. His mission was to find ways and means to get economic help from firstly from America and then from Europe. Because he just could not bear the misery that poor Indians were compelled to face. This had pained him much. He could not sleep peacefully. Nights after nights he kept himself awaken It was Professor John Henry Wright who could rightly understand the agony of Swamiji and he suggested Swamiji to attend the Parliament of Religions.
In this connection let me quote from the book A Comprehensive Biography of Swami runs as follows: Finding him (Swamiji) hesitant about attending the sessions of the Parliament, he (Prof. Wright) pleaded earnestly with him to do so, saying ‘This is the only way by which you can be introduced to the nation at large’. As to the question of credentials, the Swami’s difficulty being that he had already refused the offer of the Chicago friends, he (Prof. Wright) said that he would do the needful about it. He (Wright) told him, “To ask you, Swami, for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine”. Indeed, he immediately wrote to his friend, the Chairman of the Committee for selecting delegates, stating that, “Here is a man who is more learned than all our learned professors put together”. (Vol. I, Page 419)
But even after that, Swamiji had to face great difficulties to get entry into the Parliament of Religions. Although he did not expect to have any difficulties, as he had with him the letter from the authorities of the Parliament admitting him to its sessions, as also Prof. Wright’s directions as to how to reach the office of Dr. Barrows, the Chairman of the General Committee.
Suddenly, he saw the door of a fashionable residence opposite to him open and a lady, queen-like in appearance; descend from the entrance to the street. Approaching him, the lady asked him in a soft voice, “Sir, are you a delegate to the Parliament of Religions?” He told her he was as she had divined and also narrated to her his difficulties. She promised the Swamiji that as soon as he felt refreshed and had his breakfast, she herself would accompany him to the office of the Parliament of Religions. She did so and her home became Swamiji’s “headquarters” in America. She was Mrs. George W. Hale (Mrs. Belle Hale).