The Story of Swami Rama - The Poet Monk of India

The Story of Swami Rama - The Poet Monk of India
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The Story of Swami Rama The Poet Monk of India By: Puran Singh Chapter 1 The Monk Himself We all met him first as a monk, and it is best to present him as a monk, before one proceeds more intimately with the story of his early life. Enough here to say that, born in 1873, he turned a monk in 1901, he left for japan and America in 1902, returned in 1904 and died in 1906, at the early age of thirty-three. When he reached San Francisco, the local newspapers recorded, as below, the very first impressions he made on the people there; he had gone there fresh from the Himalayas, clad in orange robes, a symbol of the divine fire that glowed within him. “The old order of things is to be reversed. Out of the jungles of Upper India has come a man of astonishing wisdom, a prophet, philosopher, a scientist and priest, who proposes to play the role of missionary in the United States, and preach a new doctrine of unselfishness and spiritual power to the idolatrous worshippers of the mighty dollar. He is a Brahmin of the Brahmins, a Goswami of the highest caste, and he is known among his brothers as Swami Rama. This remarkable sage of the Himalayas is a slender, intellectual young man, with the ascetic mould of a priest and the light complexion of a high-caste, Brahmin. His forehead is broad and high, his head splendidly developed, his nose thin and delicate as a woman’s. A wide, kindly, almost tender mouth parts freely over dazzlingly white perfect teeth in a smile that seems to light up all surrounding space and wins the instantaneous confidence and goodwill of all who come within the circle of the radiance. “How do I live?” he said yesterday, “That is simple. I do not try. I believe. I attune my soul to the harmony of love for all men. That makes men to love me, and where love is, there is no want, no suffering. This state of mind and faith brings influence to me that supplies my needs without the asking. If I am hungry, there is always someone to feed me. I am forbidden to receive money or to ask for anything. Yet I have everything, and more than most, for I live largely in a world that few can attain.”” Under the heading, “A Hindu Evangelist,” a Portland paper wrote : “Small, slight, with dark eager bright eyes, and olive skin, attired in a black suit, wearing at all times a brilliant red turban, this is Swami Rama. This is the man from India now in Portland. Not a man from India. Men from India not infrequently reach this port. But seldom if ever has any of such learning, such broad human sympathies, such unselfish motives arrived here.” Before he had gone to japan and America, he presided twice at a miniature kind of Parliament of Religions in India, organized by Swami Shiv Guna Acharya at the Shanti Ashram, Mathura, U.P.(India), and the impression recorded then by “The Freethinker” of Lahore runs as follows: “……………….Every man’s man, thoughtful and serious, lively and severe by turns, keeping the whole audience composed of heterogeneous shades of opinion spellbound, as it were, for hours together, until late in the evening. He is a quiet, modest, unassuming young man, in the heyday of youth, well versed in ancient and modern philosophy as well as in modern sciences, and is withal made of a stuff of which persons of honest convictions ought to be made. Gentle and amicable, childlike, innocent in manners and behavior, he yet has the iron hand inside the silken glove, for while scrupulously regardful of the feelings of others, he is far more outspoken in expressing his opinion………………………” The effect of his presence was marvelous, his joy was infectious, his ideas still more so, and above all his recitation of OM. Every religious seeker who came to him, began reciting OM. To see him was to begin, as it were, one’s life anew. All meanness and smallness of mind vanished, and the man was lifted up. A ne, an altogether transcendental outlook on life, flew, as it were, from his eyes to the eyes of those who came under the spell of his happiness and dream. He was gay like a wild bird. He leapt like a fawn; never, so to say, was he seen walking the slow and tardy pace of the common man. When his secretary, I believe Miss Taylor, took him to the Manager of the Great Pacific Railroad Company, San Francisco, to get his ticket on concession rates to New York, the Manager said: “Him? To him I offer the Pullman car free. His smiles are so irresistible.”
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