Swami Vivekanda’s disciple Sister Nivedita, born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was a Scottish-Irish teacher, social worker, author and mystic. In her book ‘The Master as I Saw Him’, she quoted him as he recounted his transformation from a firebrand, skeptical youth who viewed the world through ratiolist prism, into a monk with a mission. In particular, the Swami spoke passiotely of how his spiritual guru made him a devotee of Goddess Kali:
THE VOICE WITHIN
“How I used to hate Kali… and all Her ways! That was the ground of my six years’ fight — that I would not accept Her. But I had to accept Her at last! Ramakrish Paramahamsa dedicated me to Her, and now I believe that She guides me in everything I do, and does with me what She will.
Yet I fought so long! I loved him, you see, and that was what held me. I saw his marvellous purity. I felt his wonderful love. His greatness had not dawned on me then. All that came afterwards when I had given in. At that time I thought him a brain-sick baby, always seeing visions and the rest. I hated it. And then I, too, had to accept Her!
No, the thing that made me do it is a secret that will die with me. I had great misfortunes at the time… It was an opportunity. She made a slave of me. Those were the very words: ‘a slave of you’. And Ramakrish Paramahamsa made me over to Her. Strange! He lived only two years after doing that, and most of the time he was suffering. Not more than six months did he keep his own health and brightness…
The future, you say, will call Ramakrish Paramahamsa an Incartion of Kali? Yes, I think there’s no doubt that She worked up the body of Ramakrish for Her own ends.
You see, I cannot but believe that there is somewhere a great Power that thinks of Herself as feminine, and called Kali and Mother. And I believe in Brahman too…
But is it not always like that? Is it not the multitude of cells in the body that make up the persolity, the many brain-centres, not the one, that produce consciousness? Unity in complexity! Just so! And why should it be different with Brahman? It is Brahman. It is the One. And yet, and yet, it is the gods too!”
In his poem ‘Kali, The Mother’, Swami Vivekanda poured out his feelings thus:
The stars are blotted out,
The clouds are covering clouds,
It is darkness vibrant, sont.
In the roaring, whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lutics
Just loose from the prison-house,
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.
The sea has joined the fray,
And swirls up mountain-waves,
To reach the pitchy sky.
The flash of lurid light
Reveals on every side
A thousand, thousand shades
Of Death begrimed and black —
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, come!
For Terror is Thy me,
Death is in Thy breath,
And every shaking step
Destroys a world for e’er.
Thou “Time”, the All-Destroyer!
Come, O Mother, come!
Who dares misery love,
And hug the form of Death,
Dance in Destruction’s dance,
To him the Mother comes.