By Thokchom Shiba Dutta Singh
Though Narendranath Datta, in short Naren who was offered monastic name Swami Vivekananda by Maharaj Ajit Singh of Khetri ( Rajasthan) on the eve of his departure for America in May, 1893 ( his earlier monstic name was Satchidananda, he himself never wrote the word Swami before his name), was the foremost disciple of Sri Ramkrishna Paramahamsa with whom Goddess Kali was in state of being one, denied Goddess Kali at the beginning. He was then eighteen when he began to be the disciple of the Great Master in 1881. He strongly disliked Kali and her form though Sri Ramkrishna told to him “Before long you will not only accept my blessed Mother Kali, but weep while repeating her name”. His dislike continued till he met the Goddess in a wonderful way.
After the sudden death of his attorney father from heart failure in February 1884, Naren`s family, though earlier very well-to-do, became very poor. There were neither earning member nor income from properties for which were litigated against them by the relatives. He was then twentyone studying law. Being the eldest son, he was responsible for the family. He searched for jobs, but not found. Proverty struck hard the helpless family. It was but natural that at time of distress human faith in divinity seemed to be less. So was to the family too. But his faith and devotion to his beloved Master Sri Ramkrishna who was declared by him to be the greatest of all incarnations had remained firm. ( In fact, Sri Ramkrishna himself has said that “He who was Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Cheitanya has now become Ramkrishna. Blessed are those who know this truth”) So in order to overcome his family`s financial crisis, he decided to request his Great Master to speak for him to Goddess Kali- as he was sure that whatever his
Master asked, positive respond was certain.
It was Tuesday, 16th September, 1884. Naren quickly went to Dakshineshwar Temples Complex, near Calcutta, founded by benevolent and pious lady Rani Rasmani of Calcutta, where Goddess Kali was the reigning Goddess, Sri Ramkrishna and Sri Ramkrishna`s holy consort Sardamani, in short Sarda were then staying. The trio was there. He requested Sri Ramkrishna to ask for him to Goddess Kali for solving his family`s financial problem. But his Master thinking for performing a precious chance, said lovingly to him to pray by himself on that night itself at the auspicious time, as the day being Tuesday, a day sacred to the Goddess. Naren cheerfully waited for the night and delightfully thought that his sufferings would be gone once for all. At 9 p.m. Sri Ramkrishna called upon Naren to enter into the temple. On the way he was possessed by a kind of mental intoxication and walked unsteadily, strongly believing that he would see the Goddess and heard her voice. He was absorbed in that thought only. When inside the temple, he saw that Goddess Kali was actually conscious and living source of boundless love and beauty. In his own words “Overwhelmed with love and devotion, I bowed down to her again and again praying – Mother, grant me discrimination, grant me detachment, grant me divine knowledge and devotion, grant that I may see you without obstruction always! My heart was filled with peace. The universe disappeared from my mind and the Mother alone occupied it completely. As soon as I returned, the Master asked me if I had prayed to the Mother for removal of my worldly needs. I was startled at this question and said `No, Sir, I forget all about it. But is there any remedy now ?` `Go again` said he, `and tell her about your needs.` I again set out for the temple, but at the sight of the Mother again forgot, bowed to her repeatedly and prayed only for love and devotion. The Master asked me if I had done it the second time. I told him what had happened. He said Try once more and make that prayer to her. Quick !` I went for the thi
rd time but on entering the temple, a terrible shame overpowered me. I thought `What a trifle I have came to pray to the Mother about! It is like asking a gracious king for a few vegetables ! In shame and remorse I bowed to her respectfully and said `Mother, I want nothing but knowledge and devotion.` Coming out of the temple I understood that all this was due to the Master`s will. Otherwise how could I fail no less then three times ?”.
Then he came to Sri Ramkrishna who granted that his family would not suffer from want of food and clothing. That very night, on being requested by him, Sri Ramkrishna taught him a song – the first line of which was `Mother, Thou art our sole Redeemer.` He sang the song again and again till the sunrise. Sri Ramkrishna was very glad on knowing that Naren had truly admitted Goddess Kali. It was in fact a very important turning point in his life. Since then he had always been feeling the presence of Goddess Kali through out all his life in the from of a young girl, as disclosed by himself. He has remarked later on that he is dedicated and entrusted to Goddess Kali by his Great Master Sri Ramkrishna who has also proclaimed that Sarda is the distress protecting and wisdom giving Goddes Kali herself. Once he boldly told `If there is a God in this universe, I must find Him.` He had indeed found, by grace of his Great Master Sri Ramkrishna.