Sister Nivedita, known as Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was a great disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The Swami had dedicated her to the service of India and hence called her ‘Nevedita’.
Sister Nivedita’s was a fiery spirit that knew no rest till her whole personality was spent for the cause of her dedication-India. In the midst of her tireless efforts for the amelioration of Indian women, she found to make a deep study of Indian literature. Philosophy, mythology and history. Combined with her comprehensive mind was a remarkable largeness of heart and deep insight of love. This helped her to interpret in an extraoridinary manner Indian religion and thought, art and literature, custom and tradition.
“I love India as the birthplace of the highest and best of all religious, as the country that has the grandest mountains, the Himalayas. The country where the homes are simple, where domestic happiness is most to be found, and where the women unselfishly, unobtrusively, ungrudgingty serve the dear ones from early morn to dewy eve.”
Sister Nivedita, whose previous name was Margret Noble, was of Irish parentage and was born at Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, on October 28, 1867. After finishing her education at the Halifax College, she worked in various girl’s school gaining practical experience of teaching. In 1892, at the age of 25, she opened a school of her own in Wimbledon and settled down to serious work. She was a close student of Pestalozzi and Froebel and one of the enthusiastic supporters of the New Education movement, then in vogue in London.
With her manifold intellectual interest Margret had one deep-rooted trouble, namely, the growing consciousness of uncertainly and despair with regard to religion. It was at this time that Swami Vivekananda reached London with his massage of Vedanta. And his words “came as living water to men perishing of thirst” to quote Margret’s words. She met him first in November,1895. His teachings aroused Margret’s dormant religious aspirations and desire to serve humanity unselfishly, and she finally decided to take the plunge, though Swami Vivekananda, on his part, was very frank in putting forword all possible arguments against her intention to join his mission. On July 29, 1897, he wrote to her: “Let me tell you frankly that I am now convinced that you have a great future in the work for India. What was wanted was not a man, but a woman; a real lioness, to work for the Indians, women specially.
“India cannot yet produce great women, she must borrow them from other nations. Your education, sincerity, purity, immence love, determination and above all, the Celtic blood make you just the woman wanted.
"Yet the difficulties are many. You cannot form any idea of the misery, the superstition, and the slavery that are here. You will be in the midst of a mass of half-naked men and women with quaint ideas of caste and isolation, shunning the white skin through fear or hatred and hated by them intensely. On the other hand, you will be looked upon by the white as a crank and everyone of your movements will be watched with suspicion.
"Then the climate is fearfully hot; our winter in most places being like your summer, and in the south it is always blazing.
"Not one European comfort is to be had in places out of the cities. If in spite of all this you dare venture into the work, you are welcome, a hundred times welcome. . . ."
Margaret's earnestness helped her to make a quick decision. She left England at the end of 1897, and reached Calcutta on January 28, 1898. On March 25, she was initiated into Brahmacharya and given by her Guru the name Nivedita, the dedicated.
After a tour of the Almora and Kashmir regions from May to October with Swami Vivekananda and others, Nivedita returned to Calcutta in November. On November 13, in the presence of the Holy Mother and with her blessings, her school in Bagh Bazar was declared open. But it was only an experimental school, attended with much difficulty, and after a few months she decided to close it and go abroad to find new means and opportunities. In June, 1899, she left with Swami Vivekananda for Europe and America. Every- where she went she employed her oratorical powers on India's behalf and strove to secure financial help for her educational experiment in India.
Nivedita returned to India in the beginning of 1902. She could not be with Swami Vivekananda for long, for he died on July 4, 1902. The end of personal association did not deter her from carrying on his work. "He is not dead; he is with us always. I cannot even grieve. I only want to work," she wrote to a friend immediately afterwards.
With the help of Christine Green sidle, an American disciple of Swami Vivekananda, who joined her some months later, she expanded the scope of her school-work. From a tiny Kindergarten School it grew into a High School, with a separate section for elderly ladies also. The school-work was gradually entrusted to Christine and Nivedita took to a wider field of work-that of 'Nation- making'.
During her tour of Europe and America she had keenly felt that a country under foreign domination cannot dream of regeneration-social, political or cultural. Political freedom was the point to start with. Therefore, from 1902 to 1904 she went on extensive lecture tours to different parts of India urging people to realize the need of the hour and strive to make India free and great. According to her, the three things on which people should lay great emphasis were: first, to have infinite faith in their own reserve power; second, to gain all-round strength to free themselves from the shackles of the foreign government; and third, to realize that the advent of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda was to give light to those who walked in darkness. All her writings and speeches of this period reverberate with these sentiments.
By the end of 1904 the political atmosphere in the country, especially, in Calcutta, was very disturbing. The declaration of the Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon accelerated the political activities of the different patriotic parties. Nivedita experienced the joy of seeing the growth of the new spirit and the dawn of a new India. She was the most fervent and convinced 'nationalist'; her invaluable writings and speeches inspired young men with a burning passion to lead higher, truer, nobler and purposeful lives, and her challenge to the leaders to rise to the occasion influenced an ever-widening circle of friends as years passed by. Among her eminent contemporaries, who became very friendly with her, were statesmen, poets, artists, scientists, historians and journalists. Romesh Chundra Dutta, G. K.
Gokhale, Bipin Chandra Pal, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghosh, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Abanindra Nath Tagore, Jadunath Sarkar and Ramananda Chatterjee were a few amongst them.
Nivedita's work was much handicapped by her failing health. In 1905 she fell seriously ill. Yet, in 1906, she visited the famine and flood-stricken parts of East Bengal, as a result of which she suffered from a long spell of malarial fever. These two illnesses and the heavy strain of work shattered her health. In the middle of 1907, and, again for six months in 1910-11, she left for the West. She returned to India in the spring of 1911 and in the Puja holidays went for a change to Darjeeling, where she breathed her last before completing her forty-fourth year.
Nivedita's life was short, but a full and busy one. She lived in the great time of the National Revival in India. India was the theme of her writings and for that she made a deep study of Indian literature, philosophy, mythology and history. Her mind was therefore amply furnished with rich facts. Combined with her comprehensive mind was a remarkable largeness of heart and deep insight of love. This helped her to interpret in an extraordinary and inexplicable manner Indian religion and thought, art and literature, custom and tradition. Her interpretations nourished the imagination and exalted the spirit of the people of this land, generally and lastingly, then, as they do now. The impact of her mind and its creation was felt even by her contemporaries who had reached eminence in their respective fields of work. That is the reason why they paid glowing tributes to her life and work. It will not be out of place to remember today what some of them said of her four-and-a- half decades ago.
Dr. Rash Behari Ghosh: "If our Sister fell under the spell of India we in our turn fell under her spell, and her bewitching personality attracted thousands of our young men to her. If the dry bones are beginning to stir it is because sister Nivedita breathed the breath of life into them.
The Second Volume of the Present edition of the Complete Works of sister Nivedita mainly includes books, lectures and articles which shed light on Indian life, thought and culture. These writings give a wide survey of Indian People as they lived and thought, to the world which only knew of the horror and ugliness of Indian life as depicted by the foreign missionaries.
Nivedita spoke with authority on this subject for since the beginning of 1898 when she first landed in India till the Autumn of 1911, when she breathed her last, she stayed with the people of this country in close intimacy. It is true that her stay in a northern section of Calcutta made her familiar with the Bengali way of life, festivals etc. she describes what she saw and heard around her to understand India as a whole also. As in a lecture she said:- “The life that I was thus allowed to share was that of the common Indian world. Bengali in its details, it was in its main features that of the masses of the people the country over”.
In this volume are included the following works: The web of Indian Life.
An Indian study of Love and Death.
Studies from an Eastern Home.
The book that created the greatest stir in the world after its publication was The Web of Indian Life. In a letter to Miss Josephine MacLeod from Norway Nivedita writes that R.C. Dutt first prompted her to write this book. “Now I am at work on the book which Mr. Dutt commissioned and have just written on caste.” The different chapters of the book were written during her stay in America, England, Norway and India between 1901 and 1903. At the back of the title page prepared by herself she wrote: “I Evening Oct. 13th. Posted Oct. 14th 1903 at 4 p.m. ”It finished writing this Oct. 14th 1903”. It was first published in 1904 by William Heinemann, London, and since then has gone into six impressions, it was as well as the west. To name a few of them: Christian, Outlook, The church times, the Detroit Free Press, the Daily Graphic, Queen, the Indian Spectator, the Yorkshire post, pall Mail Gazette, St. Jame’s Gazette, The Westminister Gazette, The Sun, The Sunday Mail, The Madras Mall and Birmingham post.
Some of these reviewed the book favourably and some criticized it bitterly. To Quote some instances.
Queen (August 24, 1904).
It is seldom that a western born author succeeds as absolutely as Miss noble in her the web of Indian life in penetrating the eastern mind and heart…. If love is the first qualification towards understanding the character of a people Miss Noble was thoroughly qualified for she writers of the east as a lover might write of the east as a lover might writer of his beloved each intimacy each familiarity adds to the mystery and fascination exercised by this wonderful alluring east over her spirit.
It would be well if those who gather their impressions of our Indian empire solely from missionaries of preconceived ideas and little sympathy or form the abstruse work of scholars or the chatter of the Anglo Indians were to revise the impressions they gathered from these sources by the light of this poetically written and scholarly work.
The Detroit free Press (July 24, 1904)
The western world speaking generally knows the Indian woman only through the testimony of missionaries. For this reason a book published in London a few days ago, "The Web Of Indian Life" by the Sister Nivedita comes as a revelation; it is attracting immediate attention; it is being regarded as an epoch-making book. For in it the inner life of the Indian woman, the life below the surface, the ideals, the mainsprings of action, the aspirations, hopes and all the mysticism of the East, and the reality of the Unseen, are set forth, as has never been done before, by a Western woman imbued with a spirit of reverent sympathy,"
The Athenceum (1904),
"If Sister Nivedita is an unsafe guide in social questions, she is still less to be trusted when she undertakes to deal with matters of Indian History or literature, and it is much to be regretted that no scholarly friend was at hand to prevent the publication of such chapters as those on "The Indian Sagas" and "The Synthesis of Indian Thought." It would be as easy as it would be distasteful to multiply instances of misunderstanding and misstatement,"
The Church Times (August 19, 1904).
"In 'The Web of Indian Life' the authoress 'lets herself go, so to say, with entire abandon, to give us a couleur de rose picture of Indian life and thought .... It is all pure undiluted optimism. '" It is the suppression of the other side of the picture that we deprecate in the interest, not only of the truth, but of the cause of Indian women themselves, whose lot will never be improved if this sort of sentimental idealism about them is allowed to obtain credence. Potentially, we are fully prepared to believe the Indian woman is what she is here described as being. Actually, the ideas, the sanctions, the customs of the men of India must undergo radical transformation before the ideal can be realized. And only Christianity can effect that transformation."
In a letter to Miss MacLeod (30.6.1904) Nivedita makes her purpose in writing this book clear. "You know that my book is out. I trust that you will really feel that it was written by Swami, I suppose it is. Early day yet to say whether or not it is a success. Anyway I hope, in Swami's name it will (a) end the Zenana Missionaries (b) clear up misconceptions about India, (c) teach India to think truly about herself; this is the most important of the ends I hope for; (d) to do a little to help earnest souls, to put themselves in the current of Swamiji's writings and teachings."
She was aware of the fact that the Christian missionaries would react to her book unfavourably. And she reported to Miss MacLeod (4.2.1905): "We are beginning to have counter-blasts from the Missionaries now-to the book. Sometimes they are very funny, and always they express more than the poor author suspects. It is for India to under- stand my book, and make the world admit that it is not half the truth:'
As Rabindranath Tagore's Introduction to the 1918 Edition of the book shows in what light India understood and accepted the book it is reproduced as an Appendix at the end of the book.
An Indian Study of Love and Death was first published on August 16, 1905, in pocket size, most probably by Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Ltd., London. The reprint of the same by Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., London, in 1908, is slightly enlarged by the addition of Some Hindu Rites for the Honoured Dead.
This beautiful small book written in poetic prose and interspersed by free translations of Sanskrit prayers, hymns and litanies keeps up the grave tone of the subject matter. It shows clearly that in her attempt to understand the life and thought of the people of her love, Nivedita did not leave out the study of the finer emotion of love or the abstruse idea of death and beyond. The dedication is dated August 16, 1905, and the inscription reads:-
Because of Sorrow N.
At the beginning of the first writing there is another dedicatory note which says For a Little Sister. In a letter to Miss MacLeod dated 13.6.1905 Nivedita refers to her sending a message of love and sympathy to "Mdme. W." This lady was Madame Wallerstein who lived in France and was a friend of Miss MacLeod. The dedication to "A Little Sister" may be inferred as referring to her.
The three article on The Beloved, Death and Play found amongst her papers immediately after her death were first published by the Prabuddha Bharata and the Modem Review, in 1911. As they are in thought and sentiment akin to the subject-matter of the book, they have been added here.
Studies from an Eastern Home was first published by Longmans, Green & Co. London in 1913. A prefatory Memoir on Nivedita by S. K. Radcliffe, a close friend of hers and editor of The Statesman during her stay in India, makes us infer that he must have edited the work. The civic and religious pageants of Indian life greatly attracted Nivedita's mind and she planned to write on them. With this idea in view she started contributing essays to The Statesman in 1905, under the general heading "Indian Studies." On 16th July, 1906, she wrote to Mrs. Sara Bull: "1 am planning for a book of Indian Studies. These would just be essays of The Stats man type." Unfortunately during her life-time the book was not brought out.
The book is not known to have gone into a second edition and has long since been out of print. It has been reprinted here under the same title but the following three pieces have been omitted.
1. The Northern Pilgrimage because it has been included in the book Kedamath and Badrinarayan already printed in the First Volume of the Complete Works.
2. The Land of Waterways because it is an extract from her book "Glimpses of Famine and Flood in East Bengal in 1906" which will be published in a subsequent volume.
3. King Parikshit and the Frog Maiden which will be published with similar mythological stories in a subsequent volume.
Besides these books seventeen lectures and articles of Sister Nivedita have been included in this Volume. The reports on three other lectures are given in Appendix 1. As their sources are mentioned in the Chronological Table no mention is made here. Nivedita's lectures are of special value because before she started writing about India she used her oratorical powers both in America and England to remove misconceptions about the Indian way of life and to secure help for her work. She began giving lectures as early as 1899. On November 16, she wrote to Miss Macleod from Chicago: "I go out at noon today to my first appointed piece of work. I am to spend the afternoon in an Elementary School, telling the children about India. One .is going, now, like a man blind-folded, guiding himself through a labyrinth by a silken thread. I cannot tell where the usefulness of things may come in, my business is only to do them as they come and this is the first."
From various sources we gather that in America and London she gave about thirty-five lectures between 1899- 1901 and 1908 on India, Indian literature and different aspects of Indian life, a list of whicli is given in Appendix II at the end of the book. Attempts have been made to collect as many of the lectures as possible, even through friends abroad, but without much success. Those few that have been published are collected from contemporary Indian news- papers and periodicals. From these we come to know with what sympathy, understanding and sincerity she attempted to portray the most important aspects of Indian life, especially at a time when the narrow outlook and prejudicial pro- paganda of foreign missionaries had spoilt the fair name of India everywhere.
Nivedita had to face much opposition and criticism even in meetings. The descriptions of her experiences in some of the meetings as given to Miss MacLeod will be quite interesting. "On Sunday I came on a new group of charming.
The first section of the Third Volume of the present edition of the complete works of Sister Nivedita incudes her articles on Indian Art, reviews of books on Art and appreciations of a series of Indian and Euorpean paintings.
The rebirth of Indian Art was one of Nivedita’s dearest dreams. She believed that “art offers us the opportunity of a great common speech, and its rebirth is essential to the upbuilding of the motherland-its re-awakening rather”. Hence her profound thoughts on Art in general and Indian Art in particular are of great importance.
She is one of the foremost of art connoisseurs who inspires and encouraged our young modern Indian art. She told them: “Art is charged with a spiritual massage,- in India today, the message of Nationality. But if this message is actually to be uttered, the profession of the painter must come to be one of the supreme ends of the highest kind of education”. At the end of the section are added some notes on notable European paintings because they were chiefly written to demonstrate the true ideals of Western art to the Indian artists.
The interesting article titled “the Star Pictures’ was published in three instalments in The Modern Review in 1911 and 1912. These were later included in the book Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Ananda coomaraswamy. It includes myths embedded in the Puranas. Nivedita held the view that the Indian mind interested in astronomy spiritualized most of the mythological characters and they became the heroes of the sky. Here she selects those stories that represent the spiritualising interpretation of the stars.
Buddha and Yashodhara was first published in The Modern Review in 1919. Together with ‘Shiva or Mahadeva’ it was published in book form by the Udbodhan Office in 1919 with the title Siva & Buddha.
After these writings are published the following three works.
Cradle tales of Hinduism
Religion and Dharma
The Cradle Tales of Hinduism includes stories from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. In the manner of the old-time story-teller Nivedita has presented here the never-dying tales with the charm of freshness, literary grace and beauty, as also the thrill and fascination of the narrative.
The book was first published in 1907. But she had started collecting in 1899. To miss MacLeod she wrote on November 16,1899:
“I mean to tell the little ones about the Christ-child,and then on to the Indian Chrits-child, Dhruva, Prahlad, Gopala.” She made regular study of this subject. We come to know from her letters that one Mr. waterman offered to publish these stories for her. On April 20, 1900, she wrote to Mrs. Longfellow:
“I never did anything so difficult as these stories. Fancy! Today I have before me the task of putting on paper what I Know about Buddha! It is like trying to put the rainbow under a tumbler. I have only done five stories so far, of which only one, prithvi Rai, satisfies Mr. W.” Ultimately the said publisher did not publish the book. In july 16, 1906, we find her writing to Mrs. Bull:
“the Cradle Tales of Hinduism are nearly ready. I hope to send one copy to England by the end of July and one copy to you- to try to publish independtly and simultaneously in America. We have decided that if I could for this book get & 100 down and a small royalty, say 2 cents or 1d. a copy, it would be good.
King Parikshit and the Frog Maiden was included in the first edition of the studies from an Eastern Home. “The Story of the Great God: Shiva or Mahadeva’ was originally written in 1899. It was rewritten in 1903 with certain changes and was included in The Web of Indian Life, which has been published in volume II of the complete works. These pages only are printed here with the title-“Religion of the Mountains’. The story in its original from was published in book form by the Udbodham Office in the same year.
Religion and Dharma was published in 1915 by Longmans, Green, & Co. London. The volume was chiefly complied from the Occasional Notes written in the editorial Column of the Prabuddha Bharata is printed here as an appendix. The book was reprinted in India by the Advaita Ashrama in 1952.
Due to the untimely death of the Editor of the Prabuddha Bharata, Swami Swarupananda, in July 1906, Nivedita was requested to write in the editorial columns captioned the text of the book. Adequate titles were given by the first edition of the book and these have not been changed in this edition. Two changes have, however, been made. On comparing these pieces with their pieces with their first publication in the columns of the Prabuddha Bharata from 1906 to 1911, any passages were found to be eliminated restored to their original positions.
Secondly, the following pieces, “The Basis”, The Task before Us’, “The Ideal’ and ‘Self-Idealism’ have been omitted, because they are the four chapters of the book called Aggersive Hinduism. Aggressisve Hinduism was Published in 1905 by G.A. Natesan & Co.., Madras, and it contained the first three chapters only. The second edition, published by the Udbodhan Office in 1927, was enlarged by the addition of the fourth piece. This piece is titled ‘Self-idealism’ in Religion and Dharma, but ‘On the Way to the Ideak’ in aggressive Hinduism.
In the Present edition aggressive Hinduism has been Published separately it has an importance of its own. Swami Vivekananda always talked of making Hinduism aggressive Nivedita studied the Swami’s idealism and was staggered at the vastness of his conception. In this booklet, however, she tried her bets to put down her ideas in writing. She wrote it, and how she loved writing it.
“I am so pleased and surprised that you like ‘Aggressive Hinduism.’ I think I only appropriated twenty copies. I suppose I thought it too technical for general reading. Also- if I remember rightly it was full of proof-errors. But I love to look back on the writing of it. I sat down one evening thinking. “If this were my last word to the Indian People, let me try to write Swami’s whole ideal for them in one message.’ I finished it in three evenings, and had copied it out and perhaps sent it off by the Friday that week. Two days later, I was down with brain-fever, and no one knew whether I would live or die ! so it might really have been my last will and testament.”
In conclusion, we thank the Belur math, the Udbodhan Office, the Advaita ashrama, the National Library, the Bangiya sahitya Parishad, and the ‘Desh’ Patrika Office for making available to us certain newspaper, Periodicals, blocks etc. in their possession.
We also extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have helped us in bringing out the volume on the day of her hundredth birth anniversary.
The Fourth Volume of the present edition of the Complete Works of Sister Nivedita includes the following works:
Footfalls of Indian Nationality (Civic and National Ideals)
Hints on National Education in India
Famine and Flood in East Bengal in 1906
Lambs among Wolves.
The first three works are posthumous publications, in which the publishers have collected some valuable writings of abiding national interest on the subject dearest to sister Nivedita’s heart-India. Her Master, Swami Vivekananda, had said in 1897: “or the next fifty years this And true to her Master’swords Sister Nivedita has sung with love and devotion, thought and concern, about India and India alone, for the rest of her life.
Her writings bring forth her inner convictions; her style is brilliant and vigourous, and even the most hackneyed topics and common-place themes are invested by her pen with new power an grace. From her rough notes it becomes evident that she herself had planned to bring out were not published.
Footfalls of Indian History, was first published in 1915 by Messrs Langmans Green & Co., London. It is a beautiful edition with six coloured plates by well-known artists like Abanindra Nath Tagore, Gagenendra Nath Tagore and Nanda Lal Bose. Besides these there are 22 photo-plates. A new edition of the same was brought out by the Advaita Ashrama in 1956. It has been reprinted here with the same title but with the same title but with the following changes:-
1 ‘The Chinese Pilgrim’ was originally published in The Modern Review in March, 1911, as ‘Fa-hian’. This title has been retained here.
2 In The Modern Review of 1907 the writing entitled’ Some problems of Indian Research’ was published in three instalments; the second and the third instalments having the sub tiltes ‘The Final recension of the Mahabharata’ and ‘Relation between Buddhism and Hinduism’ respectively. Hence these three articles are published serially in this edition.
3 ‘The historical Significance of the Northern pilgrimage’ has been omitted as it has already been omitted as it has already been included in the book Kdar Nath and Badri Narayan printed in the First Volume of the Complete Works.
4 ‘The City in Classical Europe: A visit to Pompeii’ has been omitted because it forms part of a series of articles on civic ideal included in the next book.
5 To aid the Ramakrishna Mission home of Service in Varanasi, Sister Nivedita wrote appeal which was published in The Brahmavadin of March, 1907, as ‘Benares’, in which the concluding paragraphs referring to the Home of Service’. In the same month it was also published in The Modern Review as ‘A study of ‘Benares and the home of service were omitted. But as these form an integral part of the original appeal they have been given in appendix. The article on ‘Bodh-Gaya’ was first published in The Brahmavadin in August, 1904. As it is akin in Subject-matter to some of the articles in this book, it is included here.
In 1911 the Udbodhan office published a book called Civic and National Ideals containing thirteen articles of Sister Nivedita. Since then it has gone into five editions. With the permission of the publishers seven writings on Indian art were included in the third volume of the complete Works. the remaining six articles are printed in this volume. To these are added eleven more articles which have been hitherto unpublished in book-form. It is due to these vast changes in the contents that it was thought proper not to retain the original title of the book, but to change it to Civic Ideal and Indian Nationality.
It is essential to add a few words about some of the writings included in this book. In The Modern Review of 1908, four articles on civic ideal of the east and west were published serially between January and April. Of these the first and the third was included in the Footfalls of Indian History. Here all the four articles are published serially as was originally done, though the titles of the second and the third articles, namely, ‘Evolution of the European City’ and ‘A City of Classical Europe: visit to Pompeii’ have been changed to ‘Civic’ Symbolism Mediaeval Europe’ and ‘Civic Ideal in Classical City: Pompeii’ respectively. The reason for this change is that these titles are more expressive of the subject-matter and have also been suggested in her rough notes.
“The Task of the National Movement in India was first published in The Indian Review in 1906. Its title has been changed to ‘The Indian National Congress’ in the Civic and National Ideals. Here, however, the original title has been retained.
The sources of the other articles are mentioned in the chronological Table and hence are not mentioned here.
Hints on National education in India was first published by the Udbodhan office in 1914. It has since gone into fice editions. It has been reprinted here as it is except that some of the portions omitted in the project of the Ramakrishna school for Girls have been restored.
Glimpses of famine and flood in east Bengal in 1906 was serially published in The Modern Review in 1907. Character I –II are dated Sept 12, 1906: chapters IV – VII are dated Sept. 26, 1906; and Chapter VIII – IX are dated March 1, 1907. The Indian Press at Allahabad published the book in the same year. It has long since been out of print. This deeply moving narrative excels in style and sentiments all other smaller writings of Sister Nivedita.
Lambs among Wolves-Missionaries in India was written to counteract the prejudicial activities and propaganda of the Christian Missionaries in India. In February, 1901, Sister Nivedita was invited to Edinburgh, Scotland, to give lectures. Her lectures were a challenge to the false accounts of India presented by the missionaries. The following letter of Sister Nivedita written to Miss MacLeod on 7.3.190 1 is interestingly revealing: "We had a tremendous challenge from missionaries in Edinburgh. . . . They gave a terrible account of India and her ways and I had only time to fling defiance at one of them and leave. Then of course they had their own way-till they asked a young Indian Christian man to speak-and he got up and said I had been right and that he did not since reaching Europe, care to call himself a Christian! Did you ever hear any- thing more manly? He was a Madrasi. Now the Club is trying to restrain me from right to reply. They must be afraid. I suppose they do not want the material used in India as 'missionary statements'. However some deliberate grappling with missionary opinion I shall do before I stir, in one form or another…. Blessed India! How infinitely much I owe her. Have I anything worth having that I do not directly or indirectly owe to her?"
By July her reply to the missionaries was ready and it was published in The West minister Review in the same year. It was reprinted by R. B. Brimley Johnson, London, in 1903. The Udbodhan Office printed it again in 1928, and it has been out of print since a long time.
The authorities of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Nivedita Girls' School had contemplated to bring out Sister Nivedita's Complete Works in Four Volumes during her birth centenary year (1967-68). Three Volumes have already been published in 1967. We are happy now to present before the public this fourth volume.
In conclusion we extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have helped us in bringing out the preset edition.
Our best thanks are due to the Belur Math the Advaita Ashrama the Udbodhan office the national library the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad and Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir for permission granted in the readiest and most cordial manner to make use of certain manuscript newspapers blocks etc. in their possession.
India is indebted to Sister Nivedita for she stood forth as her ‘Champion’ while the west malinged her. That was in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century. She tried to restore her lost glory and prestige through her utterances and writings. Hence it had been decided by the authorities of the sister Nivedita Girl’s School, Calcutta, to bring to light all her writings, So that the worlds may know the intensity of her love and respect of the century of her adoption.
In 1900, Swami Vivekananda gave sister Nivedita this benediction:
‘Be thou to India’s future son
The mistress, servant, friend in one.’
And in her fourteen years of stay in India, Nevidita lived upto Swamiji’s expectations. No son or daughter of India loved her more than Nivedita. Not a problem arose in the country in those years-whether social, political or educational, whether Social Political or educational, whether affecting man, woman, or youth- about which she did not feel concerned.
She wrote on a great variety of subjects, even on commonplace themes, but as Ramananda Chatterjee, the founder editor of The Modern Review wrote, “Nothing that she wrote was commonplace; even the most hackneyed topics were invested by her pen with new power and grace, and became connected with the first principles of human action and with the primal source of all strength.” In sister Nivedita’s birth centenary year, 1967-68, we published four volume of her works. Besides these published writings, a lot of material lay scattered in diffirent journals, newspapers and manuscripts. Our attempt here has been to collect and print all the material we could secure. In this book her lectures and other writings have been divided subjectiwise as follows:
On Hindu Life, Thought and Religion.
On political, Economic and Social Problems
Biographical Sketches and Reviews
Newspaper Reports of Speeches and Interviews
Miscellaneous Articles written before meeting Swami Veviekananda
Regarding the tiltes given to the different writings, it may be pointed out that in cases where the titles were not given by the writer herself, either the titles have been given in conformity with the subject matter or form Nivedita’s personal notes.
We regret to mention that her letters are not printed as yet, They run into hundrerds. In style they are direct and personal, sometimes poetic and reflective. They are a very valuable source of information about her own life. Thought and feelings and they also give vivid pictures of the contemporary political conditions in the country. We have a few original letters, and also a large numbers of copies of her letters. The originals of these and many more are in possession of Sri Sankari Prasad Basu of Howrah. We are hopefully looking foreword to the day when he will Nivedita’s belles letters available to the public.
For the Publication of this volume, we must mention our indebtedness to the following-:
Sri Nolini Kanto Gulpta of the Aurobindo Ashrama, Pondicherry, for giving us a list of Nivedita’s editorials in the Karma Yogin. Without this guidance it would have been, this question might also have been controversial. We are also grateful to the librarian of Sro Aurobindo Pathagar, Calcutta, who kindly made available to us the required issues of the Karma Yogin.
Sri Sankari Prasad Basu and Sri Sunil Behari Ghosh for allowing us to reprint relevant matter from their book Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers. In this book entitled Nivedita Lokamata (Part I) Sri Sankari Prasad Basu has devoted a whole chapter to Sister Nivedita as a writer before meeting Swami Vivekananda. We are grateful to him for allowing us to reprint these articles. A few necessary corrections have been made by us in these articles. A few necessary corrections have been us to reprint these articles. It is interesting to note that the first of these was written by Nivedita when she was only twenty years old. She used different by Nivedita when she was only twenty years old. She used different noms de plume, such a sNealas, Margret Nealas Underwood, An Old Old woman and W. Neilus. In later days too she wrote under different names such as vox Ignota, “N’ or ‘MN’.
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