A Remarkable Incident
Mary Louise Burke
During the months Swamiji remained in Chicago after the Parliament of Religions he must have been the house guest of various friends. As we have seen, one home that was always open to him and where he stayed both during and after the Parliament was that of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Lyon at 262 Michigan Avenue, and George W. Hale, 541 Dearborn Avenue, Chicago.
The Hale house (on Dearborn between Burton Place and Schiller) was a block and a half from Lincoln Park, and there Swamiji sometimes went to sit in the sun and open air. A touching and revealing incident took place during these outings. It seems that each day when Swamiji sat in the park, a young woman and a little girl six years old would pass by on their way to the market. One day the woman, no doubt convinced that the young Hindu was kind and trustworthy, asked him if she might leave her child in his charge while she went about her marketing. Swamiji assured her that she might, and thenceforth every morning that they met in the park,
Swamiji took the little girl into his care. But the story does not end here. When the child had grown to fifteen or sixteen, her mother came upon a picture of Swamiji, of whose fame she had by that time learned, and showing it to her daughter, asked, “Do you remember your friend?” She remembered; for who knowing Swamiji, even at the age of six, could forget? Later, after she had married and moved to Philadelphia, the memory of Swamiji again became vivid in her mind, drawing her to spiritual life. She became a student of Swami Akhilananda, who used to visit that city now and then to meet with a group of devotees.
This girl was to become Mrs Agnes C. Ewing. She passed away in 1945.
How many small happenings such as that of a mother leaving her child in his charge took place throughout Swamiji’s visit to America, how many chance contacts he had with people whose lives were translated by his touch or glance, we can only guess.
The life and teaching of an avatara are non-different. Every single, simple incident in the lives of the incarnations are messages for the world–they are the standards which humanity shall follow. Incidents in the lives of great masters have deep meaning and significance. Even after thousands of years, every Hindu home respectfully studies the lives of Sri Rama and Mother Sita, the life of Sri Krishna, and so on.
The Holy Trio, Sri Ramakrishna, Mother and Swamiji, have come for the good of the whole world for all time. Simple incidents from their lives are pathfinders.
Mrs Devika Sharma shall bring us an incident to enrich our lives every month.
Mrs Devika Sharma
is the Contributing Editor of this Page