Nivedita returned to India in
She now took up lodgings at No.17, Bosepara Lane, which became
henceforth both her home and her school. It became, in addition, a veritable centre of
pilgrimage for all the eminent personages of the time-political leaders fighting for the
country's freedom, men of intellect.
About this time a young lady from Germany, named Miss Christine
Greenstidel, came to serve India and joined Nivedita. Her assistance was very valuable to
Nivedita's school began its work again. This time it was not only girls
who came to receive instruction, but even their mothers. It was extremely difficult to
meet the expenses of the school. Like Nivedita, Christine too had to undergo great
privation. But with a firm resolve they kept up the struggle and carried on their endeavor
of educating girls and women.
1902-the darkest year in Nivedita's life. She went to see the Master at
the Belur Math. That was on June 29. In the course of the conversation the Swamiji
remarked, " A great austerity and meditation are coming upon me. I am getting ready
for death." The 2nd of July was an Ekadasi Day. Nivedita felt an
irresistible urge to see the Master again. When she was announced at the Math , the
Swamiji was filled with joy. He was himself fasting. Yet he got a meal ready for Nivedita
and personally served it to her. After she had her meal, he assisted her to wash her hands
by pouring water, and then despite her protests, he dried her hands with a towel. Deeply
pained, she demurred; "Swamiji, it would be proper for me to serve you thus, not to
receive such services at your hands."
He answered: "Jesus washed the feet of his own disciples, didn't
"Yes, but that was in his last moments," she tried to say.
But the words failed her.
That day the Master's entire being was transformed with his love, when
he gave his chosen disciple his blessing. The joy she felt at this made her forget her
recent pain. She went home, feeling blessed.
Poor Nivedita little knew that this was to be her last meeting with the
Master. His Christ - like service to her, not less than his clear allusion to Jesus, was
The Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi on the night of July 3.
On July 4, even as the day was breaking, the heart - breaking message
was brought to Nivedita. She staggered under the blow. The Master whom she adored, her all
in all, her sole stay and support in life, the Guru who had given meaning and direction
and purpose to her earthly existence, was no more. The light was gone. All was dark.
She ran to the Math and, sobbing her heart out, she paid her homage to
the Master. The profound serenity of samadhi was upon his face.
Seated by the Master, she fanned his face until 2 p.m.
Vedic mantras were chanted. The Swamiji's body was carried in
procession to the banks of the Ganga and offered up to the flames. Cries of "Jai
Swamiji!" Swami Vevekanandaji Ki Jai!" rent the air and rose to the heavens.
The millions that had gathered at the cremation ground melted away in a
few minutes. The scene was all deserted. Nivedita sat there, all alone, with no thought of
her surroundings, with a faraway gaze.