By the time he arrived in India, Swamiji's fame had spread far and
wide. When he landed in Colombo on 15th January 1897,he was accorded a welcome
that befitted and Emperor. When he reached Madras there was an unprecedented crowd at the
railway station. He was carried in procession in a coach drawn by an admiring crowd.
Innumerable addresses and garlands were presented to him.
Thereafter, wherever Swamiji went, he disseminated the message of his master. To those
who came to him for guidance he taught the importance of spiritual development. To his
fellow monks he explained the importance of dedicated service. He repeatedly told them
that it was mere selfishness to look for personal salvation. He used to say, "I do
not want salvation, as long as there is a single sorrow-stricken man in India." He
had realized that social service was possible only through the concerted efforts on an
organized mission. That is why he started Sri Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 and formulated
its ideology and goal. During the next two years he bought a site at Belur on the banks of
the Ganga, constructed the buildings and established the Ramakrishna Mutt.
The body is no more, but the voice is deathless. Swamiji's health was constantly eroded
owing to tireless work. He visited many hill resorts in the Himalayas. But even there his
missionary work continued. He visited many cities in North India in response to public
demand. He visited America again at the invitation of his American disciples. He
participated in the Conference of Religions n Paris and returned home.
In spite of the entreaties of his disciples he would not rest. He became more inward
looking. The body grew weak, but the mind and the soul remained alert and active.
On 4th July 1902 he performed his daily routine. He taught his disciples as
usual. He rested for a while after food; after some time he had a shock. He spent a
pleasant time talking to his followers and even cracking jokes. That night at nine 'o'
clock he looked tired and his hands were trembling. He cried and sat up. He breathed a
deep sigh and went to sleep. Within a short while he attained eternal bliss. His disciples
and fellow-teachers felt orphaned and cried like children.
Although Swamiji is no longer with us, his words live. His message has continued to
inspire millions of his countrymen. His voice can comfort the suffering and sanctify their
Listen again: "You rejoice that you belong to the race of the great sages. But
until those who belong to the upper classes help to uplift the downtrodden, and until
exploitation ends, India will only be a grave. May Mother India step forth anew from the
humble dwelling of the peasant! May she appear in the hut of the fisherman! May she step
forth from the cottages of the cobbler and the sweeper! May she become manifest in godowns
and factories! May the song of New India echo and reverberate amidst mountains and in
forests and valleys!"