Swami Vivekananda in Belgaum

Photo of author

swamiOn 15 Oct 1892 Swami Vivekananda came to Belgaum and he stayed in the house [photo] for 9 days. This is in the fort where the Ramkrishna ashrama is there.

Swamiji stayed here for 8 days
Swamiji stayed here for 8 days
It is surprising to imagine how this small house could accommodate the towering spiritual giant for 9 full days in 1892!
It is surprising to imagine how this small house could accommodate the towering spiritual giant for 9 full days in 1892!

At Belgaum, he was the guest of Prof. G.S. Bhate and Sub-divisional Forest officer, Haripada Mitra.

Ramakrishna Math and Mission have established a temple that can serve as a temple for spiritual and scientific progress of humanity. People who come within the radius of his influence will undoubtedly excel, be it in spiritual or scientific spheres.


In the first place, though he wore clothes bearing the familiar colour of a Sannyasin’s garments, he appeared to be dressed differently from the familiar brotherhood of Sannyasins. He used to wear a banyan. Instead of the danda he carried a long stick, something like a walking-stick. His kit consisted of the usual gourd, a pocket copy of the Gita,. We were not accustomed to see a Sannyasin using the English language as a medium of conversation, wearing a banyan instead of sitting bare-bodied, and showing versatility of intellect and variety of information which would have done credit to an accomplished man of the world

As regards food, when he was asked whether he was a vegetarian or a meat-eater, he said that as a man belonging not the ordinary order of Sannyasins but to the order of the Paramahamsas, he had no option in the matter. The Paramahamsa, by the rules of that order, was bound to eat whatever was offered, and in cases where nothing could be offered he had to go without food.

For a day or two after his arrival my father was busy in trying to take a measure of his guest. In that period he made up his mind that the guest was not only above the ordinary, but was an extraordinary personality. So he got a few of his personal friends together in order to fortify his own opinion of the Swami. What struck us most in the crowded gatherings, which began to be held every day after the presence of the Swami became known to all in Belgaum, was the unfailing good humor which the Swami preserved in his conversations and even heated arguments.

One day we had a rather amusing illustration of the Swami’s coolness in debate. There was at that time in Belgaum an Executive Engineer who was the best-informed man in our town; He was one of the not uncommon types among Hindus. But in his mental outlook he was not only a skeptic, but a very dogmatic adherent of what used to be then regarded as the scientific outlook. He almost appeared to argue in spite of his orthodox mode of life that there was practically no sanction for religion or belief in religion except that the people were for a long time accustomed to certain beliefs and practices. Holding these views he found the Swami rather an embarrassing opponent, because the Swami had larger experience, knew more philosophy and more science than this local luminary. Naturally, he more than once lost temper in argument and was discourteous, if not positively rude, to the Swami. So my father protested, but the Swami smilingly intervened and said that he did not feel in any way disturbed by the methods of show of temper on the part of this Executive Engineer. He said that in such circumstances the best method to adopt was the one adopted by horse-trainers. He said that when a trainer wants to break colts, he merely aims at first to get on their backs, and having secured a hold on the back, limits his exertions to keeping his seat. He lets the colts try their best to throw him off and in that attempt to exhaust their untrained energies; but when the colts have done their best and failed, then begins the real task of the trainer. He becomes the master, and soon makes the colts feel that he means to be the master; and then the course of training is comparatively smooth. He said that in debates and conversations this was the best method to adopt. Let your opponent try his best or worst, let him exhaust himself; and then when he has shown signs of fatigue, get control of him and make him do just whatever you wish him to do. In short, conviction rather than constraint or compulsion must be the aim of a man who wants something more than mere silence from an opponent. Willing consent on the part of the opponent must be the inevitable result of such a procedure.


1 thought on “Swami Vivekananda in Belgaum”

Leave a Comment