4th of July, 1902
The day America was celebrating it’s Independence Day. It was the day a great soul would pass away into Mahasamadhi. Swami Vivekananda, a spiritual genius of commanding intellect and power who crammed immense labor and achievement into his short life. He obtained Mahasamadhi at 9:10pm at the age of 39 years and 5 months. fulfilling his own prophecy “I shall not live to be 40 years old”.
Just 3 days before his Mahasamadhi, Swami pointed out to his disciple Swami Premananda, a particular spot on Belur Math grounds where he wished his body to be cremated and said “A great tapasya and meditation has come upon me, and I am making ready for death.”
Next day, Wednesday, he observed Ekadashi. After fasting, Swamiji had some fruits and vegetables, he poured water over hands & dried them with a towel. When his disciples protested he said ‘Jesus washed the feet of his disciples’, someone checked the answer & muttered ‘But that was the last time’… his words were left unuttered.
On the supreme day, Friday, Swamiji spent 3 hrs in formal meditation. Later he whispered, ‘If there were another Vivekananda, then he would have understood what this Vivekananda has done! And yet how many Vivekanandas shall be born in time!’ Swamiji asked his disciple Suddhananda to read a passage from the Yajurveda with the commentary of a well-known expositor. The Swami said that he did not agree with the commentator and exhorted the disciple to give a new interpretation of the Vedic texts.
He had his lunch with members of Math though he usually ate alone due to his illness. Then he taught Sanskrit grammer to the bramhacharis for 3 hrs. Later he walked for 2 miles with Swami Premamnanda within the Math grounds, discussing about a Vedic College setup in the Matha.On being asked ‘Why a Vedic college’, Swamiji replied “to kill superstition”.
On his return Swamiji enquired about each member of the Math, discussed with them on the Rise & Fall of Nations.
‘India is immortal, if she persists in her search for God, but if she goes in for politics & social conflict, she will die’, he said.
At 7 pm he went to his room & asked his attendant he was not to be disturbed. After an hour of Dhyana & Japa, he called his disciples to open all windows & fan his head. He laid down quietly. an hour later his hands trembled a little and he breathed heavily twice in a couple of minutes. His eyes became fixed in the centre of his eyebrows and with a divine expression the eternal silence fell.
‘There was,’ said a brother disciple of the Swamiji, ‘a little blood in his nostrils, about his mouth, and in his eyes.’ According to the Yoga scriptures, the life-breath of an illumined yogi passes out through the opening on the top of the head, causing the blood to flow in the nostrils and the mouth. The brother disciples thought that he might have fallen into samadhi, and chanted the Master’s name to bring back his consciousness. But he remained on his back motionless.The doctors were sent for & after a thorough examination the doctor opined ‘life was only suspended’ and artificial respiration was tried. At midnight he was pronounced dead by apoplexy or sudden failure of the heart.
The moment was there that had been foretold by his Master from the beginning. at 9:10pm on the wings of that meditation, his spirit soared whence there could be no return, and the body was left, like a folded vestiture, on the earth. This is the Nirvikalpa Samadhi that his guru Ramakrishna Paramahansa told him about… “This is your mango, Look! I lock it in my box. You shall taste it once more, when your work in finished.” and he waited for he knew that his time was near for he said this.
For centuries to come people everywhere will be inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s message,’O man! first realize that you are one with Brahman- aham Brahmasmi & then realize that the whole universe is verily the same Brahman — Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma.’