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Swami Vivekananda group photo at California

1900-01

Vivekananda House

Vivekananda House
Chennai, India

Swami Vivekananda in center; on his right, a Mrs. Bruce; behind him, Carrie Wyckoff; on his left, Alice Hansbrough. The others are unknown. 16 In Vivekananda: A Biography in Pictures, some of the other picnickers are identified. As the source of these identifications cannot be verified, these people have not been listed. The two Pasadena picnic photos (nos. 87 and 89) were taken on the hill above the Meads’ house. This hill is now known as “Monterey Hill.” Mrs. Hansbrough mentioned the picnics that Swamiji and others used to have on this hill. “It seems as if there were always something going on. This was always true on Sunday mornings. But during the week, if he did not have a formal meeting somewhere, we would often go for a picnic lunch to the top of a hill about four city blocks’ distance from our house. You have seen that photo of Swamiji in a picnic group; that was taken on top of that hill. We would make up a party of people who were attending his meetings more or less regularly—or Swami would even hold some of his smaller class groups there. Naturally the talk was always on spiritual subjects.” 17 Sister Gargi gives a colorful description of the hilltop picnic pictured here: “In this photograph, Swamiji is sitting cross-legged at what might be called the head of the picnic cloth; on his left sits Mrs. Hansbrough (identified by her daughter, Mrs. Cohn); behind him stands Mrs. Wyckoff; and on his right, a Mrs. Bruce ( also identified by Mrs. Cohn). On either side one can see two or three of the guests—ladies with the long skirts, tight bodices, leg-of-mutton sleeves, and overburdened hats of the period. The photograph was taken at a relaxed moment; two of the women talk together, and Swamiji appears to be reading with amusement a scrap of paper, about the size of a fortune from a Chinese cookie, while Mrs. Bruce reads over his shoulder. To judge from the absence of coats, shawls, or wraps, the weather was pleasant, as it was almost every day that winter.” 18 ❊ ❊ ❊ Just as your ideal is, so shall you be. If your ideal is mortal, if your ideal is of this earth, so shalt thou be. If your ideal is matter, matter shalt thou be. Behold! Our ideal is the Spirit. That alone exists, nothing else exists; and like Him, we live forever. (CW [l977] 8:72)

Details

  • Title: Swami Vivekananda group photo at California
  • Date Created: 1900-01
  • Location: South Pasadena, California
  • Subject Keywords: Swami Vivekananda, Swami Vivekananda in California, Swami Vivekananda with devotes in California
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Rights: Sri Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Accession ID: Photograph 87

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