Swami Vivekananda in Alameda

Charles Neilson1900-04

Vivekananda House

Vivekananda House
Chennai, India

“Charles Neilson was another Alameda friend whom Swamiji visited. It is indeed to him that we owe what many feel to be one of the most beautiful, ‘speaking’ photographs of Swamiji that we possess. Among Mr. Allan’s papers one finds an account of the circumstances under which it was taken. ‘Swamiji with a party of friends,’ Mr. Allan wrote, ‘was invited to lunch at the home of Mr. Charles Neilson. After lunch they adjourned to the garden, and Swamiji stretched out on the lawn. ‘Mr. Neilson, wishing to take a picture of Swamiji, asked him to pose. Swamiji being indifferent about having his picture taken was loath to get up. ‘Mrs. Emily Aspinall, one of the party, said, ‘Swami, Mr. Neilson wants to take your picture, why not let him?’ Swamiji then stood up in front of the summer house and Mr. Neilson took the picture, and that is how Swamiji has the flowers [actually a vine-covered lattice] for a background.’ . . . “It can be added to Mr. Allan’s account that Mr. Neilson took two pictures of Swamiji, the first [100] of which has not been generally known; it shows him looking not at all pleased.” 33 ❊ ❊ ❊ A single sentence revealed his transcendental mode of consciousness, when in reply to Mr. Allan’s jovial greeting—“Well, Swami, I see you are in Alameda!”—he had gravely said, “Mr. Allan, I am not in Alameda; Alameda is in me.” (ND [l987] 6:136)


  • Title: Swami Vivekananda in Alameda
  • Creator: Charles Neilson
  • Date Created: 1900-04
  • Location: Alameda, California
  • Subject Keywords: Swami Vivekananda, Swamiji in Alameda, Charles Neilson
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Rights: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Accession ID: Photograph 100

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