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Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Society, Spirituality, TG Roundup

Mary Tappan Letter about Swami Vivekananda

Mary Tappan Wright who was a novelist in 1900’s wrote a letter to her mother about Swami Vivekananda. It is not an exaggeration to say Swami Vivekananda conquered the United States spiritually. He taught spiritual things to the Foreigners while back home he wanted young males to stop reading sacred texts and sacrifice for the country by doing work. He is one of the best role models for the youth, even today.

August 29, 1893
Annisquam, Mass.

My dear Mother:

We have been having a queer time. Kate Sanborn had a Hindoo monk in tow, as I believe I mentioned in my last letter. John went down to meet him in Boston and missing him, invited him up here. He came Friday in a long saffron robe that caused universal amazement. He was a most gorgeous vision. He had a superb carriage of the head, was very handsome in an oriental way, about thirty years old in time, ages in civilization. He stayed until Monday and was one of the most interesting people I have yet come across. We talked all day all night and began again with interest the next morning. The town was in a fume to see him; the boarders at Miss Lane’s in wild excitement. They were in and out of the Lodge (the Wright’s cottage] constantly and little Mrs. Merrill’s eyes were blazing and her cheeks red with excitement. Chiefly we talked religion. It was a kind of revival; I have not felt so wrought up for a long time myself! Then on Sunday John had him invited to speak in the church and they took up a collection for a Heathen college to be carried on strictly heathen principles-whereupon I retired to my corner and laughed until I cried.

He is an educated gentleman, knows as much as anybody. Has been a monk since he was eighteen. Their vows are very much our vows, or rather the vows of a Christian monk. Only Poverty with them means poverty. They have no monastery, no property, they cannot even beg; but they sit and wait until alms are given them. Then they sit and teach people. For days they talk and dispute. He is wonderfully clever and clear in putting his arguments and laying his trains (of thought) to a conclusion. You can’t trip him up, nor get ahead of him. I have a lot of notes I made as stuff for a possible story -at any rate as something very interesting for future reference. We may see hundreds of Hindoo monks in our lives-and we may not.


  1. Fascinating. I will post the WJ magazine article later.