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The Master as I Saw Him • Margaret Elizabeth Noble | Discovery Publisher
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Swami Vivekananda
The Master as I Saw Him

This is such a precious and important book. I just finished reading it for the second time, and I'm sure I will read it again. It is an incredibly humble but intelligent description of Swami Vivekanada's life through the eyes of a close disciple.

Swami Vivekananda: The Master as I Saw Him



The Master as I Saw Him is a humble and intelligent description of Swami Vivekanada’s life through the eyes of a close disciple, Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble).

  • The Master as I Saw Him is famous for its chronicling of intense spiritual experiences. Among the many gripping anecdotes that occur in this book are: Lord Buddha manifesting before Vivekananda as he sat meditating in his room; the bestowing of the boon of “death at will” by Lord Shiva; his hearing of the divine voice of ‘the Mother’; his experience of Samadhi; the Swami’s vision of an ancient Rishi chanting Sanskrit mantras in an ancient long-forgotten rhythm; and, his encounter with distressed spirits who had committed suicide.
  • The Master as I Saw Him is now considered to be a classic text.
The Master as I Saw Him: Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble)
The Master as I Saw Him: Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble)


Table of Contents

The Master as I Saw Him

A Word to Western Readers

The Master as I Saw Him

Chapter I: In London, 1895

Chapter II: The Swami Vivekananda in London — 1896

Chapter III: The Conflict of Ideals

Chapter IV: The Swami Vivekananda and the Order of Ramakrishna

Chapter V: Wanderings in Northern India

Chapter VI: The Awakener of Souls

Chapter VII: Flashes from the Beacon-Fire

Chapter VIII: Amarnath

Chapter IX: Kshir Bhowani

Chapter X: Calcutta and the Holy Women

Chapter XI: The Swami and Mother-Worship

Chapter XII: Half-Way Across the World

Chapter XIII: Glimpses of the Saints

Chapter XIV: Past and Future in India

Chapter XIV: On Hinduism

Chapter XVI: Glimpses in the West

Chapter XVII: The Swami’s Mission Considered as a Whole

Chapter XVIII: The Swami Vivekananda and His Attitude to Buddha

Chapter XIX: The Swami’s Estimate of Historic Christianity

Chapter XX: Woman and the People

Chapter XXI: His Method of Training a Western Worker

Chapter XXII: Monasticism and Marriage

Chapter XXIII: Our Master’s Relation to “Psychic Phenomena”

Chapter XXIV: Super-Consciousness

Chapter XXV: The Swami’s Teaching About Death

Chapter XXVI: The Passing of the Swami

Chapter XXVII: The End


Appendix A, to Chapter I

Notes of a Lecture Delivered in London

Appendix B, to Chapter I

Notes of a Lecture Delivered in London

Appendix C, to Chapter XVI

Notes of Lectures Delivered at the Vedanta Society

The Unity

What Is Religion?

Appendix D

The Worship of The Divine Mother

Fragmentary Notes, Taken by Miss Waldo

About the Author

A Word to Western Readers

A Word to Western Readers


From the close of the era of the Buddhist Missions, until the day when, as a yellow-clad Sannyasin, the Swami Vivekananda stood on the platform of the Parliament of Religions in the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, Hinduism had not thought of herself as a missionary faith.


Her professional teachers, the Brahmins, being citizens and householders, formed a part of Hindu society itself and as such were held to be debarred from crossing the seas. And her wandering Sadhus, — who are, in the highest cases, as much above the born Brahmin in authority, as saint or incarnation may be above priest or scholar, — had simply not thought of putting their freedom to such use.


Nor did the Swami Vivekananda appear at the doors of Chicago with any credentials. He had been sent across the Pacific Ocean, as he might have wandered from one Indian village to another, by the eagerness and faith of a few disciples in Madras. And with American hospitality and frankness he was welcomed, and accorded an opportunity of speaking.


In his case, as in that of the Buddhist missionaries, the impelling force that drove him out to foreign lands was the great personality of One at whose feet he had sat, and whose life he had shared, for many years. Yet, in the West, he spoke of no personal teacher; he gave the message of no limited sect. “The religious ideas of the Hindus” were his theme at Chicago; and similarly, thereafter, it was those elements which were common to, and characteristic of, orthodox Hinduism in all its parts, that formed the burden of his teaching. Thus, for the first time in history, Hinduism itself formed the subject of the generalisations of a Hindu mind of the highest order.


The Swami remained in America until August of the year 1895, when he came to Europe for the first time. In September he found his way to England, and a month or so later, he began teaching in London.


Editor’s Comments


“This is such a precious and important book. I just finished reading it for the second time, and I’m sure I will read it again. It is an incredibly humble but intelligent description of Swami Vivekanada’s life through the eyes of a close disciple.
I found myself almost wishing Sister Nivedita had not been so humble in her writing, as I wanted to know more about her own struggles and victories, but of course that very humility is one of her greatest strengths, and she has achieved exactly what the title promises: Swami Vivekananda as she saw him. She herself is all but transparent while relating what she has learnt and what she remembers. Her Victorian use of language is delightfully precise.
It has enough Western interpretation to make it relatable to a Western reader, but without losing the intensity or freshness of this remarkable life – a life instrumental in bringing Indian spiritual traditions to the West. It gives fascinating insights, not only into what it was like to be with Swami Vivekananda in person, but also insights into his teachings. It is moving and often breath-taking, without at any point being sentimental.” ——Sumangali Morhall


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Swami Vivekananda (January 1863 — July 1902), born Narendranath Dutta was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansa and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the “Western” World, mainly in America and Europe and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the end of the 19th century Vivekananda is considered to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America”, through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893.