The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 8/Epistles - Fourth Series/CLVI Mary
To Miss Mary Hale
20th February, 1900.
MY DEAR MARY,
Your letter bearing the sad news of Mr. Hale's passing away reached me
yesterday. I am sorry, because in spite of monastic training, the heart
lives on; and then Mr. Hale was one of the best souls I met in life. Of
course you are sorry, miserable, and so are Mother Church and Harriet and
the rest, especially as this is the first grief of its kind you have met, is
it not? I have lost many, suffered much, and the most curious cause of
suffering when somebody goes off is the feeling that I was not good enough
to that person. When my father died, it was a pang for months, and I had
been so disobedient. You have been very dutiful; if you feel anything like
that, it is only a form of sorrow.
Just now I am afraid life begins for you, Mary, in earnest. We may read
books, hear lectures, and talk miles, but experience is the one teacher, the
one eye-opener. It is best as it is. We learn, through smiles and tears we
learn. We don't know why, but we see it is so; and that is enough. Of course
Mother Church has the solace of her religion. I wish we could all dream
undisturbed good dreams.
You have had shelter all your life. I was in the glare, burning and panting
all the time. Now for a moment you have caught a glimpse of the other side.
My life is made up of continuous blows like that, and hundred times worse,
because of poverty, treachery, and my own foolishness! Pessimism! You will
understand it, how it comes. Well, well, what shall I say to you, Mary? You
know all the talks; only I say this and it is true — if it were possible to
exchange grief, and had I a cheerful mind, I would exchange mine for your
grief ever and always. Mother knows best.
Your ever faithful brother,