Margaret Elizabeth Noble 28 October 1867 – 13 October 1911) was a Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She spent her childhood and early days of her youth in Ireland. From her father, from her college professor etc. she learned many valuable lessons like – service to mankind is the true service to God. She worked as school teacher and later also opened a school. She was committed to marry a Welsh youth who died soon after engagement.
Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London and traveled to Calcutta, India (present-day Kolkata) in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning “Dedicated to God”) when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on 25 March 1898. In November 1898, she opened a girls’ school in Bagbazar area of Calcutta. She wanted to educate those girls who were deprived of even basic education. During the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899 Nivedita nursed and took care of the poor patients.
Nivedita had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. However, because of her active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism, she had to publicly dissociate herself from the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission under the then president Swami Brahmananda. She was very active in the independence movement and worked closely with Sri Aurobindo on his revolutionary journal, the Karmayogin, and at his request she became its editor when he withdrew to Pondicherry. She died on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads, “Here reposes Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India”.
Nivedita wrote in 1904 to a friend about her decision to follow swami Vivekananada as a result of her meeting him in England in November 1895:
Suppose he had not come to London that time! Life would have been like a headless dream, for I always knew that I was waiting for something. I always said that a call would come. And it did. But if I had known more of life, I doubt whether, when the time came, I should certainly have recognized it.
Fortunately, I knew little and was spared that torture….Always I had this burning voice within, but nothing to utter. How often and often I sat down, pen in hand, to speak, and there was no speech! And now there is no end to it! As surely I am fitted to my world, so surely is my world in need of me, waiting — ready. The arrow has found its place in the bow. But if he had not come! If he had meditated, on the Himalayan peaks!…I, for one, had never been here.
Other books by Sister Nivedita:
- THE WEB OF INDIAN LIFE
- CRADLE TALES OF HINDUISM
- KALI THE MOTHER
- LOVE AND DEATH
The Master as I Saw Him