On 7th of August 2017.
Swami Vivekananda’s Second Visit
The Ramakrishna Movement can be said to have really come to Sri Lanka when its founder-leader Swami Vivekananda, landed in Colombo in January, 1897 on his way back to India from the West. He was no more an unknown monk. This time, he landed on the soil of Sri Lanka as a world celebrity and as a prophet of a new order of things. The Hindu Community of Sri Lanka had all along noted with keen interest and pride the signal success achieved by the Swami in spreading the message of the Hindu faith in the West at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in the City of Chicago in September, 1893. Some of the more popular local dailies had carried the news of the ‘arrival of the Hindu sage’ in Colombo by the ‘Prinz Regent Luitpold’ on the 15th of January, 1897. This was enough to rouse the enthusiasm of the local Hindu Community to instant activity. A large number of Hindus assembled at the Tambyah Chatram to consider the steps to be taken for the purpose. To meet the expenses a subscription list was started and a sum of about Rs. 800/- was collected on the spot.2
Arrival of Swami Shivananda
In the early part of July, 1897, a middle-aged ochre-clad sannyasin from far-off Calcutta, India, landed at the Colombo Port. Many prominent Hindus of Colombo were ready at hand with flowers and garlands, expecting eagerly the arrival of the Swami. The Swami was received, on landing, with oriental greetings and respects due to a sage, and was conducted to Thambyah Chatram where he was to stay for the next seven or eight months, spreading the message of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Shivananda, for that was the name of the apostle, was one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and brother-disciple of Swami Vivekananda at whose behest he had come to the Island to continue the work of propagating the Master’s Message. He carried with him a letter of introduction from Swami Vivekananda to Mr. T. ARRIVAL OF SWAMI SHIVANANDA 133 Sokanathan of Colombo who had the unique privilege of hosting the great Swami when he had earlier visited the Island on his triumphal return to his Motherland from the West. The letter read as follows: ... ALMORA, 30th June, 1897. To, T. SOKANATHAN, Esqr, My dear friend, The bearer of this note, Swami Shivananda, is sent to Ceylon as promised by me during my sojourn. He is quite fit for the work entrusted to his care, of course with your kind help. I hope you will introduce him to other Ceylon Friends. Yours ever in the Lord Vivekananda