In one of his discourses on Attainment of Siddhis, Swamiji recalled an incident from the life of Dayananda Saraswati to give us an idea of what he meant by “Mann ki nirmalta” (purity of mind). It was a touching incident. Dayananda Saraswati’s pure state of mind in spite of the unbearable pain and betrayal he had faced reminded me of another true story in the life of another great man, Thomas Carlyle, that I read almost a decade ago when I was just 14. This story has stayed with me ever since I read it. Before sharing it, let me write a few lines about the man himself.
Thomas Carlyle was born in 1795 at a small village in Scotland. Although he is popularly known as a Scottish Historian today, Carlyle was a polymath. He made significant contributions in the fields of History, Satirical Writing, Mathematics, Philosophy. He was also an essayist and a teacher. The incident that I want to share today took place in the 1830s when Carlyle was still a budding historian and writer.
Five years after his marriage, in 1831, Carlyle and his family moved to London. Here he became a member of a literary circle that included many intellectuals including the famous essayist John Stuart Mill. Carlyle had been thinking about writing a book on French Revolution for a long time. Finally he started writing with a vision to give a detailed account of the revolution in three volumes. After finishing the first volume, he gave it to his friend John Mill for proofreading. One day, in the absence of Mill, Mill’s careless household maid mistook this manuscript for trash and burnt it down. Just imagine! Years of planning and hard work being burnt down to ashes in a few minutes!! What would you have done if you were in place of Carlyle? I am not sure about you, but I would certainly have gone mad and may have revenged it too.
Before knowing how Carlyle reacted, let us remember what Swamiji said after he finished narrating the incident of Dayanada Sarawsati. Swamiji asked us, “If a person’s mind is so pure (like Dayananda Saraswati’s), will Nature not empower him/her with extraordinary capabilities and siddhis in every situation?” It surely will! And that is what happened to Carlyle too. After he came to know that his years of hardwork was destroyed by an ingnorant housemaid, he smilingly told his friend Mill that he’ll now get an opportunity to re-write the whole thing in a better way!! His calmness surprised his friend too. Will such purity and innocence go unnoticed in Nature’s eyes? Never! Not only did he re-write that volume, he also wrote two more volumes and published them as The French Revolution: A History in 1837. It immediately established Carlyle’s reputation as an important 19th century intellectual and the book is still regarded as one of the best accounts of the revolution till date.
No matter what the circumstances are, a pure mind can produce miracles. And it often does. 🙂