Sister Nivedita

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Margaret Elizabeth Noble
Spiritual Teacher
Advaita, Formless Spirituality, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
October 28, 1867
Place of Birth: 
Tyrone, Ireland
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
October 13, 1911
Other Related Gurus: 
Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore


Sister Nivedita, born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was an Anglo-Irish social worker, author, teacher and disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She met Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to India (Kolkata) in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning "Dedicated to God") when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on March 25 1898.

Early life

She was born on October 28, 1867. She was born in Ireland to Mary Isabel and Samuel Richmond Noble. Her father gave the valuable lesson that service to mankind is the true service to God. His words made a profound impression on her. She was very fond of music and art. After completing her education, she took up the job of a teacher and worked for a period of ten years from 1884 to 1894. She was gifted as a teacher.

Meeting Swami Vivekananda

She started taking interest in the teachings of Lord Buddha. It is during this time that she met Swami Vivekananda, who stressed that ignorance and selfishness pave the way for our sufferings. His principles and teachings influenced her and this brought about a visible change in her. Seeing the fire and passion in her, he could foresee her future role in India. She became the first Western woman to be received into an Indian monastic order.

Her Works

In November 1898 she started a school for girls who were deprived of even basic education. She took part in various altruistic activities. She worked to improve the lives of Indian women of all castes.

Nivedita was a good friend of many intellectuals and artists in the Bengali community, including the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. She was very close to eminent scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose and his wife Abala Bose, Abanindranath Tagore, and Okakura Kakuzo.

In fact, she is one of the inspirations for development of original art and paintings in India. Artist Nandalal Bose reminded this several times.

Later she would take up the cause of Indian independence. Sri Aurobindo was one of her friend as well. This deep relation with the independence movement compelled her to take the decision to break up the "official" linkage with the Ramakrishna Mission monastic order, so that British government cannot unnecessarily disturb the monastic order.

She knew and trusted Sri Anirvan well, leaving many extraordinarily valuable documents with him. When Shankari Prasad Basu Mahashay came to Anirvan asking about her life, he simply handed over these papers, carefully preserved.

Her identity as a western born and being a disciple of Swami Vivekananda enabled her to do several things that might have been difficult for other Indians. She promoted pan-Indian nationalist. She worked tirelessly serving the people and society at large. She died on October 13, 1911 at Darjeeling, India.

Here are Books written by Sister Nivedita:

* Kali the Mother.
* The Web of Indian Life.
* Cradle Tales of Hinduism.
* An Indian study of love and death.
* Select essays of Sister Nivedita.
* Studies from an Eastern Home.
* Myths of Hindus and Buddhists.
* Footfalls of Indian history.
* Religion and Dharma.
* Civic & national ideals.

Complete Works of Sister Nivedita

* Volume 1: The Master as I Saw Him; Notes of Some Wanderings; Kedar Nath and Bhadri Narayan; Kali the Mother.
* Volume 2: The Web of Indian Life; An Indian Study of Love and Death; Studies from an Eastern Home; Lectures and Articles.
* Volume 3: Indian Art; Cradle Tales of Hinduism; Religion and Dharma; Aggressive Hinduism.
* Volume 4: Footfalls of Indian History; Civic Ideal and Indian Nationality; Hints on National Education in India; Lambs Among Wolves.
* Volume 5: On Education; On Hindu Life, Thought and Religion; On Political, Economic and Social Problems; Biographical Sketches and Reviews.


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