Sister Nivedita is remembered in the
history of India as an Anglo-Irish social worker
and one of the greatest disciples of Swami
Vivekananda. She played an important role in the
Independence of India along with Swami
Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
She was born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble on October 28, 1867 at Dungannon in Ireland. She was the daughter of Samuel Richmond Noble and Mary Isabel. From her childhood she often used to visit the sick and the old people and read the Holy Bible to them. She was very fond of music and art. After finishing her studies, Margaret worked as a teacher for about ten years from 1884 to 1894.
Meeting Swami Vivekananda
Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in November 1895 in London, when Vivekananda was giving a lecture on Vedanta philosophy in the house of an aristocratic family. She was greatly influ-enced by his speeches and ideals and decided to become his disciple. She came to India in 1898 and resided in a house of the Ramakrishna Mission in Baghbazar, Calcutta. Swami Vivekananda held a public meeting at Star Theatre on March 11, 1898, to officially introduce Margaret to the people of Calcutta. Few days after reaching India, Nivedita met Sarada Devi, wife and spiritual companion of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, on March 17, 1898. Sarada Devi embraced her as "khooki", meaning "little girl" in Bengali. Nivedita considered this day as her "day of days". Swami Vivekananda formally introduced Margaret in the vow of Brahmacharya (lifelong celibacy) on 25 March 1898, and gave her the name "Nivedita", meaning 'dedicated one'. With this she became the first Western woman to enter into an Indian monastic order.
Works of Nivedita
Nivedita started a girls' school in the locality, and taught young girls, who in those days were prohibited from studying in a school. She devoted herself to several other social activities. Sister Nivedita joined nationalist activities with the blessings of Vivekananda. However, her actions created apprehension in the Ramakrishna Mission circle. Immediately after the death of Swami Vivekananda in 1902, Nivedita was asked to leave the Ramakrishna Mission.
During her tour of India she met Sri Aurobindo Ghosh at Baroda and convinced him to head the revolutionary and nationalist forces in Bengal. When Sri Aurobindo left for Pondicherry to escape from the British Intelligence Agency, Nivedita took over the work of editing his famous journal, "Karma Yogin", in his absence. She inspired many youths to join the India's freedom struggle.
Sister Nivedita passed away at the age of forty-four, following an attack of blood dysentery in October, 1911. Before her death she legally left her possessions to be used for her school by the Ramakrishna Mission.