Swami Vivekananda’s Connection With Mumbai

Ramdas Chabildas Bungalow

Bungalow of Barrister Ramdas Chabildas

Remembering Swami Vivekananda on his 155th Birth anniversary. Born on 12th January 1863 in affluent family in Calcutta (Now Kolkatta). Here is a brief information about his connection with Bombay (Mumbai).

Swami Vivekananda began his journey to America from Bombay on 31 May 1893, to represent India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Before that Swamiji came to Bombay in the last week of July 1892. Here he came to meet Ramdas Chabildas, the first barrister in India and a sanskrit scholar. Swamiji stayed for 2 months in Ramdas Chabildas’s bungalow located at Dorab Shaw Lane, Napeansea Road, Mumbai. The house is a three storeyed building, known as Samudra Villa. The bungalow still exists in extremely dilapidated condition.

Swami Vivekananda’s Deep Interest in Kanheri Caves
Swamiji also visited wealthy businessman Chabildas Lalubhai father of Ramdas Chabildas in his bungalow at Borivali. In 1892 there were trains plying between Colaba and Andheri. It is presumed that Swamiji along with Ramdas Chabildas and Chabildas Lalubhai, may have taken the train from Grant Road (which is nearer to their bungalow) to Andheri and then proceeded to Borivili by horse carriage.

They all also visited Kanheri Caves being near from the bungalow. Swamiji was very fascinated to explore the caves having rockcut architecture, massive pillars, sculpture and stupa. the Chaitya hall in Cave 3 and the assembly hall in Cave 10 gave him the idea that the natmandir (prayer hall) of the future Ramakrishna temple should have such a design concept. Swami Vijnananandaji incorporated this and other ideas of Swamiji in his drawings and plan of the Ramakrishna temple at Belur Math, which was completed in 1938. So it is reasonable to presume that Swamiji might have returned to the caves more than once to study them in depth, because all their details do not lend themselves to serious study in a single visit.

Ramdas Chabildas and Chabildas Lalubhai also accompanied Swami Vivekananda’s journey to Japan and then to Chicago and Boston.

The above article is transcript from original article by Swami Shuddharupananda which appeared in Prabuddha Bharata – January 2005. Read full article here

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