They are so common that nobody gives a second thought to them. They are there everywhere-in parks, playgrounds, houses, malls, schools, hospitals and even in the most remote places.
However, not much attention is paid to them unless they have a history of their own or they have a tale to narrate.
They are the stone benches. These benches are designed in the most simple manner. There are plenty of them in and around
. But this one located in the Ramakrishna Matha in Bangalore is a special one. Bangalore
This is the very bench on which one of
’s greatest citizens, Swamy Vivekananda sat. India
The Ramakrishna Ashrama in Basavanagudi is at the
Bull Temple road and it is a well-known landmark of . However, what is not well-known is that the Ashrama houses some of the rare exhibits or artifacts such as the stone bench. Bangalore
The stone bench was not originally the property of the Ashrama. The bench was in Majestic locality n
till 1997 after which it came to the Ashrama. Bangalore
This is the story of the stone bench.
It was 1892 and
then comprised of the old petes and the Cantonment area. Majestic was developing then and the railway station was constructed there. Bangalore
Swamy Vivekananda had come to
Belgaum in 1982 and he arrived in Bangalore in December the same year from via Dharwad. He stayed in the Kalappa Choultry near Majestic for a few days. Belgaum
Kalappa Choultry in the 1890s was an alms house. Since he knew nobody in
, he decided to stay on in the choultry. However, soon after his arrival, he became infected with chicken pox. Bangalore
According to then Municipal laws, infections could only be treated by authorised doctors Since Dr. P. Palpu, the Municipal Medical
Officer, was available, he was called in.
When the doctor met the Swamy, it took him just a few minutes to relies that Vivekananda was no ordinary person or monk. He then persuaded the young monk to leave the alms house and stay with him in Majestic area.
Coincidentally, Dr Palpu, an acquaintance of K. Seshadri Iyer, the Dewan of Mysore State. When the doctor met the Dewan, he told him about the extraordinary monk.
The Dewan, whose curiosity was aroused, met the monk and even he came under the influence of Vivekananda. Very soon, the Dewan introduced the monk to the aristocracy and the intelligentsia of
. He affectionately called Vivekananda “Young Acharya”. Bangalore
The Dewan then decided to personally introduce Vivekananda to then Maharaja of Mysore, Chamarajendra Wodeyar. He then invited Vivekananda to visit
and be his guest. Mysore
By then, Vivekananda was cured of chicken pox and Dr. Palpu declared him fit to travel. Vivekananda travelled to
, stayed for some time at the Niranjana Matha near Mysore Narayana Shastri Road and then shifted to the Dewan’s house on Seethavilas Road. He then called on the Maharaja and confounded him with his knowledge and expertise on all subjects.
The Maharaja, himself a scholar, was moved to remark,“Such
brilliancy of thought, such charm of personality, such wide learning and such penetrating religious insight”.
It was at
Mysore that Vivekananda resolved to visit ad attend the World meet on Religions. He then left Chicago Mysore for Trivandrum and then to the . United States
Well, Vivekananda went to
where he gave a stirring speech on September 11, 1893. The world then woke up to the greatness of Vivekananda. Chicago too received news of Vivekananda’s greatness. It was only then that Sugappa, a jeweler of Majestic in India , decided to preserve a stone bench in front of his house. Bangalore
The bench was placed near the house of Sugappa adjacent to the Kalappa choultry and Sugappa had noticed a young and handsome person sitting n the bench for several days. It appeared to him that the person liked the bench. However, after a few days, he noticed that the handsome person had disappeared. He thought nothing of it and it was only when new of Vivekananda taking the West by storm reached
that the jeweler realized that the young and handsome person who so frequently sat on the bench was none other than Vivekananda. India
Sugappa and his descendents preserved the bench and in January 1997 they handed over the bench to the Ramakrishna Ashrama in
The ashrama decided to preserve the bench and its link to one of its most illustrious monks. On March 27, 2009, the bench along with a statue of Vivekananda was consecrated at a special function presided over by Swamy Bhaumananda, president, of the Pune branch of the Ramakrishna Matha.
The bench can still be seen today along with some other relics belonging to Sharada Devi.