Friday, October 2, 2009

Maharaja Ajit Singh of Khetri

Maharaja Ajit Singh Bahadur (1861-1901) was a ruler of the Indian princely state of Khetri between 1870-1901. He was a close friend and disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Ajit Singh is know for his monetary support he provided to Vivekananda, and encouraging him to speak at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago in 1893.
Swami Vivekananda and Ajit Singh had a very intimate and cordial relationship. Vivekananda first visited Ajit Singh as a wandering monk in 1891. As a state-guest, Swamiji spent two and a half months at Khetri. Influenced by Vivekananda's ideas, he became his disciple. Later when Vivekananda decided to sail to the West to talk at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago at 1893, Ajit Singh provided him the financial aid and got him the ticket for the ship to America from Bombay. It was under Ajit Singh's request, that Vivekananda assumed his monastic name.
Vivekananda wrote a stream of letters to Ajit Singh from the West, and later from India. Ajit singh is known for the financial support he provided for Vivekananda for his social service. On 17 December 1897, at Khetri, Swamiji said in a meeting that whatever little he had done for the uplift of India would not have been possible had he not met the Raja of Khetri. Again, he wrote in a letter to Munshi Jagmohanlal on 11 October 1897, "Certain men are born in certain periods to perform certain actions in combination. Ajit Singh and myself are two such souls—born to help each other in a big work for the good of mankind.… We are as supplement and complement."
In 1958, Ramakrishna Mission was started at the Palace of Khetri, which was donated by Raja Ajit Singh's grandson, Raja Bahadur Sardar Singh. The palatial building has been named as "Vivekananda Smriti Mandir", which houses marble statues of Raja Ajit Singh and Swami Vivekananda. The room at the topmost storey where Swamiji used to stay and had spiritual discourses with Raja Ajit Singhji, has been converted into a prayer room.

External links

Ref: Wikipedia

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