Mrs. Charlotte Sevier, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda
|Died||1930 (aged 82–83)|
|Occupation||Disciple of Swami Vivekananda|
|Spouse(s)||James Henry Sevier|
Charlotte Sevier (1847–1930), also known as Mrs. Sevier, was a direct disciple of Swami Vivekananda and was British in origin. She, together with her husband Captain James Henry Sevier, established the Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati, a branch of the Ramakrishna Order, in the Himalayas.
Meeting Swami Vivekananda
James Henry Sevier was a non commissioned officer in the British army. Both he and his wife Charlotte Elizabeth Sevier had been seekers of spiritual knowledge. In the course of his second visit to London, Swami Vivekananda delivered several lectures and also participated in private parlors. The Sevier couple had attended the lectures and was attracted by the philosophy, esp. his dissertations on Advaita Vedanta, the non dual aspects of Vedanta of Sankaracharya. The very first time they met the Swami in private, the latteer addressed Mrs. Sevier as "mother" and appealed to her to come to India, where he promised that he would give them the best of his realizations. The husband and wife both decided to become disciples of Swami Vivekananda and follow him to India. In 1896, the Seviers accompanied Swami Vivekananda to his travels in the continent of Europe, through Switzerland, Italy and Germany, esp. in the Alps. Seviers had arranged for the trip in order to enable the Swami to take some rest. In Alps Swami Vivekananda had expressed his desire to have a monastery in the Himalayas, an ideal which became a mission with the Seviers. Seviers accompanied the Swami when the latter returned to India, after selling all their properties in England. They stayed in Almora in the Himalayas. Swami Vivekananda visited Mayavati on hearing the news of the demise of Captain Sevier from 3 to 18 January 1901.
Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati
In 1898, The Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India magazine which was published by the madras disciples at the behest of Swami Vivekananda, faced a crisis. Swami Vivekananda then entrusted the Seviers to look after the publication of this magazine and he provided his disciple Swami Swarupananda to be the editor. Along with Swami Swarupananda, the Seviers made a tour of the Almora district and came across the estate of Mayavati at an elevation of 6000 to 7000 ft with its enchanting views of the Himalayan hills and valleys. There the Seviers established the Advaita Ashrama, the first monastic branch of the Ramakrishna Order in the Himalayas, dedicated to the contemplation of THE ONENESS OF ALL BEINGS. After establishing the monastery from where they started publishing the magazine again, the Seviers led an austere life together with four monks. Captain Sevier died on 28 October 1900 after suffering from urinary infection. Mrs. Sevier continued to live in Mayavati Ashrama. Many eminent persons visited the Advaita Ashrama. The list included Sister Nivedita, Sister Christine, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and his wife Lady Abala Bose, Chittaranjan Das, Nandalal Bose, Gertrude Emerson Sen, Josephine MacLeod, and Marie Louise Burke among others.
Apart from establishing the Advaita Ashrama, Mrs. Sevier also looked after the day-to-day running. She also assisted in the editing of the Prabuddha Bharat magazine and contributed towards compilation and editing of the Life of Swami Vivekananda by Eastern and Western Disciples. She also contributed in compiling the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda.
Mrs. Sevier also purchased land for Vivekananda Ashrama at Shyamla Tal.
She contributed towards the "Vivekananda Memorial Temple Fund" to build a temple at the site of Swami Vivekananda's cremation.
- Advaita Ashrama-Seviers
- Virajananda, Swami (1947). Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples. Mayavati: Advaita Ashrama. p. 432. ISBN 9788180902253.
- "Photo of Mayavati". Vivekananda.net.
- Badrinath, Chaturvedi (2006). swami Vivekananda the Living Vedanta. new Delhi: Penguin India. ISBN 9780143062097.
- Mother of Mayavati: The Story of Charlotte Sevier and Advaita Ashrama, By Amrita M. Salm, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, 2013