New York City

If the applause of his listeners aboard the RMS Umbria humbled Mozoomdar, the sight of New York once again inspired him to eloquence. Describing the harbor as “one of the most picturesque in the world,” Mozoomdar wrote of forested islands, the to-and-fro of ferries and barges, and “the mass of buildings, some of them fifteen stories high,” which gleamed against the cobalt sky.Note: 51Ibid, 51-52. His stay in New York City, however, was brief.

Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, 1904,
Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, 1904, Public domain image.

On Sunday, September 3, he lectured for the congregation of the late Henry Ward Beecher, acclaimed preacher and abolitionist, who had died six years earlier. According to newspaper reports, Mozoomdar began his sermon with a reference to his 1883 visit, during which he had met Beecher himself. He then proceeded along a familiar refrain: “Do you want to know the profound thoughts in the mind of the Infinite? Look out before you on the face of nature, where on his right hand hath he scribed himself.” Note: 52“A Hindu in Plymouth Church,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 4, 1893, 7. PCM’s call for a turn toward nature would feature prominently in his parliament addresses as well. He thought that westerners in general, and Americans in particular, remained too occupied with labor and industry to see the spirit of God. In fact, he saw confirmation of this in the chalky complexions of New Yorkers, which he attributed to “overwork on the part of men, and metaphysics on the part of young ladies.” Note: 53Mozoomdar, “On the Way to Chicago,” 52. Following his own advice, he left the following day – Labor Day – to enjoy the view of Niagara Falls before proceeding to Chicago.

  1. Ibid, 51-52.
  2. “A Hindu in Plymouth Church,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 4, 1893, 7.
  3. Mozoomdar, “On the Way to Chicago,” 52.