Vivekananda’s Light House,
Wellesley Island,
Thousand Island Park, New York

One of the many places of Prayer in Upstate NY.

In summer of 1893 Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga and vendanta to the west when he addressed the World’s Parliament of Religions at the Chicago World’s Fair(Click to Hear Speech). His “sisters and brothers” introduction instead of ladies and gentlemen led to a two minute standing ovation and a star was born. For the next four years he would travel around the western world teaching seminars and educating people about Hinduism and the universality of all religions.

In the summer of 1895 he came to the Thousand Islands Park on Wellesley Island on the St. Lawrence Seaway to teach for seven weeks. Vivekananda was the most noted devotee of Sri Ramakrishna who advocated the universality of religions and the necessity to experience God first hand so that one could learn about God. He felt that all paths led to God and one just needed to select one and follow it. Ramakrishna is credited by many for reviving Hinduism in the 19th century and is considered by many of his devotees as being an avatar, or incarnation of God. Both Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were mystics in the truest sense of the word.

Miss Elizabeth Dutcher’s (a student) cottage where Swami Vivekananda spent the seven weeks was acquired by the Ramakrishna—Vivekananda Center of NY in 1946. The cottage is surrounded by several divine aspects of Mother Earth’s soul and contains numerous fields of consciousness. The prayers and meditations of the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, who spend the summer months there, have kept it a bright beacon of God’s light and love. The cottage provides a unique opportunity for people living in the NY’s North Country and Canada’s Ontario a chance for a soulful connection.

Epiphany and Transformation

Swami Nikhilananda founder of the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center in his book Vivekananda a Biography (1953) said that Swami Vivekananda’s stay in Thousand Islands proved to be a “momentous period in his life” (page 97). Swami Vivekananda admitted that he was at this best there and the ideas developed there blossomed into institutions and movements both in India and the USA (page 101):

“One cannot be but amazed at the manifestation of Swami Vivekananda’s spiritual powers at the Thousand Islands.” (Page 102)
“Thus one sees him at the Thousand Island Park reading the inmost soul of his followers before giving him initiation and foretelling their careers.”(Page 102)
“At that time he experienced the power of changing a person’s life by a touch, or clearly seeing things happening at a great distance.” Page 103

The transformation and epiphany that Swami Vivekananda experienced at the fields of consciousness on Wellesley Island have been experienced by others visiting Mother Earth’s soul. Clara Barton came to recuperate in Dansville, NY after the civil war and headed off after a few weeks to start the Red Cross saying how her stay in Dansville (where the house she stayed sits on several stacked fields) was life changing. Grandison Finney, a lawyer by training, went into the woods one day in 1821 north of Adams, NY and the next day left the legal profession to become a minister and eventually helped launch the evangelical movement and America’s second great awakening. Similarly, Trappist monk Thomas Merton came to Olean, NY and decided to begin a monastic life.

The transformation of the countless great souls that found purpose and inspiration in Mother Earth’s soul is impossible to document. What we do know is that people like leaders in the women’s movement (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage), the Underground Railroad (Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, Jeremy Loguen) and Gerrit Smith, William Johnson, Joseph Smith, Annie Smith and many more either lived on or close to fields of consciousness. The purpose of Mother Earth Prayers is to similarly call people to greatness by having them pray in fields of consciousness.

Experiencing the Vivekananda Cottage

There is multitude of opportunities to raise your consciousness, connect with the divine, improve your meditative abilities and to give mother earth your love and help humanity at the Vivekananda cottage. The house is surrounded by numerous fields of consciousness and prayerful places. Choose a place you like and meditate or pray there. Make sure to bring a cushion to sit on because the house is situated on rock outcroppings.

On the driveway side (north) of the house is a single field that runs at angle beginning outside of the back of the house to the driveway in front of the house.

In front of the house is large flat boulder you can sit and meditate. (See picture at top.) It has got a great feel, or vibe to it (positive geographic samskara) because lots of people have meditated there. It has some partial views of the islands and its westerly face offers a chance for some afternoon sun. Its southwest corner where two spirit lines (ley lines) intersect is particularly potent.

On the south side of the house there are numerous stacked fields. Beginning at the end of the walkway on the east side( to your left if your back is to the house) are two fields. Beginning at the end of the walkway going west is a stacked field of consciousness (3) with three fields placed upon each other. The stacked field offers a great chance to feel consciousness, so find a place to put your cushion down and meditate.

In the back of the house (east) there are several large boulders close to the ground where people have meditated providing strong meditation samskaras that will help uplift you. There is a small circular area surrounded by boulders two to three feet high with an opening facing the house. Within that circle is a naturally formed vortex of Cosmic Prana. (see picture on left above)

I call it Cosmic Prana, or Prana(the life force that sustains us) with a capital P, because it has a higher component of consciousness than ordinary prana. It is not absorbed through our breath or through subtle body but through our bindu chakra in the back of our head. It is closer to the divine rather than the material world ( prakriti) that we associate with prana.

A vortex of prana, particularly Cosmic Prana, is an indication of the divine nature of the surroundings of the Vivekananda cottage. I expect that this divine swirl was drawn and created by all those that have prayed there. Such natural vortexes are great places to meditate if you want to absorb prana, or in this case Cosmic Prana. Make sure to say thanks to all those that have come before to create this wonderful spot with their prayers and meditations.

It said that on his last day August 7, 1895 at the Thousand Islands the Swami went into the back woods to meditate and froze solid in meditation and remained oblivious to torrential rain and is said to have achieved nirvikalpa Samadhi. (Page 104)

“He had a unique experience of inner freedom at the Thousand Islands Park which he expressed eloquently in his poem “The Song of Sannyasin”. He wrote from there to a friend:
“I am free, my bonds are cut, what do I care whether this body goes or does not go? I have a truth to teach—I am a child of God. And He that gave me truth will send me fellow workers from the earth’s bravest and best.”
Page 105-106
Source Vivekananda a Biography (1953)

South (to right if your back is to the rear of the house) of the stone outcroppings are attributes associated with higher planes of existence, another sign that this place is special. Swami Vivekananda in his book Raja Yoga (Chapter V11 Dhyana and Samadhi) says that there are higher planes beyond consciousness what he refers to as superconciousness of Samadhi.

Inside the cottage is a shrine located on the second floor in what was Swami Vivekananda’s room. A daily satsang and meditation is held there at 5 PM (the web page said 4:30PM). I would call in advance for the hours. The shrine is only open for group satsang.

On the first floor directly below the shrine is the living room. It had a great feel and very strong positive geographic samskara. It would be a great place to meditate. (See picture below.)

To best sense consciousness and develop your sentience of it I suggest meditating on a field and focusing on any body sensations you experience. You may feel a tingling in your hands or feet, or preferably a sensation in your chidakasha or forehead area. Focus on that sensation to give it strength.

Visiting the Vivekananda Cottage

The cottage is open and habited by the followers of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda in June after Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day. Call in advance to announce you are coming-(315) 482-3031.

I would check with the New York City headquarters about visiting the grounds other than during the summer months. Telephone: (212) 534-9445 Fax: (212) 828-1618; Email:; Postal Address: 17 East 94th Street, New York, NY 10128.

Per the Ramarkrishna Vivekananda web page:
P.O. BOX 1084
Telephone: (315) 482-3031

The Vivekananda Cottage at Thousand Island Park is open during the months of July and August as a place of pilgrimage for devotees to visit. Usually those who come visit briefly to see the Cottage or attend the daily vespers and meditation at 4:30 PM.

Thousand Island Park is a small village located on Wellesley Island, about 360 miles from New York City, on the St. Lawrence River, near the Canadian border. Public transportation there is limited and so a car is a necessary. Driving directions from New York City are given below. The nearest convenient airport is located at Syracuse, about 100 miles from the Thousand Islands.

Since there are no arrangements at the Cottage for guest accommodation, those who wish to stay overnight are required to find a place nearby. The resort towns of Alexandria Bay or Clayton (both on the U.S. mainland) are the nearest locations for hotel and motel accommodations.

During most of the summer there are no classes or lectures at the Vivekananda Cottage, but devotees may attend the afternoon vespers (arati) and meditation at the Cottage at 4:30 PM. The exception to this is when Swami Yuktatmananda conducts his “seminar classes.” During the seminar days, the program includes morning meditation followed by Swami’s discourse and discussion, afternoon vespers (arati) and meditation, and evening readings and discussion. Those who wish to attend the classes are requested to seek permission from our Center in advance.

Directions from 81 north 1) Pay toll and cross Bridge onto Wellesley Island and take first exit (Exit 51)
2) After exiting proceed to stop sign, turn right and go to second stop sign.
3) At second stop sign turn right, and proceed about 4 miles to the village of Thousand Island Park.
4) At Thousand Island Park proceed to stop sign (near Grocery, Ice Cream Parlor, Tennis Courts).
5) At stop sign turn right onto St. Lawrence Avenue and proceed about 2 blocks until the street ends at Tabernacle building.
6) At Tabernacle turn left, go about one block and turn right up the small road marked with the arrow pointed to “Vivekananda Cottage.” (See map below).

Connecting, Experiencing, Helping

While the Vivekananda cottage is a powerful part of Mother Earth’s soul, you will not immediately be overwhelmed and have all sorts of spiritual experiences and insights. Swami Vivekananda spent seven weeks there and would, like Sri Ramakrishna, who was noted for excessive spiritual practices, spend hours meditating. Understand also that the area beyond the immediate cottage surroundings, like most of the world is covered with negative geographic samskaras, or thought forms, that will impede your progress. Focus your stay to the cottage area.

That said this is a divine place and you will most certainly benefit greatly from meditating and spending as much time as possible there. You will also be helping Mother Earth and the world overall because your prayers and thoughts will give strength to the fields of consciousness located there are designed to send light and love out around the world. Approach you pilgrimage as an effort to heal and help, and you may be surprised.

I called the Vivekananda cottage a light house or a bright beacon for several reasons. Go there and meditate and pray and help make that beacon shine brighter and farther.

To see pictures of the centenary anniversary celebration of Swami Vivekananda’s stay in the Thousand Islands: 1995 Centenary Celebration

Swami Vivekananda is one of many eastern spiritual leaders (Dali Lama, Baba Ji) that have made a connection with Mother Earth's soul in upstate NY.

Thanks to Lorraine Mavins for her photography and survey input.

In emailing me make sure to change (at) to @ in the address header: madis senner

Madis Senner

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