Swamijis extraordinary life on earth came to an end on 4July 1902
The Swami knew his end was nearing. His body was wearing away day by day, and he was preparing for the final departure. How often does a man ruin his disciples, he said, by remaining always with them! leader leaves them, for without his absence they cannot develop themselves. He refused to express any opinion on the questions of the day. I can no more enter into outside affairs, I am already on the way was his reply to those who came to him with problems regarding work. You may be right, but I cannot enter any more into these matters; I am going down into death, he told Sister Nivedita when she questioned him on some important matter concerning her educational programme. Everything about the Swami in the last days was deliberate and significant. A week before the end, he was seen consulting the Bengali almanac. Three days before, on an Ekadashi day, he fed Sister Nivedita with his own hands, though he himself was fasting. At the end of her meal he helped her wash her hands by pouring water for her, and then he dried them with a towel. It is I who should do these things for you, Swamiji, not you for me, she protested. His reply startled her: Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he said. The reply, But that was the last time came to her lips, but remained unuttered. Something checked her. Here also it was the last time.
On the last day, Friday, 4th July 1902, he rose very early. Going to the chapel alone, he shut the doors and bolted them, contrary to his habit, and meditated for three hours. He came down the steps of the shrine, singing a beautiful song to the divine Mother Kali. Then he said in a whisper: If there were another Vivekananda, then he would have understood what this Vivekananda has done. And yet how many Vivekanandas shall be born in time? Next he asked his disciple, Swami Shuddhananda, to read a passage from the Shukla Yajur Veda with the commentary of Mahidhara on it. He did not agree with Mahidhara and exhorted the disciple to make independent research into the Vedas. He partook of the noon meal with great relish, in company with the members of the Math, unlike on other days when he took his meal alone in his room. Immediately after, he gave lessons to the Brahmacharins on Sanskrit grammar for three hours. In the afternoon, he went out with Swami Premananda and walked nearly two miles, discussing his plan to start a Vedic College in the monastery. When questioned as to its utility, he said: The study of the Vedas will kill superstition. On his return, he inquired about the welfare of every member of the monastery. Then he conversed for a long time with the members on the rise and fall of nations. India is immortal, he said, if she persists in her search for God. But if she goes in for politics and social conflict, she will die. At seven oclock in the evening, the bell announced the worship in the chapel. The Swami went to his room and told the disciple attending him that no one should come to him until called for. He spent an hour in meditation and telling beads, then called the disciple to open all the windows and fan his head. He lay down quietly on his bed. The attendant thought that he was either sleeping or meditating. At the end of an hour, his hands trembled a little and he breathed once very heavily. There was silence for a minute or two, and again he breathed in the same manner. He had breathed his last. He had just completed thirty nine years, five months, and twenty four days, thus fulfilling a prophecy which was frequently on his lips, I shall never live to see forty.