Swami Vivekananda chicago speech
Created by: Sanju | On Dec 2nd 2011, 10:55
The Parliament of World's Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago. On this day Vivekananda gave his first brief address. He represented India and Hinduism. Though initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and began his speech with, "Sisters and brothers of America!". To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes. When silence was restored he began his address. He greeted the youngest of the nations in the name of "the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance." And he quoted two illustrative passages in this relation, from the Bhagavad GitaÃ¢â‚¬â€"As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!" and "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me." Despite being a short speech, it voiced the spirit of the Parliament and its sense of universality.
Dr. Barrows, the president of the Parliament said, "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors." He attracted widespread attention in the press, which dubbed him as the "Cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique wrote, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them." The New York Herald wrote, "Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation." The American newspapers reported Swami Vivekananda as "the greatest figure in the parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the parliament"
He spoke several more times at the Parliament on topics related to Hinduism and Buddhism. The parliament ended on 27 September 1893. All his speeches at the Parliament had one common themeÃ¢â‚¬â€UniversalityÃ¢â‚¬â€and stressed religious tolerance.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda's speech on September 11, 1893:
"Sisters and Brothers of America. [At this moment came the three minute standing ovation from
the audience of 7,000] It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and
cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in name of the most ancient order of monks
in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of
millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
"My thanks also to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the
Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to
different lands the idea of toleration.
"I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal
acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true. I am
proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions
and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest
remnant of the Israelites who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in very year in which
their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion
which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.
"I will quote to you brethren a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my
earliest childhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: 'As the different
streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the
different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked
or straight, all lead to Thee.'
"The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a
vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: 'Whosoever
comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which
in the end lead to me.'
"Sectarianism, bigotry, and it's horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this
beautiful Earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human
blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible
demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.
"But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this
morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions
with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their
way to the same goal."
From Swamij.com, Swami Vivekananda at the World Congress of Religions of 1893 http://swamij.com/swami-vivekananda-1893.htm