Swami Vivekananda Delivered His Iconic Speech in Chicago on This Day in 1893

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Everyone remembers Swami Vivekananda's famous address at the World Religion Conference in Chicago. Swami Vivekanand delivered the wisdom-filled discourse on September 11, 1893. For those unfamiliar, Vivekananda addressed the audience as "Brothers and Sisters of America" in this famous Chicago speech. Swami Vivekananda had given the fundamental yet most significant things that one should follow in life in his lecture that blew everyone's head.

Being patriotic, loving all religions, analysing religion, being acquainted with science, knowing the importance and necessity of rituals, being aware of Hinduism's roots, being aware of science's goal, being aware of the cause of India's downfall, and being against religious conversations were among these qualities.

It brings me unimaginable joy to rise in response to your kind and gracious welcome. I thank you on behalf of the world's oldest monastic order; I thank you on behalf of the mother of faiths; and I thank you on behalf of the millions and millions of Hindus of all classes and sects.

Thank you also to some of the speakers on this platform who have said, in reference to the delegates from the Orient, that these individuals from far-off places may easily claim the glory of carrying the principle of tolerance to different lands.

I am honoured to be a member of a faith that has taught the world tolerance and global acceptance. Not only do we believe in worldwide tolerance, but we also believe that all religions are true. I am delighted to be a citizen of a country that has housed persecuted and displaced people of all faiths and from all corners of the globe.

I am pleased to inform you that we have gathered in our midst the last of the Israelites, who fled to southern India and sought sanctuary with us in the same year that their holy temple was demolished by Roman tyranny. I am proud to be a member of the religion that has protected and nurtured the last remnants of the great Zoroastrian nation.

I'll recite to you, comrades, a few lines from a hymn that I remember singing since I was a child and that is sung every day by millions of people:

As numerous streams with different sources mix their water in the sea, so, O Lord, do the varied roads that men travel through various dispositions, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.

The current convention, which is one of the most solemn gatherings ever convened, is a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the great teaching conveyed in the Gita:

I reach whoever comes to Me, in whatever shape he arrives; all men struggle along roads that eventually lead to me.

This lovely planet has long been possessed by sectarianism, intolerance, and its dreadful descendent, fanaticism. They have wreaked havoc on the planet, drenching it in human blood on a regular basis, destroying civilisation, and driving entire nations to despair.

Human culture would be lot more evolved than it is now if it weren't for these dreadful beasts. But their time has come, and I ardently believe that the bell that rang this morning in celebration of this conference will be the death knell for all fanaticism, all sword or pen persecutions, and all uncharitable attitudes between those on the same path.

The World Parliament of Religions is now a reality, and the gracious Father has aided those who worked to bring it into being, and blessed their most selfless labour with success.

My gratitude goes out to those noble people who, with their big hearts and love for the truth, first envisioned and then fulfilled this wonderful dream. Thank you for the outpouring of liberal opinion that has flooded this platform. My gratitude to this enlightened audience for their consistent goodwill toward me and their appreciation of every notion that helps to reduce religious conflict.

In this harmony, there were a few startling notes from time to time. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to them, because their striking contrast has added to the sweetness of the overall harmony.

Much has been said about religious unity as a common foundation. I'm not going to offer my own hypothesis right now. But if anyone here believes that this oneness will be achieved through the triumph of one faith over the others, I say to him, "Brother, yours is an unrealistic hope."

Do I wish that all Christians converted to Hinduism? Please, God, don't let this happen. Do I desire that Hindus and Buddhists will convert to Christianity? Please, God, don't let this happen.

The seed is planted in the ground, surrounded by dirt, air, and water. Is the seed transformed into the ground, the air, or the water? No. It develops into a plant. It grows according to the law of its own growth, assimilating the air, the earth, and the water, converting them into plant stuff, and eventually becoming a plant.

Religion is a good example of this. Christians are not to become Hindus or Buddhists, and Hindus and Buddhists are not to become Christians. However, each must assimilate the spirit of the others while maintaining his or her originality and growing according to his or her own growth law.

If the Parliament of Religions has demonstrated anything to the world, it is that holiness, purity, and kindness are not peculiar to any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the highest moral character.

In the face of this proof, if someone dreams of his own religion's exclusive survival and the annihilation of all others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart and remind him that, despite resistance, “Help and not fight” will soon be written on the banner of every faith. "Assimilation rather than destruction," "Harmony and Peace rather than Dissension," and so on.

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