Swami Vivekananda is best known in the United States for his iconic speech to the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. Through his speech, he introduced Hinduism to America and called for an end to fanaticism. September 11, 2021 marks the 128th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech in the United States.
PM Modi remembers Swami Vivekanada’s speech:
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the speech on Saturday and said his mind has the potential to create a fairer, more prosperous and more inclusive planet. âRecalling the iconic speech of Swami Vivekananda in 1893 in Chicago, which beautifully demonstrated the importance of Indian culture. The spirit of his speech has the potential to create a more just, prosperous and inclusive planet, âhe tweeted.
In his address to the World Religion Conference, Swami Vivekananda addressed the audience as Sisters and Brothers of America. They had talked about the basic things to follow in life to make it worthwhile. He mentioned the pride of the country, the love for all religions, science and religion, the roots of Hinduism and other vital things.
On the occasion of the 128th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech, let’s take a look at the entire speech:
Sisters and Brothers of America.
It fills my heart with unspeakable joy to rise up in response to the warm and cordial welcome you have extended to us. I thank you on behalf of the oldest order of monks in the world; I thank you on behalf of the mother of religions, and I thank you on behalf of millions and millions of Hindus of all classes and sects.
My thanks also to some of the speakers in this rostrum who, referring to the delegates from the East, told you that these men from distant nations could well claim the honor of bringing the idea of ââtolerance to different lands.
I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We not only believe in universal tolerance, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation that has sheltered the persecuted and refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.
I am proud to tell you that we have gathered into our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the same year that their holy temple was torn to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which housed and still nourishes the remains of the great Zoroastrian nation.
I am going to quote you, brothers, a few lines from a hymn that I remember having repeated since my earliest childhood, and which is repeated every day by millions of human beings:
Just as the different streams having their sources in different places all mix their waters in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths that men take by different tendencies, however diverse they seem, tortuous or straight , all lead to you.
This convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a justification, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Geetha:
Whoever comes to Me in whatever form I reach; all men struggle along paths that ultimately lead to me.
Sectarianism, sectarianism and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful land. They filled the earth with violence, flooded it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent entire nations to despair.
Without these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their hour is coming; and I ardently hope that the bell which rang this morning in honor of this convention may sound the death knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all the not very charitable feelings between people who strive for the same goal.
The World Parliament of Religions has become a fait accompli, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored for its creation and crowned their most selfless work with success.
My thanks to those noble souls whose great hearts and love of truth first dreamed of this wonderful dream and then made it come true. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiment that has spilled over this rostrum. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their consistent kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth out the frictions of religions.
A few discordant notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. I thank them especially, because they have, by their striking contrast, made the general harmony softer.
Much has been said about the common ground of religious unity. I will not present my own theory later. But if anyone here hopes that this unity will come through the triumph of one of the religions and the destruction of the others, I say to him: âBrother, your hope is impossibleâ.
Do I want the Christian to become a Hindu? God forgives. Do I want the Hindu or the Buddhist to become a Christian? God forgives.
The seed is put into the earth, and the earth and the air, and the water are placed around it. Does the seed become earth, or air, or water? No, it becomes a plant. It develops according to the law of its own growth, assimilates air, earth and water, transforms them into vegetable substances and develops into a plant.
It is the same with religion. A Christian does not have to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist in order to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others while preserving his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
Read also: Downpour in Delhi-NCR floods Twitter with hilarious memes, check out the best
If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: it has proven to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world and that every system has produced men and women of the most elated character.
Faced with this evidence, if anyone dreams of the exclusive survival of their own religion and the destruction of others, I pity them from the bottom of my heart, and point out to them that on the banner of each religion will soon be written despite resistance. – Help and not fight, Assimilation and not Destruction, Harmony and Peace and not Dissent.