11th September is a remarkable day in the history of India. This is the red-letter day in human civilisation. This is the day when Swami Vivekananda introduced India to the world.
11th September is a remarkable day because Swami Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions(1893). On 11th September, 1893 Swami Vivekananda became acquainted with the World as an Indian Hindu monk and delivered his eloquent speech before the Western audience.
Swami Vivekananda’s iconic speech at the World Religion Conference in Chicago is remembered by one and all. It is on September 11, 1893 when Swami Vivekanand gave the speech full of wisdom. For those unversed, it is in this iconic Chicago Speech that Vivekananda addressed the audience as ‘Brothers and Sisters of America’. In the speech that blew everyone’s mind, Swami Vivekananda had mentioned the basic yet most important things that one should follow in life.
These things included being patriotic, loving all religions, analysing religion, being acquainted with science, knowing importance and necessity of rituals, being aware of roots of Hinduism, being aware of the goal of science, being aware of the cause of downfall of India, and being against religious conversations.
Sisters and Brothers of America,
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 the 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 the 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 honour 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 the 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 boyhood, 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, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me.’
Sectarianism, bigotry, and its 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 honour 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.”