Swami Vivekananda's 1893 Chicago speech

On Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary, here's the full text
of his famous Chicago speech through which he introduced Hinduism at
the Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago in 1893.

September 11, 1893

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. l 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 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 the 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 there 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 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.

Courtesy: IBNLive.com

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