Swami Vivekananda Chicago speech 1893: The significance and how it can change your perspective

Swami Vivekananda death anniversary: Hindu philosopher and reformer Swami Vivekananda is credited for bringing the ideals and concept of Hinduism across oceans to the western world.

Swami Vivekananda Chicago speech 1893: The significance and how it can change your perspective Pic Credit: File Photo

New Delhi: On Swami Vivekananda’s death anniversary (July 4), let’s revisit one of his most memorable and popular speeches. It was the one he gave at the Religion Parliament of Chicago, USA in 1893 and more than a century later, it still stands relevant in today’s time. This was the first World’s Parliament of Religions and took place from 11 to 27 September 1893. But what was the speech about and what about it struck a chord with the audience? Vivekananda introduced Hinduism to his Western audience and spoke about the importance of religious harmony and universal brotherhood. 

Swami Vivekananda's 1893 speech is one of the most popular speeches worldwide

He began his speech with a humble “Sister and brother of America!” which received an overwhelming response from the audience. He explained how Hindus opened their arms to refugees of other religions such as Israelites and Zoroastrians. 

Also Read: Swami Vivekananda Death Anniversary: Read his 7 immortal QUOTES that will change your life

Swami Vivekananda, in his speech, made a powerful statement. He said, “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.”

Vivekananda emphasised on letting religions follow their own path

He also spoke about how he doesn’t want conversion of religions or the overpowering of one religions over another. Rather, he wants each religion to follow its own path and grow into their own being without hindering the journey of another.

Vivekananda of course explained this sentiment with a moving rhetorical question. He said to the crowd in Chicago, “Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.”

He brought the idea of Hinduism to America

The audience was undoubtedly impressed by his speech and it is still talked about and discussed to this date. People in America were also intrigued by the ideals introduced by Swami Vivekananda through his explanation of Hinduism, a concept not well understood by Westerners at the time.

Although he died at a young age of 39, his teachings and influential quotes has earned him immortality.

Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863. On July 4, 1902, he passed away. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa deva was the guru of his spirituality. Vivekananda credited most of his learning about God and spirituality to him and went on to spread the knowledge all across the country and the world.

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