Here’s the full text of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago 1893 Speech
Swami Vivekananda Speech in Chicago : The Historic day of September 11, 1893 was forever recorded in the pages of history. As Swami Vivekananda began his speech with the line ‘My American brothers and sisters’ the entire auditorium erupted in applause. People were just as mesmerised by Swami Vivekananda’s speech. Swami Vivekananda said that my heart is filled with happiness, I thank all of you on behalf of the world’s oldest civilization. There was a sense of respect for all religions in his speech. The media covering the conference considered him to be one of the best orators who enthralled the audience.
The world got to know him after his speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Big American scholars also became his admirers. After this Vivekananda worked there for the next two years giving speeches on Vedanta. A community of his devotees was formed in America. He was warmly welcomed wherever he went. In 1894, he laid the foundation of the Vedanta Society in New York. After this he visited England in 1895.
Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago Speech : 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.