On this day 128 years ago, an Indian spiritualist, philosopher, and thinker Swami Vivekananda represented India and introduced Hinduism to the world on a global platform at the first Parliament of World Religions held on September 11, 1983 in Chicago.
Swami Vivekananda (1862 - 1902) made a great impression at the World's Parliament of Religions calling for religious tolerance and shunning fanaticism through his learned interpretations, which he had developed under the able guidance and teachings of Ramakirshna Paramahansa.
In his keynote address, which Swami Vivekananda began by addressing the august gathering as, 'Sisters and Brothers of America', he stressed on the need for striking a healthy balance between spiritualism and materialism. He envisioned a new culture for the whole world where materialism of the West and spiritualism of the East would be blended into a new harmony to produce happiness for mankind.
In his prelude at the Parliament of World Religions Chicago Speech, Swami Vivekananda said, "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 millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects."
In his World's Parliament of Religions speech at Chicago, Swami Vivekananda took pride in belonging to India asserting that it has provided and been a sanctuary to the persecuted and the refugees from all over the world, irrespective of religion.
Swami Vivekananda quoted an excerpt from the Bhagavad Gita in his Chicago Speech that read, "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me," reflecting the essence of the gathering of world's religions on a single platform as opposed to sectarianism, bigotry, and fanaticism, that have long possessed this beautiful earth and destroyed civilizations and sent whole nations to despair.
A lot can be drawn from Swami Vivekananda's speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago to bring about cohesion among diverse religions and communities around the world to create a beautiful and peaceful society where humanity triumphs