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Re: Theos-World Book Excerpt "The Spiritual Life" by Annie Besant

Mar 06, 2007 04:00 PM
by hari9896

--- In, Cass Silva <silva_cass@...> wrote:
> Marie
>   What is The Parliament of Religions?
>   Cass
While waiting for Marie to reply, if she chooses to, here is Swami 
Vivekananda's initial speech to the opening of the Parliament of 
Religions in Chicago in 1893:

Home / Complete-Works / Volume 1 / Addresses at The Parliament of 
Religions /



At the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago
11th September, 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. 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.

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 civilisation 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 

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