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Swami Vivekananda's iconic Chicago speech

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    History & Culture
  • Published
    14th Sep, 2021


Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled Swami Vivekananda's famous speech at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 and said its spirit has the potential to create a more just, prosperous, and inclusive planet.

Who was Swami Vivekananda?

  • Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu monk and one of the most celebrated spiritual leaders of India.
  • Born Narendranath Dutta, he was the chief disciple of the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission.
  • Swami Vivekananda is also considered a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga to the West and is credited with raising the profile of Hinduism to that of a world religion.
  • He carried on the free-thinking philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa forward into a new paradigm.
  • He worked tirelessly towards betterment of the society, in servitude of the poor and needy, dedicating his all for his country.
  • He was responsible for the revival of Hindu spiritualism and established Hinduism as a revered religion on world stage.
  • His message of universal brotherhood and self-awakening remains relevant especially in the current backdrop of widespread political turmoil around the world.
  • His birthday, January 12, is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India.
  • Birth: January12, 1863 
    • Place of Birth: Calcutta, Bengal Presidency (Now Kolkata in West Bengal)
  • Death: July 4, 1902
    • Place of Death: Belur Math, Belur, Bengal
  • Parents: Vishwanath Dutta (Father) and Bhuvaneshwari Devi (Mother)
  • Education: Calcutta Metropolitan School; Presidency College, Calcutta
  • Institutions: Ramakrishna Math; Ramakrishna Mission; Vedanta Society of New York
  • Religious Views: Hinduism
  • Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
  • Publications: Karma Yoga (1896); Raja Yoga (1896); Lectures from Colombo to Almora (1897); My Master (1901)
  • Memorial: Belur Math, Belur, West Bengal

Key-highlights of the Speech

  • Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) is best known in the United States for his groundbreaking speech to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions.
  • In this speech he,
    • introduced Hinduism to America
    • called for religious tolerance and an end to fanaticism
    • had mentioned the basic yet most important things that one should follow in life.These things included:
      • being patriotic
      • loving all religions
      • analysing religion
      • being acquainted with science
      • knowing importance and necessity of rituals
      • being aware of roots of Hinduism
      • being aware of the goal of science
      • being aware of the cause of downfall of India
      • being against religious conversations