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Swami Vivekananda Chicago Speech Book PDF Free Download
Swami Vivekananda Chicago Speech PDF
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 honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion that 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 that 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 Zoroastrian nation.
I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn that 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 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 comes; 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.
Three religions now stand in the world which have come down to us from time prehistoric–Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism.
They have all received tremendous shocks and all of them prove by their survival their internal strength.
But while Judaism failed to absorb Christianity and was driven out of its place of birth by its all-conquering daughter, and a handful of Parsees is all that remains to tell the tale of their grand religion, sect after sect arose in India and seemed to shake the religion of the Vedas to its very foundations, but like the waters of the seashore in a tremendous earthquake it receded only for a while, only to return in an all-absorbing flood, thousand times more vigorous, and when the tumult of the rush was over, these sects were all sucked in, absorbed, and assimilated into the immense body of the mother faith.
From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the low ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists, and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hindu’s religion.
Where then, the question arises, where is the common center to which all these widely diverging radii converge?
Where is the common basis upon which all these seemingly hopeless contradictions rest? And this is the question I shall attempt to answer.
The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas. They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end.
It may sound ludicrous to this audience, how a book can be without a beginning or end. But by the Vedas, no books are meant.
They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons at different times.
Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery, and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual world.
The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery and would remain even if we forgot them.
The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis, and we honor them as perfected beings.
I am glad to tell this audience that some of the very greatest of them were women.
Here it may be said that these laws as laws may be without end, but they must have had a beginning. The Vedas teach us that creation is without a beginning or end.
Science is said to have proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same. Then, if there was a time when nothing existed, where was all this manifested energy?
Some say it was in a potential form in God. In that case, God is sometimes potential and sometimes kinetic, which would make Him mutable.
Everything mutable is a compound, and everything compound must undergo that change which is called destruction.
So God would die, which is absurd. Therefore there never was a time when there was no creation.
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Swami Vivekananda Chicago Speech PDF Free Download