Swami Vivekananda’s speech at Chicago conference on September 11th, 1893, was only for 6 minutes consisting of 887 words, but what he stirred up with that has been echoing across continents for 120 years and will continue to echo for centuries to come.
Arousing interest on India
This short speech recreated an interest about India in the west, in the 20th century.
Swami Vivekananda, Front row, 4th left from center, in a black robe and turban at the World’s 1st Religious Parliament, Chicago
Indians discover themselves
It also helped Indians discover Swami Vivekananda and through him discover themselves, the strength of their tradition, culture and the respect for their own spirituality. The awakening of Indians among the American intelligentsia had resonance back in his homeland in India.
Paved the way to Freedom
This awareness of their strength later paved the way for the Indian independence movement which was fulfilled in 1947.
People today talk of religious tolerance. The seed of this idea of religious tolerance was sown by Swami Vivekananda at this speech. Unfortunately, in the last 100 years, this tolerance has now come down to tolerate.
Gave impetus to Yoga and spirituality
The speech also gave impetus to Indian yoga and spirituality. Today, yoga is a thriving industry in the west but its seeds were laid by Swami Vivekananda in the west.
Vivekananda, the harbinger of yoga in west
Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893
4 years in America
After this speech, Swami Vivekananda kept getting invitations to speak at different occasions and was compelled to stay on in America for 4 years.
From Swami to a powerful thought provider
This momentous speech catapulted Swami Vivekananda, an unknown swami of the orient to become one of the most powerful thought providers of those times.