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Swami Vivekananda speech

WELCOME ADDRESS - Chicago, Sept 11, 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America, [At this moment came the three minute standing
ovation from the audience of 7,000]

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 faroff nations may well claim the honor 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 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 is come; 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. The World's Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labor. My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring

notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter. Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, "Brother, yours is an impossible hope." Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid. The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant. Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: "Help and not fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension." In this famous speech, Swami Vivekananda spoke of his vision for an end to violence and fanaticism. His message of the 1800's is as timely and fitting now, in the 2000's, as it was then, over 100 years ago. Coincidence of dates: Most of us involved in spiritual pursuits know of the many mysterious coincidences that seem to come from time to time. Occasionally, one of these socalled coincidences is so strong as to leave us momentarily speechless. Such a coincidence exists with the date of Swami Vivekananda's message. In the East, the number 108 has been described as having great significance (See the article on the meanings of the number 108). This first message of Swami Vivekananda in America, often said to be a key point of the bridging of Eastern and Western spirituality, and the coming of yoga to the West, was given on September 11, 1893, exactly 108 years, to the day, before the date September 11, 2001, the date of the bombing of the World Trade Center. Whether by coincidence or precognition, it calls out for a closer reading of Swami Vivekananda's message and it's appropriateness for our current times. World Parliament of Religions in 1893: In recent history there have been great strides in bridging the spirituality of East and West. Notable among these was the message given by Swami Vivekananda at the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. The World Parliament of Religions was sponsored by the Unitarians and Universalists of the Free Religious Association,

and was a part of the greater Columbian Exposition held for several months in 1893, in Chicago, which was attended by over 27 million people. Swami Vivekanandas standing ovation: Swami Vivekananda's opening talk is a benchmark, in that he was one of the earlier teachers to come to America from the East, and the first swami to visit America. Most notably, this was his first talk in America. After the welcome address of the opening of the World Parliament of religions, Swami Vivekananda spoke, and started with these few words: Sisters and Brothers of America. The 7,000 people in the audience, immediately feeling the depth of his sincerity, rose to their feet and according to reports, went into inexplicable rapture with standing ovation and clapping that lasted for more than three minutes. He went on, It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us... Call for the end to fanaticism: Swami Vivekananda closed by speaking of humanitys history of violence and his hopes for its end, 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 is come; 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.
On a mala, or set of mantra counting beads, there are generally 108 beads, or some fraction of that number. The question often arises: Why are there 108 beads on a mala?
9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108Harshad number: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means "great joy")Desires: There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.Lies: There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell.Delusions: There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.Upanishads: Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.Sri Yantra: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 times 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body.Pentagon: The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.Marmas: Marmas or marmasthanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.8 extra beads: In doing a practice of counting the number of repetitions of the mala, 100 are counted as completed. The remaining are said to cover errors or omissions. The 8 are also said to be an offering to God and Guru.Chemistry: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100.Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.River Ganga: The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31). 12 times 9 equals 108.Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.Goddess names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.1, 0, and 8: Some say that 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.Moon and Earth: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.Silver and the moon: In astrology, the metal silver is said to represent the moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108.Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.Meditations: Some say there are 108 styles of meditation.Breath: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600.Paths to God: Some suggest that there are 108 paths to God.Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.Hinduism: 108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities. Some say that each of the deities has 108 names.Islam: The number 108 is

used in Islam to refer to God.Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.Sikh: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.Buddhism: Some Buddhists carve 108 small Buddhas on a walnut for good luck. Some ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year. There are said to be 108 virtues to cultivate and 108 defilements to avoid.Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars.Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.Praiseworthy souls: There are 108 qualities of praiseworthy souls.First man in space: The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes


All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God. Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way. External nature is only internal nature writ large. GOD is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better. In one word, this ideal is that you are divine. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak. Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material. The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him - that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free. The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them. The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that. The will is not free - it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect - but there is something behind the will which is free. The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far. When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state. Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being. You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself. You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.