IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th September, 2023 History

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  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has remarked that Swami Vivekananda's speech which was delivered on this day 130 years ago at the World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago resonates even today as a clarion call for global unity and harmony.


  • Swami Vivekananda's speech at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 is a historic and influential address that played a significant role in introducing Hindu philosophy and yoga to the Western world.


  • Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendra Nath Datta in Calcutta, India, in 1863.
  • He was a disciple of the great Indian mystic and philosopher Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
  • In 1893, he represented India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago, which marked the first time Hinduism was formally presented to a Western audience.

The Journey to Chicago

  • Vivekananda's journey to Chicago was not without its challenges.
  • He faced financial difficulties and traveled as a penniless monk, but his determination and commitment to the cause of spreading Hindu philosophy kept him going.

The Chicago Speech

  • On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda addressed the Parliament of the World's Religions.
  • His opening words "Sisters and Brothers of America" received a standing ovation and set the tone for his speech.
  • Key points from his address include:
  • Universal Tolerance: Vivekananda emphasized the importance of tolerance and acceptance of all religions, emphasizing that all paths lead to the same truth.
  • Hinduism's Acceptance of Diversity: He spoke about how Hinduism embraces diversity in beliefs and practices and highlighted the Hindu concept of "Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti," which means "Truth is one, the wise call it by various names."
  • Yoga and Meditation: Vivekananda introduced the Western audience to the concept of yoga and meditation as tools for spiritual growth and self-realization.
  • Interconnectedness of All Religions: He emphasized that all religions are different paths to the same God and encouraged people to see the commonalities between them.


Swami Vivekananda's Chicago speech had a profound impact on both the Western and Indian worlds:

  • It brought attention to Hinduism and Indian spirituality, paving the way for the Western interest in yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophy.
  • Vivekananda's message of religious tolerance and universal acceptance remains relevant in today's multicultural world.
  • His teachings inspired the formation of the Vedanta Society and the Ramakrishna Mission, which continue to promote his ideals and serve humanity.

Enduring Relevance

Swami Vivekananda's Chicago speech continues to be studied and revered for several reasons:

  • It promotes the idea of religious pluralism and harmony.
  • His advocacy for the importance of inner spirituality and meditation resonates with modern seekers.
  • Vivekananda's emphasis on self-confidence and self-realization has inspired countless individuals to lead purposeful lives.


Swami Vivekananda's speech at the Chicago Parliament of Religions in 1893 was a landmark event in the history of interfaith dialogue and the introduction of Hinduism to the Western world. His message of universal tolerance, acceptance, and the pursuit of inner spirituality continues to inspire and guide people worldwide.


Q. Swami Vivekananda's teachings and philosophy continue to influence and shape various aspects of Indian society and thought. Discuss his key teachings and their relevance in the contemporary world, highlighting their impact on education, social reform, and the promotion of a global outlook. (150 Words)