Bringing Hindu Philosophy to the World

Photograph/ Unknown. Image Source/ Vivekananda Foundation

Photograph/ Unknown. Image Source/ Vivekananda Foundation

This story was originally published in March 2014.

The first World’s Parliament of Religions, a seminar, took place in Chicago, United States of America from 11–27 September in 1893. The conference was a formal platform where various speakers from Eastern and Western religions came together to participate in an inter-religious dialogue. This photograph was made at the first session of the meet and shows a few speakers— Jain scholar Virchand Gandhi, Buddhist preacher Anagarika Dharmapala, Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, and Protestant historian G Bonet Maury.

Not only was this the first time that Swami Vivekananda introduced the West to his ideologies, he was also the first sage to visit America. As soon as he began his famous and inspiring speech at the opening session with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” 7000 people in the audience gave him a three minute standing ovation. With this speech, he introduced the idea of Hinduism to the West. The talk is considered to be a benchmark even today.

This initial speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions made Swami Vivekananda a spiritual ambassador of India. He soon started conducting public and private lectures on Hindu philosophy in America, England and Europe. Later on, he introduced the teachings of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. Even today, he is remembered for being a key figure in spreading awareness about Hinduism throughout the world. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore said of Swami, “In him everything is positive and nothing negative.”

Tags: better photography, March, 2014, Religion, Swami Vivekananda