Swami Vivekananda Address at opening session of Chicago Parliament of Religion - 11 September 1893

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 most ancient Order of monks in the world. I thank you in the name of 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 nations may well claim the honour 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 are true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations on the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our blossom the purest remnant of the Isrealites, 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 everyday 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 Gita "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form , I reach him ; all the 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 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 has come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with sword or with the pen , and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.