##39 (Vivekananda) The Parliament Of Religion - Poem by Rajaram Ramachandran
11th September,1893, Monday,
Was the inauguration day
Of the Parliament of Religions,
A congregation of all religions.
At 10 AM, the Parliament opened.
Seven thousand people attended.
The delegates of all religions
Were ready on the stage as speakers
Swamiji was counted as thirty one.
His gorgeous robe, yellow turban,
Fine features, bronze complexion,
All drew everybody’s attention.
Prepared speeches, others read,
But he was totally unprepared.
Seeing such a huge gathering
He was somewhat fearing.
At last, to speak, his turn came.
Dr. Barrows introduced him.
First, he addressed the audience,
“Sisters and Brothers of America.”
These five words brought cheers
Among the seated audience;
They rose up from their seats,
And gave him a loud applause.
This standing ovation was
For a full two minutes,
On his words, “Sisters and Brothers, ”
Not in the usual formal words.
He spoke with confidence
On the topic, “Acceptance
Of Universal toleration, ”
As existed in every religion.
With rapt attention, they listened.
In conclusion, he pleaded,
Bigotry and fanaticism.”
He quoted in that context
Passages from ancient text
In support of toleration
Backed by Hindu religion.
“As different streams
Having their sources
In different places
All mingle their waters
Into the sea, so, Oh Lord,
The different paths
Which men take through
Various though they appear,
Crooked or straight,
All lead to Thee.”
“Whosoever comes to Me,
Through whatsoever form,
I reach him.
All men are struggling
Through many paths
Which in the end
Lead to Me.”
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