Vivekananda’s 120-year-old 9/11 speech.


The current issue of Intelligent Life, the culture-technology-lifestyle sibling of The Economist, poses the question “What was the greatest speech ever?” Six writers were asked to give their choices. Mark Tully, BBC’s former bureau chief for India, has chosen Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the first World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893. Picks by the others include Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Nelson Mandela’s speech at his trial in 1964, and Hillary Clinton’s speech on women’s rights at Beijing in 1995. Most literate Indians are aware of Vivekananda’s speech (I hope), or at least its beginning: “Sisters and brothers of America”. What is less known is that the several thousands of delegates—most of them Christians—were so impressed with this 30-year-old Hindu monk’s words that he was invited to speak five more times over the next fortnight at the congregation. As Tully notes, New York Herald said, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions.” “He was relevant then and is relevant today for his constant affirmation that all religions are paths to God, and his call for tolerance,” writes Tully. What was so dazzling about that speech? It’s just 458 words long, so could not have lasted more than five or six minutes (It was also delivered extempore). Vivekananda speaks on one single theme: what he believes is the core value of Hinduism, and the most precious one. “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance,” he says. “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 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.’” To go back a little. The way that Vivekananda arrived at the vast hall of Chicago’s Art Institute is itself quite an incredible story. After the death of his Master, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda had lived the life of a wandering mendicant for nearly seven years, travelling the length and breadth of the country. The more he saw the wretched condition of the Indian masses, the more convinced he was that what they needed was less religion and more spirituality (Don’t be put off by that word, Vivekananda’s version of “spirituality” was pragmatic, robust and even physical). Centuries of oppression, poverty and obscurantism had crushed the Indian spirit. What they needed first and foremost, he decided, was inner strength, a confidence that could help them achieve their potential. God, he felt, need not be worshipped on an empty stomach. Two square meals a day were far more important than a visit to a temple, and those meals could come only when a man realized the power inherent in himself, his own divinity, that God resided inside him, as He did in all Creation (If you take “God” and “divinity” out of this observation, it is fundamentally no different from a humanist/atheist argument). Money earned literally through begging door to door, and donations from three South Indian kings, enabled Vivekananda to reach Chicago in July 1893. On arrival, he learnt to his dismay that no delegate would be admitted to Parliament without proper credentials from a bona fide organization. Vivekananda was a lone monk representing no organization, and even if he had been, the last date for registration of delegates was past. In addition, the Parliament was two months away. He had neither the money to return to India nor to live for two months in Chicago and take a chance at gate-crashing the convention. Unwilling to accept defeat, and being told that Boston was a cheaper city than Chicago, he boarded a train to that city. On the way, a wealthy lady co-passenger got into a conversation with him, and was impressed enough to invite him to come and stay in her country home. Vivekananda accepted gratefully, and through his hostess, happened to meet J.H. Wright, a professor of Greek at Harvard. The young monk’s calm wisdom astonished him, and he wrote to the chairman of the committee for the selection of delegates, a friend, and bought him a ticket to Chicago. But when he reached Chicago on 9 September, Vivekananda discovered that he had lost the address of the committee. Walking the streets, he kept asking people about the Parliament, but no one knew anything, and he spent the night in an empty boxcar in a railroad freight yard. Next morning, he started off on his quest again in the richer neighbourhoods of the city. After hours of being shooed away by butlers who saw only a bedraggled foreign beggar when they opened the door, he sat down, exhausted, on the pavement. Miraculously, the door of a mansion across the road opened and the lady of the house appeared, and asked him whether he was a delegate to the Parliament of Religions. Mrs George Hale, whose family would become lifelong friends of Vivekananda, invited him in, and after he had cleaned up and eaten, took him over to the office of the committee and had him registered. The convention began the next day, 11 September. Yes, it was a 9/11. As speaker after speaker representing all the major religions of the world gave lengthy speeches from prepared texts, touting the superiority of their particular faiths, the young man from India realized that neither had he ever addressed such a large gathering (nearly four thousand people), nor did he have any written speech. Frightened now, he kept postponing his turn on the stage, till he had no further excuses left, and had to go up and face the audience. With his very first lines, he established his credentials with a simplicity and pride that must have awed the listeners who would anyway have been intrigued by the looks of this handsome young man in a saffron turban and dress from the East who spoke perfect English. “I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world,” said Vivekananda. “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.” This was a man who had never been out of India, had spent years tending to the poor and the diseased as he searched for the divine, and was speaking entirely off the cuff of his soul. In the next five minutes that he spoke, he electrified the audience—and, one can’t help but surmise, shamed many of the speakers who had preceded him. For he spoke of the validity of every great religion and against all forms of faith-based intolerance. “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth,” he said. “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.” There is obviously no record of this, but there would have been very few speakers at that grand convention who had shared hovels with lepers and gone without food for days to seek a greater truth. In his concluding address on the last day of the convention, Vivekananda again stressed harmony and acceptance. “Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if anyone 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… Holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world… 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.” Writes Tully in his piece to explain why he chose this speech as the greatest of all time: “Vivekananda’s speeches at Parliament resonate today for the many who claim to be spiritual but not religious, who reject religion based on faith and seek experience of God. He said: ‘The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realizing—not in believing, but in being and becoming.’ And, looking to the future, he said, ‘It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity… Its whole scope, its whole force will be centred in aiding humanity to realize its own, true, divine nature.’ That is the religion so many seek today.” Have there ever been truer words spoken about the sheer waste and stupidity of religious schisms than what that fiery young Indian said on that 9/11 day 120 years ago? To read about Vivekananda today —and what he preached and practised throughout his tragically short life (he passed away at 39)—is to wonder that such a man walked the streets of this nation. Of course he was a Hindu, and he was proud to be one. But his philosophy transcended religions and he had little respect for rituals and ceremonies. His constant focus was on the spirit of Man. “This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong,” he wrote. “Each individual has to work out his own salvation; there is no other way, and so also with nations… Men in general lay all the blame of life on their fellowmen, or, failing that, on God, or they conjure up a ghost, and say it is fate. Where is fate, and who is fate? We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise. The wind is blowing; and those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind?” The year 2013 is his 150th birth anniversary year. It is our duty to make sure that Vivekananda is not appropriated by any polemicist or politician, or even any religion. It is our duty to make sure that his name is not taken in vain (to use a Christian term) and his words are not used to push any agenda other than the greatest good for all men. Let us not deify him either (he never could give up smoking, though he tried hard enough); he would have hated that. He was a man, and a man among men. That is what we owe him



Are you taking the red pill or the blue pill ?


“Every thing that has a beginning has an end. When one door closes another opens” that is what oracle does a prophecy in Matrix.

poster for The Matrix

poster for The Matrix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everything in this world has life, every entity in this world is connected. Well you don’t need a cell phone always to get connected. We all are some or the other way, nothing but virtual cell phones. Our thoughts connect us with each other. I did try learning a lot of things sometimes through books. Sometimes, movies , sounds amazing isn’t it ? But yes, everything we see , we hear in this world has a encoded message , which not all the souls are able to decode. Well i am not going to be much technical, will keep it simple.

This world is a vicious cycle , a human is born , with a purpose to achieve something . Not money or fame but something to learn. Life goes into stages , birth the beginning , achieving the purpose , and finally once you have achieved your purpose , you die to come back again to achieve another purpose.  It took a long time for me to understand but i kind of got this message encoded as well. I know many of you will call me crazy, but yes that’s a fact.

Taking the red pill or the blue pill ? Man it sometimes becomes a difficult choice. We don’t know what to do. We want to know the truth, but there is something that is blocking us. And its not the answer but the question , either we know the question and are not able to say it or sometimes we don’t know the question itself. Neo is trapped in Matrix and its Morpheus who wants to free his mind. Lot off people saw this movie for entertainment but it had a learning inside it. Not sure if i am able to convey the accurate message, but i am trying my best.

The world is not perfect , and so was not matrix . It has anomalies. So did matrix had it was “Neo” in the movie. Inside matrix thinking it as the real world working as a programmer. But who chooses the anomaly , can anyone give the answer ?

Well its pretty simple , its the architect who either creates a anomaly or chooses it.  We have our almighty who created this world. But do we know if this is a perfect world. Well many of us do think it is. But its actually not. Had it been perfect , we would not have wars, terrorism or for that matter  crimes.  So to counter this imperfection, we need to have something . but in this real world one anomaly would not suffice but yes we would need multiple.

In matrix the machines are eventually connected with each other and are able to develop feelings that humans do ” Love” . Even objects have life and they love too. Ultimately Neo had to save humans from machines , but he would be able to do it only through a fuel . The fuel of love and that is why he makes a choice of taking the red pill to come out of the fabrication of matrix, his destiny  was to love Trinity and save the humanity with the fuel of her love. That is why he makes a choice to save trinity , although human race would be at stake for that but he needed the fuel of love .

I don’t expect people to dodge bullets in the real world, just like how Neo does in matrix but yes , if you free your mind , you can love. you can things beyond amazement.

Not everyone is “The One” like neo in Matrix but yes You can be “The One” To save the human race. Just like when a program doesn’t have a purpose , it is deleted , when we loose our purpose. I also would agree that if we don’t have a purpose we can save ourselves from deletion by assigning ourselves a purpose , transporting back to the world we live.

So take the Red pill .

Shwetal – An Avid writer.


Law of attraction and Krishna ….. How true ….and you would love to believe.


Reshape yourself through the power of your will…

Those who have conquered themselves…live in peace, alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, praise and blame…To such people a clod of dirt, a stone, and gold are the same…Because they are impartial, they rise to great heights.

Krishna Quotes from The Bhagavad Gita

I was watching this movie the other day titled ” Oh my God ” . And heard one of the songs in Hindi . And simply loved it.  The reason i loved it because it had Krishna every where in it. A serene personality you would fall in love with.

The song goes as below … translation in English done 

मैं तो नहीं हु इंसानों में .. बिकता हु मैं तो इन दुकानों में. दुनिया बनायीं मैंने हांथो से … मिटटी से नहीं जज्बातों से .. मेरे निशाँ है कहाँ ..

What does it mean …translation in English done 

I am not in the person … People sell me in shops …. I created this world with my holy hands… Not with sands but with emotions… I am still searching for something… And that’s my presence….


God in the form of Krishna in this Kalyuga is  so amazed , and is saying that people dont worship me but they worship the statue of sand. I created this world with emotions and

This movie has shown Krishna taking a human form and coming to help a person who doesn’t believe in GOD. Now can someone think why he came to help that person . He never asked for any help.  I will explain this.

I recently read a book about Krishna. And In that book which is as good as bhagwat Gita , says Krishna is beautiful it attracts. The beauty of Krishna will make you fall in love with him and that’s what we call “Attraction”  which means you are drawn towards something . Lets split this word  into two At – traction.  For those who know English they already understood the meaning. Now i am going to do its Hindi verse. Traction in Hindi means कर्षण and that’s how we call this word in Hindi as आकर्षण or attraction. It is said that if we centralize our wishes and prayers to Krishna it will attract love and send it us in the form of fulfillment.

When we wish something we have to centralize out attention on that wish and send love on that wish. But how do we send the love. We are Humans and our minds are like monkey minds. Hopping around here and there and not able to concentrate. So We need to centralize our attention on Krishna. He is so beautiful that the love we want to send will be automatically sent to our wishes.  It is said that we humans if we try to follow Krishna’s path even  a little bit , he would save us from greater dangers . He is always there. He is there to save us. All we have to do is be humans . Because it is he who created us, this totality , nature , mankind.

Once we are successful in centralizing our attention on Krishna with our prayers and wishes. With his love and energy , the wishes would be attracted to us. Because , it is Krishna who will attract the wishes from universe to himself and send them to us in the form of our wishes. And that’s how i understand , the law of attraction works.

For now this is Shwetal signing off for now… Asta la vista…. Enjoy reading and writing.

Shwetal- An Aspiring writer…..A writer by choice.

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

Isaac Asimov


Letter to KRISHNA from a Young boy….


 Hare Krishna

I know you have been watching me , since the day i was born. I have been having very different experiences in life which you know . You have been hearing me speak to people , watching me and observing me . You came in my dreams , the blue coloured god . When i saw you i instantly in my dreams said its krishna. I know you have been watching my back .


While i am writing this letter you , i have tears in my eyes which i wouldnt let come out. I am holding my emotions tight. Even if i am not ok i am telling people i am ok . You know what has happened and know the reason behind it. Even i know the reason . I know i have to make a choice here. I know my choice , but why it is difficult for me take that first step. I am a human with all desires and emotions. I have a good side and a bad side. You know it. I want to choose the good side. And i am going to choose it.

I have been fighting this battle for a long time. I want to win this battle over the evil side. 


Just like you drove Arjuna in Kurukshetra and showed him the path which was difficult but it was his call of duty . I want to know what is the call of my duty. I know if i am writing this . You will be reading this. My intent is to communicate with you. Whenever you read this i want a response which i know you will.

Hare Krishna

This is Shwetal Signing off for now…. Asta la Vista…. With a new post.

Shwetal – An Aspiring writer… and …. The future of writing ?? Let people say it.



Meaning of KRISHNA


The meaning of the name “Krishna”:

“The name Krishna means ‘all-attractive.’ God attracts everyone; that is the definition of ‘God.’ We have seen many pictures of Krishna, and we see that He attracts the cows, calves, birds, beasts, trees, plants, and even the water in Vrindavana. He is attractive to the cowherd boys, to the gopis, to Nanda Maharaja, to the Pandavas, and to all human society. Therefore if any particular name can be given to God, that name is ‘Krishna.'”

—The Science of Self-Realization


Etymology of the word ‘Krishna’:

”The word ‘krish’ is the attractive feature of the Lord’s existence, and ‘na’ means spiritual pleasure. When the verb ‘krish’ is added to the affix ‘na’ it becomes Krishna, which indicates the Absolute Truth.”

—Mahabharata (Udyoga-parva, 71.4)


The etymology of the name ‘Krishna’:

If we analyze the nirukti, or semantic derivation, of the word ‘Krishna,’ we find that na signifies that He stops the repetition of birth and death, and krish means sattartha, or ‘existence.’ (Krishna is the whole of existence.) Also, krish means ‘attraction,’ and na means ananda, or ‘bliss.’

—Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.15


The name ‘Krishna,’ meaning ‘all-attractive,’ can be applied only to God:

Srila Prabhupada: … Krishna means ‘all-attractive.’

Bob: Oh, I see.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. God has no name, but by His qualities we give Him names. If a man is very beautiful, we call him ‘beautiful.’ If a man is very intelligent, we call him ‘wise.’ So the name is given according to the quality. Because God is all-attractive, the name Krishna can be applied only to Him. Krishna means ‘all-attractive.’ It includes everything.

—Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers

This is Shwetal Signing off for now…..Asta la vista … Happy blogging… and Enjoy writing.

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli


Power of perception…..


All my post start either with a picture or a quote , always saying something. Whoever reads and likes the article i am sure is able to hear the voice. But is hearing the voice sufficient. Understanding the thoughts the vibrations and percieving what i am trying to say . Lets take a look at the picture below and try to understand what it would mean or rather lets try to percieve it.


Lets not get scared , looking at the complexity of this image . It is trying to say something . Lets try and hear it , hear it through the power of human perception. Now i gave it a thought for 15 mins , and tried to percieve this image. When i look at this image i see various things in it ,

A man. a boat , an angel in the sky ( may be christ giving him blessings ) and of course water.  The man in the boat is on voyage . But what voyage is it. Whats his destination ? Why is he pleading with his both hands ? Is he in trouble ? All these questions do come in our personal lives as well . To which we always find it difficult to get an answer to.  From what i understood in this , the man is on a voyage of his life , where he is pleading to almighty to show the right path . A path which would lead him to not only success but also enlightenment , good deed , and peace.

And his prayers are answered by the holy angel who is appearing from the clouds telling him . I was always there for you and i am always going to be there for you. I appeared because you wanted me to. I treat everyone equally. I treat every one with love.  The ray of light indicated a ray of hope which is going to show him the right path.

Most of us in our lives dont percieve things correctly . We just take it the way it comes to us. Leading us to the wrong path. A classic example is our desires , good to have desires  till it doesnt becomes obsession. Obsession in my opinion is bad and is fatal.

Lot of our problems would go away if we percieve things correct and just like the image below we will enjoy life to an extent which no one could even imagine.


This is Shwetal sigining off for now …..Je serai de retour bientôt avec un autre poste

I mean i will be back with my next post soon.

Shwetal – An aspiring Writer and……..?  well let time decide what i am going to be.

The desire to write grows with writing.

Desiderius Erasmus


Me , Myself and I ….. Who am I ?

People say there is only one who created us . GOD , Generator , Operator and  Destroyer.He created all of us , the man kind , nature , mountains and rivers  , gave us an identity. But i am wondering , we humans how many of us are aware of our true identity , our purpose , what are we here for. 

So here comes the million dollar question … Who Am I ?

We humans have a something called as emotions ( i wrote quite a few things about it in my previous post ) , Now as there are two categories of emotions inside the human body , positive and negative . So i would call one a evil and the other one the good side of a human. Now i feel the problem here is those are good from their heart , soul and mind can be revognised and you get long with them as well. But what about those people who have negative emotions or what i called as a evil side as well along with the good side. Should we cruisify them ? Is that a solution.

Even if there is a human who has a bad side inside him /her . Thats not his true identity. The problem here i feel is that the evil has taken over the conscience mind to an extent that his good side is suppressed and cant do anything. Lets say if there is a man who looks at a girl and says She is beautiful and has no negative emotions about it. So i call it an appreciation.  Now there could be one more person who would say the same thing with a negative emotions so thats the evil inside him speaking .

I always feel that in such a scenario we are always in the middle of a battle with our own self. With the evil inside us , and the battle is to win over this evil. Difficult  but not impossible.  If a person is able to win this battle thats when he gets or achieves his true identity. The good identity. He just had a evil side but thats not intentional some times its inherited , from where i am not gonna comment on that so soon. But it is inherited. What do we do about this inherited identity ? Accept it ?  Many different answers to this . But my answer is yes. Now when i say yes i dont mean we continue to do bad things with that inherited identity but continue fighting the battle with the evil inside us.

Because we are not bad no one is bad. All we need is a victory over bad things so that we get our true identity.

After all , we all are :


Hope i made a bit of sense… 🙂