In loving remembrance of Swamiji’s speech in the Parliament of Religions

A frog lived in a well. It had lived there for a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course the evolutionists were not there then to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not, but, for our story’s sake, we must take it for granted that it had its eyes, and that it every day cleansed the water of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it with an energy that would do credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat. Well, one day another frog that lived in the sea came and fell into the well.

“Where are you from?”

“I am from the sea.”

“The sea! How big is that? Is it as big as my well?” and he took a leap from one side of the well to the other.

“My friend,” said the frog of the sea, “how do you compare the sea with your little well?”

Then the frog took another leap and asked, “Is your sea so big?”

“What nonsense you speak, to compare the sea with your well!”

“Well, then,” said the frog of the well, “nothing can be bigger than my well; there can be nothing bigger than this; this fellow is a liar, so turn him out.”

 In 1893, when Narendranath (whom the world will later revere as Swami Vivekananda) set foot in America on the occasion of introducing the world to Hinduism, little did the world know that every single word uttered by this monk on that fateful day would still be so incredibly relevant. Luminaries like Karl Marx to today’s Richard Dawkins all have been very critical of religion and it’s need in our modern society. But Swamiji did prove a point and did this very eloquently through a simple story. “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.”

Allah, Bhagwan, God is that Supreme Being who can be attained not by a single path but through multifarious ways and means. It is not about the method but the final outcome. On this auspicious day we need to strengthen this sense of brotherhood and equanimity, which sadly is not enough stressed upon.

Our reverend Prime Minister’s speech also echoed similar emotions. He stated “He stated “Today is 9/11. This day became widely spoken about after 2001 but 9/11 of 1893 was about love, harmony and brotherhood.”

Swamiji spoke again in the concluding address at the World’s Parliament of Religions in which he gave a clarion call to all of us.

“Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid….” he said.

“In the face of this evidence, 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, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: help and not fight, assimilation and not destruction, harmony and peace and not dissension.”

166 thoughts on “In loving remembrance of Swamiji’s speech in the Parliament of Religions

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