Swami Vivekananda at World Parliament of Religions 1893

Feb 19 2009

The following audio clips are taken from Swami Vivekananda’s speech that he delivered in Chicago, USA during the World Parliament of Religions on 11th Sept. 1893 and in days that followed. I don’t think anyone knows the true source of this Audio recording, which is now more than 124 years old. It is amazing to listen to hear the great sage’s own voice. Please allow time to buffer for slow connections. You can also download the MP3 here: Clip 1 and Clip 2. You will need to click on the player to enable flash and then click on Play to start playing.

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

WELCOME ADDRESS – Chicago, Sept 11, 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 the most ancient order of monks in the world; 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.

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-off nations may well claim the honor 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 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 am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, 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 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.”

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 the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all 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 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 is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

CONCLUDING ADDRESS – Chicago, Sept 27, 1893

The World’s Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who laboured to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labour.

My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter.

Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one 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.

If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. 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.”
Speech Text Courtesy:

Comments So Far..
  • anupam dhar 19 February, 2009 at 1:25 am

    This is the first and only recorded speech of Swami Vivekananda.
    When he read the opening sentence, the whole assembly stood up in resounding applause creating a humongous moan of joy.
    He was the only person to speak extempore
    In a later interview, he said that the words were his Guru Ramakrishna Parmahansa’s and only the voice was his.

  • Gautam 19 February, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Once can hear the conviction and confidence and the flow in his speech, as if the providence forces were behind him

  • T A Ramesh 21 February, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    The immortal speeches of Swami Vivekananda inspired, are inspiring and will inspire many generations to come. The efforts of Gautam Dhar is commendable for bringing the voice of the Great Indian for all to hear once again!

  • Tej Mehta 10 March, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    March 10,2009
    Thanks Gautam, for this effort.
    Vivekananda’s speech is most eloquent and enlightening, he brings
    the mother of all logic in religions to the fore.
    Tej mehta

  • binoy 15 April, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks a ton for the spreading the message of swami

  • Maneck 18 June, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    WoW ! Now I do know that Law of Attraction does work. I had always as a child wanted to trace Vivekanada’s voice. And now you have done it. GREAT WORK. SUPERB WORK. Please can I ask where did you manage to get it? I also had some information (from one of his books) where a probable recording could be found. May be one can get some more information over & above this. Please do reply to me on this.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Gautam 19 June, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Maneck, I don’t think anyone knows the true source of this more than 100 years old recording, but I assume it’s spread on the internet who must have had access to it through a source such as Congress Library or the likes of it.

    If you do a search online, you will find a few links with the same recording.

  • Rakesh 28 July, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Amazing, this is really great to hear such a great great great personality.

  • Maneck 29 July, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I was so thrilled when I heard this speach in his ‘OWN VOICE’. However I went to the R.K. Mission to reconfirm the same, they just passed it off as not being his voice but just a dubbed voice. I was quite dissapointed. But am really keen to trace it back to the source. So if anyone of you is able to do so keep us posted.

  • sujit jha 5 August, 2009 at 9:31 am

    really he is a great soul,they can never die

    their voice was also exist in past, & in present & will also exist in future.

  • Meenal 27 August, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    awe-inspiring speeches.
    sound is clear enough.. links to such audios should be spread to as many people as possible.

  • Joy Jacob 30 August, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I am thrilled. I appreciate the efforts to share such valuable messages. I am proud to be an Indian and a christian. What ever be the origin of the audio, it is clear and conveys the message well. Thank you.

  • Nittur Guruprasad 31 August, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I am thrilled. I am emotioned after hearing the voice. I never had thought of it – that the Great Saints voice was recorded and available to all. I have no words of express. Simply MUM. I am very greatful and thankful for the person who brings to the common man. Whatever the origion of this audio, it is clear and perfect in sound.

    Onceagain thanks to Giridhar

  • Dr Milon Mitra 9 September, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    the speech is awe inspiring hence 99% chances are that we heard Swamiji. I opened the Collectedworks of Swamiji and compared the speech. I found about 3 paragraphs missing in between.Now how did that happen? Emile Berliner started marketing his disc records in 1889. These records were five inches in diameter, and offered only in Europe. In 1892 he incorporated the United States Gramophone Company in Washington D.C.. This company offered the first disc records (now seven inches in diameter and no longer intended as a toy) in November 1894 on the Berliner Gramophone label. After various mergers, divisions, lawsuits, and injunctions, this company was to give rise to the Victor Talking Machine Company in the United States in late 1900. In 1929, Victor was purchased by RCA. So only United States Gramophone Company can correctly say whether they recorded the Parliament of Religion speeches.

  • Atul Verma 2 March, 2010 at 12:03 am

    God bless those people who have made this possible

  • JF 30 July, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Three audio recordings of Swami Vivekananda can be downloaded from in mp3 format:

    2 short speeches and 1 long speech

    The welcome address is the same as the above.

    paper_on_hinduism_vivekananda.mp3 13.7 MB
    welcome_address_vivekananda.mp3 1.7 MB
    why_we_disagree_vivekananda.mp3 1.2 MB


  • muskan 4 May, 2012 at 8:23 am

    wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww its awesome

  • muskan 4 May, 2012 at 8:27 am

    this speech helped me a lot to do well in the speech competition as i am a child its a great thing for me thank you

  • Joy 7 July, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Absolutely false propaganda. Nothin was recorded then.

  • JF 7 July, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The recording appears authentic.
    It is known that some other recordings were made of Swami Vivekananda, using the Edison phonograph, so why should it not have been used in this case?
    If you claim that it is “false propaganda”, you should be able to document that claim.
    Else you can only say, “I believe it is false propaganda”.
    I believe it isn’t.

  • Gautam 7 July, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    +1 to JF. I don’t think anyone has right to call this fake unless you were sitting in the audience. Meanwhile enjoy the great words instead of getting tangled in a futile argument

  • JF 8 July, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Agree fully 😉

    Just wanted to counter the “false propaganda” accusation.

  • raju 11 January, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    What a great speech with clear and constant flow from inner help to pour out the message to entire world.I had read it in both language but never heard. Listening Swamiji in his own voice feels my heart with joy. Gautam! Thank you fro your hard work. Please, if any one doe snot believe in this ,it’s up to you, but without proof you can’t say anything.Over so long period if any lines is missing it’s not a big deal. Keep in mind the aim of conference and message of Swamiji is more important then anything else..Why all the times no one try to revive it and now after hard work when it’s in front of you, every one is looking for fault……..Thanks………………Gautam!

  • DEEPAK SHARMA 6 May, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I feel much blessed by getting this divine/ spritiual clip.
    I felt the presence of God inside me while i was listening this clip.
    I have no words to express my views but i am thankful to all the people who recorded and arranged this clip.
    May god bless them!!!

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