The conference state on 11th
September 1893. Thousands of delegates belonging to deferent countries of the world had
gathered at the conference. Vivekananda was the youngest of them all. When it was his turn
to speak, his throat went dry. Besides, he did not have, like the other delegates, a
prepared speech. He requested the President to let him be the last speaker, His turn did
come as the last speaker, He prayed fervently to Sri Ramakrishna and Mother Sharadadevi,
and stood up to speak.
When he began his address in his pleasing voice with the words "Brothers and
Sisters of America," there was a thunderous applause; it lasted for a full three
minutes. When it subsided at last he continued his short speech. He said that people born
in different religions finally reach the same God, as river born in different places
finally reaches the sea. He emphatically declared that no religion is superior and none is
inferior. The delegates, every one of them, praised his speech. Newspapers carried his
photographs and his speech. In later days people flocked chiefly to listen to his speech.
He became the darling of the crowds. Whenever he rose to speak there was deafening
Even as the conference was in session, many institutions and associations extended
invitations to Swami Vivekananda. Rich people begged Vivekanda to honor them with a
visit.Within a short time he became world famous. Wherever he went, he dwelt at length on
the greatness of Indian Culture. He spoke with spontaneous ease on every topic, be it
History, Sociology, Philosophy or Literature. He deplored the malicious propaganda that
had been unleashed by the Christian missionaries in India.
"He speaks without a scrap of paper in his hand. We see in him some of the
qualities of Jesus himself. A strange attire, a radiant personality, a rare elegance, the
skill to epitomize Hinduism superbly-with these gifts he has won the hearts of our people.
He is mesmeric. He is unsurpassed in conversation. His mastery of English is exceptional.
A man like him appears only once in age. We are fortunate that we can see him and hear
him, "- thus the newspapers went into raptures.
Till then Americans had the impression that Indians were superstitious and ignorant.
Thanks to Swamiji's persistent efforts, India was elevated to an honored position not only
in America, but in the entire comity of progressive nations.
Wherever Swamiji went, people flocked to listen to him and waited patiently. After the
speech they would invite him to their houses and treat him as an honored guest. They would
entertain him lavishly. At such times, Swamiji was constantly and painfully reminded of
the poverty and squalor of India. The opulence around him would become unbearable. He
spent many a sleepless and tearful night.
Meanwhile, he received pressinginvitations from England. A rousing reception awaited
him in London when he arrived there. The newspapers were all praise for the Hindu Yogi's
oratory and outlook. Many became his disciples. Among them was Margaret Nivedita'. She
came to India and settled here.
Swami Vivekananda returned to India after his foreign tour lasting four years.