“Sisters and Brothers of America” echoed the voice, from his saffron-clad vests.
While you can read the full text from here, here is the important portion I want to highlight, especially due to the situation in my India.
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.– Swami Vivekanand
And we are made to feel a sense of shame to pronounce that you are proud to be a Hindu! Forget rituals, even the symbols you put on the forehead is ridiculed. There have been protests to remove the sacred threads of Bhramins here, in down south.
Why such incidents are predominant even in this era?
I feel it is because of the history we studied or rather did not study. I have been to 20+ countries in the last 20 years of my travel. Never even seen a country where the citizens were ridiculing their own local history and culture.
Why do people ridicule their own history? They do so only when they start to feel others are supreme. And centuries of rules and rulers from Mughals to British have successfully done it in every Indian mind. Thanks to the black sheep among us too.
So, why did I start this post? Is it because of this great Monk birthday today? No.
This post is the result of my recent visit to Madurai, Temple city in the state of Tamilnadu.
I heard about the Fourth Tamil Sangam in Madurai and immediately wanted to make a visit. We all have heard about the three Sangams of Tamil but never knew that a fourth one exists, and in the same Madurai where the other three flourished.
The visit to this place, and the look at the history from here, made me write this post.
You may wonder what is the connection between Swami Vivekanand, and Madurai. Right?
Well, that is exactly what I want to highlight here.
We all have heard about the famous Chicago speech of Swami. How many of us know how did it all start?
Baskaran Sethupathi, king of Ramnad of British rules India times. He was the one who played a key role in establishing the Fourth Tamil Sangam in Madurai along with Paandithurai Thevar.
It is said that the invitation to speak in Chicago was originally given to the King of Ramnad, Baaskaran Sethupathi, who extended it to Swami. King felt that the presence of Swami, the Hindu Monk, will be more useful to the society and world than he himself visiting.
Swami could not accept the offer. Not because he was not interested, but due to lack of funds. Knowing this, King made all the arrangements for Swami Vivekananda’s visit to Chicago.
And thus the history and the historical speech happened in Chicago!
There is also history on how King received Swami after his return from Chicago in the Thoothukodi port. Yes, as a mark of respect, he insisted Swami land from he Ship by keeping his leg on his own head.
This shows, how a Hindu monk, who proudly claimed he was Hindu, was perceived and treated by even the great kings in those days.
Now, how many of us have read such history? Forget other parts of India, even in Tamilnadu state, I have not found a textbook describing such history.