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Congress President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi’s Message on the 125th Year of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago Address

Congress President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, has paid homage to Swami Vivekananda in the 125th year of his historic address at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

Swami Vivekananda's Chicago address is a proud moment in India's history and it heralded the arrival of one of India's greatest spiritual leaders on the world stage.

It is a deep honour for all Indians to remember the enlightened words and offer  homage to this great noble son of India, who by his words and his work inspired millions of people in our country as well as in the entire world, she said.

Swami Vivekananda came to Chicago in 1893 to attend the World Parliament of Religions as a representative of Hinduism and India, where he eloquently quoted from the 'Bhagvad 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 it's 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.” This universal message is time-invariant; it is as relevant today as it was over 124 years ago, Smt. Gandhi added.

Today, more than ever; we are engulfed with the same challenges of prejudices which Swamiji spoke about. Smt. Gandhi recalled that he spoke about 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”, he said.

His clarion call: "Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached!” – was at once a call to spiritual as well as political liberation. While promoting the idea of the oneness of all religions, Swamiji promoted with equal zeal the idea of the equality of all human beings, she said.

In today's atmosphere of intolerance and hate, Swami ji's message should be the Magna Cartafor the way forward, she said. I fervently hope that Swami Vivekananda's inspiring thoughts will continue to guide us, especially our youth for all times to come, she added.

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