Vivekananda's Speech at Conference of Religions

11th September, 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; 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 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 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: places all mingle their water in the sea, sources in different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."