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Obama's Speech-Reference To Swami Vivekananda

Why did the US President, Barack Obama, mention about Swami Vivekananda in his speech in Indian Parliament, during his India visit?


Swami Vivekananda, of all the spiritual giants of India, was the first to present the essence of Indian spirituality to the West. His all embracing attitude reflected in His opening lines in the World Parliament of Religions, back in 1893, in Chicago, for which He received a standing ovation, “Sisters and brothers of America...." (Read detailed account)

Swami Vivekananda further in his speech in the Parliament of Religions, expressed the accommodating aspect of Indian spirituality that is capable of breaking the barriers in terms of caste, creed, nationality and sectarianism. “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." (Courtesy: Vivekananda, A Biography in pictures, p 51)


Religion has become an active part of politics today, and reigns high in terms of controversy powered by politics, whether it is a small local riot or a major terrorists attack owing to territorial clamour, than for its own good reasons. It is a major aspect in the political arena across the globe owing to the common factor that connects religion and politics, 'harmonious living'

The US President Barack Obama, in his speech in Indian Parliament, has made a mention about Swami Vivekananda, apart from Mahatma Gandhi and the poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore. He spoke of Swamiji thus : “It's the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago-the renowned Swami Vivekananda"

The US President, Obama further quoted the words of Swami Vivekananda in his speech, “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."

Swamiji, having realised the universal oneness owing to the all pervading spirit beyond the apparent disparities in terms of religion, colour, creed and nationality; it is but a small wonder that not only Indians, but people across the globe as well are inspired by Him.

Being a realised soul, Swamiji was one who did not view the relative as apart from the spiritual. He realised religion to be far more than just the blind following of creeds. Swamiji exposed a new dimension to religion infusing dynamism coupled with piety, to realise the highest ideal in the realm of spirituality, which, did not mean the neglection of economic pursuits in life.

Further more Swamiji exercised a practical approach to life powered of course by spirituality, a new approach to life with the marriage of the material and the spiritual.

Swami Vivekananda dreamed of a society in His Motherland that would be materially rich coupled with its spiritual bounty and the Oriental to be spiritually enriched, coupled with its material affluence. In short the Saint urged the masses to strike a balance between relative and spiritual life.

Swami Vivekananda is no doubt an inspiration for all, for wrapping the perennial wisdom in a dynamic modern attitude which would last through eternity.

It is no small wonder that the US President, Obama, in his speech in Indian Parliament, referred to Swami Vivekananda, the roaring lion of spirituality.

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