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 the most ancient order of the monks in the world. I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. My thanks, also to some of speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the 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 t a religion which has taught the world both tolerance ad 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 and persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which the holy temple was scattered to pieces by the 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 the hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest childhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: ‘As the different streams have there sources in different places all mingle their water to the sea, so, O lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.’ In the present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: ‘Whosoever comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead...
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