The World’s Parliament of Religions started on 11 September 1893 at the Permanent Memorial Art Palace (also identified as the World’s Congress Auxiliary Building), now the Art Institute of Chicago, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Swami Vivekananda gave his first lecture on that day. Towards the afternoon his turn came, after so much of procrastination. Though initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning, and he felt he got new energy in his body; he felt someone or something else had occupied his body– “The Soul of India, the echo of the Rishis, the voice of Ramakrishna, the mouthpiece of the resurgent Time spirit”.
Then began his speech with the salutation, “Sisters and brothers of America!”. To these words, he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes. When silence was restored he began his address. He greeted the youngest of the nations on behalf of “the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.!”