Swami Vivekananda’s speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, USA, in 1893 heralded a new era in inter-religious understanding and propagation of Indian religious thoughts in the West. Among his speeches at the Parliament of Religions, the first speech beginning with the immortal words “Sisters and brothers of America” delivered at the inaugural session, is the most well-known and has a thrilling effect on the readers even after more than 125 years.
Around the year 2010, some overzealous people in their enthusiasm to spread this important speech on the Internet, released videos on YouTube and claimed that their soundtracks have the original voice of Swami Vivekananda. These videos, available in numerous YouTube channels under titles like “Real Voice of Swami Vivekananda”, “The Original Voice of Swami Vivekananda” and “Voice of Swami Vivekananda”, are extremely popular and have been watched by thousands of people since then.
The Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission would like to clarify that the claims of these YouTube videos regarding Swami Vivekananda’s original voice are false. This is because there is no voice recording of Swami Vivekananda, let alone of his speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions, available to us today, according to scholars. It is true that Swami Vivekananda’s voice was recorded a couple of times during his lifetime. But none of those recordings have been traced so far. Further, researches have proved that there was no arrangement for recording the speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions.
Vedanta Kesari, an English journal brought out by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, carried two illumining article by M S Nanjundiah on this subject :
- Swami Vivekananda’s Voice Recording? M. S. Nanjundiah | The Vedanta Kesari Article (August 2010)
- ‘That Golden Voice’ M. S. Nanjundiah | The Vedanta Kesari Article (June 2012)
Also, Advaita Ashrama, a branch of the Ramakrishna Math, has brought out an authentic audio reproduction of the speech in an audio book format :
The Video in Bengali :