Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk, a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna: During the course of his wanderings, he came to know about the World Parliament of Religions being held in Chicago, America in 1893. He was keen to attend the meeting, to represent India, Hinduism and his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s philosophies. He found assertion of his wishes while he was meditating on the rocks of Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. Money was raised by his disciples in Madras (now Chennai) and Ajit Singh, Raja of Khetri, and Vivekananda left for Chicago on May 31, 1893 from Bombay.
He faced insurmountable hardships on his way to Chicago, but his spirits remained as indomitable as ever. On 11 September 1893, when the time came, he took the stage and stunned everyone with his opening line “My brothers and sisters of America”. He received a standing ovation from the audience for the opening phrase. He went on to describe the principles of Vedanta and their spiritual significance, putting Hinduism on the map of World Religions.
He spent the next two and a half years in America and founded the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. He also travelled to the United Kingdom to preach the tenets of the Vedanta and Hindu Spiritualism to the western world.