The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 8/Notes Of Class Talks And Lectures/Women Of The East
(Report of a lecture in the Chicago Daily Inter-Ocean, September 23, 1893)
Swami Vivekananda, at a special meeting, discussed the present and future of the women of the East. He said, "The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women. In ancient Greece there was absolutely no difference in the state of man and woman. The idea of perfect equality existed. No Hindu can be a priest until he is married, the idea being that a single man is only half a man, and imperfect. The idea of perfect womanhood is perfect independence. The central idea of the life of a modern Hindu lady is her chastity. The wife is the centre of a circle, the fixity of which depends upon her chastity. It was the extreme of this idea which caused Hindu widows to be burnt. The Hindu women are very spiritual and very religious, perhaps more so than any other women in the world. If we can preserve these beautiful characteristics and at the same time develop the intellects of our women, the Hindu woman of the future will be the ideal woman of the world."
- As many women as could crowd into Hall 7 yesterday afternoon flocked thither to hear something as to the lives of their sisters of the Orient. Mrs. Potter Palmer and Mrs. Charles Henrotin sat upon the platform, surrounded by turbanned representatives of the women of the East. It may interest the reader to know that the published addresses of Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago are not exhaustive and many addresses, specially those delivered at the Scientific Section of the Parliament were not all reported. The Scientific Sessions were conducted simultaneously with the open session at the Hall of Columbus. Swami Vivekananda spoke on the following subjects at the Scientific Section: 1. Orthodox Hinduism and the Vedanta Philosophy. -- Friday, September 22, 1893, at 10:30 a.m. 2. The Modern Religions of India. -- Friday, September 22, 1893 afternoon session. 3. On the subject of the foregoing addresses. -- Saturday, September 23, 1893. 4. The Essence of the Hindu Religion. -- Monday, September 25, 1893. The Chicago Daily Inter - ocean of September 23, 1893 published the following note on the first lecture. "In the Scientific Section yesterday morning Swami Vivekananda spoke on 'Orthodox Hinduism'. Hall III was crowded to overflowing and hundreds of questions were asked by auditors and answered by the great Sannyasin with wonderful skill and lucidity. At the close of the session he was thronged with eager questioners who begged him to give a semi - public lecture somewhere on the subject of his religion. He said that he already had the project under consideration."