Narration- Harshavardhan Neotia

Concept and Direction by- Sourendro- Soumyojit

When Swami Vivekananda spoke at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, his speech marked an epoch in the history of spiritual thoughts. He bridged the gap between Eastern and Western culture while introducing the Hindu philosophy of tolerance, inclusion and the need to end fanaticism. Amalgamating religious beliefs and crisp scientific logic, one of the greatest monks of India acquainted the world with Vedanta philosophy and preached the gospel of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramahansa. The moment the ‘Orator by divine right’, as hailed by New York Critique on September 11, 1893, approached the stage and addressed the world with simple yet profound words, ‘Brother and Sisters of America’, they engraved an ineffaceable sense of universality deep in people’s mind and left them in silent awe. The world is yet to witness a contemporary monk like Swamiji who ‘came, saw and conquered’ the hearts of millions. However, before his unforgettable speech, Swami Vivekananda had to go through many difficulties as he neither had the necessary recommendation nor could he register within the time stipulated, but with his strong determination he managed to create history in a foreign country remembered all over the world. Swami Vivekananda presented the Vedanta Philosophy that evoked the ancient maxim “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” meaning “The whole world is one family”. On the occasion of his 156th birth anniversary Harshavardhan Neotia has humbly attempted to pay tribute to India’s most prominent ambassador who preached the message of compassion and inclusion.

  • Response to Welcome Narrations: Harshvardhan Neotia Kabir Bhajan by Rekha Bhardwaj
  • Why We Disagree Narrations: Harshvardhan Neotia Saraswati Vandana by Bombay Jayshree
  • Paper on Hinduism Narrations: Harshvardhan Neotia Tagore's-'Dhwantio Ahaban' by Iman Chakraborty
  • Religion not the crying need of India Narrations: Harshvardhan Neotia Amir Khusrao Classic by Ustad Saleem Hassan Chisti
  • Buddhism: The fulfilment of Hinduism Narrations: Harshvardhan Neotia Vivekananda's- 'Nahi Surjo Nahi Jyoti' by Soumyajit

The album comprises a collection of six speeches, which were delivered by Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago between 11 & 27 September 1893. Harshavardhan Neotia has attempted to narrate them for the new generation so that they understand the savant’s universal philosophy of compassion and tolerance. At a time when we are facing divisive forces trying to disrupt the world, Swami Vivekananda’s values and beliefs have stood the test of time, advocating universal brotherhood that recommends living in peace and harmony in an all-embracing society. The album features performances by Rekha Bhardwaj, Bombay Jayashree, Iman Chakraborty, Ustad Saleem Hasan Chisti. Concept & direction by Sourendro & Soumyojit.

Idea behind the Album- Timeless Treasure

As we commemorate 125 years of Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, his life and teachings take on fresh relevance, even as he helped build a bridge between Indian and Western culture by interpreting Hindu philosophy to the West in an idiom which they could understand. Swami Vivekananda’s ideas, which emphasized the distinction between religion and spirituality, caught the imagination of the world and he became India’s most prominent ambassador, opening the eyes of the West to the fountainhead of knowledge and Vedantic treasures that lay across the seas in the East. I have made humble effort to record his six speeches delivered in Chicago way back in 1893 so that a new generation of youth understand Swamiji’s great contribution to preaching a philosophy of pluralism and tolerance. Today, as the world gets divided ‘into fragments by narrow, domestic walls,’ Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts immediately ignite our imagination because of the universality of his preachings. May the exalted goals he set for humanity inspire us to follow in his footsteps and make us proud to be Indians. -Harshavardhan Neotia

Idea behind the Music

It has been, indeed, a humbling experience to create music for this album that supports Swami Vivekananda’s speeches delivered at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. To us, it was music dedicated to the modern monk whose vision was so contemporary and compassionate. We were always awestruck at his musical gifts, his modern ideas, practical approach and positivity. That is what inspired us as artistes and made us cross all hurdles with a smile. Connecting the philosophical ideas of Swami Vivekananda with those of other thinkers like Kabir, Tagore and other like-minded seekers of Truth was exciting. We loved Swamiji’s conviction and confidence when he said that if Buddha has a message for the East, he has one for the West. So we created a soundscape that is essentially Indian but has an intricate feel of globalisation. Just like Swamiji who was a Universal Man. -Sourendro/ Soumyojit