March 16 , 1896
Heard Swami Talk
VIVEKANANDA LECTURED IN TEMPLE BETH EL
Temple Beth El was crowded to the doors last night when Swami Vivekananda delivered his address upon "The Ideal of a universal religion." (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.) The time announced for the service was 8 o'clock, but the congregation began to assemble at the temple early in the evening so that the doors had to be opened at 6:25 p.m. They were closed at 7 o'clock and the hundreds that arrived after that time had to be turned away.
We all hear about universal brotherhood, and how societies stand up and want to preach this. But to what does it amount? As soon as you make a sect you protest against equality, and thus it is no more,
Unity in variety is the plan of the universe. Just as we are all men, yet we are all separate. We find then, that if by the idea of a universal religion is meant one set of doctrines should be believed by all mankind, it is impossible, it can never be, any more than there will be a time when all faces will be the same. We must not seek that all of us should think alike, like Egyptian mummies in a museum, looking at each other without thought to think. It is this difference of thought, this differentiation, losing of the balance of thought, which is the very soul of our progress, the soul of thought.
Swami will probably leave Tuesday [March 17]. At the close of his address last night he thanked the people of Detroit for the kind reception tendered him and his philosophy.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.