Before Chicago Speech

Few days after his arrival in Chicago, he went to information bureau of the Columbian Exposition to ask about the parliament of religions. There he came to know that the parliament of religions has been put off until 1st week of September. He was also told that he needed references from bonafide organization to be admitted to the parliament of religions. He was also told that it was too late to get registered as a delegate.

All of this was a shock to Swamiji. None of his friends, well-wishers, devotees who had lot of effort to raise funds to send him to America did not take trouble to find out the details. No one knew the conditions of admission to the parliament of religions. All of them had thought that swamiji would attend the meeting on that basis of his personality alone.

Having been in America for a few days, his expense was mounting and his funds depleted. Swamiji was somewhat depressed. He sent cable (no telephone calls that time) to his friends in madras for help. He did not have enough funds to maintain himself in Chicago until September. Finally, someone advised him to go to Boston where cost of living is less and swamiji boarded train to Boston.

Swamiji arrived in Boston and stayed at Quincy House. He sent a telegram to Ms Sanborn... She sent him a telegram and welcomed him to stay with her. Ms Sanborn was able to introduce Swamiji to many well-known people from in and around Boston. Swamiji was annoyed by their strange, sometimes awkward questions regarding Hinduism and India. Their knowledge regarding these things was from reading the reports by Christian missionaries. However, among the few serious minded people that came to meet swamiji were Ms Johnson, the superintendent of prison and J.H Wright Professor of Greek at Harvard University. Swamiji visited the prison on invitation from Ms Johnson and was impressed by the humanitarian treatment of prisoners.

It was the meeting with J.H. Wright that turned very providential. After several hours of conversation with Swamiji, learning the purpose of his trip to America, Professor Wright insisted that he should represent Hinduism in the Parliament. Swamiji explained his difficulties and said that he had no credentials. Professor Wright taken aback and exclaimed, “Swami ji, to ask you for credentials is like asking the sun about its right to shine”. He took upon himself to get swamiji introduced to many of influential people connected with parliament of religions. Dr Barrows, the Chairman of the committee responsible for selection of delegates happened to be his friend. He wrote a letter to him introducing the Swamiji and said, “Here is a man who is more learned than all our learned professors put together”.