When East Went out West St. Louis' Swami Chetanananada Presents a History of Vedanta Philosophy in America

Article excerpt

It is a mark of the growing diversity of our region that this internationally minded book is homegrown, written by a leader of the local interfaith community and published by a local house of worship.

In 1893, a 30-year old Indian swami came to this country as a missionary to the West. Swami Vivekananda preached a monastic Vedanta philosophy of Hindostan that suited democracy because it said that all men were gods.

In a restrictive Victorian age, he stood before audiences in his turban and robes and said that there was only one sin - for someone to think that he or she was a sinner, or to think that someone else was a sinner. "Vedanta teaches that God that is in everyone, has become everyone and everything," he said at Union Square Hall in San Francisco in the spring of 1900. His most important address was given to the World Parliament of Religions at the 1893 Chicago Columbia Exposition (world's fair). Excerpts from many of his talks and photos of him on his missionary trip are included. …