Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has said strength is life and weakness is death. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, he said strength is life and weakness is death. Speaking after he inaugurated the Vivekananda Navaratri Festival in Chennai, he said the festival is being observed every year to commemorate the nine days of stay of by Swami Vivekananda at this building (Vivekananda House) after his return to India in 1897.
After the historic Chicago Address (1893) and his subsequent tour of the USA and Europe, Swami Vivekananda travelled via Colombo and using a ferry along the Ram Sethu set foot on Indian soil at Rameswaram on 25 th January 1897. He was accorded a rapturous welcome by the Rajah of Ramnad who showed his devotion by walking in front of the chariot in which Swamiji was seated. Thereafter Swamiji came to Madras and during his nine-day stay here, he stayed at this building which was then known as Ice house, he said.
He added: "As you can see, the building has had a long and chequered history and we are all fortunate that the building which once housed Swami Vivekananda after his successful international tour is now being used to propagate the teachings and the message of Swamiji." Stating that many freedom fighters were inspired by his lectures and many of them visited him at this august house, Purohit added: "Today India is free and the world listens to India. 125 years back Swami Vivekananda’s powerful speeches made the world listen to India.
When Swamiji spoke at the Parliament of Religions at Chicago, the audience listened with rapt attention. At that historic address he stated and I quote “I thank you in the name of mother of religions for it fills my heart with joy for having been so warmly and cordially welcomed. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world tolerance and universal acceptance and to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and nations."