Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi’s Speech at the Parliament of World Religions.1893 at Chicago
The glory of the Parliament of World Religions was most obvious in the opening ceremony, on Sept. 11, 1893. More than 4000 people had gathered in the Hall of Columbus, when at 10oclock a dozen representatives from different faiths marched into the hall hand in hand. At the same time, the Columbian Liberty bell, in the Court of Honour tolled ten times, honouring the ten great world religions—Confucianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Among the speakers Swami Vivekananda’s three speeches drew the most attention.
The aim of the conference was to bring together in conference, for the first time in history, the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world and to set forth, by those most competent to speak, what are deemed the important distinctive truths held and taught by each Religion.
Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha was requested by Dadabhai Navroji to prepare a paper on the Zoroastrian Religion to present at the Parliament. In the published report of the Parliament of Religions 1893 (Vol 1, p. 58) the President writes “Hon. Dadabhoy Navrojee, M.P., of London, Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, Dastur Dr. Jamaspi Minocher Jamasp Asa, M.A. Ph.D., and Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai Bharucha, took active interest in the Parliament and enlisted the cooperation of the Parsis of India “However, Ervad Sheriarji Bharucha was unable to attend the Parliament.
Sir Jivanji Jamhedji Modi addressed this historic Parliament of World Religions in 1893.
He gives a detailed account of the religion, manners and customs of the Parsis. On the lighter side, he mentions, that the qualifications for a good husband are that he should be young, handsome, strong, brave, healthy, diligent, industrious, truthful, wise and educated. A good wife must be wise, educated, modest, courteous, obedient and chaste”. “According to the sad-dar, a wife who gives herself to her husband three times a day-in the morning, afternoon and evening performs as meritorious an act as that of saying her prayers three times a day”.
He explains, “Zoroastrianism or Parsism, by whatever name the system may be called is a monotheistic form of Religion. It believes in the existence of one God Ahura Mazda”. We might hardly conceive what human belief would be now had Zoroaster never existed.