On another occasion, when Swami Vivekananda and myself were alone in his house, I put to him several knotty questions on Vedanta, and he explained them to me. One of them was about the unity of the individual soul (i.e. jivatman) with the brahman or paramatman. As I had devoted much of my time to the study and realization of the nature of brahman, I was looking for an answer in speechless silence, and at the same time was trying mentally to indentify myself with the Universal Spirit. The Swami, on finding that at a particular moment at that time I was en rapport with brahman, simply cried out, tat-tvam-asi (Thou art That)! I wanted no further explanation. The Swami returned to India towards the end of this year (i.e. 1896).
I subsequently paid a visit to the learned Swami at his private residence. He kindly received me in a cordial manner. I had a talk with him on religious matters during which he repeated several shiokas (verses) from the Bhagavad-Gita:
इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः ।
निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद् ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ॥ (V - 19)
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन ।
तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ॥ (IV - 5)
कर्शयन्तः शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतसः।
मां चैवान्तःशरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान्॥ (XVII - 6)
क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ॥ (II - 3)
(Even in this life they have conquered the round of birth and death, whose minds are firm-fixed on the sameness of everything, for God is pure, and the same to all, and therefore, such are said to be living in God. O Arjuna, you and I have run the cycle of birth and death many times, I know them all, but you are not conscious of them. Know them to be of asurika resolve who, senseless as they are, torture all the organs of the body and Me dwelling within the body. Cast off this mean faint-heanedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies.)
Thereupon. I naturally repeated within myself in an audible manner:
नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वप्रसादान्मयाच्युत ।
स्थितोऽस्मि गतसंदेहः करिष्ये वचनं तव ॥ (XVIII - 73)
(Destroyed is my delusion, and I have gained my memory through thy grace. O Achyuta. I am firm; my doubts are gone. I shall do thy word.)
He said that animsa paramo dharmah was a tenet of the Buddhists, and it had gone so far that it had enfeebled the people. He preached a bold and manly religion. He told me that when he had to speak before the Chicago Parliament of Religions for the first time, he fell a little nervous in the beginning, but the mahavakya (great Upanishadic saying), aham brahmasmi (I am Brahman) at once flashed through his brain, and such a tremendous power entered his frame that he outdid himself. He electrified the American audience by his subsequent speeches, and the fact, no doubt, is testified by the reports of the American papers.
He, therefore, advised all men not to belittle themselves, but to realize their brahman-hood, their Divinity.
.... From Memoirs of T.J. Desai Vedanta Kesari, January 1932