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Tributes given on Sri Chinmoy's passing

A selection of tributes to Sri Chinmoy, given shortly after Sri Chinmoy's mahasamadhi, October 11th, 2007.

“With deep regret I have learned that my long-term close friend, the friend of my family and of our Foundation, Sri Chinmoy, passed away yesterday…This is a loss for the whole world. Through many years of his selfless work for the sake of peace, Sri Chinmoy has gained recognition and love in the farthest corners of our planet…In our hearts he will forever remain a man who dedicated his whole life to peace… We shall remember Sri Chinmoy forever!”

President Mikhail Gorbachev

“It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of my dear friend, Sri Chinmoy. Today, the world is a lesser place as I recall his lifetime of service to humanity in the great cause of world peace. I will remember always the time we spent together and treasure his support and encouragement over the years.”

President Nelson Mandela

“Hillary and I were saddened to learn of Sri Chinmoy's death, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the many people who loved him…Throughout his many years, he enriched the lives of countless others and served as a model of generosity and discipline to those he met, fostering an atmosphere of compassion, harmony, and unity. Sri Chinmoy was a leader, humanitarian, artist, athlete, and public servant who will be sorely missed. His legacy of kindness, reflection, and resolve will endure for many years to come.”

President Bill Clinton

“Sri Chinmoy was a once in a lifetime spiritual leader who touched the lives of millions of people through his teachings, art, athletics, and music. He was a student of peace and he embodied peace. Sri Chinmoy was a great man and his life's work significantly helped to build world harmony and will continue to do so.”

Al. Gore

“Sri Chinmoy reached out to so many in the UN. In the UN we felt the force of his love for us. However difficult the moment, he never lost faith in the UN and those who worked in it. He brought courage and support to so many individuals in our organisation but also his voice and prayer to those who led it. A man of the spiritual life, he understood the need for the UN in the material world if the two were ever to find justice and harmony.”

The Rt. Hon. Lord Malloch Brown
former UN Deputy Secretary-General

“I am sure I represent the Secretary-General when I express my profound respect and gratitude to Sri Chinmoy for his contribution to the building up of inner peace in the United Nations as in the world at large.”

Mr. Vijay Nambiar
UN Chef de Cabinet and Under-Secretary-General

“It is with profound sadness that I learned that the great humanitarian, meditation teacher and advocate of the boundless potential of the human spirit, Sri Chinmoy, is no longer with us. Sri Chinmoy loved and supported the ideals of the United Nations over his long career, and his life's dedication to working for peace and the betterment of humanity was unmatched. We shall always remember, follow and treasure the value in his words:

“The outer message of the United Nations is peace.
The inner message of the United Nations is love.
The inmost message of the United Nations is oneness.”

H.E. Dr. Srgjan Kerim.
President of the United Nations General Assembly for the current 62nd Session

“It is a great loss. Sri Chinmoy was a man of compassion and tolerance, representing the very best in humanity.”

H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson
President of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Darfur

"It is with sadness that I read of the death of our dear friend, Sri Chinmoy. I had the joy of meeting with Sri Chinmoy and was moved by the love and kindness shown, not only to myself, but to everyone with whom he came in contact. He was a truly compassionate, loving and serving human being. He will be missed by everyone. I join you all in spirit at his memorial service and give thanks to God for his great life of love and service. Deo Gracias."

Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1977

“Known as the Ambassador of World Peace, he shared his inner wealth with sincere seekers throughout the world. I join his students in bidding Sri Chinmoy a fond aloha.”

Senator Daniel Akaka
United States Senator from Hawaii

“Each and every one of us has been privileged, because we have been touched by a great master-teacher, a great inspirer, who has given us a message, a message to live by…Death in itself is confusing. It is even more confusing when somebody who has exhibited such unbelievable dynamism, such strength, such humility, such power…somehow seems gone from our lives. But that is not the truth. It may be the reality, but it is not the truth. Because what is a visionary, but for his vision? The visionary may be gone, but the vision is here.”

Congressman Gary Ackerman
United States Member of Congress

“Sri Chinmoy was an exceptional spiritual leader, an exemplary man whose universal message of love and peace was an inspiration to all people, whatever their faiths and beliefs. Along with my colleagues in the House of Commons in Canada, I mourn his passing and am grateful for his time among us.”

Hon. Peter Milliken, M.P
Speaker, House of Commons of Canada

“It is with the greatest sorrow that I received the news that Sri Chinmoy, a man whose life was dedicated to making the world a better place for each of us, has passed away. His death is a profound loss to the world and to all who loved this great humanitarian.
“Even in the midst of our sadness, we can find joy in the message of Sri Chinmoy and his good works around the world. From world leaders to the poorest of the poor, he spread the message of peace and love through his art, his athleticism and his spirit. His teachings will live on in perpetuity. We can pay him tribute, and remember him best by living each day embracing our differences and working together to create the world Sri Chinmoy envisioned, a world in which all nations live together in peace and harmony.”

Hon. Senator Mac Harb
Member of the Senate of Canada

“You will forever remain inside our hearts. May your light continue to spread throughout the length and breadth of the entire world.”

Hon. Svenn Kristiansen
Mayor of Oslo, Norway

Tributes from Academics and Nobel Prize winners

Professor Nils Göran David Malmqvist

Member of the Swedish Academy, Nobel Literature Prize
Literary Historian, Sinologist and Translator

“Greatly saddened by the news of Sri Chinmoy's death I should be grateful if you would convey my most sincere condolences to all devoted friends and followers who will gather from all corners of the world to do homage to the memory of a truly great man.”

Gao Xingjian

Nobel Literature Laureate 2000, Renowned Artist

“The news of Sri Chinmoy's death came to me as a shock, and I am greatly saddened. His life was devoted to humanity and salvation, and he was revered by tens of thousands for his important contribution to world peace. It is with profound grief that I mourn his passing.”

13 October 2007, Paris

Dr. Mabel Lee

Scholar in modern Chinese history and literature University of Sydney, Australia

“Sri Chinmoy has been an inspiration and blessing with his resounding message of love, peace, and humanity for the world. Having recently been touched by the magic of his teaching and his personal aura, I join with all of you in mourning his sudden departure. And, yet, he has left an indelible trace in the lives of all who have known him.”

Professor James G.Basker

Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History, Barnard College, Columbia University
President, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

“We as a family are saddened by the death of Sri Chinmoy. With his passing, the world is poorer. But his spirit of peace, beauty, and creativity lives on. Angela and the girls and I will never forget our time with him and with all of you. We are forever grateful, and feel blessed to have known him. We pray that the peace and fulfillment he nurtured and spread among so many people across the world will continue to grow and flourish. Our hearts are with you.”

Professor Dr.Franz Wöhrer

English Department, University of Vienna

“Sri Chinmoy has left a big legacy behind - and I am confident that his massive oeuvre and his philosophy will continue to live thanks to the large number of devotees world-wide. …and his memory will be treasured until the end of my life.”

Professor Philip Almond

Fellow of the Academy of the Humanities
Head of School, Department of Studies in Religion, School of History, Philosophy, Classics. University of Queensland, Australia

“Few are those as a result of whose lives the world is a better place for their having been in it. Sri Chinmoy was undoubtedly one of these. He will be greatly missed by all those who value compassion, love, and mindfulness.”

Professor Dr. Ali Riza Buyukuslu

Rector, European University of Lefke, North Cyprus

“It is very peculiar the way we believe that people like Sri Chinmoy will live forever. This is probably what we would like ourselves to believe. Our world feels so much safer and more peaceful with people like Sri Chinmoy around us.
However, without a doubt, I truly believe that Sri Chinmoy has completed his share of humanism and it is now our turn to hold the torch of harmony to follow the footsteps of what he has created.”

Kommerzialrat Prof. Alfred Gerstl

Ret. President of the Austrian Federal Council

“I thank Providence for meeting Sri Chinmoy, this extraordinary personality. His manifold activities and his incredible feats of strength he achieved by virtue of his mental power are guided by the goal of promoting the peaceful coexistence of humankind. Sri Chinmoy's demise leaves us with the responsibility to continue his commendable work.”

Tributes from spiritual figures

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Nobel Peace laureate, 1984

“Sri Chinmoy was a great man. God is smiling to know the immense good he has accomplished and encouraged in others. In a world of suspicion, hostility and conflict, he worked tirelessly to bring the different faiths together and inspired many to emulate.”

Bishop Carlos Belo, East Timor

Nobel Peace Laureate, 1996

“The Lord of Life and of Death receives his most blessed son who during his life sleeplessly worked for the peace and harmony of between peoples of religion.”

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

President of the Sufi Order International. Son and successor of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

“Beloved ones of God, lovers of Mahaguru Hazrat Sri Chinmoy, I can hardly speak for the power of my feeling at this moment: to be with you here marking the transition of this great saint, this great man of God, who has touched all of our lives so deeply, and to feel how his spirit has, moving beyond the physical body, saturated the atmosphere, surrounding and pervading us with love, guidance, tremendous compassion.”

Sister M. Nirmala

Superior General, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity

"Though Sri Chinmoy has left this earth physically, he is in peace with God, and is spiritually present among us through his prayer, his message of peace and the example of the life he has lived in the service of humanity promoting peace…We commend Sri Chinmoy and all of you to the prayer of our Mother – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who knew Sri Chinmoy very well and appreciated his works of peace, for she knew ‘Works of love are works of peace.'"

See also: Kind Words - Mother Teresa

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Art of Living Foundation

“His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living family are with you in this moment of grief. Sri Chinmoy's philosophy of peace and his work of bringing people from all faiths together will continue to inspire the world.”

His Holiness Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda

Founder of Yoga in Daily Life

“Our heartfelt prayers and condolences are extended to all the students of Sri Sri Chinmoy at this time of his passing. His was a truly divine life dedicated to humanity. Tonight "Yoga in Daily Life" members dedicated one minute's silent prayer in his memory.”

Reverend Dr Marcus Braybrooke

President of the World Congress of Faiths

“Sri Chinmoy embodied the spirit of peace which the world so badly needs. He did this through his poetry, his paintings, his teaching, but above all through his life and spiritual presence. Through the World Harmony Run he helped people make friends across the differences of religion, race, language, colour and culture. He enabled many of us to see these differences not as barriers but as enriching for us all. His dedicated service to the Oneness of humanity should be lifted up and remembered as an example to us all.

I treasure the inspiring memory of meeting him and share the sadness of so many people that he is no longer with us in body, although still present in spirit. I also express the sympathy and good wishes of members of the World Congress of Faiths.”

Ven. Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Maha Thero

Leader of the New York Buddhist Viharas

“With regard to the passing away of Sri Chinmoy who had rendered great services towards bringing peace among divergent peoples, the Sir Lankan community expresses its deepest condolences wishing him the joy of Nibbana.”

Paramacharya Palaniswami

Editor-in-chief of Hinduism Today magazine

*This tribute is offered on behalf of the Monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery in Hawaii founded in 1970 by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001)*

“Sri Chinmoy was a unique inspiration, living proof of the Divine possibilities within mankind. He was one of the few who spoke of God-Realisation from his own experience in much the same profound manner as our Gurudeva. How he exuded love. How he showed the way of goodness and gentleness. How he lived so we might all live more perfectly, serve more selflessly. Our several encounters with him both in Kauai and New York were precious moments of joy.”

Tributes from Musicians

Ravi Shankar

Legendary Sitar Virtuoso

“It is such a shock and I cannot believe that brother Chinmoy is gone and that we would not see or hear him anymore. He had so much love for everyone. I am going to miss him always. I wish his soul to find ultimate peace in Heaven”

Purushottama Boris Grebenshikov and Bhuvaneshwari Grebenshikov

Legendary Russian Singer, Musician and Songwriter

“Guru was speaking the language of light to our uncertain hearts; like a bird from God's own garden, following the law of the Sun in the world of twilight.”

Narada Michael Walden

Multiple Grammy Award winning Producer, Drummer, Singer and Songwriter

“Guru Sri Chinmoy was the God man of All God men…He lived and breathed for the Supreme every time All the Time….He will be missed, His energy phenomenal. His promise of love, devotion and Surrender the best…We wish all God Lover's to pause and reflect on the Heart love of the Good and Great Man Guru Sri Chinmoy…There Will Be no More Like Him…We must cherish his existence every day all day till the end of time with a smile of love and heart of cries and a life of Devotion to God…Eternally we will miss you Guru, Love Your Narada Michael Walden”

Mokshagun Clarence Clemons

Numero uno saxophonist and hit record artist

“Goodbye Guru from this earth. Thank you for being with me always and forever.”

Roberta Flack

Six-time Grammy Award winner

“I loved Sri Chinmoy. I love Sri Chinmoy. My whole life changed when I met him and I thank the whole world for that.”

Philip Glass

Renowned American Composer

“The passing of Sri Chinmoy represents the loss of one of the last of the great spiritual teachers who brought the tradition of Indian spirituality to the West.

He had a very special connection to music. In his performances, with clarity, simplicity and directness, he was able to move his listeners in a very immediate and deeply emotional way.

In his lifetime he brought tremendous joy to the people who were with him. For me, his life was a special and personal inspiration.

Though at this moment we may feel great sadness, he will always be in our hearts.”

Quincy Jones

Legendary music producer and humanitarian

“I don't have words to express my sadness. Sri's spirit will always be with us all. I just thank the higher power to have briefly had him and you in my life. Men like Sri Chinmoy were all too rare in this world. In fact, Sri Chinmoy was truly one-of-a-kind. I was, am and will always be his biggest fan, for he understood what truly matters most in life: and that is love. His love could fill an ocean. I join the many people touched by this man and pray that his message will touch many more. Sri, we love you, and we miss you.”

Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

Legendary guitarist and creator of the Mahavishnu Orchestra

“Finding one's way in life is difficult even in the best of times. The presence of inspiring human beings is the surest way of receiving help and guidance in these matters. Five years of my life were spent under the direct tutelege of Sri Chinmoy. There are but a few real and true human beings to whom I will never ever be able to repay my debt of gratitude. The principle reason for this is that they have transcended the merely human and attained the All. Sri Chinmoy is one of these human beings. My gratitude to him will remain forever endless."

The Mongolian Union of Artists

“The Mongolian Union of Artists on behalf of all Mongolian artists is deeply mourning the passing away of our respected teacher Sri Chinmoy.

He was an enlightened living god, who had earned worldwide respect and adoration, inspiring, encouraging and energizing millions with light and happiness.

Last May during the visit of our Guru Sri Chinmoy to Mongolia at the invitation of the President of Mongolia, the exhibition of his incredible artworks at the gallery of Mongolian Artists' Union, the musical performance and the lifting of 50 white horses gave immense joy to the minds and hearts of Mongolians.

He delivered the essence of his noble teaching of enlightenment during the visit. He awarded the President with the U Thant Peace Award.

Though thou art in eternal heaven now, May thee continue be with us in spirit and thy living presence glow among us, O enlightened Teacher and living god Sri Chinmoy.”

Tributes from humanitarians

Jane Goodall

“I am deeply grieved and saddened to learn of the passing of Sri Chinmoy. He was a true teacher and symbolized the path of peace. He combined spiritual strength and human wisdom. He was an enchanting artist with a real sense of humour. I shall miss him - but his personality, so vivid, will live on.”

Jane Goodall: renowned Primatologist and United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Susan Sarandon

“I was in Los Angeles and learned about Sri Chinmoy's passing in the paper. His loss is so great, but his influence greater. He shall be in our hearts forever.”

Susan Sarandon: Academy award-winning actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Chinua Achebe

“The day I met Sri Chinmoy for the first time, he became a very special friend for me and my family. Even in death, his generous friendship will continue to inspire me and mine. My friend, fare you well.”

Chinua Achebe, Award-winning Nigerian Writer and 'Father of African Literature.'

Tributes from weightlifters and bodybuilders

Mahasamrat Bill Pearl and Bhavatarini Judy Pearl

5-Time Mr. Universe
Best-Built Man of the 20th Century

“Sri Chinmoy gave us so many lessons, so much encouragement and so much beauty. We must not let him down. We must strive for and achieve all the things he knew we were capable of. His life's example demands it of us.

Guru gave his all at every moment and with everything he did. Guru never held back even one tiny drop. He gave everything he had.
Guru did not attempt; Guru did!

Now it is up to us to carry on with what Guru gave to us. It is up to us to spread Guru's message and Guru's teachings to the world. It is in our hands.

Guru's weightlifting was extremely important to him and to the world; but it was a small part of all the things he did. Guru also had his paintings, his poetry, his music and so much more. I cannot put Guru in any one category. Guru outdid everybody in 15 different areas more than any one person had ever done in any one of those areas.

Guru, we will never forget you. We will always feel your positive force and love in our lives. But we will miss your sunlit smile very, very much. Guru, we just love you!”

Sri Chinmoy lifts Mahasamrat Bill Pearl and Bhavatarini Judy Pearl on a seated calf raise platform

Frank Zane

3-Time Mr. Olympia and 3-Time Mr. Universe

“In the 20 years I have known Guru, he became a role model for me. He inspired and encouraged me in music; it helped me develop my soul he told me. His mastery of many different musical instruments motivated me to learn as many as I could as well…
Guru devoted his life to setting an example of self-transcendence for others. He gave his life to lifting up the world literally and metaphorically. His dedication and enthusiasm for his lifting was contagious—the last time we spoke, I was overwhelmed at his excitement about his lifting, always working to lift more and more over the years. It made me want to train harder.
Sri Chinmoy set the bar very high; his standard of excellence shined in all his endeavors: millions of bird drawings, mega-tons of weight lifted, thousands of books written, his musical prowess, his instruction of thousands in meditation and singing. The example he lived will not be forgotten…
Sri Chinmoy will live in my heart and mind for the rest of my life and beyond.”

Wayne DeMilia

Vice President, International Federation of Body Builders
Chief Judge, Mr. Olympia, Bodybuilding's premier contest

You taught us how to live
You taught us how to love
You taught us how to listen
You taught us how to see
You taught us how to help

You touched our eyes
You touched our ears
You touched our heart
You touched our soul
You touched our mind

Your work here is done
Time for us to show what we have learned
Time for us to touch others

You are needed in another place
I will miss you, my friend…
I will miss you…

Your friend always, Wayne DeMilia.

Hugo Girard

IFSA Super-series World Champion Strongman

Dear Friend Guru,
I met Guru last year during a nice weekend in his beloved oasis, I felt like meeting a old friend then I realize how at ease I was in his presence and how peaceful I felt too. Of course I knew of his work and his accomplishment but it all became clear to me that he was no ordinary person and that our meeting wasn't an accident too. Meeting was a great experience that changes our life helping us to see life from another perspective and definitely made us better people.

My heart is filling with sadness today but the seeds that you plant shall grow up and help make this world a better place for all of us.
Your friend, Hugo Girard

Dan Lurie

Winner of America's Most Muscular Man contest three years in a row
Trainer of Champions

“Sri Chinmoy and I have been friends for over 30 years. He was a man of great strength and character… Even as a world record-holder myself, I was constantly amazed by the strength of Sri Chinmoy… Over the years, I always was astounded at his accomplishments… I was touched when Sri Chinmoy wrote a song in my honour, and he sent me a videotape of his group performing it for me. It is a gift I will always treasure.”

“The Sri Chinmoy I have come to know was a man of peace and love, and his passing is a terrible loss to the entire world.”

Mike Katz

Mr. Universe, Mr. America, Educator
Co-star of the classic bodybuilding movie, Pumping Iron

“Sri Chinmoy would want us to go on and continue everything he taught us; and that is what I will continue to do. My heart and soul and prayers and the love and peace and everything that I have been taught by Guru needs to find a way to deal with this untimely loss.
I will never, ever forget, and I will try to live up to everything that Guru stood for.”

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