Eulogised by World Leaders and Luminaries
New York. Internationally renowned world harmony leader, spiritual teacher and humanitarian Sri Chinmoy, who passed away on the morning of 11 October at the age of 76, was buried last Thursday near his home in Queens, New York. During the memorial week at a private ceremony, UN officials, religious leaders of all faiths, political figures, humanitarian workers, renowned musicians and world-class athletes from all around the world joined thousands of followers to pay final tributes to the beloved spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy. They gathered to express their condolences on Sri Chinmoy’s sudden passing at a meditation garden in New York where his body lay in wake.
Leaders who could not be present but who sent letters of condolence ranged from national leaders and Nobel laureates from countries as varied as United States, Germany, Russia, Nepal and Namibia, to senators and members of congress.
President Mikhail Gorbachev wrote, “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 Nelson Mandela wrote: “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 Bill Clinton wrote: “Throughout his many years, Sri Chinmoy 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.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote, “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.”
Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Chief of Staff to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked, “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.”
Sri Chinmoy was an ardent supporter of the United Nations. Since 1970 he served as the leader of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations, an association of delegates and staff he founded under the aegis of the third UN Secretary-General U Thant, which he led twice-weekly.
Respected and loved worldwide, Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy for world peace was manifested through a wide array of activities, ranging from literature to art to sports to music. The universal nature of his philosophy embraced and encouraged people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities to work together for peace.
Sri Chinmoy’s love of sports spanned a lifetime and resulted in a number of landmark programs for peace and self-transcendence. In 1987, Sri Chinmoy founded the World Harmony Run, the world’s largest relay for peace involving millions of participants in 140 nations.
Sri Chinmoy also founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon team which is a leading promoter of ultra- distance races, sponsoring events ranging from marathons to the world’s longest footrace, a 3100 mile run.
Hailed as a modern day renaissance man, Sri Chinmoy wrote over 1600 books of prose and poetry, composed nearly 21,000 pieces of music, and performed 777 Peace Concerts worldwide - all offered free of charge - in venues including Royal Albert Hall in London, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, San Francisco’s Davies Hall, Moscow’s Russia Hall and Tokyo’s Budokan Hall. He was an avid runner, tennis player and champion weightlifter.
A dedicated humanitarian, Sri Chinmoy’s service organisation, The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles, collected worldwide and distributed millions of dollars of medical supplies throughout Asia and Africa. Devoted to easing pain and alleviating suffering, Sri Chinmoy once wrote, “My Lord, do give me the capacity to wipe every tear from every heart.”
Sri Chinmoy was born on August 27, 1931 in a small village in east India. Orphaned at the age of 11, Sri Chinmoy then lived with his six brothers and sisters at a spiritual community in southern India, where he spent the next 20 years in intense prayer and meditation. Heeding an inner call, he travelled to the United States in 1964 and made New York City his home.
In the 43 years since his arrival in the West, Sri Chinmoy became a model of the potential of humankind. Opening meditation centers throughout the world for peace and harmony he tirelessly traveled the globe to share his inspiration and goodwill.
A champion of interfaith harmony, Sri Chinmoy was beloved by religious leaders of all denominations. From Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II to Mother Teresa to the Buddhist patriarchs in many countries, Sri Chinmoy was celebrated as a true servant of God.
“I am so pleased with all the good work you are doing for world peace and for people in so many countries,” wrote Mother Teresa. “May we continue to work together and share together, all for the glory of God and for the good of man.”
“The physical and the spiritual must go together,” taught Sri Chinmoy. “They cannot be separated.”
In this light, Sri Chinmoy astounded sports heroes and luminaries through a weightlifting career which he began in 1985, at the age of 54. Weight being anything but insurmountable, Sri Chinmoy credited God’s Grace which gave him inner peace for the ability to lift thousands, sometimes even tens of thousands of pounds. From cars to elephants to planes, Sri Chinmoy lifted almost every object imaginable in various styles of strongman lifts.
“I have learned from Sri Chinmoy that the size of the arm does not make the man; the size of the heart makes the man,” said five-time Mr. Universe and Best Built Man of the 20th Century, Bill Pearl. “Nobody on earth has done what Sri Chinmoy has done.”
At galleries worldwide, including the Carrousel du Louvre and UNESCO in Paris and the Russian National Museum of Decorative Arts, selections of Sri Chinmoy's paintings and 16 million “Dream-Freedom-Peace-Bird” drawings have given joy and inspiration to countless people.
Over 7,000 people continue to follow his philosophy through more than 300 Sri Chinmoy Centres worldwide.