The following memoir of Sri Chinmoy's meeting with Pope Paul VI on 22 March 1972 was written by Sri Chinmoy's most special assistant, who was present at the meeting.
As we stood in line directly in front of the throne of Pope Paul VI, he beckoned us to come to him. His arms were wide open and his blue eyes were shining with welcoming love.
We approached. Sri Chinmoy folded his hands and bowed, while I knelt at his feet.
The Pope said, "I am very, very happy to receive you." He repeated this two or three times. "How happy I was to hear about you and how happy I am now to see you and your..." He looked at me and I said, "His secretary." Monsignor Humbert-Claude said, "His secretary."
Sri Chinmoy presented the Pope with three books he had written: Songs of the Soul, My Lord's Secrets Revealed and My Rose Petals. The Pope accepted them with great joy and said very sincerely, "I shall read these books." Then he added, "I shall certainly read each one."
Then Sri Chinmoy went very close to him with folded hands and said, "I am most grateful to you for granting me the opportunity to be in your presence."
The Pope replied, "I am so happy to welcome you." Then he said in Italian, "I cannot express what I am feeling now." This was translated by an American bishop standing near the Pope.
Sri Chinmoy then continued, "Your Holiness, right now I see in you the most benevolent Father of the Catholic world, the Master-Leader of the Christian world and the Champion-Lover of humanity."
The Pope was deeply moved and he pressed Sri Chinmoy's hands into his own folded hands. He said, "I have understood what you have said, but I cannot reply in English."
Then he began to speak in Italian to another interpreter who said in English, "I am extremely moved with your words. This meeting of ours has been most essential."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," he added in English.
Then Sri Chinmoy said, "I am deeply impressed with your philosophy. You say that materialism and spirituality must go side by side. My humble philosophy also says the same. The inner life of aspiration and the outer life of manifestation must go together, one fulfilling the other in a divine way." At this point the Pope said in English, "I admire your philosophy."
Then he said in Italian, and another interpreter translated it into English, "The Hindu life and the Christian life shall go together. Your message and my message are the same."
Then he continued in English, "Where do you live and what do you do?"
Sri Chinmoy said, "I live in New York and hold meditations in our Centres, and once a week I hold a meditation at the United Nations.
Monsignor Humbert-Claude translated this into Italian. At that point, taking this opportunity, I said quietly to the American translator, "He is the only spiritual Master who has been granted this privilege," feeling that the Pope would be interested to know this. However, Monsignor Humbert-Claude had finished his translation and the Pope had begun to speak, so the American bishop said to me, "The Pope is speaking." The Pope could not hear what I was saying.
At this very moment, the Pope said to Sri Chinmoy with glowing joy and very sincere affection, "When we both leave this world, you and I, we will meet together."
I was very moved by this. Then the Pope said, "I have something to give you." He took out a large medal with his own profile embossed on it and presented it to Sri Chinmoy. He gave me a smaller one.
He said, "You have my blessings." First he spread his arms out in the Catholic manner of benediction. Then he clasped Sri Chinmoy's shoulders and pressed them very firmly.
We bowed with folded hands and departed.