Head of the Anglican Church in South Africa
Archbishop of Cape Town
Awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984
On 20 December 1995 Archbishop Desmond Tutu welcomed Sri Chinmoy to his residence at Bishopscourt, Cape Town. The two first met privately.
Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you for allowing me to be in your blessingful presence.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: We are the ones that need your blessings.
Sri Chinmoy: I would like to convey to you President Mikhail Gorbachev's best wishes and special regards.
[The Archbishop and Sri Chinmoy then spoke about the international Trust for Children's Health Care, of which President Gorbachev is the honorary President, and Archbishop Tutu, Mother Teresa and Sri Chinmoy are honorary members. Archbishop Tutu spoke of President Gorbachev with happiness and enthusiasm, and Sri Chinmoy mentioned that he had read the Archbishop's writings about Gorbachev.]
[Afterwards, they both joined a choir of Sri Chinmoy's students in the beautiful courtyard, where the singers performed a song written by Sri Chinmoy in Archbishop Tutu's honour, as well as several quotations by the Archbishop that Sri Chinmoy had set to music.]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: a soul-diamond, a heart-diamond
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Desmond!
A soul-diamond, a heart-diamond.
Archbishop Peace-Dreamer, Archbishop!
Your code of life: stop violence, stop!
O wisdom-fountain, justice-mountain,
In you, with you no ignorance-chain.
Africa's life-story, heart-song
The whole world hears from your vision-gong.
[Sri Chinmoy introduced the presentation of the U Thant Peace Award to Archbishop Tutu with the following remarks:]
It is a great privilege for me and for the members of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations to be in the presence of a revered messenger of peace such as you, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Father Tutu, your life of unswerving faith represents the enduring love of the Divine for your cherished country — a land richly blessed by the Creator yet, for so long, torn by the strife of separation. Throughout long decades of struggle, yours was the eloquent voice of unity, of reconciliation, of tolerance, of patience, of forgiveness, of conviction. At the same time, it was a compelling call to action. Finally, your voice proclaimed the destined victory of justice, peace and oneness.
Father Tutu, according to me, you are a soul-diamond, a heart-diamond. We know that diamonds are formed by intense pressure. During the years of your ministry, you experienced and expressed all the excruciating sufferings of the black people of South Africa. At the same time, as a chosen instrument of God, you courageously, devotedly and tirelessly fought against the appalling ignorance of apartheid, while praying for the transformation of its perpetrators. Placed by the Hand of God between the unstoppable freedom-surge of the oppressed and the fearful aggression-retaliation of the oppressor, you emerged as the brilliant diamond of unity, reflecting the Oneness-Light of the Creator. In you, all the rainbow-colours of God's children find their true home.
Father Tutu, you perfectly embody both contemplation and action, and thus you serve as a radiant example for God-lovers and peace-seekers everywhere in today's world. In your compelling words: "The most important, the most cardinal fact about our life is the spiritual — that encounter with God in prayer, in worship, in meditation." Far from providing an escape, religion for you sounds a clarion call to the service of truth. Once again, in your words: "There is nothing the government can do to me that will stop me from being involved in what I believe is what God wants me to do."
Father Tutu, your illumined wisdom proclaims that separation is the greatest suffering and the root of conflict, whereas oneness is the greatest joy and the wellspring of peace. Your heart of faith, your life of humility toward God and man-which is nothing but oneness itself, your towering intellect surrendered to the service of God, and your eloquent voice of all-embracing love make you a shining harbinger of tomorrow's peace-flooded oneness-world. Today, therefore, we wish to present to you our U Thant Peace Award.
[Sri Chinmoy then read the inscription on the Award:]
The U Thant Peace Award is presented to Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
- devoted messenger of the divine unity of the Creator's rainbow-children;
- eloquent voice of humanity's suffering and Divinity's Compassion;
- harbinger of the spirituality of transformation; sowing the seeds of Heaven's oneness-love in earth's division-mind;
- offering the flower-victory at the Feet of the Supreme Father.
With our deepest appreciation,
admiration and gratitude,
Sri Chinmoy The Peace Meditation
at the United Nations
[Archbishop Tutu graciously accepted the award and then invited Sri Chinmoy and the choir inside for a reception, shaking the singers' hands as he greeted them. During the reception, a video was shown of the late Secretary-General U Thant offering remarks as guest of honour at the staging of Sri Chinmoy's play about the life of the Buddha. At the end of the reception, the Archbishop thanked Sri Chinmoy with the following remarks.]
Archbishop Tutu: Thank you very, very much. On behalf of all of us, we are enormously grateful that you have taken the time to come here to spread this message of love and harmony and peace.Thank you for honouring me and honouring us here. You have come with wonderful timing, because I have just recently been appointed to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which we all hope is going to assist our country in the process of healing all the trauma that has been caused by apartheid's injustice in the past. We hope that you and your disciples and followers will uphold us in your prayers as we set out on this momentous journey in our country. Thank you very much for all your work.
Sri Chinmoy (presenting two of his books, A Garland of Nation-Souls and My Meditation-Service at the United Nations)/:/ May I offer you these books? These are the talks that I have given at the United Nations over the years, and these are the questions I have answered that have been asked by United Nations delegates and staff.
May we now congratulate you with our prayers. We have a special song, and we sing this prayerful song while congratulating somebody.
[The choir performed the "Congratulation" song.]
Archbishop Tutu: Thank you very, very much. God bless you, God bless you.
Archbishop Tutu then asked Sri Chinmoy to sign his official guest book. Sri Chinmoy wrote the following inscription:
Father Tutu, to you I am offering my heart's prayerful joy, love and gratitude.
Dec. 20th, 1995
[The Archbishop walked Sri Chinmoy to his car with great kindness and affection.]
Later Sri Chinmoy made the following comment about Archbishop Tutu: He has many, many divine qualities, but the most important one is his justice. With justice-light he starts. Then comes his compassion-height aspect, and finally his forgiveness-delight.