14. Mrs. Lemle's remarks when presenting the official award to Sri Chinmoy, and Sri Chinmoys reply.

Mrs Edna Lemle: Now we're going to conclude with an extremely special, unusual man. Sri Chinmoy comes from India. He makes everything seem possible. He is the head of the United Nations Meditation Group and he has people from the different United Nations countries meditating together. By golly, if you can do that, I guess you can do anything. And he is also a very creative man. He is a painter; he is a writer. I met Sri Chinmoy just last week when, Heaven-sent, he offered to have a programme to herald World Gratitude Day at the United Nations. Sri Chinmoy stood there and just meditated, and everybody felt it. He does, of course, so much; I have to strain to reach it.

He is currently having an art exhibit at Grand Central Station with his magnificent paintings. He has written 300 books. There are Sri Chinmoy Centres in fifty or sixty countries or places around the world. We're grateful for your presence, Sri Chinmoy.

[Reading from the plaque] World Gratitude Day is pleased to honour Sri Chinmoy who has enhanced the spirit of globalism with his compassion, his creativity and nobility of spirit, whose being and achievements reflect the spirit of our proclamation.

Sri Chinmoy: Dear Mrs Lemle, dear sister in the Universal Compassion-Heart of the Supreme, your searching mind's World-Gratitude dream is astonishingly beautiful. Your aspiring heart's World-Gratitude reality is supremely fruitful. I am extremely grateful to you and to the Board of Directors for bestowing upon me, upon my devoted heart, this signal honour. You have discovered in me a world-server. A world-server is he who is a God-lover. A God-lover and a world-server are one and the same. Just because God, out of His infinite Bounty, has granted me the opportunity and capacity to love Him, today I am in a position to be of service to humanity, His creation. Your discovery will be a great asset in my service to mankind. I shall try to serve more devotedly, more soulfully and more unconditionally this creation of our Beloved Supreme.

Here many religious faiths are proclaiming the oneness, absolute oneness of our absolute Pilot Supreme. An hour ago when I arrived here, my dear friend and seeker-brother, Dr Russell Barber [producer of NBC's The First Estate] and my dear seeker-sister, Pat Parker, greeted me at the entrance. During our conversation, Dr Barber said to me that he was very pleased that he and I were getting the award together on the same day. I said to him, "So, we are sailing in the same boat." He immediately and lovingly corrected me. He said, "Not exactly so. We are sailing towards the same destination but in different boats." Many roads lead to Rome. But here we are arriving at the same destination.

God is the gardener. In His garden there are many beautiful flowers. One flower cannot make a beautiful garden. Many flowers are needed in order to make a beautiful garden. Again, it is the garden that embodies the many flowers and the flowers' fragrance. So the one became many and, finally, the many are reaching the self-same goal and becoming one. We all came from the One, and now the one Tree is having many branches. But each branch knows that there is a trunk, a Source. God is evolving in and through us in various ways, in many forms and many colours and then He is returning to the one destination. So the One became many in order to enrich and fulfil and finally to reach one Goal.

During his short but momentous speech, dear Dr Barber has told us that the United States is next to India in spirituality. With his soul's permission I wish to correct his experience or his pronouncement. It is not because I am here in America that I feel bound to extol America to the skies where spirituality is concerned, but it is because I happen to be a seeker of the Absolute Supreme. Our Beloved Supreme has two most illumining and most fulfilling qualities or attributes: Peace and Power. They are inseparable. They are mutually illumining and fulfilling each other. India embodies and represents the Peace aspect of our Beloved Supreme and America embodies and represents the Power aspect of our Beloved Supreme.

Peace and power we can take as two legs of an eternal runner, who is eternally running along Eternity's Road to reach an endless destination an ever-fulfilling destination. At any moment when we observe the runner running, we will see one particular leg ahead. That doesn't mean that that leg is actually leading or winning the battle. No, sometimes the right leg is in front and sometimes the left leg is in front. We need two legs in order to run properly towards our destination. So peace is one leg and power is another leg. Neither of them is slower, or behind the other. Both of them are equally important. Each one is needed and each one is helping the other to run fast, faster, fastest towards the destination.

My gratitude-heart is my thoughtful inspiration. My gratitude-heart is my prayerful aspiration. My gratitude-heart is my soulful meditation. This inspiration, aspiration and meditation of mine have been helping me to become a devoted instrument of my Beloved Supreme. Today you are honouring me for what I have done to serve the world at large. My contribution is an infinitesimal iota of self-giving. Again, I have to say that there is Someone who is celebrating in the inmost recesses of my heart not only what I have done but also what I have not done. Out of His boundless Bounty God has helped me not to dine any more with ignorance-night, and He is very pleased that I have not done so. So not for what we do but also for what we do not do, God is equally pleased with us.

My inspiration-wings, my aspiration-bird and my soulful life I am offering to each seeker present here, especially to you, Mrs Lemle. You are the head of this organisation, World Gratitude Day. Gratitude is our self-expansion. It is the liberation of the finite reality inside the infinite Divinity. When we offer gratitude to someone, in no way are we showing insufficiency, inadequacy or an inferior existence-reality to that person. He has given us what he has and what he is and we are giving him what we have and what we are. Let us take God, for example. He gives to us what He is: infinite Compassion. This is by far the best Reality that He embodies. For us our best achievement is our gratitude-heart. Our gratitude heart will make us inseparably one with our Beloved Supreme. There is no other way. Consciously, soulfully and unreservedly we become one with Him only by the expansion of our aspiring heart.

Gratitude is what at every moment we must try to grow into in order to fulfil the divine in us. Gratitude is an earth-born and earth-grown fruit which not only nourishes the Heaven-born cosmic gods but also pleases most the Heavenly Creator, our Eternity's Beloved Supreme.

Finally, I wish to invoke the presence of an immortal poet, Shakespeare, whose soulful prayer I wish to share with you all: "O Lord who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness."