Introduction and award presentation4Dr Harold Coward (Director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society): Thank you very much. It is a pleasure for me to be here. Sri Chinmoy was born in 1931 in a small village in East Bengal, India. He spent much of his youth in a spiritual community in southern India absorbing the ancient Eastern and Western wisdom and developing his own inner vision and dedication to peace. There he meditated intensively. He wrote and avidly participated in athletics, excelling in the sprints and the decathlon.
Then, following his own inner guidance, he journeyed to the West in 1964, making his home in New York City, where he has resided since. For over three decades, Sri Chinmoy has tirelessly dedicated his life to the pursuit of world peace and the fulfilment of the potential of the human spirit. His simple message is that global peace begins with each individual, and that through our collective prayers, meditations and dedicated service we can create a fulfilling world of peace.
You have heard from our Master of Ceremonies the way in which he has dedicated his life in that direction. And so it is a great honour for me, representing the University of Victoria, and particularly the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, to give an award in recognition of these efforts to Sri Chinmoy.5
Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely happy and grateful to be here at the University of Victoria as a Visiting Artist and for the signal honour which has been presented to me this evening. Every day I am praying to my Beloved Lord Supreme only for one thing: to make me a better and more receptive student of His, so that I may be of greater service to the aspiring humanity.
To Dr. Anthony Welch, Dean of Fine Arts, and to Lynda Gammon, Associate Dean, I am all gratitude to you both. Lynda, the message of invitation from you and Dr Coward has touched my aspiration-heart very deeply.
I would also like to convey my sincere appreciation to Dr Harold Coward, Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. Your illumined mind and self-giving heart offer immeasurable service to countless truth-seekers worldwide in and through your esteemed Hindu-Christian Bulletin. I shall treasure your blessingful honour.
To all of my brothers and sisters at the University of Victoria, I thank you from the very depths of my heart. Here you have two most significant mottoes: “Let there be Light,” and “A Multitude of the Wise is the Health of the World.” When this world shall be inundated with the infinite Wisdom-Light of our Father Lord, then boundless peace and happiness shall dawn upon our devoted hearts and lives.
BI 15. David Lam Auditorium, University of Victoria, 3 June 1998.↩
BI 15,3. The award reads: “Sri Chinmoy: A Student of Peace — The beauty, nobility and harmony of Sri Chinmoy’s vast outpouring of artistic, literary and musical creations have inspired millions of people worldwide. His creative works embody an age-old wisdom and the everlasting ideals of self-giving, compassion and oneness. The University of Victoria is proud and honoured to recognise Sri Chinmoy, who was born and raised in the East and has been serving tirelessly in the West, as a man of letters, fine arts and the elevated human spirit.”↩