Part VIII

That evening Sudhahota brought his parents to Progress-Promise. Sri Chinmoy opened the evening by presenting Sudhahota with a trophy inscribed "To the greatest champion of the world."

Sri Chinmoy: We are extremely happy and extremely proud to be here with the world's greatest champion. Now we are also with the world's most renowned family: mother, father and son. Our joy knows no bounds and our admiration for this family also knows no bounds.

Carl has definitely, definitely raised the consciousness of the entire America. In him a new world has dawned, and this new world he has offered not only to America but to the entire world. For that our little community here is extremely proud of him.

Now we have with us this evening his source, his parents. They have been the source of tremendous inspiration, encouragement, light and perfection for him. What he has received from his parents, he has enlarged and multiplied, and now he is offering the fruit of his achievements in profuse, boundless measure to the hungry running world. For that we are extremely, extremely grateful to his parents and to him; we are happy in boundless measure, and we are also proud of him and proud of his parents in boundless measure.

Bill Lewis: Thank you. I would like to say that a friend used to tell me that if you keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, you will learn a lot. When I came into this room, I had my shoes on. So you survey the situation and act accordingly. As you can see, now I have no shoes on.

I was very inspired by the singing of the songs pertaining to my son, Carl. They were outstanding. But best of all was to look at the faces of the individuals when they were singing. The songs came from their hearts and not from their lips. That's most gratifying.

When I was in Helsinki, there was a young lady from Japan who had on a T-shirt that said, "The mind is the man." I know I'm not going to get myself involved in any argument with women if I change that last statement and say, "The mind is the person." I've often said that track and field people are unique because they are individuals within themselves. Their motivation comes from within.

As I sit here and listen to the statements of Carl being associated with Jesse Owens, I think back to when I met Jesse Owens myself — when I was a young teenager in Chicago. Jesse, at that particular time, was still young, still running. He was always such an encouragement to all the youngsters on the south side of Chicago!

I remember when I first had a chance to take Carl to meet Jesse. I had him bathed and scrubbed. You know how you do these things. I took him up and said, "Hey, Jesse, this is my son." Then we started talking about old times. It was really gratifying to me to have been associated with Jesse Owens during that time.

It's also gratifying to be associated with people who have done something that is outstanding. I met Martin Luther King in 1953 in Montgomery, Alabama, during the time that we were teaching and working at Alabama State College. We started from the grassroots and watched that grow to maturity.

As I sit here and see the warmth on your faces and the gratification that you have offered to my son, I think I can say that Carl has offered that same type of inspiration to the people — that he has given back to the people of himself. That is very unusual for an athlete. He has given back to the people some of the thing that they have given him, and that is love. I can appreciate that and I can see that from the gratification and the warmth which I have found here in this room. It will live with me forever. I really appreciate being here with you and being a part of you. I am sure that when Mrs. Lewis and I hit that turnpike heading back home to Willingboro, New Jersey, we will take part of you with us. I really appreciate that. Good luck to all of you. I will put my shoes on when I get outside. Thank you.

Sudhahota: I know everybody's heard me enough, so I'll keep it short. This has been a special weekend for me because it has enlightened me in many ways. But more than that, it's the souls that I've gotten involved with! All of you are saying that I've been such an inspiration to you. But I can't get across the idea of how much you've all been an inspiration to me! More than that, to see my parents come down and see the joy in their faces gives me enough joy for years and years to come. Of course, I'll visit back millions of times, and I'll keep all of you in my heart. I hope you do the same with me. Thank you, and I'll see you all.

Narada: I really don't know what to say. My life has been so moved by meeting Carl. Having this chance to bring him to New York to meet all of you has been so moving. I've been a disciple for 10, going on 11 years. I don't know that I've ever seen the disciples, Guru — all of us together — so happy to have shared a time together. I just want to offer my gratitude as well. Thank you all, thank you all.

Anukampa: We were only the chauffeurs. That's all I have to say. We were just the chauffeurs to bring our beloved Carl to our spiritual family.

Sri Chinmoy (to Mrs. Lewis): Would you kindly say a few words about your two Helsinki experiences? Once you went to participate and once you saw the performances of your children. Could you tell us the highlights of your experiences?

Evelyn Lewis: Before I say anything about that, I would like everyone to know that this has been a most moving and rewarding experience for me — one of the most moving and rewarding experiences I've ever had in my life! I do want to thank you for allowing me to share this with you. From the bottom of my heart I'd like to thank you for that.

My first experience with Helsinki wasn't one of the best experiences. I was an athlete in track and field years ago. If I tell you how long ago, I'll date myself. Yes, it was the 1952 Olympics. Unfortunately, I had injured myself and was unable to compete. So this time, as soon as I knew we were going to be in Helsinki, I started to pray that I would get to see Carl and Carol fulfil the dream that I never fulfilled. True to form, God did allow me to be there and to witness their performances. Praise be to Him, it was a beautiful experience! Again, I'd like to thank you for having us here.

Sri Chinmoy: Once more I wish to thank you from the depths of my heart. You came here to give us tremendous joy — divine joy and divine confidence. It makes us feel that we belong to one family no matter where we are. We are like a tree that has many branches. One branch is called New Jersey, one is called San Francisco, one is New York. So we all belong to the same tree — the tree that aspires and tries to give inspiration, aspiration and dedication to mankind.