Conclusion of the ceremony

Sri Chinmoy expresses his deepest gratitude to Sir Patrick and Lady Bateson at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Illumining comments

The Master of Ceremonies then invited the guests to offer extemporaneous reflections on their work and the nature of their experiences. An abridged selection of the comments that were offered follows.

Dr. John Barber
Senior Lecturer in Politics

The previous visit of Sri Chinmoy made an absolutely unforgettable impression on everyone who was present — not only an unforgettable, but an indelible impression — and I think the spirit of goodwill and all the other extremely positive feelings that were generated on that occasion by everyone present really have lived on. It is a marvellous thing today that we are able again to have the presence of Sri Chinmoy and all of the others of you here in King’s College, and I am sure that this will perpetuate this wonderful tradition associated, of course, initially with Sri Aurobindo, whose memory is revered to this day, and the connection that we value enormously with Sri Chinmoy.

Professor Tony Minson
Professor of Virology

It was a great surprise and a somewhat humbling one to be given this award from such a remarkable person. I have to say that Sri Chinmoy is just a breathtaking individual who has done some absolutely amazing things. I would also like to say that it is somewhat humbling to be in such illustrious company in receiving this award and I am grateful for that.

Professor Howard Chase
Professor of Biochemical Engineering

It is, indeed, a very humbling pleasure to be honoured in this particular way and I am so grateful to Sri Chinmoy for conferring this upon us all. It is quite an amazing experience on the stand here when you are waiting. You are lifted up already above the level of you all. For a moment nothing happens. And then suddenly you feel this amazing surge of strength as you get lifted up. I think that was a very, very special experience that I will certainly remember for the rest of my life. And thank you also for honouring my wife at the same time. It has been absolutely splendid.

Sir Nicholas Shackleton
Professor of Quaternary Paleoclimatology

Professor Roger Parker
Professor of Music

It is a wonderful occasion and the physical experience of being lifted up is quite amazing. The only thing I would like to apologise for is weighing so much.

Professor Jean Rudduck
Professor of Education

I would like to say that today my body was lifted up but my spirits were also lifted up, and I want to share that feeling with the many teachers up and down the country who have worked in very difficult circumstances to create a new order of experience for young people and to make schools places that are inclusive and not divisive, where people can work together in the spirit of oneness. And I thank you all.

Dr. Frederick Sanger
Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1958 and 1980

I have enjoyed this very much. Thank you very much.

Professor Simon Goldhill
Professor of Greek Literature and Culture

There is an expression in Hebrew — tikun haolam — which means ‘to make the world whole’. That is what we are told we are on earth to do, and I am extremely proud to be part of an institution — and an occasion — which in its principles and its attitude has been doing that today.

Professor Robin Holloway
Professor of Musical Composition

I would like to give a little word of thanks to the choir as well, who have given us such pleasure…

Professor Alan Macfarlane
Professor of Anthropological Science

At the moment I am writing some letters to my granddaughter about very depressing things like war and famine and disease, and this is a wonderful change from that. There are not many people who dedicate their lives to try and make this world a little more peaceful, and we all know how important that is. So I feel very proud, as well as humble, to be a part of that movement.

Professor Ajit Singh
Professor of Economics

This was a very moving occasion. I am delighted to be honoured in this way and very humbled to be included in this august company. I think Sri Chinmoy’s work is of the utmost significance. There are about one and a half billion people on the planet today who are in absolute poverty. The world produces enough and has potential to be able to feed all of them today, and certainly in the next century there is no reason why the world should not move towards a more equal distribution of wealth. I thank you for honouring me in this way.

Professor Janice Stargardt
Professor of Geography and Archaeology
(Comment received after the event)

I certainly felt a stream of energy emanating from Sri Chinmoy when standing near him. It was good and peaceful and will be a lasting memory.

Lady Dusha Bateson

It was a most memorable experience for us. I was both touched and honoured.

Professor Sir Patrick Bateson
Provost, King’s College; Professor of Ethology

At the conclusion of the ceremony Sir Patrick Bateson approached Sri Chinmoy and, very warmly and affectionately shaking his hand, said:
You are a very, very great man…

The Provost’s Lodge
King’s College, Cambridge
1st August 2003

All of us here in Cambridge who met you were enormously impressed by your serenity and presence and by the obvious devotion inspired in all those who have close contact with you. My time as Provost is now drawing to a close and my wife and I are currently moving out. It is sad to go but we shall, of course, maintain a very strong relationship with the College. Thank you again for gracing us with your visit.

Professor Sir Patrick Bateson
(an extract)