Sri Chinmoy's Peace Concert and talk dedicated to Sri AurobindoThe Reverend George Pattison, Dean of King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge:
Good afternoon and welcome to King’s Chapel. We are here because this is the College that was attended between 1890 and 1892 by Sri Aurobindo, who was here as a student of Classics. We know that he would have attended worship in this chapel, and he would have attended it daily, because in those days students had to. They had no choice, whether they liked it or not. He was a very successful student here. One of the great teachers of the College, Oscar Browning, praised his essay on a comparison of Shakespeare and Milton as the best he had examined in thirteen years. Those who know of Oscar Browning know he was not the sort of teacher who said nice things when he did not have to!
Because it is, in a sense, Sri Aurobindo who has brought us here, I thought I would just very briefly read some short words from his essay, “Our Ideal”.
With these words from Sri Aurobindo, I would like to introduce His Excellency, the High Commissioner for India, Dr. Singhvi, who will introduce Sri Chinmoy.
H.E. DR. L.M. Singhvi, High Commissioner for India to the United Kingdom:
Sri Chinmoy, Vice-Chancellor, Vice-Provost, Dean Pattison, ladies and gentlemen, this is a wonderful occasion, a soul-stirring and heart-warming occasion; an occasion that brings to the world the sense of our cosmic togetherness; an occasion which is meant to be a homage to Sri Aurobindo, whose portraits from childhood to the great status of a sage and seer that he achieved we see before us. He represents to us the message and the living legacy of not only India’s heritage but of the quest of the Spirit throughout the world. And that this should happen in this beautiful chapel — which gives us back, at least for the while that we are here, a sense of the sacred, architecturally and in terms of ambiance — is very significant.
It is very difficult to introduce Sri Chinmoy because of his versatility. He has an extraordinary versatility, which has taken him into different walks of life, with great mastery of that which characterises the message of India. He writes, not as we all write, but from the heart and the soul of the heritage of India. He paints, not as all other painters do, but he paints the soaring birds, the birds unfolding their wings; he paints the birds speaking to us, each bird bringing to us the mantra of Heaven. He has painted millions of birds, literally millions of birds, and no two birds that he has painted are really alike. That must be one of the most monumental achievements. When he sings, when he performs, when he plays his music, that is not the music that we are accustomed to. It is the music of the soul. And he conveys this experience through a large variety of instruments, some of which he has himself created, and many of which are part of the heritage of humankind.
Sri Chinmoy is a man with a mission. His mission is peace. His endeavours are consecrated to the cause of peace. For the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, he gave fifty Peace Concerts in fifty cities of the world. And, in Edinburgh, he asked me to go with him to dedicate a bridge of peace. It is one of the most beautiful bridges in Scotland and the city invited us to dedicate that bridge as a Peace Bridge. What does it mean? It means the resonance of the message that we all need. It means the reiteration of the principles with which we are familiar, but which we are prone to neglect or ignore.
Sri Chinmoy has a large following. But beyond the many followers that he has, there are many who have seen him perform, there are many who have read his books, there are many who have seen his millions of paintings, and there are many who have only seen him. Seeing him is believing in the divine Presence in all of us. That is India’s heritage.
He and I are very close to each other. I feel a certain sense of friendly bonding with him. He is a saint, a seer, a poet, a musician, a painter, but more than anything else, he is a philosopher for the day after tomorrow — for the world not of tomorrow but the day after tomorrow. And his vision is as fresh as all our pasts and all our futures. I am honoured to be asked to introduce Sri Chinmoy in this beautiful, inspiring chapel. Thank you very much.
Sri Chinmoy (bowing with folded hands and speaking privately to Dr. Singhvi): My highly esteemed Brother-Friend, your blessingful heart is made of infinite compassion and my soulful heart is made of infinite gratitude.
Sri Chinmoy then began his Peace Concert. He meditated for a few moments at the front of the stage with folded hands and bowed to the audience. Taking his seat in the centre of the stage, surrounded by large photographs of Sri Aurobindo, Sri Chinmoy performed on the North Indian esraj, the Western flute, an Australian-made lute, and harmonium.
Afterwards he offered a talk entitled “Sri Aurobindo: A Glimpse,” excerpts of which appear on the following pages.