U Thant Peace Award1
President Mandela (greeting Sri Chinmoy): My Brother, how are you?
Sri Chinmoy: Beloved President, I am so grateful to you for so kindly allowing me to be in your blessingful presence.
Sri Chinmoy and the President enter the conference room, where the President is greeted by warm applause. He shakes hands with each person present.
President Mandela (to Sri Chinmoy’s students): It is a real pleasure to see all of you. You all look very impressive. I am so happy to see you.
Sri Chinmoy (after requesting the President to be seated): As your time is very limited, we would like to sing some songs which I have composed in your honour, and then I would like to offer you our U Thant Peace Award.
President Mandela: It is SO difficult to sit down when you are all standing!
Sri Chinmoy (presenting the President with the sheets of music): These are the two songs that they are going to sing right now.
[The choir performs A Perfect Justice-Voice and Long Walk to Freedom.]
President Mandela (applauding): Well! Thank you very much! This is a great honour.
Sri Chinmoy: Now the singers will sing four of your momentous utterances that I have set to music. (Showing the President the words and music) They will be singing these, and then we shall offer you our U Thant Peace Award.
President Mandela: This is absolutely wonderful!
The choir performs the four songs and the President applauds generously at the conclusion.
Sri Chinmoy: Highly esteemed and beloved President Mandela, it is the greatest honour for me and my students to offer you our most profound and soulful appreciation in the form of our U Thant Peace Award.
Dear President, yours is the life of a supremely chosen instrument, embodying both the excruciating bondage-pangs and the soaring freedom-dreams of your nation. The sweet hopes of your innocent childhood you unhesitatingly surrendered to Destiny’s challenging call. The loftiest goal of universal liberation you wholeheartedly embraced. Impossibility, defeat and bitterness are words never to be found in your oneness-heart-dictionary. Unfathomable courage, unparalleled determination and indomitable strength radiate on every page.
Dear President Mandela, your life of unconditional sacrifice and your beloved country’s miracle-transformation are inseparable. Sleeplessly your life-boat is plying between Africa’s bleeding heart-shore and Africa’s smiling soul-shore. Your triumphant peace-loving and oneness-building spirit the entire aspiring world shall forever love, cherish and adore.
President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Sri Chinmoy together in a deeply contemplative mood as they listen to the choir performing the song dedicated to the President by Sri Chinmoy.
NM 94. On 29 January 1996, President Nelson Mandela received Sri Chinmoy and some of his students in Johannesburg, at the headquarters of the African National Congress.↩