Part VII — Private meeting between President Premadasa and Sri Chinmoy at the Presidential Secretariat, 9 January 1990


Sri Chinmoy: I came here for your blessings.

President Premadasa: I am very privileged to have you here.

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to tell you how deeply some of your words have inspired and moved me. When you said, "I dedicate myself to lead my people to unity and amity, I dedicate myself to lead my people to calmness and sanity, I dedicate myself to lead my people to peace and harmony, I dedicate myself to lead my people to order and discipline," I felt that you are definitely the right person to be the supreme leader of your country. Something else extremely, extremely significant that you have said is that you think example is better than precept: "Discipline must begin with self-discipline."

President Premadasa: How do you know these quotes?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been reading your writings with utmost interest since I first thought of coming to your beautiful country.

[The Prime Minister's Secretary at this point said that they would like to have a course on Sri Chinmoy's music at the University.]

President Premadasa: Do it! Do it!

[Sri Chinmoy then presented President Premadasa with a picture of the two of them taken at the Kandy Festival of Lights. He had autographed it at the bottom, with the words: "From a student of peace to the teacher of peace."]

President Premadasa: It is the other way around.

Sri Chinmoy: [Giving the President a picture of himself being lifted after the Peace Concert at Sucharita] How did you feel?

President Premadasa: You were strong, very strong! [Pointing to one of the pictures] Why did you not put the date here?

Sri Chinmoy: I am so sorry; I forgot. But I have put the date on the other picture. [Giving President Premadasa a letter] This letter expresses my feelings about you and Sri Lanka. I was going to send this by mail, but since you so kindly made the time to see me, I am giving it to you in person. I have given six or eight talks here. On each occasion my heart has spoken about you. You have written in one of your books that the small must support the big; otherwise, the big cannot survive. You have always said that big and small must go together. You are the highest here, and you have given me so much love and compassion.

President Premadasa: Affection, affection, affection! People tell me what you say about me at your concerts and other appearances. The Prime Minister told me that you kept my picture on the stage at your last concert! Did they sing my song again?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! I cannot go out into the street without people recognising me and giving me such love and affection. You have taken me into your heart and also placed me inside the hearts of your people.

[Sri Chinmoy then gave President Premadasa some of his own books, including "Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha" and "U Thant: Divinity's Smile, Humanity's Cry."]

Sri Chinmoy: I would like to have your permission and blessings to write a book about you.

President Premadasa: About me?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I would like to write a book about you. I have read seven or eight books of yours, and before I came to Sri Lanka I read some of the talks you gave at the United Nations General Assembly when you were Prime Minister.

President Premadasa: I will give you all my books.

Sri Chinmoy: I already have your books, and I have read them all. Only one book I could not get, but my students borrowed it from your library. Now they have returned it, but the other books we were able to buy.

President Premadasa: No, no, I'm sure you don't have them all.

[The President then sent someone to bring copies of his books which were not available in the bookstores.]

Sri Chinmoy: Two immortals are inside your heart. One is Mahatma Gandhi and the other is John Kennedy. In your heart you have tremendous compassion, inspired by Gandhi. In your writings you have mentioned many, many times Gandhi's non-violence and tolerance. And also I see that you have been inspired by President Kennedy. Kennedy's dynamism I see in your outer life, and Mahatma Gandhi's compassion and tolerance I see in your inner life.

President Premadasa: How did you like Ratnapura?

Sri Chinmoy: Very much! The Chief Minister was so nice to me in Ratnapura. I was very happy that the Chief Minister received me there. He arranged singing and dancing performances, which my students and I enjoyed tremendously.

[When the President's aide returned with some of his books which Sri Chinmoy did not yet have, Sri Chinmoy requested President Premadasa to inscribe one book for him.]

President Premadasa: I asked him to receive you and I am sure that Minister Ranasinghe did everything he could for you?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I am so grateful.

[Then President Premadasa showed Sri Chinmoy his own emblem and the emblem of Parliament, explaining the significance of the various parts. Finally, he took Sri Chinmoy to see the room used by the previous Parliament for its sessions. The walls of the corridor were lined with pictures of dignitaries.]

Sri Chinmoy: So many dignitaries! I am sure you are here.

[President Premadasa pointed out his own picture.]

Sri Chinmoy: You were Prime Minister at that time?

President Premadasa: Yes, I was the Prime Minister then. [President Premadasa led Sri Chinmoy into a room that could seat fifty or sixty people.] When there is something very significant, very important to discuss, this is where we meet.

From:Sri Chinmoy,President Premadasa: Nectar-Bliss-Heart, Lion-Roar-Soul, Agni Press, 1990
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