Yehudi Menuhin: The soul-smile and the heart-cry

Yehudi Menuhin: The beauty of earth-tears, the fragrance of Heaven-soul.

My beloved Maestro Yehudi Menuhin,

How kind of you to write me just a week before your Heavenward journey. I shall treasure forever your blessingful encouragement and powerful support for our peace movement all over the world. I am sure Heaven has welcomed you with its infinite Delight and infinite Pride for your invaluable contributions to the world of music here on earth.

With my heart's ever-blossoming tearful gratitude,

Sri Chinmoy

March 13, 1999


Meeting with Maestro Yehudi Menuhin1

Mr. Menuhin: This is the greatest good fortune, because I have been wanting to meet you for a good many years. Once when I was going out to some college on Long Island, one of those people whom you’ve inspired tried to arrange something, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Then again last night at my concert, he turned up. Is he here?

Mr. Reisinger: Yes!

Mr. Menuhin: He’s the one! He turned up, and I said, “Well, all right, I will be here tomorrow.”

Sri Chinmoy: Never to give up! For the last 15 years I have been most devotedly longing to meet with you, and now God has fulfilled my long-cherished desire.

Mr. Menuhin: I’m always afraid that people who have looked forward to meeting me will be very disappointed. They’ve looked forward too long, and here I am — just a very, very ordinary human being.

Sri Chinmoy: No, no! At God’s choice Hour everything takes place. This is God’s choice Hour for us to meet.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, I suppose there is a certain destiny, a certain fatality about events. Some of the events are beyond our control, aren’t they? Some people don’t believe in accidents at all. I don’t really know. There must be some sort of reckoning that doesn’t necessarily depend on a universal computer. It depends on what our thinking and our feeling generate in the whole world.

Sri Chinmoy: You have been practising yoga for so many years. Yoga goes beyond the domain of science and technology, as you know. Yoga means oneness with the universal consciousness, which is far beyond the domain of the mind. The capacity of the mind is quite limited, whereas the capacity of the heart — which you have and you are — is unlimited. People love, appreciate and admire you because of your inseparable oneness with the universal heart, the universal life and the universal consciousness.

Mr. Menuhin: I have just followed what was offered to me. The first time I was in India, I felt overwhelmed by a world so different from anything I had known. And yet, I had always wanted to go to the East. Most people have gone to the West to find new things.

Sri Chinmoy: We come to the West mostly for material wealth. When we go to the East, it is for inner wisdom.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, it’s true. And I found that there were so many aspects of thought to be considered. Good and evil have always bothered me. In the West we try to separate the two and put evil in prison. We imagine we can create perfect good around us, which is childish nonsense.

Sri Chinmoy: According to Indian philosophy, we feel that evil is a part of ignorance. Evil is simply lesser light. There is abundant, infinite light; again, there is lesser light. When we compare this lesser light, this iota of light, with the light infinite, we call it evil.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, but as long as we are human beings, as long as we are not pure in thought and as long as we have to deal with our survival, don’t you think that good and evil are very much intertwined?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now they are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. But on the strength of our prayer and meditation, we are hoping that there shall come a time when ignorance itself will he transformed into light. A day shall come when this ignorance-night will be transformed into wisdom-delight by virtue of our soulful prayers and meditations.

Mr. Menuhin: I do believe there are various Buddhist forms of chanting which are wonderful, wonderful things. There is a Buddhist sect in Japan that regards chanting as the principal act of belonging to a better world. I think that’s very important.

Sri Chinmoy: If you would permit us, we could start by chanting one of the main Buddhist chants or mantras. The Buddha’s followers chant, Buddham saranam gacchami. Dhammam saranam gacchami. Sangham saranam gacchami. My students could start with this prayerful Buddhist mantra if you would permit it.

Mr. Menuhin: I’d love it, I’d love it!

Sri Chinmoy: I have been to Japan a few times, and we have chanted at Kamakura in front of that most powerful statue of the Lord Buddha.

Mr. Menuhin: I believe that music is part of our lives, and that we can learn a great deal from listening and from playing.

Sri Chinmoy: Music, for me, is the very breath of our universal existence. Inside our body is the heart and inside the heart is our breath.

Mr. Menuhin: I feel music is a point where the tangible and the intangible meet. It goes directly through our ears into our body, and we are subject to the vibrations of the whole universe. It’s the art of constructing a work of art in time, because a piece of music is a bit of life; it’s a stretch of life. You live that music. Instead of living yourself, you live that music.

Sri Chinmoy: It is the finite that stretches itself into Infinity. When music stretches itself into Infinity, the breath of music enters into the Cosmic Life.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, it’s true. Of course, that is especially true of the chant. In the West it has taken the form of an organised structure like a play or a poem or a novel. What impressed me with the music of India was that, like the civilisation and the river Ganges, it has no beginning and no end.

Sri Chinmoy: It is an eternal Now.

[Singers perform “Buddham saranam gacchami”]

Mr. Menuhin: Beautiful! I love the long, long notes and the meditative quality from one note to another. It’s a quality that is specific to religious music as opposed to folk music. This is similar to a Gregorian chant in unison, as we had in the Middle Ages. It has very little rhythm; it is music at the service of thought and words. Are the words here determining to a large extent the music? The words are holy, aren’t they?

Sri Chinmoy: The meaning of the chant is “I go to the Buddha for refuge. I go to the Dharma for refuge. I go to the Order for refuge.”

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, they are the eternal words that we dream of and meditate on — words that last a long, long, long, long time. They give a certain peace, a wonderful sense of serenity. It’s not a beat like an African beat. It’s another part of life that demands recognition. It’s our heartbeat.

Sri Chinmoy: Silence and sound go together.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, but they are also separate. One is the beat of life, the rhythm of our pulse — of our vibrations themselves. And the other is what we dream of — a certain form of dedication and serenity. But you have to have a mood for it. I don’t think that if you chanted that on 42nd Street, it would work. That’s why people build temples. They build temples to house that spirit. And then you go into the temple in the right mood. You have transformed this room into a temple, and that is a beautiful thing.

Sri Chinmoy:/ Last night when I learned that I would be fortunate enough to meet with you, I was immediately inspired to compose a soulful song in your honour. It was at the eleventh hour.

Mr. Menuhin: I am very grateful.

Sri Chinmoy: And this morning I was inspired to compose another song. Unfortunately, my students did not have a chance to learn it, so I have to sing it.

Mr. Menuhin: That’s very, very sweet. I’m very, very touched. You shouldn’t have. I feel totally unworthy of this.

Sri Chinmoy (showing some photographs of his meetings with other musicians): This is Pablo Casals. He was shedding tears when we met and saying, “In the evening of my life, you have come.” He played his cello for me. It happened in Puerto Rico many, many years ago.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, I knew him very well. Very interesting.

Sri Chinmoy: In Manhattan we met Leonard Bernstein twice. Each meeting we started with a meditation.

Mr. Menuhin: Lenny Bernstein’s lifestyle was quite different.

Sri Chinmoy: But when he was with us, he was always fond of meditating.

Mr. Menuhin: He was a genius, a remarkable man, a marvellous man. But he was torn inside.

[Sri Chinmoy shows photographs of his meetings with Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. Then he presents Mr. Menuhin with a copy of the song that he has composed about him.]

Sri Chinmoy: This is the song they are going to sing.

Mr. Menuhin: When you see it that way, you realise the great chasm there is between the printed notes and the actual act of singing.

Sri Chinmoy: They will be singing it now.

[Singers perform the song.]

Mr. Menuhin: Thank you. You learned that by heart? It’s wonderful. You know, it’s a dreadful habit to look at music. One should forget about it. It’s wonderful that you sing it from memory. [To Sri Chinmoy] Did you teach it?

Student 1: Yes, he taught it to us personally. He always insists that we not use the music.

Student 2: Last night he taught it to us.

Mr. Menuhin: What was the process? Did you think of the music?

Student 2: No, he writes the words and then he composes the music to the words. He wrote the entire song on a little keyboard.

Mr. Menuhin: And then you chant it?

Student 2: He teaches us the music and we write it out into Western notation and learn it. He has written thousands of devotional songs. And just as you said, he encourages us not to use the music because when we look at music, we’re using our minds, whereas when we sing without the music, we’re using our hearts. This is what he encourages us to do: sing these songs with our hearts and souls.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, I think it’s amazing the way you sing together, and without having music. So none of you ever looked at the music?

Student 2: We studied the music and learned it by heart.

Student 4: Sri Chinmoy has us sing it over and over until we get it as he wants us to sing it.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, that is very effective. And you probably have quite a repertoire.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, literally hundreds and hundreds of songs they know by heart. I have composed about 6,000 songs in Bengali and another 3,000 in English. Here is the song I wrote during the day today. They had to go to work this morning, so they could not learn this.

[Sri Chinmoy reads the words to the second song he composed in Mr. Menuhin’s honour.]

Mr. Menuhin: I don’t deserve anything.

Sri Chinmoy: May I sing it for you?

Mr. Menuhin: I should get on my knees for this.

Sri Chinmoy (sits down at the harmonium): And also, I have set to music two most significant utterances of yours. [Reads words.]

Mr. Menuhin: How do you teach your group?

Sri Chinmoy: We live in Jamaica, Queens, and meet together at least two or three times a week to pray and meditate. We take soulful music as part of our spiritual life. When we sing soulfully, we feel we are praying to God.

Mr. Menuhin: Do you also give lectures, or is it just the prayer, meditation and the singing?

Sri Chinmoy: I have given talks all over the world in most of the major universities. The talks are about Indian philosophy and our spiritual way of life. I have been praying and meditating since my childhood.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, I can believe that.

Sri Chinmoy: I have studied our Indian philosophy thoroughly — the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita and all the other major sacred books. On the basis of these teachings and also my own inner awakening, I have been offering my soulful services in many parts of the world over the past 28 years. Also I have been serving at the United Nations for the last 22 years. Every Tuesday and Friday I go there to pray and meditate, and the delegates, diplomats and staff who are interested in praying and meditating come and join me.

Mr. Menuhin: Through this meditating and singing and through your wonderful talks, do your students acquire an attitude about contemporary life and what is happening in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, our way is not the way of renunciation. Our way is the way of acceptance. We have accepted the world as such, and we are trying to better it through our prayers and meditations.

We do not reject or shun the world, far from it! We accept the world as it is with the hope that we can be of service to improve the world and help it to have a better consciousness.

Mr. Menuhin: The only way I know, the best way, is to improve ourselves.

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. We all belong to the same life-tree. Some are leaves, others are flowers and others are fruits. But we belong to the same life-tree. When we pray and meditate soulfully, we consciously feel our inseparable oneness with the world.

Mr. Menuhin: And you’ve probably found it most effective not to join pressure groups or to express opinions that will create enemies.

Sri Chinmoy: Only we try to establish our brotherhood. We do not believe in superiority or inferiority. It is universality that we want: I belong to you; you belong to me. We are one. We always sing the song of oneness. We do not believe in separativity. We believe in unity.

Mr. Menuhin: I think that is the best way.

[Sri Chinmoy sings, accompanying himself on the harmonium.]

Mr. Menuhin: Very, very sweet.

Sri Chinmoy: “I have never resigned myself.” This is your most powerful message. Please forgive my audacity for setting tune to your words.

Mr. Menuhin: It’s extraordinary the way you put the words to the music. The act of making the music is a meditation on the subject, which is not necessarily passive.

Sri Chinmoy: When we meditate on that subject, we feel that we get its full significance; we derive the utmost blessingful message from the utterance.

Mr. Menuhin: It probably also means that you can keep your balance of mind even under situations that would, without your training, create a violent reaction. Have you all overcome the impulse to react violently to evil? Do you ever lose that serenity?

Sri Chinmoy: Occasionally, for a fleeting moment, but we do not resort to physical violence. Only sometimes, as human beings, we are subject to weaknesses — anger, insecurity, jealousy and so forth. But because we pray and meditate, we feel that we are diminishing those lower qualities or propensities. That is why we practise yoga, as you also do. You know it has helped you immensely to create serenity in your mind.

Mr. Menuhin: I am sure this is an extraordinary discipline. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing to be able to get over the normal reaction to situations. However, I trust you and believe you and admire you. And I would forgive you a thousand times if, in spite of this, once in a while you did get angry. I know myself, I am not inured against that reaction. Sometimes I can get very upset.

Sri Chinmoy: But in the depth of your heart you do not mean it. A student of yours has misbehaved, let us say, and you are furious, but in the depth of your heart you are calm. It is like the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is calm and quiet, but on the surface the waves are surging.

Mr. Menuhin: At this moment, if you offered me a choice, I’d rather be on the surface.

Sri Chinmoy: That means you want things to be done. In that case, sometimes it is necessary to show anger. If you only speak to your students kindly and compassionately, it may do no good. But if you show your tempestuous anger, then you will be able to achieve your objective in the twinkling of an eye. If you want something to be done, if you want your students to become better musicians, sometimes you have no choice but to resort to anger.

Mr. Menuhin: My mother is like that. She is 96 years old. She could control her anger and direct it so that it had the proper effect. But it was absolutely controlled and she remained relatively calm inside. However, I’m not like that. I can’t pretend that I get angry only to bring out the best in other people. I sometimes get angry just because I get angry.

Sri Chinmoy: You are angry because you want something to be done. You want perfection in the other person’s life, and you feel that showing anger is the only way you can create perfection in that individual. Otherwise, by nature you are calm and compassionate. Your whole life is full of compassion. Anger is something foreign that enters into you. A foreigner comes and stays for a few seconds.

You are of Russian origin. I come from India. A few years ago I composed a Bengali song about the oneness of Russia and India. May I sing the song? The literal translation is: “Russia and India,

India and Russia, walk side by side, smiling and smiling. They have one inner feeling and one forward, upward and inward movement. To make the fastest progress, they are flying together in their oneness-heart-sky.”

Mr. Menuhin: Of course, there are 10 people who are more different than the Russians and the Indians.

Sri Chinmoy: But in the depths of our heart we are all one. We have deepest appreciation and admiration for you and vice versa. Outwardly we may differ, but inwardly we always see eye to eye with each other because of our oneness.

Mr. Menuhin:Yes, yes!

[Sri Chinmoy sings.]

Mr. Menuhin: Very, very wonderful thought.

Sri Chinmoy: Would you permit my students to sing one more song in Bengali? It means, “My Lord Supreme, do not allow us to forget you.”

[Singers perform “Bhulite diyona.”]

Mr. Menuhin: Lovely.

Sri Chinmoy: May I offer this to you? These are the songs that I have composed for you

[Sri Chinmoy presents the printed music to the songs.]

Mr. Menuhin: That’s very kind. Really, you must have been up all night! I am very touched that you should have all come and sung for me and given me a part of your heart. I am very grateful.

Sri Chinmoy: Together we are trying to lift up the world with a oneness-heart. This is our “Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart” Award. [Gives medallion.]

Mr. Menuhin: Thank you so much. I am very grateful. It’s very, very sweet of you. Thank you.

[Student 5: presents Mr. Menuhin with a cake which has his portrait etched in icing.]

Mr. Menuhin: Oh no! You must take it and eat it.

Student 5: The portrait is on cardboard so you can save it.

Student 6: These are some recordings of Sri Chinmoy playing on the keyboard and other instruments. He plays many instruments, but he has a very unique and powerful keyboard style.

Mr. Menuhin: That’s very kind of you. [To Sri Chinmoy] Thank you. I’ll never forget this. It’s very sweet of you. After so many years, we have finally met.

Sri Chinmoy: Both inwardly and outwardly I feel our oneness — oneness in thought, oneness in action, oneness in selfless service to humanity.

Mr. Menuhin: We come from different worlds, hut there is something that binds us together. Thank you, thank you very much. I am very grateful to you and very grateful to your followers who sing with such humbleness and ecstasy in their faces. It shows what you’ve given them.

Sri Chinmoy (introducing Student 2:): She is their teacher. She is the one who guides and leads the group.

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, yes, I know.

Sri Chinmoy: Could they have a group picture with you?

Mr. Menuhin: Yes, yes.

Sri Chinmoy: This morning I was reading that you can do a head balance for 15 minutes. Poor me, I cannot do it for even one minute! Prime Minister Nehru wanted to show you that he could do it better. The Prime Minister could not see, perhaps, that you could do it infinitely better.

Mr. Menuhin: Today I don’t do it as well as I could when I had my teacher. Now I’m much older, but I still do my headstand.

Mr. Menuhin: Sri Chinmoy, I am very grateful to you. Thank you for coming. I hope we shall meet many times. Do you go back to India from time to time?

Sri Chinmoy: Occasionally, for a few days. I was brought up in a spiritual community in south India. I spent twenty years there practising yoga and meditation.

Mr. Menuhin: It is extraordinary to find this in the middle of New York City. You must sometimes feel that you are in a crazy civilisation.

Sri Chinmoy: I have accepted it as my own. As I said before, I feel it is my bounden duty to be of service to the hustle and bustle of New York.

Mr. Menuhin: This civilisation must he very grateful to you, even if they don’t know it. Thank you so much.

Sri Chinmoy: Again we shall meet. Thank you.

YM 2. On February 3, 1992, Maestro Yehudi Menuhin warmly welcomed Sri Chinmoy and some of his students into his suite at the Rihga Hotel in New York City. During their hour-long meeting, they discussed music and spirituality, and Sri Chinmoy and his students performed several songs by Sri Chinmoy composed in the Maestro's honour. Following is a transcript of this meeting.


Yehudi Menuhin: the Soul-Smile and the Heart-Cry


Yehudi Menuhin, Yehudi Menuhin, Menuhin!

O soul-smile rare and heart-cry genuine,

You are Heaven and earth’s fountain-delight

And music-world’s summit-aspiration-height. ```

Unfinished journey


Our Heaven-Brother, Earth-Teacher Yehudi Menuhin!

/Unfinished Journey's/ supreme Goal, your Violin within.

Your soul is God’s Perfection-Dream-Beauty.

Your heart is God’s Fragrance-Joy-Reality. ```

I have never resigned myself

> “I have never resigned myself.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

My life has been spent

> “My life has been spent in creating Utopia.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

Words can lie

> “Words can lie; music cannot.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

No human society

> “No human society has ever existed without music.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

The only true liberty

> “The only true liberty is that of helping others.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

Art reflects

> “Art reflects the refinement of a civilisation.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

Back to earth

> “Back to earth, under a tree or in a river, that is what I choose.”

> — Yehudi Menuhin

> /[expressing his wishes for his remains after his death]/

Mine was an inspired way

> “Mine was an inspired way, shown me by inspired teachers.” > — Yehudi Menuhin

Now I know

> “Now I know there is a God in Heaven.”

> — Albert Einstein

> /[(after hearing Yehudi Menuhin play at age 13]/


19 August 1992

May I join the many who have given their respect, their trust and their admiration so wholeheartedly to a good man, Sri Chinmoy, on the occasion of his 61st birthday.

Most sincerely,

Yehudi Menuhin

13th January 1994

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

It is good to know that you, who has such a great following, can bequeath the world so many drawings and sketches.

We have become so addicted to the camera that we have forgotten how the ancient travellers entered their impressions on a notebook, both graphically and verbally.

I congratulate you on this wonderful achievement, which transports us men, who would be winged, to the birds, which we have tried to emulate.

With all good wishes,


Yehudi Menuhin

July 29, 1995

I join many others in congratulating Sri Chinmoy on his 13,000th song. The whole world would certainly be happier if people used their breath to sing rather than to shout or even to talk.

With all best wishes and respects,

Yehudi Menuhin


Dear Sri Chinmoy,

Many thanks for sending me your book with the kind dedication.

All my best wishes for December 8, marking your fiftieth concert this year and the founding of the United Nations.

May you long continue to be one always ready to inspire his fellow men.

Yehudi Menuhin

11 April 1996

Dear Master Sri Chinmoy,

I am very touched with your beautiful message and the most inspiring book on the 5 Million Birds.

I would have loved to see your exhibition, but cannot because I am returning to family & festival in Gstaad at the crack of dawn tomorrow, Monday.

The flowers are glorious. I am looking forward to seeing your disciple Sujatri Reisinger at the Lincoln Center Concert.

With respect, affection and admiration, Your Yehudi Menuhin

16 July 1996

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

I was overwhelmed and deeply touched, not only by your letter but by the sweet gift of an old newspaper clipping so beautifully framed, and also with the letter from Sujatri Reisinger.

I am glad that your series on TV will have such a wide resonance and I hope the great artist you are invoking will carry your message of harmony to all those who may listen and see.

I cannot but subscribe to your high motives, which will be carried by music and the other arts.

Warmest wishes,

Yehudi Menuhin

6 August 1996

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

I was very touched with your sweet letter of July 13, 1996 and hope that I may someday become fractionally worthy of your high assessment.

With every best wish to you and your wonderful book.


Yehudi Menuhin

August 13, 1996

There can be no doubt that your 65th birthday on August 27 marks a formal milestone in what has been a continuous flow of living inspiration and dedication to the triumph of the humane over human nature. The history of mankind is the history of the human conscience which makes everything deliberately possible, from the most horrendous to the most sublime. The simple and the sublime must be introduced already before the child is born and cultivated in its earliest years if we are ever to sublimate our only too human nature.

These words are offered in tribute to you, for you have proven their validity by your life and your work. May I wish you many more years of continued endeavour in the direction all men and women and children of goodwill are pursuing?


Yehudi Menuhin




No nation has as much to live up to in its own traditions as India. May this 50th anniversary of Independence be but a milestone along a path of spirituality bonded to the world of acts and deeds, the fusion of human energy for which we are all working.

Yehudi Menuhin

25th May 1998

Dear Friend,

I was very touched by your heartfelt birthday wishes and very much appreciated them. Many thanks for your good words. However much you would like to see the intention of my words bear fruit, our world seems to be moving in an opposite direction — sadly.

With best wishes and with profound respect,

Yehudi Menuhin

November 1998

Sri Chinmoy demonstrates the path which joins love to strength, our inner strength to our outer strength, our inner life to our outer Yehudi Menuhin

5th March 1999

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for your warm and spontaneous letter. I too, remember with joy our first meeting, seven years ago, at the Rihga Hotel in New York.

Your kind words touched me deeply.

With my warmest good wishes,

Yehudi Menuhin



> “Now I know there is a God in Heaven.” > — Albert Einstein


> (Yehudi Menuhin was) “a citizen of the world in the fullest sense — one whose vision and culture gave him a deep empathy with fellow human beings of every creed and colour....As a member of a people which more than any other had been the victim of this century’s barbarism, he redeemed the century by rising above all resentment and showing what human beings at their best are capable of.” > Kofi Annan. Secretary-General of the United Nations


> “With him a light has gone out, the light of genius but also the light of the heart.”

> Jacques Chirac

> President of France


> “His death represents an irreplaceable loss for culture and music everywhere in the world. I mourn also a man who worked untiringly the world over for humanism, peace and reconciliation.”

> Ruth Dreyfuss

> President of the Swiss Federal Council


> “His violin bow was of gold, as was his heart.”

> Jack Lang

> former French Minister of Culture


> “Yehudi Menuhin is a great man, a very ripe soul. He embodies the inner wealth, spiritual wealth. He is full of heart’s purity and mind’s serenity. Like Pablo Casals, he is a very rare soul. He is a rose, a real rose, full of beauty and fragrance.” > Sri Chinmoy (February 3, 1992, following his meeting with the Maestro)


> Eternal, immutable I am.

> Boundless I am.

> In the finite I am wearing

> The form finite

> And playing on the life-violin

> In the Cosmic Play.

> Sri Chinmoy


Editor's preface

Maestro Yehudi Menuhin was a very dear friend of international peace leader Sri Chinmoy. They first met seven years ago in New York and have corresponded extensively since that time. In fact, just a few days before Lord Menuhin’s passing on March 12th, Sri Chinmoy received a letter from him which was dated March 5th. The two men shared a deep and abiding love for music and a commitment to world peace.

Bibliographical Note

Maestro Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York on April 22, 1916 of Russian parents. As a child prodigy on the violin, he captivated the world with his extraordinary sensitivity and depth of interpretation. He made his orchestral debut at the age of seven, playing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In subsequent years, he appeared in New York, Berlin and London and soon began making recordings.

He was warmly embraced by the great and gifted of his day, from Einstein to Toscanini, Bartók, Elgar and Casals. He was only 13 when Einstein surged backstage after one of his concerts and declared, “Now I know there is a God in Heaven!” Europe became the focus of Lord Menuhin’s life and he was given an honorary Knighthood by Great Britain in 1966. In 1970 he received honorary Swiss citizenship and in 1985 he became a British subject.

Lord Menuhin toured extensively all over the world and was greatly admired for his love of both Eastern and Western musical traditions. In 1974 he made a series of recordings with legendary Indian musicians Ravi Shankar (sitar) and Ali Akbar Khan (sarod).

In 1963 he established the Yehudi Menuhin School for music students at Stoke d’Abernon in England. He also founded yearly music-festivals in Gstaad (Switzerland), Bath and Windsor.

In later years, Lord Menuhin devoted himself to conducting and led most of the world’s great orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English String Orchestra and the Asian Youth Orchestra. He was also actively involved with hundreds of cultural and charitable organisations.

Lord Menuhin received many honours and awards for his musical contributions, including the Nehru Award for International Peace and Understanding (India), the 30th Anniversary Medal of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and the Kennedy Center Honor (USA). In 1993 a life peerage was conferred upon him by the Queen of England.

He published a number of books about music and violin playing, as well as his deeply moving memoir Unfinished Journey.

Lord Menuhin passed away on March 12, 1999 in Berlin, where he was to have conducted the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra. He was 82.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Yehudi Menuhin: The soul-smile and the heart-cry, Agni Press, 1999
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