A meeting between Sri Chinmoy and Princess Diana Kensington Palace, London May 21st, 1997

Arriving at the Palace:

At ten minutes to two on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21st, 1997, Sri Chinmoy and Mrs. Bhavani Torpy, one of his London assistants, arrive at Kensington Palace at the invitation of Princess Diana. The policeman at the gate makes a telephone call to the secretary, and the secretary confirms, “Yes, they are expected.”

Sri Chinmoy and Mrs. Torpy are greeted downstairs very kindly and compassionately by a nice young man, about 30 years old, who is one of Princess Diana’s assistants, and he asks them to come upstairs where the interview will take place. Sri Chinmoy wants to wait downstairs, but the assistant insists that they come upstairs. He offers them tea, coffee and orange juice. Mrs. Torpy asks for water, but Sri Chinmoy declines his kind offer. Then the assistant asks if he can take their coats. Sri Chinmoy says he prefers to keep his, but Mrs. Torpy asks him to take her coat.

The assistant says, “Do not forget to take it with you. We have hundreds of coats, umbrellas and other things that people leave here. After seeing the Princess, they go into another world and they forget to take their things back. So do not forget to remind me so you can take back your coat on your way out.”

The Palace comprises many very small, historic apartments that are joined together. The rooms in the main building are small, except for the room where the Princess gives interviews. All the rooms are very simply decorated. When Sri Chinmoy enters the interview room, the assistant asks him to sit on one sofa. Next to Sri Chinmoy a pillow has been placed where the Princess is to sit beside him, and Mrs. Torpy is seated on a sofa facing the first one.

Sri Chinmoy notices that the room is flooded with pictures of Princess Diana and her children. A group of photographs in plain, wooden frames stands on the table beside him. Besides the photographs, the room is decorated very simply and elegantly. A beautiful, white rug with large red roses is on the floor. On two walls are canvas paintings by Michaelangelo framed very beautifully. There are books on the table, mostly art books.

In one of the adjoining rooms upstairs there is a long clothes rack with about a hundred gowns in blue, green, red and other colours. At the suggestion of her son, Prince William, the Princess is planning to auction them to raise funds for charity.

The meeting:

Princess Diana enters the room at three minutes past two, dressed in a very smart pink suit. Sri Chinmoy and Mrs. Bhavani Torpy stand up. Princess Diana graciously welcomes her guests.

Sri Chinmoy presents Princess Diana with four beautiful roses.

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you very much. They are beautiful! Thank you. That is very kind.

SRI CHINMOY: With these beautiful flowers, I bow to your illumination-soul, I bow to your compassion-heart, I bow to your dedication-life.

PRINCESS DIANA: They are lovely! Thank you very much. I am sorry to keep you waiting. I am about to fly off to Pakistan in a moment to visit children suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, the plane will not wait for me. Please, please sit down.

Mrs. Torpy asks if she can take four or five photographs for Sri Chinmoy's private collection, and Princess Diana agrees. The camera is a new model that is silent and does not use a flash, hut it does not work. So Mrs. Torpy begs permission from the Princess again, and takes some pictures with another camera that Sri Chinmoy has with him.

The Princess is concentrating intensely on what Sri Chinmoy is saying. After Mrs. Torpy has discreetly taken two photographs, the Princess puts up her hand.

PRINCESS DIANA: Let us take more outside where the light will be better.

SRI CHINMOY: May I be allowed to meditate with you for a minute?

PRINCESS DIANA: Yes, please do! That would be very nice. I do not have the patience to meditate on my own.

Sri Chinmoy meditates with Princess Diana for a few minutes, closing his eyes and folding his hands. The Princess folds her hands on her lap while she meditates.

During the conversation that follows, the Princess is very happy, and she often has a smile on her face and in her blue eyes. She is very eager and anxious to hear what her guest has to say.

Photograph in Princess Diana’s interview room

Sri Chinmoy in Princess Diana’s interview room at Kensington Palace.

Photograph

Princess Diana most graciously welcomes Sri Chinmoy to Kensington Palace at the beginning of their 38-minute meeting on May 21st, 1997. Immediately after this photograph was taken, the two meditated together for a few moments.

The meeting — continued

SRI CHINMOY: A long-cherished dream of mine, out of your heart’s magnanimity, today you have fulfilled. For the last sixteen years, I have been a most humble admirer and adorer of yours. Sleeplessly your heart cries for the suffering humanity. Down the sweep of centuries, many, many princesses have come and gone, but your love of children, your sacrifice — specially for the helpless, hopeless people — can only be felt and never be described. There are countless people here on earth who appreciate you and admire you. Again, you have some unkind adversaries. But there shall come a time when all your adversaries, all your enemies, will be compelled to bow to you.

PRINCESS DIANA: I hope so. (looking down with a mixture of modesty and hope)

SRI CHINMOY: I am a student of peace, I am a man of prayer. I am extremely, extremely grateful to you for granting me this interview.

Sri Chinmoy presents Princess Diana with a copy of a song he has composed for her.

PRINCESS DIANA: This is very colourful, isn’t it! (laughing)

SRI CHINMOY: With your kind permission, could I sing the song which quite recently I have composed for you? And these are two additional songs in which I have set music to your own words.

PRINCESS DIANA: I am glad somebody listens to what I say! (laughing)

SRI CHINMOY: May I sing them for you?

PRINCESS DIANA: Yes, please do.

The Princess listens very attentively while Sri Chinmoy sings “Diana: The World’s Only Fondness-Summit-Empress,” accompanying himself on a small keyboard. The Princess looks from the printed song sheet to Sri Chinmoy’s hand playing the notes. The words to the song are:

Princess Diana, Princess Diana, Princess:
The world’s only fondness-summit-Empress!
Dreamland-beauty’s blue-green reality-glow.
Compassion-heart’s sleepless, streaming river-flow.

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you, thank you very much. (very moved)

SRI CHINMOY: And these are your momentous utterances.

(Reading the words to two quotations) “I am not a political figure. The fact is, I am a humanitarian figure. I always have been and I always will be.”

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back, if only they had the chance.”

Princess Diana recognises her words immediately and nods.

MRS. TORPY: I am very touched by the words to the second song: “Everybody needs to be valued.”

PRINCESS DIANA: Yes, yes.

SRI CHINMOY: Princess Diana, your heart of sympathy covers the length and breadth of the world. There shall come a time when the entire world will value you most sincerely, most lovingly and most wholeheartedly.

Sri Chinmoy sings “I am not a political figure” and “Everyone needs to he valued.” He reads the words again, and the Princess repeats the words after him, laughing delightedly.

SRI CHINMOY: Now this is a song I have written in my mother tongue, Bengali. It is dedicated to your sons, William and Harry. With your kind permission, I would like to sing it for you. I wrote the song in Bengali, but the translation is there.

Sri Chinmoy sings the song “William-Harry.” The Princess listens most intensely, following the printed music, which is adorned with a picture of her sons climbing on her shoulders when they were three and five years old. She is very happy and very deeply moved, exclaiming affectionately. The Bengali words and the translation are as follows:

William-Harry William-Harry William-Harry
Dibanishi bajao mayerjayer very
Great Britener madhur swapan
Amarar jyoti shishu
Karuna pathar tomara dujan
Param prabhur jishu

William-Harry, William-Harry, William-Harry!
Day and night do strike
Your Mother’s victory-drum.
You are at once Heaven’s
Children of Light and the sweet dreams
Of Great Britain.
Compassion infinite you two are
Of the Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.

Princess Diana with songbook

Princess Diana eagerly examines the songs which Sri Chinmoy has composed for her and her sons, while Sri Chinmoy prepares to sing them for her.

Soul-birds

Sri Chinmoy offered this original drawing to Princess Diana during their meeting and she immediately recognised that the two birds represent her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Immortality

Soul-birds

The special drawing which Sri Chinmoy did for the Princess. It contains 362 individual birds. This drawing is part of a series of seven million birds which Sri Chinmoy has completed since December 1991.

Meeting continued

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you. The song is extremely beautiful.

Sri Chinmoy then presents Princess Diana with a drawing of one large bird facing a smaller bird. Next to the larger bird he had written the letter ‘W’ and next to the smaller bird he had written the letter ‘H’.

PRINCESS DIANA: Oh, William and Harry! My boys! My boys! (looking at the two birds)

Sri Chinmoy then offers Princess Diana a framed drawing of dream-freedom-peace-birds that he had done for her on May 16th. Underneath it, he had written: “My Prayerful and Soulful Dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales — Sri Chinmoy.”

SRI CHINMOY: This is an original drawing. I would humbly like to offer it to you. It contains 362 birds. Now I have completed seven million birds altogether.

Princess Diana looks through a brochure about Sri Chinmoy’s art with great eagerness.

SRI CHINMOY: (indicating a photograph in the brochure) This is Raisa Maximovna Gorbachev visiting our art gallery in Manhattan a few years ago.

PRINCESS DIANA: Is this all for me?

SRI CHINMOY: Yes, yes. Tonight I shall be giving a Peace Concert at Royal Albert Hall. It will be my 500th Peace Concert. I have performed in 43 countries.

PRINCESS DIANA: (looking with great joy at the cover of a book documenting the 500 concerts) Blue is your colour, I take it.

SRI CHINMOY: The Princess laughs delightedly. Yes, blue.

PRINCESS DIANA: The High Commissioner for India invited me to your Peace Concert at Royal Albert Hall tonight. Dr. Singhvi is a great admirer of yours. Unfortunately, I cannot attend because of my trip to Pakistan.

SRI CHINMOY: I have read that you are an excellent pianist.

PRINCESS DIANA: Well, not really. I play. (laughing)

Sri Chinmoy presents Princess Diana with three new miniature hooks of his poems published by the Jharna-Kala Card Company. She is very, very pleased to accept them.

PRINCESS DIANA: May I keep these as well?

SRI CHINMOY: Yes, they are all for you.

PRINCESS DIANA: All for me! My goodness, my goodness. This is marvellous. No more, no more!

Princess Diana holds all the gifts lovingly, to show her full appreciation.

SRI CHINMOY: No more.

PRINCESS DIANA: (laughing) Promise! (The Princess indicates the row of garments in the adjoining room.) This is to raise money for children’s causes.

SRI CHINMOY: Princess Diana, your heart of sympathy and oneness with the suffering humanity touches the length and breadth of the world. Your heart of oneness, universal oneness, is expanding and expanding. I am so happy that Mother Teresa is extremely fond of you.

PRINCESS DIANA: Where is she at the moment?

SRI CHINMOY: She is now in Rome.

PRINCESS DIANA: I keep trying to find her, but no one knows where she is.

SRI CHINMOY: She is extremely compassionate to me. We are in regular communication. Many times I have spoken to her on the phone. I will have an interview with her in New York shortly. Now she is in Rome. From Rome she will go to Poland, and from Poland she will come to New York. Either on the 2nd or 3rd of June I will be meeting with her.

PRINCESS DIANA: Will she come back through Europe, do you think? She normally comes through here.

SRI CHINMOY: I understand she will be going directly to Calcutta. Princess Diana, do you know that Mother Teresa claims you as her daughter?

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you. I also love her dearly.

SRI CHINMOY: You are her daughter and she is all for you.

PRINCESS DIANA: I have been trying to track her down so I can see her, but nobody ever knows where she has gone. Can you tell me how I can meet with her?

SRI CHINMOY: I am in touch with her. Perhaps I can be of service to you. The day before yesterday a student of mine spoke to her, and I also speak to her. She writes to me. She is extremely compassionate to me and kind to me. I am sure that it will be possible for you to meet with her before she returns to Calcutta.

PRINCESS DIANA: Is her health all right?

MRS. TORPY: Yes, she is much better. During the time when she was very ill recently, Sri Chinmoy prayed and meditated for her — prayed and meditated.

SRI CHINMOY: She prays for me every day, and I pray for her every day. It is mutual.

Princess Diana laughs happily.

MRS. TORPY: Sri Chinmoy will gladly talk to her for you.

PRINCESS DIANA: That would be lovely. If she is anywhere in Europe, I would like to come and see her. Every time she has a relapse and goes into the hospital, all the British media rather unkindly ask me to write obituaries. And I say, “I am not writing obituaries.” Should anything like that happen, then they will all come like wolves to my door. I adore Mother Teresa. I hope she continues for many more years.1

MRS. TORPY: How horrible the media can be!

SRI CHINMOY: She is so fond of you. Anytime she talks about you, she is all affection.

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you. Well, I try to do her work, but I am at the junior end! (laughing)

SRI CHINMOY: Both of you are sailing in the same boat.

PRINCESS DIANA: It is kind of you to say that. There is so much to do, so much to do!

MRS. TORPY: I will always be ready to help you.

PRINCESS DIANA: Oh, but you have so much to do for Sri Chinmoy!

MRS. TORPY: Sri Chinmoy is in America, and I am based here. Do you know that Mother Teresa has now retired from being Head of the Order of Missionaries of Charity?

PRINCESS DIANA: I saw that. I saw the new one, too, Sister Nirmala.

SRI CHINMOY: Mother Teresa’s self-offering to the world is exceptional. According to my own humble opinion, you are another Mother Teresa.

PRINCESS DIANA: I am a very, very small Mother Teresa. She does so much good. It is very, very frustrating to be in a country where no one appreciates the good. People in this country do not appreciate the kind of work I am doing for landmine victims and so on. I have to fly out of the country. In other places people value my work. To be appreciated in this world is really extraordinary.

SRI CHINMOY: A prophet is not honoured in his own country.

PRINCESS DIANA: That I know very well.

SRI CHINMOY: Then eventually the same prophet is honoured — not only prophets, even poets and authors, like Tagore. India’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, won the Nobel Prize in 1913. But before that, he was a victim to hostile attacks from his own countrymen.

PRINCESS DIANA: Challenges I call them, not problems.

SRI CHINMOY: Dear Princess Diana, one day, in the near future, your enemies will surrender to you because of your magnanimous heart. The mind divides; the heart unites. In your case, your heart always unites itself with the multiplicity of the world-family. You are inspiring the whole world by virtue of your heart of oneness and sympathy. Eventually your heart will win.

Now the dividing, doubtful and critical minds of some unfortunate people are challenging your heart. But I can clearly see that those dividing minds, the doubting minds, will have to surrender. At God’s choice Hour your victory is certain. Your victory is certain because you are all heart. Your heart will conquer the negative qualities of others. Your heart is bound to win because your compassionate heart has touched the length and breadth of the world. So many individuals think of you or feel through you something that inspires, something that aspires in and through them. Your very name is a source of inspiration to millions of people. In the future, people the world over will admire you and adore you in all your glory.

PRINCESS DIANA: (visibly moved) Thank you. That is what we are waiting for.

MRS. TORPY: You and Mother Teresa are working together in the self-same spirit.

PRINCESS DIANA: I am with a different branch, but I do feel our connection. Sri Chinmoy, forgive me, I am running late for my plane. How did you come here?

SRI CHINMOY: I came by taxi.

PRINCESS DIANA: I am calling a taxi for you.

The Princess goes out of the room to call for a taxi. She moves with an air of purpose and with afresh, spontaneous energy. When she returns, she grabs Sri Chinmoy’s briefcase from him and will not allow him to carry it. Since Sri Chinmoy had arrived in the interview room before her, she could not know that he had been having trouble walking because of his knee problem. It is her outer spontaneity that compels her to carry his briefcase down from the second floor. Sri Chinmoy follows her, pretending that he is walking without any pain.

On the ground floor, the Princess pauses to show Sri Chinmoy a rare statue of Ganesh made entirely of crystal.

PRINCESS DIANA: I am sure you know who this is!

SRI CHINMOY: This is our Ganesh, the elephant god. It is he who removes the obstacles in our path and who fulfils all our desires.

The Princess pauses to pose for a photograph with Sri Chinmoy next to the statue.

At the close of the meeting, Princess Diana very kindly and compassionately carries Sri Chinmoy’s briefcase to the waiting taxi.

MRS. TORPY: (apologetically) I’m afraid I am not a photographer, and unfortunately I do not take good photographs.

PRINCESS DIANA: (referring to the press) Neither do they! They just make lots of money out of it. (laughing)

Sri Chinmoy follows the Princess outside into the sunshine. She is still carrying his briefcase. A taxi has arrived and is stationed about forty metres away.

MRS. TORPY: Princess Diana, when do you return from Pakistan?

PRINCESS DIANA: On Saturday.

MRS. TORPY: I assure you that Sri Chinmoy will be able to put you in touch with Mother Teresa, sooner rather than later.

PRINCESS DIANA: Thank you, thank you so much.

As they approach the taxi, Princess Diana asks Sri Chinmoy where he will sit, and she carefully places the briefcase inside the taxi.

Then the Princess asks Mrs. Torpy to take one final picture. Princess Diana stands by Sri Chinmoy’s side for this immortal photograph.

The Princess waits for Sri Chinmoy and Mrs. Torpy to climb inside the taxi and waves them good-bye.

AFTERWARD:

When Sri Chinmoy arrived at his hotel and was about to pay the fare, the driver told him, “The Princess called the taxi and she has taken care of it.”

Sri Chinmoy was deeply moved by Princess Diana’s loving concern, affection and kindness in making this meeting so meaningful and beautiful in every possible way. It lasted for 38 minutes in earthly time, but in Heavenly time it was beginningless and endless.

Sri Chinmoy later reflected:

To the world, Diana is the Princess of Wales But, according to my aspiration-heart And dedication-life, She is, indeed, The Empress of the World.


  1. DPW 3,20. Tragically, it was to be Mother Teresa who was to offer an obituary for Princess Diana — as if it were her own daughter who had passed away.

Photograph with Ganesh statue

Sri Chinmoy and Princess Diana pose for a photograph together next to a most beautiful and rare crystal statue of Ganesh, the elephant god.

Photograph — Princess Diana and Sri Chinmoy

Princess Diana and Sri Chinmoy outside Kensington Palace — Sri Chinmoy’s treasured keepsake of his unforgettable meeting with Princess Diana.

Empress of the world

After returning from his meeting with Princess Diana, Sri Chinmoy commented on the special spiritual significance of the pink Versace suit the Princess was wearing. It is the colour of sympathy — a quality which the Princess had in measureless measure. Princess Diana often wore this particular colour.

A soulful exchange of hearts

1.

Dear Princess Diana,

From the inmost depths of my heart I am offering you my soulful felicitations on the occasion of your upcoming birthday.

Your heart of compassion and your life of sacrifice have touched me deeply. I am praying to our Absolute Lord Supreme to shower His choicest Blessings upon your devoted heart and supremely dedicated life.

Yours in the Supreme,

Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations is an association of United Nations delegates, staff, NGO representatives and accredited press correspondents holding twice-weekly peace meditations and other programmes at United Nations Headquarters.