[Sri Chinmoy is offered a traditional Hawaiian welcome and greeting (called an ‘Oli’) by Ka’iwi, a Hawaiian singer.]
Dr. Majid Tehranian, Professor and Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research: Dear brothers and sisters who have gathered here, it is a great honour for me as a simple Professor of International Communication at the University of Hawaii to have been asked to introduce Sri Chinmoy. I am tempted to say that he needs no introduction. He is as well known and as well loved as Leonardo Di Caprio. But I am going to resist that temptation.
For those of you who have not followed his illustrious life and career, let me perhaps begin by saying he was born in the glorious land of Bengal in 1931. Bengal seems to nurture great spirits who soar beyond the existential boundaries of colour, creed, nationality or religion — the likes of Tagore; Mohammed Younis, President of the Grameen Bank, a unique institution that lends to those who need it: the poor, rather than the rich; and, of course, our distinguished guest today.
Sri Chinmoy spent most of his youth and young adulthood in an ashram, a spiritual community, where he combined an active participation in sports and ashram affairs with a deeply spiritual life. Since coming to the United States in 1964, he has maintained this balance between body and spirit in a life that expresses the unlimited potential of the human spirit.
Sri Chinmoy is a prodigious and creative talent who has written over 1,250 books on spiritual philosophy. Here at the University of Hawaii, you only need one book to get tenured! In addition, he has composed over 13,000 devotional songs and performed in such prestigious locations as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. Selections from his large body of artwork — an amazing 150,000 paintings — have been shown in museums, galleries and universities around the world. His international running team sponsors over 500 athletic events each year. Today Sri Chinmoy is the leader of 100 meditation centres around the world and for the past 28 years he has been conducting twice-weekly meditations at United Nations headquarters in New York City for diplomats and staff. In my mind, Sri Chinmoy exemplifies the spirit of Saadi, a 13th-century Persian Sufi poet, who said about the flight of the human spirit, and I quote,
“The spirit reaches such height
That it can see nothing but the Divine.
Have you witnessed the eagle’s flight?
Wonder at the spirit’s sight.”
Please welcome Sri Chinmoy, our distinguished author, composer, sportsman, poet, philosopher and spiritual leader.
Sri Chinmoy: I wish to offer my prayerful and soulful gratitude to you, my dear Dr. Tehranian, and to my esteemed sister June Naughton, Director of International Student Services; Pua Auyong, Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity; Dr. Doris Ching, Vice-President of Student Affairs; and Dr. Premalata Menon, Faculty of Public Health, for so kindly inviting me to say a few words on world peace.
[Sri Chinmoy then offered the following lecture.]
PCP 8. The University of Hawaii, 7 December 1998↩