Compassion-Father, Champion-Brother, Perfection-Friend
Part I — Compassion-Father, Champion-Brother, Perfection-FriendSri Chinmoy has met with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican on three separate occasions. Those meetings left the Indian spiritual Master deeply moved, and he was inspired to write a soulful book about the Pontiff. The first part of this brochure includes excerpts from Sri Chinmoy's book. The second part contains reminiscences of those meetings by Sri Chinmoy and his assistant.
O Compassion-Father, O Champion-Brother, O Perfection-Friend, your mind is divinely great; your heart is supremely good. Your greatness-mind is illumining humanity's hope. Your goodness-heart is fulfilling humanity's promise. Humanity's hope is to see satisfaction in each human being. Humanity's promise is to reveal the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. Because you love untiringly, O Holy Father, humanity's hope, I feel that before long humanity's hope will succeed and proceed. Because you bless unreservedly, O Holy Father, humanity's promise, I feel that before long humanity's promise will proceed and succeed.
Pope Paul at once blesses two lions: humanity's confidence-lion and humanity's assurance-lion. To the confidence-lion he says, "Start. I shall be with you at your journey's start." To the assurance-lion he says, "Run soulfully. I shall be at your journey's close to receive you and garland you."
On October 4, 1965 the Holy Father delivered an immortal speech at the United Nations which was nothing short of his own life-giving Wisdom-Light. He offered papal support unreservedly to the United Nations' cause and told the United Nations that disarmament and cooperation are of paramount importance in extinguishing the poverty-flames and misery-flames of the world. The relationship between the Church and the United Nations he elucidates in a simple and powerful manner: "The Church considers the United Nations to be the fruit of a civilisation to which the Catholic religion… gave the vital principles. It considers it an instrument of brotherhood between nations which the Holy See has always desired and promoted…. The convergence of so many peoples, of so many races, so many States in a single organisation intended to avert the evils of war and to favour the good things of peace is a fact which the Holy See considers as corresponding to its concept of humanity and included within the area of its spiritual mission to the world."
The Holy Father's blessingful appreciation of the United Nations may be imprinted in gold letters on the tablet of the United Nations' heart: "Thanks to you, glory to you, who for twenty years have laboured for peace and have even given illustrious victims to this holy cause. Thanks to you and glory to you for the conflicts you have prevented and for those you have settled. The results of your efforts for peace, up to these last days, even if not yet decisive, deserve that we venture to interpret the feelings of the whole world and in its name express to you both congratulations and gratitude."
With regard to man's duty, his dignity and his religious freedom, the Holy Father observed at the United Nations: "We feel that you [the United Nations staff] are the interpreters of what is highest in human wisdom."
The Pope calls the United Nations a school that teaches man peace. According to him, each individual here is at once a pupil and a teacher in the art of building peace. Him to quote, …the world looks to you as to the architects, the builders of peace."
Part IIThe following memoir of Sri Chinmoy's meeting with Pope Paul VI on 22 March 1972 was written by Sri Chinmoy's most special assistant, who was present at the meeting.
As we stood in line directly in front of the throne of Pope Paul VI, he beckoned us to come to him. His arms were wide open and his blue eyes were shining with welcoming love.
We approached. Sri Chinmoy folded his hands and bowed, while I knelt at his feet.
The Pope said, "I am very, very happy to receive you." He repeated this two or three times. "How happy I was to hear about you and how happy I am now to see you and your…" He looked at me and I said, "His secretary." Monsignor Humbert-Claude said, "His secretary."
Sri Chinmoy presented the Pope with three books he had written: Songs of the Soul, My Lord's Secrets Revealed and My Rose Petals. The Pope accepted them with great joy and said very sincerely, "I shall read these books." Then he added, "I shall certainly read each one."
Then Sri Chinmoy went very close to him with folded hands and said, "I am most grateful to you for granting me the opportunity to be in your presence."
The Pope replied, "I am so happy to welcome you." Then he said in Italian, "I cannot express what I am feeling now." This was translated by an American bishop standing near the Pope.
Sri Chinmoy then continued, "Your Holiness, right now I see in you the most benevolent Father of the Catholic world, the Master-Leader of the Christian world and the Champion-Lover of humanity."
The Pope was deeply moved and he pressed Sri Chinmoy's hands into his own folded hands. He said, "I have understood what you have said, but I cannot reply in English."
Then he began to speak in Italian to another interpreter who said in English, "I am extremely moved with your words. This meeting of ours has been most essential."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," he added in English.
Then Sri Chinmoy said, "I am deeply impressed with your philosophy. You say that materialism and spirituality must go side by side. My humble philosophy also says the same. The inner life of aspiration and the outer life of manifestation must go together, one fulfilling the other in a divine way." At this point the Pope said in English, "I admire your philosophy."
Then he said in Italian, and another interpreter translated it into English, "The Hindu life and the Christian life shall go together. Your message and my message are the same."
Then he continued in English, "Where do you live and what do you do?"
Sri Chinmoy said, "I live in New York and hold meditations in our Centres, and once a week I hold a meditation at the United Nations.
Monsignor Humbert-Claude translated this into Italian. At that point, taking this opportunity, I said quietly to the American translator, "He is the only spiritual Master who has been granted this privilege," feeling that the Pope would be interested to know this. However, Monsignor Humbert-Claude had finished his translation and the Pope had begun to speak, so the American bishop said to me, "The Pope is speaking." The Pope could not hear what I was saying.
At this very moment, the Pope said to Sri Chinmoy with glowing joy and very sincere affection, "When we both leave this world, you and I, we will meet together."
I was very moved by this. Then the Pope said, "I have something to give you." He took out a large medal with his own profile embossed on it and presented it to Sri Chinmoy. He gave me a smaller one.
He said, "You have my blessings." First he spread his arms out in the Catholic manner of benediction. Then he clasped Sri Chinmoy's shoulders and pressed them very firmly.
We bowed with folded hands and departed.
Part IIISri Chinmoy's reminiscences of his interview with Pope Paul VI, the Vatican, 27 June 1973.
Four men carried the Pope into the auditorium on an ornate red velvet-covered chair. Then he sat on his throne and gave a talk, flanked by several cardinals. There were over 8,000 people in the hall. Instructions were read out to the crowd by the Cardinals in English, French, German and Spanish.
Then, before the Pope was put back into the chair, he came over to about sixty persons to whom he gave personal attention, the time he spent with each ranging from one second to about three minutes. I believe I am one of the few (two or three) who got three minutes.
Many large delegations had come from all over the United States and from countries of Europe other than Italy. (Italians were not allowed in this particular audience). As each group was announced, they applauded the Pontiff very enthusiastically. He in turn greeted them with a smile. There were about fifty rows on each side and I was fortunate enough to be in the first seat in the front row.
The Pope kindly came near me with a broad smile. He recognised me immediately, even though the American Cardinal introduced me, saying to the Pope, "Sri Chinmoy of the United Nations."
I said to the Pope, "I am most grateful to you for granting me the opportunity to be in your holy presence for the second time. Like last year, this year also I have come for your blessing." The Holy Father gave me a blessingful smile.
I presented him with some of my books. He said to me, "Last year I promised you that I would read your books. I read them. I deeply enjoyed them. I want to tell you that I am truly proud of your service to the United Nations. You are an Indian. I am also proud of your country."
Then he stretched out his hands. One of his attendants gave him a medallion. The Pope presented me with the medallion and said, "I give you this as a token of my love for you." During the conversation we faced each other with folded hands. I saw in him a soul's smile which was at once psychic, pensive and tinged with a subtle sadness.
Part IVDuring his third meeting with the Pope on 9 June 1976, Sri Chinmoy presented the Pontiff with his newly published book about the Holy Father, which included four-colour paintings by the author.
The Pope was very happy and pleased with the book. He liked the paintings very much. When he looked through the book, he saw the picture of U Thant and myself. He asked me if I bring down new inspiration and aspiration from above when I conduct meditations at the United Nations. He wanted to have pictures taken, but unfortunately the photographer was not available. The Pontiff then raised his arms to express his soulful benediction.