John Kennedy: the world-treasure-home
Part I — PoemsJKW 1-38. These 38 poems in tribute to John F. Kennedy, Jr. — one for each year of his life — were written by Sri Chinmoy on 23 July 1999.
The 20th Century choice
Of the American heart.
The 21st Century voice
Of the American soul.
3.Your highest height
You surprisingly concealed.
Your deepest depth
You astonishingly concealed.
To selflessly mingle
And be inseparably one
With the common run.
4.You plied your life-boat
Between the simplicity-shore
And the spontaneity-shore.
5.Opportunity and prosperity
Right from the very first breath
Of your life.
But you chose your own
To be your dearest
And most cherished friend.
6.In your inner life
You ran unnoticed
On the determination-track.
In your outer life
You played noticed
In the recreation-ground.
7.Destined you were
To be a conductor supreme
Of the world-harmony-symphony.
But alas, your fate unknowable
Has made it otherwise.
The ocean-vast breath of oneness.
A rarity, indeed!
9.To have a quick, secret glimpse
Is to proudly enjoy
The morning blossom-smiles.
10.Yours is the heart
Of a newness-beauty-dreamer.
11.Yours is the soul
Of a fulness-fragrance-seeker.
12.Whoever is adoring you
In the depth of your heart
A yet to be fully manifested
13.Mother’s dream, father’s promise
And sister’s pride
Have been playing hide-and-seek
In your heart-garden.
14.In the world-sympathy-consolation-ocean
Your heart-cherished sister, Caroline,
Is swimming fast, very fast.
15.May your sister, Caroline,
And you, her fondness-cradle-
Together swing in the Heart-Garden
17.The ill-fated human beings
Discovered in you
18.To our great joy and satisfaction,
You were wont to consult your conscience
19.In your outer life
You were the possessor
Of two Heaven-dreaming eyes.
20.In your inner life
You were the giver
Of an earth-feeding heart.
21.Amidst your admirers and adorers,
All your movements invariably created
An atmosphere of festivity.
22.No, no, no!
Yours is not the legacy
Of a futile promise.
Yours is the legacy
Of a yet to be finished
To the whirlwind of world politics.
24.You are at once
America’s hope revealed
America’s promise unmanifested.
25.My aspiring heart is telling me
That your earth-departure
Shall convincingly, unmistakably
And eternally remain
An insoluble world-mystery.
26.Alas, we are living
In an unfading
27.Alas, confusion-weeds are not removed.
On the contrary,
To our deepest sorrow,
They are fast growing.
28.As God has garlanded you
Compassionately and proudly,
Even so, may God garland the tears
Of all American hearts.
29.Publicly and openly we see in you
The streaming tears
Of God the creation.
Secretly and sacredly we see in you
The ever-blossoming, ever-consoling
And ever-assuring Smiles
Of God the Creator.
Your soul-music is being heard
By the length and breadth
Of America the Beautiful
America the Brave.
31.The indomitable spirit
Of your life-partner, Carolyn,
Has not come to a final halt.
Her mind-brilliance and her heart-lustre
Shall permeate the world of creativity
In God’s own Way,
At God’s choice Hour.
32.Your earth-bound life is no more
With the fellow citizens
Of your beloved America.
May the Heaven-free beauty-petals
Fall into their soulful prayer-hearts.
Have been mind-devastating
And heart-rending experiences
Yet, unparalleled shall forever ring
Your family’s inspiration-bells
In the inmost recesses
Of the American heart.
34.Kennedy — this very name
Is a Himalayan climb of inspiration,
Aspiration and dedication.
Your Father and Mother
Won the garland of Immortality.
And you, too,
Now have unmistakably won it.
36.May our peace-prayers
For your goodness-flooded soul
Reverberate to the limitless
37.May your very name,
Inspire the American despair-heart
To proudly jump
Into the sparkling enthusiasm-river.
John, John, John Kennedy, John, John!
Sweetness, firmness, newness, fulness.
American heart’s dearness, fondness.
Tragedy tears: the world-treasure.
The Heights of your Soul, beyond measure.
Part II — Poems and essayJKW 39-44. These five poems and essay were written by Sri Chinmoy in India in 1962 and 1963 and published in his book Kennedy: The Universal Heart in 1973.
John-JohnYou were your father’s wonder-cheers;
Now the core of the world is wet with tears.
Because your heart his only home,
All world-thoughts of Truth within you roam.
Because you are the John-John of John,
In you is the light of his promised dawn.
CarolineYour father is he
Who sits above Space and Time.
Your father is he
Who drinks Nectar with the One.
On his vision-tree
Grow God's Rhythm and Rhyme;
In his sacrifice,
The promise of the brightest Sun.
JacquelineIf dire was the dart,
Stronger was your heart.
If bitter was the frown
Of the sombre Night,
Sweeter was the smile
Of your soulful Light.
If unseen, O world, is Kennedy,
More so is God’s Fulfilment-Tree.
If realised his vision, giant sacrifice,
Closer are the blessings
Of the golden skies.
Jacqueline, to the world you offered
Your very own.
Bathed in your tears and courage,
Today’s world is grown.
UniqueKennedy is unique.
God kindled him with His Dream.
On him God showered
His Blessings divine,
Kennedy is unique.
God threw on him
The burden of the world at large,
Kennedy is unique.
His soul visioned Tomorrow's Dawn,
Far beyond the flight of imagination,
Far above the strongest investigation,
Deep within the core of transformation.
Senator Edward Kennedy1Bright was his star,
Faster has he run,
Deepest is his vision-eye.
Four Smiles of God:
Joe, Jack, Bobby, Teddy.
Three Smiles of God we now see
With the inner eye,
One with the outer.
And streaming sorrows
Have befriended him.
An indomitable spirit within
An indomitable spirit without —
Edward Kennedy, Edward.
Eternity’s forward march, forward.
JKW 43. revised in New York, USA↩
John Fitzgerald KennedyJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of America, prince of high idealism, freedom incarnate, helper of humanity.
The Inaugural Address of Kennedy on January 20, 1961 is eloquent evidence that the mantric utterance is no longer India’s monopoly. There are sentiments in that soul-stirring address that are as deep as the Atlantic in their outlook; ideals as high as the Himalayas and resolutions as powerful as atomic power.
my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”"
This ringing call for self-giving to the Motherland is a reminiscent echo of the Seer-Voice of India’s soul — Sri Aurobindo — when he was speaking to India’s young hopefuls more than half a century ago:
Such a time has now arrived for our Motherland when nothing is dearer than her service, when everything else has to be directed to that end...
Train yourself, body and mind and soul, for her service...
Work that she may prosper.
Suffer that she may rejoice.”"
President Kennedy does not stop with his fellow Americans. From his head and heart goes forth an all-embracing call to mankind:
Nature seems to have bestowed half of her material power on America and half on Russia. How the leader of America can take the lead in bringing the world out of its Cold War orbit into a noble scheme of One World and One Law can be seen in the following almost prophetic utterance:
Both nations would help themselves as well as other nations by removing these endeavours from the bitter and wasteful competition of Cold War.
The United States would be willing to join with the Soviet Union and the scientists of all nations in a greater effort to make the fruits of this new knowledge available to all and, beyond that, in an effort to extend farm technology to hungry nations, to wipe out disease, to increase the exchange of scientists and their knowledge, and to make our own laboratories available to technicians of other lands who lack the facilities to pursue their own work.
Where nature makes natural allies of us all, we can demonstrate that beneficial relations are possible even with those with whom we most deeply disagree, and this must someday be the basis of world peace and world law.”"
Hope is strength. Hope is progress. When the sun of hope is eclipsed, the inevitable fear of bondage looms large. Kennedy, with his breadth of outlook and depth of insight, can help immensely to restore this hope to man.
If America wants to be friends with all the world, who can be her enemy? Says her mouthpiece, President Kennedy:
It seems that in Kennedy's dictionary there are two complementary words which enrich and fulfil the sense of each other and constitute together the master formula of the language: freedom and peace.
We may well recollect the momentous words of one of his illustrious predecessors, the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson:
Neither are we to forget the immortal utterance of the sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln:
Our defence is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.”"
True, poverty and ignorance are man’s bitter foes. But to replace poverty by affluence and ignorance by knowledge is not enough. Material success is not all. The quest of the spirit is of vital importance.
President Kennedy is, as it were, the lineal descendant of the American nation’s traditional leadership. As George Washington was the Father of the United States, as Abraham Lincoln was its Saviour, as Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Voice of America, even so is John Kennedy the Noble Defender of World Freedom and World Peace.
‘Defender of World Freedom and World Peace’ is certainly a great and responsible role. But is that enough for a man of Kennedy’s calibre? In ‘the Hour of God’ that has set in, there has appeared a man of high capacity and of unquestioned goodwill for all, a man of a sympathetic cast of mind, a man of faith and trust in God’s omnipotence, a man who has already caught an image of the One World to be. Unmistakably he will prove a man of destiny and launch a world-scale offensive for the ‘Hour of God’ upon his own country as well as upon the rest of the world; establish over this dark, miserable world a new world of peace and power, truth and knowledge, health and happiness, a world one with its Creator.
It is not suggested that Kennedy, the mere man, has that superhuman power. The world must not forget that, despite the extremely poor resources at his disposal, Churchill successfully stemmed the Hitlerian tide upon England and became the instrument of a Higher Power, simply by his faith and determination. Who knows but that, like Arjuna in the Battle of Kurukshetra, like Churchill in the Second World War, Kennedy will be an instrument of God’s conquest of His own world for Himself? Not without reason, perhaps, has this young soul been called to the great Chair of the new world.
By sympathy and understanding he has won a high place in the heart of India. Her outlook towards the material aspect of life has now conspired to bring him nearer to her soul. The gulf between Matter and Spirit is going to close. The two poles will meet.
Sri Chinmoy is paying soulful homage to President Kennedy at the Kennedy Memorial in Washington, D.C. in January 1976.
Photo: Bhashwar Hart