President Premadasa: Nectar-Bliss-Heart, Lion-Roar-Soul

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Dedication

My soulful offering to President Premadasa on the occasion of his most auspicious sixty-sixth birthday, June 23rd 1990.

Sri Chinmoy

Poems and aphorisms inspired by President Premadasa's life

1.

Beloved President Premadasa,
I bow to your Mahatma Gandhi-compassion-truth
And to your President Kennedy-vision-speed.
Also, I bow to you for embodying,
Revealing and manifesting
Something infinitely greater:
Immortality's divine love-service.

2.

Sri Lanka's mind
Has teeming questions.
President Premadasa, your heart
Has the illumining answers.

3.

Your soul has made a permanent contract
With glowing illumination,
Your heart, with streaming compassion,
Your mind, with marching determination,
Your vital, with dauntless courage
And your body, with sleepless energy.

4.

Every morning lovingly, compassionately
And self-givingly
You set the inspiration-alarm,
Ring the aspiration-bell,
Strike the dedication-gong
And sound the manifestation-trumpet
For all your Sri Lankan children,
Born and yet to be born.

5.

O ignorance-fighter, O truth-lover,
O courage-builder, O character-shaper,
O hope-awakener, O promise-fulfiller,
Without shadow of a doubt
You are destined to leave your Government,
At God's choice Hour,
In every way infinitely better
Than you found it.

6.

Your Inner Pilot,
God the Transcendental Teacher Himself,
Has taught you how to be
Universally fluent
In the oneness-heart-language.

7.

Your faith-filled heart
Has no room for paltry fear.
Your faith-filled mind
Has no room for baneful doubt.
Your faith-filled vital
Has no room for crippling hesitation.
Your faith-filled body
Has no room for devouring somnolence.

8.

Father-mother, brother-sister,
Son-daughter of Sri Lanka,
Your soul is
Infinity's compassion-teacher
And your heart is
Eternity's dedication-student.

9.

Municipality:
Your journey's softness-purity-dawn.
Presidency:
Your journey's brightness-divinity-noon.

10.

Overwhelming odds and adversaries
In the outer world
Have surrendered to your inner
Hero-heart supreme.

11.

Your illumination-mind
And compassion-heart
Sleeplessly dance to the tune
Of universal oneness-harmony.

12.

When you deliver your momentous speeches,
The spellbound audience can see and feel
That your illumining soul
Thinks for you
And your loving heart
Speaks for you.

13.

Compassionately yet powerfully
You are asking the young generation
Of your beloved country
To clear their mind-forest
And carry only the fragrance-flowers
Of their pure hearts.
Needless to say,
Their immediate response
Has gladdened your heart.

14.

Dauntlessly and smilingly
Your soul's supernal insight-light
Accepts the challenge of mounting adversity.
Lo and behold, your entire being glows
With your victory-smile!

15.

Unlike others,
You never suffer from
Hypnotising hesitation;
You never suffer from
Blinding confusion;
You never suffer from
Unnerving procrastination.

16.

Your poise-flooded eyes
In no time satisfactorily feed
The empty-headed and empty-hearted
Human beings.

17.

Physically you are strong;
Spiritually you are infinitely stronger.
You will before long see
Sixty-six fruitful summers.
To our extreme joy,
You are completely immune
To the fevers of age.

18.

To smoking, drinking, gambling,
A perfect stranger.
Body-citadel-lover,
Nowhere indulgence-danger!

19.

You are indeed a giant
In the mind-world and the heart-world.
When you are with
The simple Sri Lankans,
You are a flower-inspiring brother.
When you are with
The ultra-modern Sri Lankans,
You are a lion-roaring leader.

20.

To those unfortunate ones
Who are not yet awakened,
Swami Vivekananda's thunder-voice
Resounds through you in the firmament
Of Sri Lanka:
"Arise, awake, stop not until the goal
Is reached!"

21.

O Supreme Pilot of the Sri Lankan Boat,
To you I offer my life's dedication-garden
And my heart's gratitude-fragrance.

Part II — Poems as captions to photographs

President Premadasa's father

The human eyes of Premadasa's beloved father
Failed to see the zenith-sun
Of his beloved son.
Indeed, sadness reigned supreme.
But the father, through his Heaven-vision,
Powerfully blessed and surprisingly expedited
His son's earth-pilgrimage
To its glory-flooded destination.

President Premadasa's mother

Perfection-manifestation-soul,
Mother Jayasinghe.
Aspiration-mountain-heart,
Mother Jayasinghe.
Dedication-fountain-life,
Mother Jayasinghe.
Determination-volcano-eye,
Mother Jayasinghe.
Renunciation-sacrifice within and without,
Mother Jayasinghe.

India's mystic wisdom-lore of yore:
"Janani janmabhumishcha
Swargadapi gariyasi."
"Mother and Mother Earth
Are superior to Heaven itself."
Premadasa's Mother Jayasinghe,
Premadasa's Motherland Sri Lanka,
To you both the poet in me prayerfully bows.

Ranasinghe Premadasa at age 4

My Lord, my Lord,
My Lord Buddha Supreme,
May my earth-bound life
Become Your fulfilled Dream.

The President's wife, Mrs. Hema Premadasa

Hema-gold,
Premadasa's oneness-inspiration-light.

Hema-gold,
Premadasa's oneness-aspiration-flight.

Hema-gold,
Premadasa's oneness-confidence-tower.

Hema-gold,
Premadasa's oneness-fragrance-flower.

President Premadasa's son, Sajith

Sajith, self-conqueror,
You are your father's new vision-morn.
May your self-giving heart
Blow his world-transformation-horn.

President Premadasa's daughter, Dulanjalee

Dulanjalee, resplendence-worship —
To see the Buddha's Compassion-Eye,
With affection-father's perfection-touch
Soulfully ever you needs must fly.

President Premadasa with Reverend Father D. J. Anthony, his former teacher

Look, look how far our Premadasa has travelled
And how high he now has flown!
But still he breathes in our oneness-hearts,
Our fondness-student-son, our very own.

With India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

India and India's fully blossomed lotus envision
Ceylon's fast blossoming lotus
and its sky-vast mission.

With United Nations Secretary — General U Thant

A oneness-path, a oneness-faith:
Through two sons smiles Asia's light.
Confidence within, confidence without,
Nowhere sombre ignorance-night.

With United States President Ronald Reagan

Prime Minister Premadasa:
"May you continue swimming in confidence-sea.
May your kind and fatherly heart never retire."

President Reagan:
"Your simplicity-greatness I appreciate.
Your sincerity-goodness I admire."

With then United States Vice President George Bush

Within, without, happiness-flood.
Powerful, fruitful friendship-blood.

With British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Ah!
Long and proud
They ruled your clime.
But now you play
Your freedom-chime.

34.

My brother and sister sufferers,
Give me your ceaseless pangs and fears.
For you my life's promise-smiles,
In you my heart's oneness-tears.

35.

The Prime Minister bathes
In the Menik Ganga river.
Behold, purity-flooded,
He becomes consciousness-light-giver!

36.

O outer world,
I picture you
With my inner joy and love.
O inner world,
How proud I am
To be your sweetness-dove.

37.

A God-lover within,
A man-server without,
Your life, indeed!
The leader-eye supreme,
With oneness-light
Sri Lankan hearts you feed.

Part III — Essays and aphorisms

38.1

Premadasa is at once a heart of sincerity and a life of admiration for his predecessor, President J. R. Jayewardene. Premadasa said of him: "Our President created a new era. He developed the country. His greatest achievement is the creation of a united team that can lead the country on its onward march."

Humility is a rare virtue in most human beings, but President Premadasa is the very embodiment of humility. He says of J. R. Jayewardene, "His crowning success is that he was able to transfer the mantle of leadership to a person from the ranks of the ordinary people and not to his kith and kin. He has acted true to his word."

Ingratitude is the order of the day. But to our extreme joy, Premadasa's life is founded upon gratitude-granite. He says of his predecessor, "How can we express our gratitude to our President? We can do so by building up a united, peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka."


  1. PPN 38. All quotes from People's President

39.

Premadasa is, in the outer world of Sri Lanka, what he also is in the inner world of Sri Lanka: unity-diversity. His inner conviction he bravely and unmistakably translates into outer assertion: "Ours is a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-linguistic society. But we are all one People, and this I shall always bear in the forefront of my mind. " ("On the Wings of Thought")

40.

On 2 January 1989 he became President. The Lord Buddha wanted humility-grass to reach the highest Mount Everest-heights.

41.

President Premadasa comes to prove to the world at large that might is not right but that right is might, and this has to be true all-where, always.

42.

The Buddha was His own Compassion-Light in His Premadasa, and now the Buddha is His own Satisfaction-Delight in His Premadasa.

43.

Premadasa is at once compassion-pyramid and determination-volcano. He wants freedom to be everybody's birthright, not only in theory, but also in reality. Therefore, each man needs must defend his country, strengthen his country and fulfil his country.

His compassion-surcharged spirit indomitable is the golden bridge between his dedication-life and his determination-mind.

44.

He bravely fought against his brooding, hostile foes. At the end of each dire battle, victory's crown he did win, time and again.

45.

To ignorance-night how could he and why should he surrender? He surrendered, surrenders and will always surrender to the infinite Wisdom-Light of his Inner Pilot, the Lord Buddha, to be moulded, shaped and fulfilled in the Lord Buddha's own Way-devotedly, cheerfully and unconditionally.

46.

A devout astrology-believer is he. Astrology unmistakably leads him and guides him to his destined goal. He loves the vision-eyes of the stars and planets. They touch him, bless him and smile through him powerfully and triumphantly. Astrology brings to the fore his heart's past aspiration-cries. He and his sleepless dedication-life multiply Heaven's star-planet-wealth. Greatness, astrology grants him; goodness, he adds.

Although he has quite a few times played the expectation-disappointment-game, he never was an invalid crippled by depression. His is the indomitable will that comes to the fore when necessity demands, and God places the victory-crown upon his devoted head.

47.

Countless followers of the Lord Buddha listen to His dictates only when convenient. But President Premadasa sleeplessly obeys the Lord Buddha's decrees and faithfully follows His social, philosophical, cultural and spiritual teachings, even through untold trials and tribulations.

48.

In Napoleon's dictionary the word "impossibility" was not to be found. In the case of Premadasa, he himself is at times the most devastating blow to impossibility, and at times a magical hand that transforms impossibility into inevitable reality.

49.

With his climbing aspiration and his spreading inspiration, he is telling his countrymen: To remain as unemployed potential does not become you; to remain as undisciplined energy does not become you.

Premadasa's heart breathlessly pines for the betterment of village life. He is his life's sleepless dedication-service to village improvement. God the Transcendental Pilot and God the Universal Boat applaud his compassion-eye and sacrifice-heart.

50.

His newspaper "Janatha" awakened the sleeping lives, illumined the doubting minds and nourished the starving hearts of his countrymen. His inner life received Lord Buddha's transcendental Blessings, and his outer life revealed His universal Compassion.

51.

My inner eye saw the inner sun of our beloved President Premadasa at the illumination-festival in Kandy. I immediately came to realise that with easy ease he can perform any task he undertakes.

52.

True, he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. But he has been sumptuously feeding and feeding his beloved Sri Lankan children from his golden dedication-plate.

53.

A great admirer of artists, a greater lover of their art and the greatest helper in their happiness-invoking satisfaction-lives he is. Again, he himself is a supremely choice work of art created by the Lord Buddha for His own Vision-Fulfilment in and through a climbing aspiration-heart and a glowing dedication-life.

54.

Children sing, children dance, children play music and perform at his Sucharita Centre. These are the loving, encouraging and inspiring small plants in Premadasa's own heart-garden, which will someday grow into Sri Lankan prosperity-trees.

55.

President Premadasa is a cosmopolitan heart of sleepless self-giving. For the betterment of the present-day world, his is the spirit indomitable:
""President Premadasa's compassion does not stop at the borders of his own race or religion or even nation.... He has a sense of empathy with poor people the world over. Another quality that is especially noteworthy is his refusal to accept that something cannot be done.... At moments like these, his tremendous faith in the ability of ordinary men and women to achieve the impossible, through the force of conviction, comes forth."
Honourable Bradman Weerakoon
Adviser to the President on International Relations"

56.

Unconditional self-giving does exist on earth. Indeed, here is a radiant example:
""Because of His Excellency the President, Ranasinghe Premadasa, I was reborn the 11th of July, 1983, after surviving three massive heart attacks. Entirely at his own expense, he sent me to California for a multiple bypass operation, and paid all my medical expenses. He also sent my wife along with me and paid all her expenses so that I would not be alone at such a difficult and dangerous time. So I am very grateful to him. His Excellency Premadasa was both my father and mother. I will never forget this, and I hope and pray my children and even my children's children will never forget His Excellency Ranasinghe Premadasa."
Honourable Arthur J. Ranasinghe
Minister of State for Information"

57.

President Premadasa is religious to the core. His oneness-heart is the ever-lasting bridge between India and Sri Lanka:
""President Premadasa is a deeply religious man who goes to both Buddhist and Hindu temples and prays with equal veneration. He is very conscious of India's ancient links with Sri Lanka, and he knows that Buddha brought India and Sri Lanka very close to each other. He himself has done a great deal to bring India and Sri Lanka together, and we look forward to his continued leadership."
His Excellency L. L. Mehrotra
High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka"

58.

President Premadasa has always been a great peacemaker:
""Premadasa and I first met 38 years ago because of our common interest in Singhalese poetry. I had criticised a poet, and the poet got really annoyed. Premadasa thought that the best thing he could do was to bring the two of us together and make us friends."
His Excellency Ananda Guruge
Ambassador to UNESCO and to France from Sri Lanka"

59.

President Premadasa is a universal man, server of the poor, lover of the needy:
""President Premadasa's life is adorned with rare qualities of mankind, and I firmly believe that he is one of the greatest sons of Sri Lanka who has dedicated himself to serve for the common good of mankind.... His magical influence to involve others to serve the poor and needy, and his firm determination and courage to launch the massive village reawakening movement, paved the way to declare the International Year of Shelter and won the international award for housing."
Honourable C. Nanda Mathew
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports"

Part IV — Brief excerpts from the writings of President Premadasa — With commentaries by Sri Chinmoy

60.

"A Government is made and unmade by the will of the people.
//On the Wings of Thought//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

What is a government? A government is a man-made garment. This man-made garment can be attractive or unattractive, expensive or inexpensive. He who is wise will naturally put on a lovely garment not only to please himself but also to please others. This garment he can make and remake until he sees perfection in it and derives complete satisfaction from it.

61.

"I am determined to set an example myself. I do not want excuses. I do not want very learned reasons as to why things cannot be done. I want results, and results will necessarily follow dynamic action.
//On the Wings of Thought//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Action, dynamic action, self-giving action: that is what the President wants from himself and from others. It is not his way to offer excuses. He is wise; he is brave. Excuses accomplish nothing. It is determination that is of paramount importance. Determination begins the journey; dynamic action, concludes the journey.

62.

"Indian hospitality has always been gracious. It is perhaps an extension of the embracing nature of Indian philosophy.
//Society Based on Human Values//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Indian philosophy calls for the acceptance of life and the oneness of human beings. God is the life-tree, and each country is like a branch of the tree. In His Self-Transcendence God is One, and in His Self-Manifestation God is many. Therefore, God is at once the host and the guest.

63.

"A great poet looks at society and those who comprise society with a remarkable sense of detachment... The lotus, though born in mud and rooted in mud in which the frogs and other lowly animals live, stands above, unsoiled by the mud. That is how great poets also lived and are trying to live. Greatness comes to them from this detachment.
//Symbols of Progress//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Detachment — what is it? It is an excellent beginning for the journey toward enlightenment. The poet in the President at once embodies the wisdom-light of yore and the vision of tomorrow's dawn. Whoever is for world-illumination and world-perfection can profitably listen to the Seer-Poet-President.

64.

"All the great religions — and we have four major ones in our country — stand for universal brotherhood, peace and harmony. We can look around and see the truth of the messages of peace which they carry to the four corners of this earth.
//Let Us Face the Challenge//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

65

"What is religion? Is it merely a belief? It is a way of thinking; it is a way of behaviour; it is a way of living. It teaches how to develop a heart to give; it teaches how to develop a heart to love; it teaches how to develop a heart to serve.
//The Time for Action//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

President Premadasa's aspiration-heart sees the divinity in all religions. Therefore, he feels that all religions have the same source: God's Transcendental Vision. Man-made religions find fault with one another, whereas God-made religion is eternally a oneness-song — God-manifestation through human aspiration on earth.

66.

"One cannot be regarded as great by associating only with the elite. One has to move with and understand the common man.
//Glory of Reawakening//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

If somebody thinks that he is great, then let us ask him for his credentials. If he can prove to us that he can associate himself with the common run of men and have a oneness-breath with them, then his credentials are acceptable. If he wants only to remain on the top of the Himalayas without caring at all for those who are at the foot of the Himalayas, then his oneness with the Himalayan consciousness is shockingly imperfect and, therefore, of no avail.

President Premadasa's heart has always been for all and sundry, since the very dawn of his earthly sojourn. He has a free access to people in all walks of life, and they to him.

67.

"I have said that we have replaced the life of the jungle by the rule of Law. We must now replace the rule of Law by the rule of Love.
//Towards the Rule of Love//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Replacement must always be done with something infinitely better. This is what our inner voice tells our outer mind. But, alas, quite often we do not pay any heed to it. Usually we prefer not to change. But once we make a positive change, we see how much we have advanced along the progress-road of life. When the power of love replaces the love of power, man will have a new name: God.

68.

"My objective is not the defeat of anyone. My objective is to ensure victory for everyone. Inflicting defeat is easy; ensuring victory is not so easy.
//Society Based on Human Values//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Unlike the human victor, a divine victor celebrates his victory only when others are victorious as well. Needless to say, he has suffered from the ruthless buffets of defeat. But these defeats were blessings in disguise, for they turned him into an infinitely better and wiser self-giver in uplifting the consciousness of his country so that it can proudly stand and brilliantly shine in the comity of nations.

69.

"We are not only building shelters, we are building values.
//Peace and Prosperity//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

The United Nations saw in Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Premadasa a fully awakened concern-sacrifice-heart to ameliorate the sufferings of the ill-fated members of the universal oneness-family.

Thus, a little brother in the family of nations offered momentous wisdom-light to his exceptionally strong elder brothers. Premadasa sowed the aspiration-seed in the heart of the United Nations in 1980, and the world saw the fulfilment-tree in 1987, when the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless was declared.

Premadasa's life bears witness to the fact that a goodness-heart will eventually be accepted, appreciated and admired by the world's greatness-minds.

Sri Lanka's vision-dedication in and through her beloved son Premadasa became a reality-progress-manifestation throughout the length and breadth of the world.

70.

"If you hope to lead the people, then I invite you to first learn to follow the people. Go to the people and learn from them first. Learn also not only to ask questions, but to seek the answers.
//Let Us Protect Sri Lanka//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Who wants to be the student? "Not me!" Our answer will immediately be in the negative. Who wants to be the teacher? "Me, me, at every moment!" Immediately our answer will be in the affirmative. Indeed, this is a common experience for Mother Earth.

If you do not want to be a student first, then how will you learn? If you do not learn, then how are you going to teach? If you do not want to be led at first, then how will you know whether the road you are on is straight or crooked and full of obstacles, whether it is a sunlit path or a road of tenebrous darkness? Be first a student of the heart. Then you will be able to become a teacher of life.

71.

"Pratap the Elephant
//Pratap the Elephant//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Soon after arriving in Sri Lanka I went to a bookstore near my hotel to buy a few books written by President Premadasa. What I found was a small children's book written by the President, with a painting of an elephant on the cover. It was entitled "Pratap the Elephant".

I was so deeply moved by my first acquaintance with President Premadasa's literary world. His own boundless heart of compassion compels him to bring to the fore the compassion-aspect of all others, including members of the animal kingdom.

Pratap the Elephant is lord of the jungle and fully able to meet with all his needs without any help from others. But the President lovingly reveals to us how inner power and outer strength can go together. Pratap is full of kindness and affection for all the animals. Even the pigs and jackals, whose self-serving arrogance destroys Pratap's first water-hole, receive the wise elephant's limitless compassion. By not allowing the bad animals to come near the new water-hole, Pratap's compassion, in the form of strictness, is helping to transform them.

The President teaches us that compassion will transform bad people into good people and good people into even better people. How devotedly and how superbly he reveals to us the unparalleled Compassion-aspect of the Lord Buddha.

Editor's note about Sri Chinmoy's visit 2 January 1990

President Premadasa celebrated the first anniversary of his presidency on 2 January 1990 with sacred prayer sessions in Kandy, Sri Lanka's holiest pilgrimage site, where he visited religious centres for all the faiths, including the Temple of Lord Buddha's Tooth Relic. For the occasion, the President invited Sri Chinmoy to stand by his side as he lit the first of 84,000 devotional candles and, later, as he delivered a most illumining address to the nation.

Before ascending to the podium to give his speech at the Kandy Festival of Lights, President Premadasa was introduced to Sri Chinmoy. The President said, "Peace, peace, peace. I am very happy to meet you. Welcome to Sri Lanka. Are you enjoying your stay here?" He also said that he had seen Sri Chinmoy's interview on television. He said, "You are a true man of wisdom."

After the President had lit two or three candles, he gave a candle to Sri Chinmoy and said, "A true man of peace."

When they were on the podium together, the President asked Sri Chinmoy the meaning of his name. Sri Chinmoy told him that it means "full of Divine Consciousness."

Excerpts from President Premadasa's speech

I am very happy that representatives of the world community — Ambassadors, High Commissioners and also representatives from many countries of the world and various international organisations — have come to this sacred city today to take part in the religious ceremonies that we are holding. This ceremony commemorates the occasion on which I took oath under the Constitution before the people of Sri Lanka from this historic octagon. It has been the practice of our kings to meet and speak to the people here, but it was the first time a Head of State had taken oath here under the Constitution. When I aspired to be the President of Sri Lanka through the process of democratic principles created in our country, through the votes of our people, I made a promise that if I were elected, I would take the oath of office from this historic octagon.

Not only the Buddhists of Sri Lanka but also the rest of the people, whatever religion they profess, have great respect for this sacred building and this sacred area where we have the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

The Buddha's message is not a religion as such; it is a way of life. Lord Buddha realised the causes for the suffering of mankind and taught us how to meet the challenges of life. He showed us the realities of the world, and he gave us the path that leads us to realisation of the normal truth. Why do we say that it is the normal truth? Because it is the truth that you can experience and prove. Your conscience will easily tell you if what you are thinking, what you are going to say and what you are going to do are good for you and good for others. If you can purify your mind, you will get the true reality.

Buddhism can be practised by anybody, any layman. You need not give up your laymanship. Anyone who believes in other faiths, too, can follow, practise, experience and also experiment with the five precepts of Buddhism, which will lead anybody to purity.

One should lead a non-violent life and become peaceful in self. Unless you possess peace, you will not be able to give peace to others. What are we doing? We are asking others to be peaceful while we are violent. That has been the problem everywhere. Where there is controversy, conflict and confrontation, it is because we have not gained the wisdom to analyse and realise this truth.

We have been going through a very tough period in our country. Now we are getting a sense of relief. How did we bring about the present sense of relief? It is not through the power of the law, not through any royal decree. We have got this relief because of the great faith that our people have in spirituality. They believe that if they are good, the environment will become good. They believe that the power of truth can influence even the bad and the violent. Lord Buddha has proved these things. So the majority of our people, belonging to various faiths, various communities, various parts of the country, never lost faith while they were suffering from this terror.

What can our people do? They can only try to generate their human kindness, their human compassion. And that spiritual power is overtaking this brutality and terror in the country. That is why I say, it is not the power of government, it is not the weaponry of government, it is not any royal decree that has been responsible for restoring the peaceful environment of this country. This land must again regain peace, discipline and prosperity. It can only be realised if every one of us contributes towards that, and this is what the common people are doing. So we have come here to express our gratitude and pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic and also pay our respects to the other faiths and religions.

I am very grateful to the clergy and believers of various faiths for the arrangements that they have made. We are also grateful to the heads of foreign missions, and various foreign organisations who are here to help us. Other friendly countries have always understood Sri Lanka. In every continent, countries have always respected this little island of Sri Lanka. They have never misunderstood the situation here. They are continuing to help us. So to representatives from these countries and from organisations, some giving aid and some connected with voluntary services, I think it is my duty, as the representative of the people of this country, to convey our gratitude, and to tell them how much we value their cooperation and support.

And now you will be able to hear a few words from our friend, Sri Chinmoy, whose name means "full of Divine Consciousness." Please give us some of that.

Sri Chinmoy's prayer at the ceremony

Beloved President Premadasa, O Supreme Pilot of the Sri Lankan Boat, to you I bow — to your ocean-wisdom-heart I bow. To you I offer my heart of infinite gratitude. (Sri Chinmoy chants: "Buddham saranam gachhami. Dhammam saranam gachhami. Saingham saranam gachhami.") I am praying to the Lord Buddha to bless our dear President Premadasa with a very, very long life flooded with inner progress and outer success. I am also praying to the Lord Buddha to shower His choicest Compassion-Light upon the sleeplessly aspiring heart and self-giving life of His beloved son, Premadasa, so that President Premadasa may love, serve, lead, guide, mould and shape his beloved Motherland, Sri Lanka.

Once more I am offering gratitude from the inmost recesses of my heart to President Premadasa.

Part VI — Excerpts of an interview on national television in Colombo

Interviewer: Guru, you are a man of peace, a disciple of peace. At a time when everyone in Sri Lanka is looking for peace, what is the special message you are bringing to the people of this country?

Sri Chinmoy: My soulful message is this: We need peace desperately, and for that we must all establish the feeling of oneness. As soon as we can establish the feeling of oneness, peace will automatically be felt and manifested here and elsewhere.

Interviewer: Perhaps because of a lack of understanding among sections of people in Sri Lanka, there was the need for an army from your own country, India, to be brought to this country in order that peace be achieved. Now the President of this country has requested that this army be removed by 29 December 1989. How do you respond to the presence of an outside army within this country?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I must tell you in all sincerity that politics is not my forte. But as a truth-seeker and a God-lover, I can offer my own soulful opinion. Let us say that when I was in need of your help, you were kind enough to come to my rescue. But when I feel that I am all right again, then I am doing the right thing when I tell you that I no longer need your help. It is like calling a doctor. When I have a physical ailment, I call a doctor and he comes to cure me. When I feel that I am completely cured, then I tell the doctor, "It was so kind of you to come and cure me. Now, fortunately, I no longer need your help. If necessity demands, if I fall sick again, then I will ask for your help again. But now I feel that I am perfectly all right and I can enjoy my health without your presence."Or let us say that you and I are friends. If I need your help desperately, immediately you come to help. But when I feel that my problem is solved, I thank you deeply and tell you that I can now manage on my own. If you are in trouble one day, I will be the first to come to your aid. And when you no longer need my help, you will ask me to go away. Friends can deal with each other like that.

Interviewer: There is a great need for Sri Lankans, whatever cultural traditions or languages they may subscribe to, to live harmoniously, realising the oneness and brotherhood that underlies their existence. Would that be correct?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! What we badly need is peace. This is not the problem of an individual or a particular country. It is a collective problem. The whole world, throughout its length and breadth, needs peace desperately. Somebody has to start; then from one it spreads to many. When we enter into a garden, we can see many, many flowers. Each flower blossoms slowly and steadily — petal by petal. In exactly the same way, peace also will blossom. It will not happen all of a sudden.

Interviewer: Thank you very much, Sri Chinmoy. It has been a privilege speaking to you.

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you for giving me this opportunity to be of service to the soul, heart, mind, vital and body of Sri Lanka. This is my first visit, and I am all gratitude to Sri Lanka for giving me this golden opportunity to be of service to her.

Peace Concert at the Presidential Palace in Colombo

Most soulfully and most devotedly I am offering today's Peace Concert to the divine seeker-musician and supreme peace-lover in our beloved President, Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Letter from President Premadasa to Sri Chinmoy

4 January 1990

Dear Sri Chinmoy

On behalf of all the people of Sri Lanka, I am very happy to welcome you to our country. You are dedicated to peace. I am happy that you are travelling to all corners of the globe in order to spread the message of the oneness of humanity.

I understand that you have been hailed as the 20th Century's First Global man. I appreciate your services for achieving peace through so many fields, including music, writings, paintings, lectures and athletic endeavours.

I offer you my best wishes for your continued dedication and unceasing efforts for the cause of humanity and world peace.

Yours sincerely

President Premadasa

Visit to Ratnapura1

Dear Chief Minister, I am extremely, extremely grateful to you for receiving me this evening in Ratnapura. I shall always treasure your most kind hospitality. I am also grateful to the Mayor for his very kind reception.

Ratnapura is the city of gems, and I see that its heart is also a gem. Its inner beauty and outer beauty have impressed me deeply. Also, to our dear friends and the distinguished members of the audience I am offering my heart of love and gratitude.

Over two thousand years ago, an Indian prince named Vijay Singh came to Sri Lanka with 70 followers. You accepted him as your own, very own. In this same tradition, Mr. Lakhan Mehrotra, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, has come to this country. I am more than hopeful that relations between India and Sri Lanka will now be strengthened more than ever, for he is a true peace-lover with a mind of unparalleled wisdom-light and a heart of universal oneness-concern.

Yesterday my students and I went to Sucharita, the Presidential Palace, to offer a Peace Concert. President Premadasa granted us his blessingful presence and his compassionate heart for over two hours. He is the voice of your country. He is cherished not only by all Sri Lankans but also by lovers of peace throughout the length and breadth of the world.

In a few days we shall carry to various parts of the world the experiences from our soulful and powerful journey through Sri Lanka. The experiences that we have received here will last forever in our prayerful and soulful gratitude-hearts.


  1. PPN 79. Excerpts from Sri Chinmoy's comments after the Peace Concert in Ratnapura

Remarks by Sri Chinmoy at the Peace Mile Relay held at the Ministry of Sports in Colombo, 7 January 1990

My dear Minister of Sports and dear friends, in silence I am invoking the presence of the Lord Buddha to bless us all here….

I am extremely grateful to the Minister of Sports for this signal honour that he has accorded to me. For about two weeks I have been in Sri Lanka, the island of beauty, purity and divinity. Here your beloved President Ranasinghe Premadasa has most powerfully blessed me with his inspiration, encouragement, kindness, sympathy and compassion….

Sports and physical fitness are of supreme importance for each and every human being because they help us to achieve inner peace…. So through physical activities, especially sports, we are dedicating ourselves to the betterment of this world…. I am so happy that President Premadasa is extremely fit physically. Needless to say, spiritually also he is super-fit. He pays attention to physical fitness as well as spiritual progress. In his unique book "Peace and Prosperity", the President teaches us: "In Sri Lanka, we have tried to blend both physical development and spiritual progress." Physical development and spiritual progress together can make us true and perfect citizens of the world.

The President every day shoulders millions of problems. At the same time, he is the voice of the people, the nation. But in spite of all this, he finds the time to keep his body in excellent shape. Indeed, this is a tremendous source of inspiration to me and to my students who practise sports.

…. In silence I am offering my heart's most soulful prayer to the Lord Buddha, the Author of all Good, to shower His compassionate Blessings on each of us so that we can be perfect instruments of His — loving and serving humanity both physically and spiritually.

Once more I am offering my heart's love and gratitude to the Minister of Sports and others who have organised today's programme. May each of us become a divine athlete to fight against ignorance-night and establish in Sri Lanka and all over the world the kingdom of love, brotherhood, oneness and fulfilment.

Excerpts from Sri Chinmoy's Acceptance of the Honorary Degree

Your Holiness, to your soul of luminosity, your heart of compassion and your life of perfection I am offering gratitude, gratitude, gratitude from the inmost recesses of my heart. My heart is all gratitude to you, for you have included me, out of your infinite bounty, in your Buddhist family.

With your kind permission I am accepting this award as a most powerful blessing from the Buddha to intensify my own quest for truth and multiply my inner aspiration and outer dedication. This blessing I wish to have in my heart of aspiration, in my life of dedication and in all my earthly activities. To me, it is infinitely more precious than any outer award.

Only a few days ago, President Premadasa came here, as well as to other spiritual places in Kandy. Like you, he believes that all world religions are one and that all religions join together in the Compassion-Heart of the Lord Buddha. We are all one-children of the Absolute. There is no high, no low. We are all growing in the Heart of the Absolute. I understand that it was our beloved President who wanted to bless me with this supreme gift. So this award I am inwardly offering most devotedly to President Premadasa.

I wish to offer my most soulful love, joy and gratitude to my most esteemed Brother-Friend, Minister Arthur Ranasinghe. If we have been able to do anything for the soul and heart of Sri Lanka, it is because the Minister of Information has helped us far, far beyond my imagination and the imagination of my students.

And to all those who are present here, I am offering my gratitude for this great inspiration and aspiration that we have felt here together. Now we shall try to spread it throughout the length and breadth of the globe.

Reception held by Colombo Mayor M. Hussain Mohamed in the Colombo Town Hall, 8 January 19901

Honourable Mayor Hussain Mohamed, my dear friend, my dear brother, …. for the last thirteen days I have been here in the heart of Sri Lanka, which is a heart of beauty, purity, serenity and divinity. Each day, each hour, each minute, each second I have been loved and blessed by the soul of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is small in size, but in terms of its heart's divine qualities and life's magnanimity, Sri Lanka stands unparalleled….

During my stay here, I have seen that peace and harmony between India and Sri Lanka is more than a hopeful dream; it is a supremely blessed reality. The sincere peace-cries and oneness-smiles from the magnanimous hearts of my Sri Lankan brothers and sisters have touched the very depths of my being. In the same way, India's readiness-heart and willingness-mind for peace are being manifested most lovingly and most convincingly in her divinely chosen representative-son, Mr. Lakhan Mehrotra, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka….

A few days ago, our beloved President Ranasinghe Premadasa completed the first year of his most fruitful presidency. As the unparalleled President that he is, he went to the spiritual heads of the nation's four main religious faiths — Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist — to receive their blessings. Here the President has shown us that we all belong to the same world-family; we are all oneness-brothers and sisters.

….Tomorrow my students and I will leave Sri Lanka, but we will carry with us the sweeter-than-the-sweetest fragrance of the Sri Lankan heart. At the end of our sojourn here, I am offering to each and every Sri Lankan my gratitude, my infinite gratitude. Beyond expectation, beyond my highest flight of imagination, from the soul, heart and life of Sri Lanka I have received affection, love, compassion and blessings. And in return, most humbly, most soulfully and most devotedly I am offering my heart's tearful gratitude to the life, heart and soul of Sri Lanka.


  1. PPN The Mayor read a speech of welcome for Sri Chinmoy and his students. Following the Mayor's speech, Sri Chinmoy offered his gratitude to the Mayor and the people of Sri Lanka.

Part VII — Private meeting between President Premadasa and Sri Chinmoy at the Presidential Secretariat

Interview

Sri Chinmoy: I came here for your blessings.

President Premadasa: I am very privileged to have you here.

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to tell you how deeply some of your words have inspired and moved me. When you said, "I dedicate myself to lead my people to unity and amity, I dedicate myself to lead my people to calmness and sanity, I dedicate myself to lead my people to peace and harmony, I dedicate myself to lead my people to order and discipline," I felt that you are definitely the right person to be the supreme leader of your country. Something else extremely, extremely significant that you have said is that you think example is better than precept: "Discipline must begin with self-discipline."

President Premadasa: How do you know these quotes?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been reading your writings with utmost interest since I first thought of coming to your beautiful country.

[The Prime Minister's Secretary at this point said that they would like to have a course on Sri Chinmoy's music at the University.]

President Premadasa: Do it! Do it!

[Sri Chinmoy then presented President Premadasa with a picture of the two of them taken at the Kandy Festival of Lights. He had autographed it at the bottom, with the words: "From a student of peace to the teacher of peace."]

President Premadasa: It is the other way around.

Sri Chinmoy: [Giving the President a picture of himself being lifted after the Peace Concert at Sucharita] How did you feel?

President Premadasa: You were strong, very strong! [Pointing to one of the pictures] Why did you not put the date here?

Sri Chinmoy: I am so sorry; I forgot. But I have put the date on the other picture. [Giving President Premadasa a letter] This letter expresses my feelings about you and Sri Lanka. I was going to send this by mail, but since you so kindly made the time to see me, I am giving it to you in person. I have given six or eight talks here. On each occasion my heart has spoken about you. You have written in one of your books that the small must support the big; otherwise, the big cannot survive. You have always said that big and small must go together. You are the highest here, and you have given me so much love and compassion.

President Premadasa: Affection, affection, affection! People tell me what you say about me at your concerts and other appearances. The Prime Minister told me that you kept my picture on the stage at your last concert! Did they sing my song again?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! I cannot go out into the street without people recognising me and giving me such love and affection. You have taken me into your heart and also placed me inside the hearts of your people.

[Sri Chinmoy then gave President Premadasa some of his own books, including "Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha" and "U Thant: Divinity's Smile, Humanity's Cry."]

Sri Chinmoy: I would like to have your permission and blessings to write a book about you.

President Premadasa: About me?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I would like to write a book about you. I have read seven or eight books of yours, and before I came to Sri Lanka I read some of the talks you gave at the United Nations General Assembly when you were Prime Minister.

President Premadasa: I will give you all my books.

Sri Chinmoy: I already have your books, and I have read them all. Only one book I could not get, but my students borrowed it from your library. Now they have returned it, but the other books we were able to buy.

President Premadasa: No, no, I'm sure you don't have them all.

[The President then sent someone to bring copies of his books which were not available in the bookstores.]

Sri Chinmoy: Two immortals are inside your heart. One is Mahatma Gandhi and the other is John Kennedy. In your heart you have tremendous compassion, inspired by Gandhi. In your writings you have mentioned many, many times Gandhi's non-violence and tolerance. And also I see that you have been inspired by President Kennedy. Kennedy's dynamism I see in your outer life, and Mahatma Gandhi's compassion and tolerance I see in your inner life.

President Premadasa: How did you like Ratnapura?

Sri Chinmoy: Very much! The Chief Minister was so nice to me in Ratnapura. I was very happy that the Chief Minister received me there. He arranged singing and dancing performances, which my students and I enjoyed tremendously.

[When the President's aide returned with some of his books which Sri Chinmoy did not yet have, Sri Chinmoy requested President Premadasa to inscribe one book for him.]

President Premadasa: I asked him to receive you and I am sure that Minister Ranasinghe did everything he could for you?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I am so grateful.

[Then President Premadasa showed Sri Chinmoy his own emblem and the emblem of Parliament, explaining the significance of the various parts. Finally, he took Sri Chinmoy to see the room used by the previous Parliament for its sessions. The walls of the corridor were lined with pictures of dignitaries.]

Sri Chinmoy: So many dignitaries! I am sure you are here.

[President Premadasa pointed out his own picture.]

Sri Chinmoy: You were Prime Minister at that time?

President Premadasa: Yes, I was the Prime Minister then. [President Premadasa led Sri Chinmoy into a room that could seat fifty or sixty people.] When there is something very significant, very important to discuss, this is where we meet.

A letter from the Presidential Secretariat

12 April 1990

Dear Sri Chinmoy

H. E. President R. Premadasa has read with great joy your very kind letter of 29 January, 1990 and has requested me to write to you to thank you for the gracious sentiments you have expressed therein.

The President was very happy to learn that you have begun reading his books and that you hope very soon to start writing your own book about him. He looks forward with great pleasure to receiving a copy of it as soon as it is published.

It was a matter of great pleasure for the President to have had the opportunity of meeting you in Sri Lanka. All the words you spoke and the blessings you gave to him and to the country in the name of PEACE are very gratefully appreciated by His Excellency.

The President thanks you again for the many kind thoughts that you have expressed and for your prayers for the future progress and prosperity of Sri Lanka.

(Bradman Weerakoon)
Adviser
International Relations

Part VIII — Songs about President Premadasa

Ranasinghe Premadasa: Lion-Hero

Ranasinghe Premadasa, Ranasinghe Premadasa
Agyaner abichar andhiyar tumi nascha

Bravely you silence the darkness and injustice
of ignorance-night.

Ranasinghe, lion-hero in the battlefield,
You are Sri Lanka's promise-march,
perfection-shield.

Premadasa, self-giving server of love divine,
In the comity of nations your Himalayan deeds
shall shine.

Sri Lanka's tallest tower

President Premadasa, Sri Lanka's tallest tower.
Within, without, Spirit's deathless power.
Compassion-bestower, poverty-challenger,
Sri Lanka's fulness-dreamer-harbinger.
Sri Lanka's life, Sri Lanka's heart and mind,
Perfection-sun, satisfaction-sky in you find.

Rashtrapati Premadasa

President Premadasa, President Premadasa,
In the same breath you love
Not only the Sri Lankans,
But also all the citizens of the world.
Within, you are a sleepless devotion-flow.
Without, you are an endless power-planet.
Within, without, you sing the oneness-song.
You are the compassionate beckoning hand
Of progress-delight.
Victory, President Premadasa!
We all proclaim you victory, victory, victory.
Day and night, at every moment,
You are your heart's self-giving life.
Indeed, this is your sole identification-light
Here on earth.

Ranasinghe Premadasa

Ranasinghe, O battlefield-lion!
Premadasa, O slave of love divine!
You come to everyone's door
With the Compassion and the Concern
Of the Lord Buddha.
Ranasinghe, O battlefield-lion!
Premadasa, O slave of love divine!
You are beckoning each and every soul.
You are satisfying each and every heart,
With your own unconditionally self-giving heart.