Part II — Meetings With Secretary-General Kurt WaldheimTSG 11-14. Sri Chinmoy and the members of the United Nations Meditation Group met with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on 16 July 1976. Sri Chinmoy again met privately with the Secretary-General on 7 March 1977 to present him with a copy of his book, U Thant: Divinity's Smile and Humanity's Cry. These are the accounts of these meetings.
Meeting with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on 16 July 1976On 16 July 1976 Sri Chinmoy met with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim in the Secretary-General’s Office. Sri Chinmoy presented Mr Waldheim with a plaque engraved with the United Nations Meditation Group motto and a song he had written, O Kurt Waldheim.
The Secretary-General thanked Sri Chinmoy for the plaque, which was decorated with the Secretary-General’s picture and the United Nations and Austrian flags. Pointing to his desk, he said, “I will keep this here.” Sri Chinmoy also presented the UN leader with an article he had written about him, and the Secretary-General said he would read it with great enthusiasm and interest. While looking through the Meditation Group Songbook, which had also been given to him, the Secretary-General saw U Thant’s picture and remarked, “Ah, here is my dear friend.”
At Sri Chinmoy’s request, the Secretary-General then invited the members of the Meditation Group to come upstairs into his conference room to sing the song, O Kurt Waldheim.
When the group entered the room, the Secretary-General greeted them warmly. “Welcome to the 38th floor,” he said. “I am pleased to meet all of you and I want to thank you for your work and dedication to the UN. I know how hard your Group is working for the United Nations. I thank you for the gift that your leader has presented me and I look forward to hearing the beautiful song that you have prepared.”
After the song was sung the Secretary-General said, “It is a very beautiful, very thoughtful song, which is deeply interesting and unique. Thank you very much. I wish you all the best for the future: good health and happiness, and especially happiness of the soul, which is perhaps the most important thing for our life.”
Ms France Vacher presented the Secretary-General with the banner of the United Nations Meditation Group. The Group also gave him a framed message: “With deepest appreciation and admiration for piloting the United Nations Boat untiringly, soulfully and fruitfully.” It was signed by “Sri Chinmoy and the Members of the United Nations Meditation Group.” Included alongside the message were the names and departments of the more than sixty members of the Meditation Group.
The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for these gifts and read the motto several times. Then he said, “You must be from many different countries. That is very good; the world is getting smaller.” Then, smiling graciously and warmly, he began to walk around the room shaking everyone’s hand, occasionally asking where a person was from, speaking in English, French and German and joking lightly. When he came to the last member, Richard Howard, who was the official UN photographer for the day, he said, “Now you have a big responsibility to see that the pictures all come out. I certainly hope they turn out.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “We, the members of the United Nations Meditation Group, soulfully pray to the Absolute Supreme for your re-election,” and everyone laughed in appreciation. The Secretary-General thanked the Group again and Sri Chinmoy responded, “We shall remain eternally grateful to you.”
After the interview was over and the Group had begun to leave, the guard called Sri Chinmoy and Richard Howard back into the Secretary-General’s office.
The Secretary-General wanted to have some more pictures taken. Later, Sri Chinmoy described the incident: “We stood next to the UN flag; he stood on one side and I stood on the other. He was all joy. He grabbed my hands and was clasping them strongly and affectionately with such love and joy. At first he didn’t speak. He placed his hand on my shoulder, clasping my arm and elbow to show his joy and appreciation. Then he said, ‘It is a great challenge to bring about peace, but we are trying.’ I answered, ‘We shall succeed.’ The Secretary-General continued, ‘We want only peace, peace. You are praying, praying for peace. I know what you and the Group are doing for us. I know it, I can feel it.’ He said that he would read the article about him with greatest joy and thanked us for our prayers for his re-election.
Sri Chinmoy commented on the meeting: “It does not belong to me, it is also yours. It belongs to all of us. This significant and historical meeting we offer to the soul of the United Nations and to the soul of the peace-loving world with all our hearts’ love and gratitude. Right now we may not value it fully, but in years to come we shall give proper value to this momentous achievement.”