Ten years after his arrival in the West, Sri Chinmoy embarked on a 50 state American lecture tour, giving talks on spirituality at colleges and universities across the U.S. The first state visited by him in this cross-country venture was Rhode Island and the first lecture, entitled Thought Waves, was offered at Manning Hall, Brown University in Providence, RI on January 9, 1974.
Since today is the anniversary of that lecture at Brown University, now forty years later, I went to Manning Hall on the Brown campus after I got home from work. I sat on the steps of this stately and magnificent building and looked out onto the campus green.
I proceeded to read aloud the lecture given by Sri Chinmoy forty years ago today. School is not in session right now so the environs were calm, quiet and cold! Despite the lack of an audience, I felt it was somehow important to observe this anniversary, itself falling in the start of 2014, the 50th anniversary year of Sri Chinmoy’s arrival in America from India.
As I read out loud in the night air, I tried to imagine what the lecture and meditation might have been like in 1974. At distinct moments I felt as if someone was behind me looking over my shoulder as I read. Entering into a meditative state even as I read, I also wondered if the university itself might be embodied with a soul/spirit that resonated with the deep wisdom expressed in the words I uttered.
I particularly liked the closing words of the talk which drew upon the image of a tree and leaves to express humanity and our interconnectedness. Sri Chinmoy writes,
And in the course of time, in either the near or the distant future, in the process of evolution humanity is bound to accept these messages. What is the essence of these messages? Love, love divine, which is the song of universal oneness. If we silence our thought-waves and listen to our heart-waves, we can spread the love-message of the Supreme. We can offer this love-message to the world at large, and we can sing the song universal to kindle the flame of aspiration in all individuals.
We are now conscious of the supreme Tree. We are climbing up the Tree. Eventually we can grow into the cosmic Tree and then we can watch the multifarious leaves, which are our brothers and sisters, grow and unfold. It is we, the seekers of the ultimate Truth, who can feed the inner hunger of these leaves of the supreme Tree.
Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats To One Golden Shore, Part 1, Agni Press, 1974
Thought-Waves is now republished in a three volume compilation of university talks given by Sri Chinmoy entitled, The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind. Originally the lecture was published in Fifty Freedom-Boats to One Golden Shore.
As the world becomes one in overflowing love, response and tribute to Nelson Mandela, called a “Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth” by Sri Chinmoy, I am touched by this tribute from children since in his towering greatness he embodied the deepest humility.
As soon as I heard the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I ran to my bookcase and opened a book that my meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy had written in glowing tribute to Nelson Mandela back in the late 1990’s. Entitled Nelson Mandela : the Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth, this book provides a unique and compelling glimpse into Nelson Mandela’s gifts to the world seen through the eyes of a spiritual luminary and student of peace. In prose, poetry and songs composed about Mandela, Sri Chinmoy paints a portrait of the man he deeply admired and cherished. May I close with some words from the book that eloquently express the yearnings and gratitude in my heart for what Mandela offered the world.
“Whoever genuinely desires
To redress humanity’s suffering
Feels behind him one hundred percent
The living presence of Mandela’s heart”
-Sri Chinmoy, “Nelson Mandela :
The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth,” Agni Press, 1998.
“There can never be an easy road for the pioneer-climbers of freedom-heights, for unless and until they have guided each and every person to the summit, they shall not rest. Beloved Brother, President Mandela, an entire nation follows in your footsteps – and behind it I see the vast caravan of humanity.”
-Sri Chinmoy, “Nelson Mandela : The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth,” Agni Press, 1998.