Congressman Benjamin Arthur Gilman

United States Representative from New York from 1973 to 2003; and Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, 1995-2000:

Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. And I want to welcome Your Excellency Ambassador Chowdhury and Your Excellencies, our religious leaders, our distinguished guests, all of you, ladies and gentlemen, and all of our disciples of our spiritual leader and our dear friend, Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. My wife Georgia and I consider it an honour and privilege to be able to participate with all of you on this occasion, celebrating the life of this great leader; the outstanding achievements and inspirational leadership of Sri Chinmoy’s devotion to peace; his continual building of bridges for a world free of hostility and for world progress; and his staunch support of our United Nations.

It was Sri Chinmoy who poetically praised this international body thus: “High in Heaven the United Nations is most lovingly and fondly cradled by the cosmic gods and goddesses and by the Absolute Lord Supreme.” He was quite a poet and quite an artist and quite an author. He went on to say, “The United Nations, the hidden heart-treasure of God, shall be found at the Golden Shore of the Beyond for the world to appreciate, admire and finally become the beauty and fragrance of God’s supremely unparalleled treasure here on earth.”

That was the poet Sri Chinmoy.

It was Sri Chinmoy who, at the request of Secretary-General U Thant, the third UN Secretary-General —and we appreciated the comments of Ms. Thant—offered his prayerful service to the United Nations. On every Tuesday and Friday he went to the UN to offer his prayers and meditations to all of our UN diplomats, our delegates and staff in the Meditation Group, which he continued for some 37 years until his passing.

It was Sri Chinmoy who taught his students working at the UN to sing his song of dedication: “UN, UN, with you began a fulness-cry in oneness-sky. For you I see a flood-ecstasy.”

When I first met our spiritual leader, Sri Chinmoy, it was many years ago when he visited our House of Representatives in Washington and amazingly lifted my colleague Congressman Gary Ackerman and myself. And we were no lightweights, by any means! That was an amazing feat.

I thank Sri Chinmoy’s assistant Chandini Bachman for reminding me that it was back in November of 1995 that I wrote this note to our dear friend Sri Chinmoy: “Congratulations on your world tour of this year’s 50 peace concerts celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. I was informed that your tour began with a concert in Burma, the birthplace of U Thant, the Secretary-General of our United Nations, and will conclude in December with concerts in South Africa and then in Zimbabwe. I support this noble cause and salute your efforts to create inclusive events around the world, free and open to all who dream of peace in their lives and among so many peoples. I was impressed when I learned of the turnouts in October: concerts of 15,000 music-lovers in Prague, and 13,000 at your concert in Montreal. This kind of popular response is encouraging, because it indicates the emergence of a collective aspiration for peace.”

And that is what Sri Chinmoy always wanted us to be in mind of.

We were all astounded by Sri Chinmoy’s prowess and were moved by his message, a message of inner peace and of world harmony, and his urging, his important message: to challenge ourselves by being the best we can.

We will long remember our good friend and our spiritual leader. Yes, he has enriched all of our lives. May God bless Sri Chinmoy’s memory and his legacy for world peace and harmony.

So, peace be with you, and God bless.


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