Daw Aye Aye Thant

Daughter of Secretary-General U Thant; Founder and President of the U Thant Institute; and recipient of the U Thant Peace Award from Sri Chinmoy:

I am greatly honoured to have this opportunity to pay my respect and offer solemn tribute to Sri Chinmoy as we celebrate his life.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sorrow and condolences to all the members of the Meditation Group and the Centre for their great loss.

As life and death are beyond our control, we have to believe that he will always be with us, and his memory will keep on giving strength and comfort throughout our lives. In the truest sense, his life represented the best thought, most far-reaching vision and outstanding artistic and practical accomplishments.

I met Sri Chinmoy some 35 years ago in the spring of 1973 at the premiere of the play Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha, written by Sri Chinmoy, in Harrison, New York, with my father attending. The evening was damp and cold, with some sprinkles of rain. It was a raw evening. But we were embraced by the spiritual energy of the play and the presence and serenity of two people who practised loving kindness towards all human beings throughout their lives. We were warmed by the spirit of compassion and love. We were in harmony with our surroundings.

Later we were together taking a boat ride to the dedication of U Thant Island. Again, it was a rainy day, damp and raw. But our spirit was joyous and fulfilled. Rain, in fact, does bring new life and new awakenings.

When we were in Bangkok, Thailand, the members of the Meditation Group were visiting there. We met again by coincidence—that is, if you believe in coincidence. Sri Chinmoy lifted our whole family there. My children would never forget that experience! They were lucky.

In a letter to Sri Chinmoy in April 1972, my father wrote, “You have indeed instilled in the minds of hundreds of people here the moral and spiritual values which both of us cherish very dearly. I shall always cherish the memorable occasion of our meetings at the United Nations.”

It was my father’s and Sri Chinmoy’s shared vision for world peace based on the ideals of tolerance and compassion that had brought mutual respect and admiration between them.

I feel fortunate to have known Sri Chinmoy and to have been in his presence many times, and to have known many members of the Group. Thank you so much for asking me to take part in celebrating this wonderful spiritual life.