Mother Teresa – a Mother of Compassion and Sister of Affection

The occasion of Mother Teresa’s canonisation brought to mind many memories of the kindness and affection that she showed Sri Chinmoy and his students over the years.
Sri Chinmoy and Mother Teresa had a very significant friendship; Sri Chinmoy often described her as his mother of Compassion, and at the same time his Sister of Affection. Over the years, they met quite a few times, and exchanged many letters and phone conversations. Sri Chinmoy and his students worked with Mother Teresa on a number of medical projects that were dear to her heart and she fully supported his peace-oriented activities.


Sri Chinmoy often recalled Mother Teresa’s qualities of affection and compassion; for example, during their meeting in 1994 when he presented her with the prestigious U Thant Peace Award on behalf of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations.

“We were sitting at a very small table. My hands were folded over my heart,” recounts Sri Chinmoy. “After a few seconds, Mother reached out and pulled my left hand towards her. Then she started pressing my fingers, one by one, from the tip of the finger to the wrist. When she finished with my left hand, she took my right hand from my heart and did the same thing. One moment Mother was acting like a mother, the next moment like an elder sister and the third like a younger sister. It was like a brother and sister having a family gathering. No other world figure has shown me this kind of affection!”

During that meeting, Mother Teresa held the Peace Torch from the international Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, the world’s largest peace torch relay and offered a most beautiful talk on serving God in the poor.


She presented her favourite prayer; her prayer-card she charmingly called her “business card.” It reads:

“The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.”

Mother lovingly exclaimed to Sri Chinmoy, “I am so pleased with all the good work you are doing for world peace and for people in so many countries. May we continue to work together and to share together all for the glory of God and for the good of man.”

“You are the Mother of Compassion,” he replied, deeply moved. “You are the Sister of Affection. You have conquered the hearts of all the poor and needy people you have served. You have not only conquered them, but you have conquered India. Not only India, but the entire world. The entire world has boundless gratitude to you. You have elevated the consciousness of the entire world.”

Mother Teresa was to meet with Sri Chinmoy on three more occasions—each time at Mother’s Missionaries of Charity House in the Bronx, New York. Their final meeting took place on June 17th, 1997—during her last visit to America. Sri Chinmoy had planned to write a book for Mother’s upcoming birthday in August, but felt compelled from within to complete the book quickly—just in time for what turned out to be their last meeting. The soul-stirring book is entitled Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower Heart; Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul.


Mother Teresa exclaimed, “What a wonderful book! This is a most beautiful book! You have my blessings.” She signed one of the copies and gave it to Sri Chinmoy.

Following are a few of the many poems about Mother Teresa in the book:

“My sisters and brothers of the world,
Are we so blind that we cannot see God’s own Autograph
On Mother Teresa’s forehead?”

To be in your blessingful presence
Is to breathe in
A breath of living compassion.”

“Mother Teresa tells the whole world That a heart of love
Is infinitely stronger
Than we can ever imagine.”

Mother Teresa closed the meeting with her soulful request: “Pray for us that we continue to do God’s Work, and I will pray for you that you grow in great love for God and spread that love everywhere you go. Thank you very much.”

After this final interview, Sri Chinmoy said: “In Mother Teresa I see so much of Mother Mary. Other women saints have prayed and have been very spiritual, but their works have been limited to a particular town or city or village. Here, in her case, the whole world she has covered. Is there any place she has not gone!”

On the morning of her departure from America, June 27th, 1997, Mother called Sri Chinmoy and offered him her most loving and most affectionate blessings. She fervently requested him to pray for her and repeated her sweet demand for him to accompany her to China where she was eager to open a Missionaries of Charity House. That afternoon, just prior to her departure, she wrote a deeply moving letter to Sri Chinmoy:

“Thank you for all you are to God, for the beautiful work you have done for the glory of God and the good of souls. I keep you in my prayer and I count on your continual support through your prayers and sacrifices that we may do God’s work with great love for His greater glory.”

Just a few days before Mother’s earthly departure, Sri Chinmoy called Mother Teresa for her birthday on August 27th, 1997 – Sri Chinmoy and Mother Teresa both share the same birthday. This was her 87th birthday and Sri Chinmoy’s 66th birthday. The Sisters caring for Mother mentioned that she had been eagerly speaking about Sri Chinmoy’s call several times. Following is a brief selection from their immortal final phone conversation:

Sri Chinmoy: Happy, happier, happiest birthday, Mother!

Mother Teresa: Ah! You know it is my birthday!

Sri Chinmoy: Mother, who does not know that it is your birthday! When the sun shines, the whole world knows that the sun is shining! I am praying to the Saviour Christ to grant you His very, very special Blessings on your birthday. You came into the world to do something really great, and you have been doing that through your sleepless service to humanity.

Mother Teresa: All that you are doing is for the Glory of God and for the good of people! Pray for me, as I pray for you for all of your many projects for world peace. Your works of love are works of prayer, and your works of prayer are works of God.

On the evening of September 5th, 1997, in Warsaw, Poland, Sri Chinmoy received the shattering news of Mother Teresa’s passing. Immediately he held a long period of silent meditation with nearly 2000 of his students. In the following weeks, Sri Chinmoy offered his special prayers and held memorial programmes for Mother Teresa. His students sang a loving eulogy which he wrote for Mother and set to music entitled Mother Teresa: Calcutta’s Soaring Bird. This was sung at churches all over the world.

“Mother Teresa:
Calcutta’s Soaring Bird
India’s Sailing Moon
The World’s Weeping Sky
Earth’s Tearing Loss
Heaven’s Dancing Gain
The Christ’s Blossoming Promise
The Mother Mary’s Harvesting Pride.”

  • Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul, part 1 at Sri Chinmoy Library

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