Ny Times: Many Find Message brings Peace. 1971 Nov 08Filed under 2 or more | media coverage Text & Photos
About 100 men and women, some dressed In costumes of distant homelands, file Into the quiet chapel of the interdenominational Church Center, just across the street from the United Nations …
There they meditate with and listen to Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, a spiritual leader from India. who for the last seven years has conducted services In the United States and several other countries around the world.
Usually a dozen nationalities are represented in the austerely furnished chapel and the garb of those present often creates a spectrum of color.
There might be a married couple from Burundi, for instance, in swirly, flowing dashikis, a Sikh in a Brooks Brothers suit and an enormous, dazzlingly red turban, or a woman in a demure silk sari.
Sri Chlnmoy began his meditation series at the interdenominational Church Center a few weeks ago , but he has been involved with the U. N. in other ways.
Last spring he conducted a lecture series In the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. “No, the Master isn’t paid for his talks,” ” said a school teacher… “Sri Chinmoy asks only that one comes with a reverential and open mind.”
A meditation session is partly an exercise In silence. Sri Chinmoy, a slight man with shining eyes, paces a bit, an unhurried shuffle as if In preparation for contemplation, and then, with gentle, light steps, he moves up to the podium.
Suddenly, even though it is hardly audible, an “Om” pierces the stillness, rising into a crescendo, ringing about the room, and again, suddenly, there is silence.
‘Love, Devotion, Surrender’
For the next 30 minutes, silence prevails. Each person is in a trance of his or her own. Then the guru steps down, approaches the congregation and begins his sermon, generally a reading from one of his 22 books, which have been published. A hymn concludes the session.
Sri· Chinmoy steps briskly out of the church Center and into a car and drives home to Queens, where there is a Sri Chinmoy Center, world headquarters. It has 14 centers In Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and the United States.
“My philosophy is very simple,” Sri Chinmoy said the other day in halting, but clear, English. “It Is love, devotion and surrender to the Almighty.” His explanation: “Divine love Is different from human love In the sense that it Isn’t possessive. The most important aspect of my philosophy is total surrender to the will of God. I’ define God as One With Form, and so you find my disciples coming from different religions.” Sri Chinmoy does not ask his disciples, of whom there are at least 75 at the Queens center, to ‘ relinquish their own religious upbringing. …He bel1eves there are various ways to reach the Godhead, but the path of love is the swiftest.”
An Individual Experience
In a sense what all this philosophy means is that through concentrated meditation each can arrive at his own timetable in experiencing divine bliss.
When Sri Chinmoy came to the United States seven years ago, he worked in the Indian Consulate in New York and began to set up meditation classes. …, many say that he has brought them peace.
An Indonesian delegate to the U.N. General Assembly, a Moslem by faith.” said: “Meditation gives inner serenity for me, something I need simply because I move about and travel so much in my work.”
France Vacher, a French woman who has worked at the U.N. since 1948, said: , “I’ve seen the U.N. grow I and with it, problems-both its problems and mine. Sri Chinmoy’s prescription for peace of mind Is just right. For me. I think it was an act of destiny that we met.” …A South African who works at the United Nations as a secretary. said: “Religion was a completely dead thing for me. Life became meaningful only after I met Sri Chinmoy.”
Sri Chinmoy also lectures widely at Ivy League schools. such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton and at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England… He recently summed up what his teaching is all about by reading a verse from one of his books: .
“God’s compassion does three things for us:
In the morning it argues with ignorance-night and saves us;
in the afternoon it threatens ignorance – sea and guides us.
“In the evening it conquers ignorance-cry and liberates us.”
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