Meditation at UN Dedicated to U Thant, Nov 1974 (C) Commemorative Meditation for U Thant

Filed under Significant events & meetings | Tributes and Expressions of appreciation

Periodic Bulletin  of Meditation Group at UN, Nov 1974 Issue Dedicated to U Thant

This is

Part (C) Commemorative Meditation for U Thant

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Sri Chinmoy meditates on a photograph of U Thant during the commemorative service held by the U.N. Meditation Group in the Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations, November 26, 1974. (Photo: Lelihan)

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It is a weightless world In which a free bird flies,

Rising high, and higher, Light-filling wings that curve Softly into the sun.

The clay bird is no more.

Earth is heavy, Pain fills mind and body, Intrudes on inner space, Preys on serenity.

In earth’s garden Amidst the birds of clay Rise twittering and cries More quarrelsome than gay, Peace songs, only A fleeting moment’s grace, Not fulfilled destiny.

Beyond, reachable peace In the compassionate Silence of earth’s soul, Open to the new dove, Now lone, yet not lonely,

Rising to the true sun, Home-light, welcoming love For a quest completed.

– Yvette Ripplinger

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Chapel of the Church Center for the U.N. November 26, 1974

On November 26, 1974 the Meditation Group at the United Nations held a special meditation in the Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations in tribute to U Thant, who had passed away the previous day.


In silence the Group meditated on a photograph of U Thant which stood surrounded by flowers on the altar of the Chapel.

Prayerful Tribute:

Sri Chinmoy offered his prayerful tribute:

“Beloved Brother, man of silence, man of peace, may the Supreme grant your soul Eternity’s Silence, Infinity’s Peace.”

Sri Chinmoy’s comments and invitation  for others to share “their heartfelt feelings to honour and perpetuate the memory of our beloved brother…

The Master then quietly addressed the Group:

“The passing of our beloved Brother U Thant marks the real death of a colossal hope for the twentieth century. Divinely great he was; supremely good he is. The greatness of his earth-height his body-consciousness is carrying. The goodness of his Heaven-Delight his soul has left for us, for Mother Earth to claim as her very own and treasure forever and ever.

“We, the members of the Meditation Group, have a special place for him, for our beloved Brother U Thant, in the inmost recesses of our gratitude-heart, for he has helped us unreservedly with his aspiring heart and with his illumining soul, both inwardly and outwardly. We have been extremely fortunate in being blessed by his soul’s light. I have received from him quite a few letters of deepest light and profoundest wisdom encouraging us and inspiring us to be of greater service to the soul of the United Nations and to aspiring mankind.

“From the Meditation Group I wish to invite the seekers who would like to offer their heartfelt feelings to honour and perpetuate the memory of our beloved spiritual Brother. If you could say just a few words I would be very grateful.”

The following were among the tributes that were offered in the Chapel:

Donald Keys, United Nations Representative, World Association of World Federalists

U Thant was one with the soul of the United Nations, which is the soul of mankind. He lived and worked for the enlightenment, freedom and unification of mankind in all that he did. Out of his own divinity he created a bridge between humanity and the Supreme- the Father of us all. His service to man is not ended with his passing, because it will persist forever, proceeding out of his own spiritual stature. It is only universalised, transformed to a greater and more powerful dimension. The touch of sadness in his going comes from his own sadness that he was unable to serve more, do more, to be received more fully by mankind. We will all endeavour to take up more effectively the little part that we may play in realising his dream of human enlightenment and liberation.

 Krishna Ganesan

The United Nations Meditation Group owes its beginnings and its growth to the blessings of U Thant, who has now attained Nirvana, the supreme state in Buddhism. Let us pay our homage to that great personality, who has now gone beyond name and form and has, perhaps, merged with the Universal Consciousness.

Everyone knows that U Thant was a living embodiment of Buddhism. To him religion was the realization of its ideals. He believed and practised the ideals of perfection. He advocated universal compassion and unbounded love towards all living beings, the practice of truth and non-violence for the survival of the human race. He believed in the oneness of all beings, so much so that to hurt another was to hurt himself. His strength sprang from his devout religious faith in Buddhism and its high ideals. As Secretary-General of the United Nations he brought the application of these high ideals, which conformed with the main principles of the United Nations Charter, to the successful working of that world-body. He worked for peace and the well-being of humanity at large and the unity of nations.

May his soul rest in peace is our prayer.

Yvette Ripplinger

A few months before U Thant’s term was up at the United Nations I was privileged to meet him in  his office. We had a very short interview and then. as I stood up. for a brief moment I l00ked into his eyes. I felt I was in front of a man who was spiritually accomplished. like being close to a Buddha. someone very high …

France Vacher

During the last two years of U Thant’s service I was able to see a feeling of holiness surrounding him. so even though I was unaware of all his achievements. still I was able to know he was a great soul. And to his great soul. on behalf of all of us-the United Nations staff and the U.N. Meditation Group-I offer my deepest gratitude.

Leone Muller

I remember U Thant’s last speech to the staff. For a Secretary-General of a world organisation. he did say a few very important things. He said perhaps too much emphasis was given to the intellectual achievements and that in a gradation of achievement. the highest level is the spiritual. ethical value of a person. In judging people that was the criteria that should be applied. His last speech was a legacy to the United Nations.

 Kevin Keefe

While working in the Documents Section during the 1973 General Assembly, I came across the speeches given on former Secretary-General U Thant’s retirement. I was deeply moved by certain sections of these speeches, which made me aware of the humility he embodied in his personal relationships and of the vastness of his spiritual vision.

The first section was by the Chairman of the Staff Committee, Dr. N.G. Rathore:

“You are as much at home with a group of visiting children as you are with a Head of State, and you treat both with equal courtesy and careful attention … I cannot claim to know much about Buddhism, but I hope you will permit me to say, with the greatest sincerity, that your conduct, your example and your personal life are a tribute to that great religion and philosophy. “

U Thant, in reply, said:

” … above all, I would attach the greatest importance to spiritual values, spiritual qualities .. . I have in mind the spiritual virtues, faith in oneself, the purity of one’s inner self which to me is the greatest virtue of all. With this approach, with this philosophy, with this concept alone, we will be able to fashion the kind of society we want, the kind of society which was envisaged by the founding fathers twenty-six years ago.”*

*The complete text appears in Staff Committee Bulletin 281.

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PDF of booklet of day in 7 parts:

A  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p01-08-contents-dedication

B  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p10-43-soulful-tributes

C  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p44-54-meditation-memories

D  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p56-61-hammarslkjold-lecture

E  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p62-71-u-thants–letters

F  –  bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p72-76-u-thant-interview

G  – bu-scpmaun-1974-nov-u-thant-p78-88-buddha-play

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