U Thant Peace Award 1991 (g) Informal Remarks Prof. de Marco

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Main post is: U Thant Peace Award, 28 September 1991 – Overview

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After the award presentation, a short video was shown of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a biennial international torch relay, and Professor de Marco and Sri Chinmoy spoke informally.

Excerpts from their conversation follow:

Professor de Marco: What new openings are happening in the world! I was in Moscow, as you know, and the only thing prohibited today in the Soviet Union is the Communist party. For 70 years al these concepts interpreted for many parts of the world a monolithic approach towards poser and ideology. Now all of a sudden all this is something which seems to be – I cannot be categorical – something of the past. And now one moves about in Poland or in the Ukraine as if what happened is something which on already has to speak of in terms of the remote past. This is something which is unbelievable.

And again, as you said, Sri Chinmoy, it is the power of the spirit. Yet who would have thought of all this taking place in our own lifetime? We had learned to accept that Germany was going to be divided in two, that Berlin was going to be a divided city. We almost took it for granted that this was the reality of the situation.

What we are finding so difficult, Sri Chinmoy, if this was a miracle, is to make another miracle: to eliminate poverty. This is something which really baffles me; it humiliates me, to tell you the truth. I think we need to pray a bit more, because we have to realise that our human powers themselves are also limited. The concept of the Almighty also has to be seen within this sense.

Sometimes we think that we can do everything with our own hands or with our own brain. Rut I think that this Is in actual fact an illusion. On the one hand, there are things which we can do. We cannot take the approach of predestination, because iI would eliminate the human element, the decision-making process of mankind. On the other hand, we have to think that man’s actions have to be supplemented and sometimes directed by an Almighty Spirit who looks after us. This Is the best approach.

 Mr. Keefe: It sounds like the philosophy that Sri Chinmoy Is teaching us, that we have to try to the instruments of this higher force. We have to use everything we have, but if we are not instruments, how do we know what to do?

Professor de Marco: Yes, you are perfectly right. I think this is the whole purpose of the exercise. We used to he taught in college that you have to act as if you are never going to die, and you have to live as if you are going to die the next instant. So the purpose of this seemingly contradictory approach Is to look at yourself as forming part of something which is much greater than us all, and at the same time In no way to inhibit what every single person can give.

Concept of oneness – common home

This also is brought out, Sri Chinmoy, In your poems which I have been reading lately, as well as the concept of oneness, of a common home. We in politics are changing the concept of oneness for Europe, saying the “maison commun”, which is so true. But in actual tact there is a maison which is even more commun for all of us, and that is the world. This is our true maison commun,

Sri Chinmoy: Do you feel that another war is imminent, or is there no such possibility?

Professor de Marco: I think there will be a lot of small problems. But thanks to the fact that the Soviet Union has seen a Gorbachev, I think that all conflicts will be restrained. In your book you brought out that not only has the Soviet Union seen a Gorbachev but also the world has seen a Gorbachev. I think that this is the greatest blessing that we have received.

The real danger, as I see it, Sri Chinmoy, comes from the problem of the great economic disparities in the world. I don’t think this will be a great problem even for my children. The poor will still be very poor, and hunger debilitates a person. But at that future time when the poor will be slightly less poor and slightly less hungry, if they see no prospects for the future, then you will have a greater war. This will happen in so many countries, unless th is matter is looked into now. I have always been concerned about this issue, because then it will be a great security and peace risk. Of course, we have to address this issue not because it is a security and peace risk for the future, but because it is right. But I feel that this could be a cause of great conflict unless we look at it and do something now.

Sri Chinmoy: I feel that the satisfaction of the heart and the satisfaction in the heart must come first. Then the satisfaction of the mind and the satisfaction in the mind should take place. Our hearts are not happy and not satisfied. That is why we are all the time finding fault with others, correcting others and trying to perfect others. If we were satisfied deep within, then easily we would be able to solve the problems in the mind. Unfortunately, all the problems that we are facing today arise from the mind, and the mind is trying to solve them. But this is not possible. There has to be a higher power to intercede.

If I am suffering from a headache or some disease, I need a doctor to cure me. Whether or not I am responsible for my illness, God alone knows; but for some reason I am now suffering, let us say. So I need someone to come and treat me. In the case of world problems, we have to know that the mind has created these problems and the mind is also suffering from them. So there is a need for someone to come and treat the mind. In this case, I think the heart has to be the doctor. Once the heart is allowed to play its role, then the misunderstandings and conflicts of the world will be lessened. We can’t say that the world will be all illumined, but to a great extent its sufferings will be diminished.

Professor de Marco: I think you are right. This is the great lesson of love from Buddha, from Christ, from Mohammed. Christ would say, “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” and this is a great message. But perhaps even in Christianity, what really brought in a difference was when he said, “Love thine enemy.” This was, I think, the greatest of revolutions, because you can love your neighbour as yourself, and it Is very important. But to love your enemy goes against the grain, against normal human reactions. And that is, I believe, the real message. If you can arrive at that state where you love your enemy also, then you can reach a state where there will be no enemies.

Sri Chinmoy: When we try outwardly to tell someone that we have a solution to some problem that we disagree on, or that we have something to offer, he immediately revolts. Everybody wants to enjoy freedom in his own way. But if we can offer him light through our prayer and meditation, then he will come to see the truth in the same way that we see it. So the inner illumination must come first. Then there will be no conflicts, and no one will be anybody’s enemy. An enemy is someone who is not aware of his own vastness and of his own oneness with us. He has not embraced the whole world as his own. Since he does not feel that he is part and parcel of the entire world, he has created a division between himself and us. Through our prayers and meditations, if somehow we can make him feel that he is also a member of the world community, then he will not see us as his enemy, and we will not see him as our enemy. At that time, we are not strangers but part of the same universal reality. So we should always regard an enemy as part of our reality and world. Otherwise, he will always remain an enemy.

An enemy is not only someone who is trying to kill us or destroy us. An enemy can also take the form of poverty, sickness, illness and misunderstanding. Misunderstanding, I feel, is our worst enemy; we don’t understand each other. But if we love each other and become one, then the question of misunderstanding does not arise.

So we can solve these problems by loving others in spite of their weaknesses and shortcomings. Also, through prayer and meditation we can secretly and sacredly offer illumination to the persons or the nations that right now are our enemies.

Professor de Marco: I think these are words of great wisdom that you have said, Sri Chinmoy. I think this is the essence of how humanity has to look at itself. We sometimes think that with our brains we can solve everything.

Limitations of “Brains”

Brains do solve a lot of things, but certainly not everything. Brains can create great scientific achievements. Brains can create the masterpieces of literature, the satisfaction of paintings and all these things. But they cannot create an inner peace, and this, as you pointed out, has to come from the heart, if we are to have a sense of belonging to humanity.

This suffering humanity perhaps is the humanity which has to have our primary concern. The enemy is not even a person or persons, but the enemy is poverty, the enemy is starvation, the enemy is a situation where people sometimes become criminals. That, I think, is the real enemy that we all have to try and concern ourselves with.

We are reaching this through the Peace Meditation Group at the United Nations. I think this does help a lot. Not only does it help everyone who participates, but it radiates from this inner self also to others who come in contact with it. Thank you so much.

Sharing a light moment…

Sri Chinmoy presents a commemorative watch with Professor de Marco’s picture on it.


Professor de Marco reads from Sri Chinmoy ‘s book, War: Man’s Abysmal Abyss.

 Professor de Marco thanks the young singers.

Sri Chinmoy offers Professor de Marco’s assistant, Mr. WaIter Batzan, a token of the Meditation Group’s appreciation as Ms. Diksha Arturi; Programme Coordinator, looks on.

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For Complete award ceremony see also:

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (a) Sept 28 – Overview

and more details:

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (b) Professor de Marco’s life and contributions

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (c) Professor de Marco previous statements

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (d) Background – Previous Recipients

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (e) Songs: Mr. de Marco, Malta and Recipients quotations

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (f) Response Mr. de Marco – Recipient

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (g) Informal Remarks

U Thant Peace Award 1991 (h) Media Coverage: Malta & USA