It is a challenge to discuss Spirituality at the
United Nations. It is a challenge because most people will think that the UN
is the antithesis of spirituality. I must report, however, that I regard the
United Nations as the most spiritual place in the world today.
The UN is the first planetary focus at the human
level. It is the first place that the nerve endings of all humanity join. It
is the first place where all the qualities, characteristics, attributes, and
essences of all human groups merge and blend. It is truly, the first temple
Of all the contention, of all the disputes, of all the struggles, I am fully
aware - much more so than bystanders, since I am in the middle of them on a
nearly daily basis. That is, of course, one level of reality - but it is not
the most important one. We are on the verge of the meta-organization of the
world-by that I mean the reorganization of the world on a level higher than
that of the participating nation-states. We have been stumbling toward this
development for half a century, and of course it is only commencing - it is
We have also been moving toward it since the
first day a human was born on earth, or perhaps since the earth itself was
formed, 4 billion years ago.
A single species, the human, has indeed gained dominion over the earth, and
having collapsed time and space, in communication and travel, to the speeds
of sound and light, the humans have become a continuous and globe-uniting
species. In this setting, the nation-state is dysfunctional, and states are
facing incorporation into a world being, of which they will be subsidiary
When such a meta-organization occurs, there must
be an organizing center, there must be an organizing energy, a synthesizing
energy never before registered by the parts, and evoked by the coming
emergence of the whole. This is true of the alignment of atoms into
crystals, of cells into tissues, or of organs into a human form, and it is
true of the subordinate elements of a society. Now we face the next
evolutionary imperative. We are forming the world society.
The synthesizing energy for the world society is focused through the United
Nations. It courses through the halls, through the meeting rooms, through
the offices of the United Nations. Blessed are those who are fortunate
enough to work there for they are in touch with a new reality in the process
of descent and manifestation.
Hundreds of thousands of applicants are turned
away each year from those who want to work there - why? Basically, because
they have heard the sound of humanity becoming whole and because they have
sensed the new reality and have touched something of the energy of human
It is wearying, it is disappointing, it is tiring, but it is also thrilling,
rewarding, and meaningful. The UN has its free loaders, its empire builders,
its easy riders, and its CIA and KGB representatives, but it also has
dedicated and inspired builders of the new world, spinning the future out of
their own spirit, out of their own souls.
We have an informal network at the UN, a humanity underground. It consists
of those who are committed, aware, and striving to bring
the New World to
birth. It consists of people in high places and in low-of the patient
secretary who has been 30 years with the UN, but lives with the vision and
the spirit; of the professionals, and undersecretaries and heads of
departments who are acting out the imperatives that their own inner vision
Some few are conscious of the sources of their
inspiration; most are not. They are the Karma Yogis of our time-those whose
path of spirituality is to achieve through doing-to grow through serving.
They are found not only in the secretariat but also in the delegations to
the UN, among the diplomats and their staffs, and also among folks like us,
representatives of non-governmental organizations around the UN.
I want however, in my remarks today to focus on the three major spiritual
figures related to the UN, and an artifact. Two of the figures were
Secretaries-General. The third is a non-governmental person.
The best known of the three persons is of course,
The degree of the intensity of his inner life became apparent publicly after
publication of his spiritual diary, Markings, following his death when his
plane crashed in the Congo. In his briefcase, at the site of the crash,
incidentally were found an English edition of the New Testament and Psalms
which was always with him when he traveled, and a copy of Martin Buber's I
and Thou, which he was translating into Swedish.
Buber was a person with whom he felt a deep
With Hammarskj÷ld's temporal achievements we will not deal, except to say
that he stabilized the United Nations, solidified the notion of an
international civil service and independent Secretary-General-free of
political pressures, and originated the modern concept of UN peacekeeping.
His personal credo was stated on Edward R.
Murrow's program, "This I Believe:"
"The world in which I grew up was dominated
by principles and ideals of a time far from ours and as it may seem, far
removed from the problems facing a man in the middle of the twentieth
However, my way has not meant a departure from those ideals. On
the contrary. I have been led to an understanding of their validity also
for our world today. Thus, a never abandoned effort, frankly and
squarely to build up a personal belief in the light of experience and
honest thinking has led me in a circle; I now recognize and endorse,
unreservedly, those very beliefs which once were handed down to me.
From generations of soldiers and government officials on my father's
side, I inherited a belief that no life was more satisfactory, than one
of selfless service to your country or humanity. This service required a
sacrifice of all personal interests, but likewise, the courage to stand
up unflinchingly for your convictions.
From scholars and clergymen on my mother's side, I inherited a belief
that, in the very radical sense of the gospels, all men were equals as
children of God, and should be met and treated by us as our masters in
Faith is a state of the mind and the soul. In this sense we can
understand the words of the spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross:
'Faith is the union of God with the soul'. The language of religion is a
set of formulas which register a basic spiritual experience. It must not
be regarded as describing in terms to be defined by philosophy, the
reality which is accessible to our senses and which we can analyze with
the tools of logic. I was late in understanding what this meant.
When I finally reached that point, the
beliefs in which I was brought up and which, in fact, had given my life
direction, even while my intellect still challenged their validity, were
recognized by me, as mine in their own right and by my free choice. I
feel that I can endorse those convictions without any compromise, with
the demands of that intellectual honesty, which is very key to the
maturity of mind.
The two ideals which dominated my childhood world, met me, fully
harmonized and adjusted to the demands of our world of today, in the
ethics of Albert Schweitzer, where the ideal of service is supported by
and supports the basic attitude to man set forth in the gospels. In his
work I also found a key for modern man, to the world of gospels.
But the explanation of how a man should live a life of active social
service in full harmony with himself as a member of the community of the
spirit, I found in the writings of those great medieval mystics for whom
"self surrender" had been the way to self realization, and who, in
'singleness of mind' and 'inwardness' had found the strength to say
'yes' to every demand, which the needs of their neighbors made them
face, and to say 'yes' also, to every fate that life had in store for
them, when they followed the call of duty, as they understood it.
'Love', that much misused and misinterpreted
word, for them, meant simply an overflowing of strength with which they
felt themselves filled when living in true self-oblivion. And this love
found natural expressions in an unhesitant fulfillment of duty and in an
unreserved acceptance of life, whatever it brought them personally of
toil and suffering-or of happiness.
I know their discoveries about the laws of inner life and of action have
not lost their significance.
The diary, Markings, was translated into English
by Leif Sjoberg and W.H. Auden.
Of it Hammarskj÷ld had written:
"These entries provide the only true profile
that can be drawn ...If you find them worth publishing you have my
permission to do so, as a sort of 'white book' concerning my
negotiations with myself-and with God."
This extraordinary document is surely one of the
most revealing and profound journals we have of the strivings of the human
How to be fair to Secretary General Hammarskj÷ld
in a few excerpts from Markings is a difficult task.
To love life and men as God loves
them-for the sake of
their infinite possibilities,
To wait like Him,
To judge like Him,
Without passing judgment,
To obey the order when it is given
And never look back-
Then He can use you- then, perhaps, He will use you.
And if He doesn't use you-what matter. In His hand,
every moment has its meaning, its greatness, its glory, its
Peace, its co-inherence.
From this perspective, to "believe in God" is to believe
In yourself, as self-evident, as "illogical", and as impossible
to explain : if I can be, then God is.
* * *
You are not the oil, you are not the air-merely the point
of combustion, the flash point where the light is born.
You are merely the lens in the beam. You can only receive,
Give, and possess the light as a lens does.
If you seek yourself, "your rights," you prevent the oil and air
from meeting in the flame, you rob the lens of its transparency.
Sanctity- either to be the Light, or to be self-effaced in
the Light, so that it may be born, self -effaced so that it may
be focused or spread wider.
* * *
The United Nations
"The Uncarved Block" - remain at the Center,
which is yours
and that of all humanity. For these goals which it gives to
your life do the utmost which, at each moment, is possible
for you. Also, act without thinking of the consequences, or
seeking anything for yourself.
* * *
You shall follow it.
You shall forget it.
You shall empty it.
You shall conceal it.
You shall be told it.
You shall endure it.
* * *
The heart aches.
Down the rocks,
The fingers are numb,
The knees tremble.
It is now,
Now that you must not give in.
On the path of the others
Are resting places,
Places in the sun
Where they can meet.
Is your path,
And it is now,
Now that you must not fail.
If you can,
But do not complain.
The way chose you -
And you must be thankful.
* * *
A Room of Quiet
The United Nations
This is a room to peace and those who
are giving their lives for peace.
It is a room of quiet where only
thoughts should speak.
We all have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence.1
1- Statement by Dag Hammarskj÷ld, UN
Secretary-General (1953-1961) written for the
dedication of the United Nations
Meditation Room. The Meditation Room is open to the
public. It is located to the right of the information desk as
one enters the public area of the United Nations.
This house, dedicated to work and
debate in the service of peace, should have one room dedicated to
silence in the outward sense and stillness in the inner sense.
It has been the aim to create in this small room a place where the
doors may be open to the infinite lands of thought and prayer.
People of many faiths will meet here, and for that reason none of
the symbols to which we are accustomed in our meditation could be
However, there are simple things which speak to us all with the same
language. We have sought for such things and we believe that we have
found them in the shaft of light striking the shimmering surface of
So, in the middle of the room we see a symbol of how, daily, the
light of the skies gives life to the earth on which we stand, a
symbol to many of us of how the light of the spirit gives life to
But the stone in the middle of the room has more to tell us. We may
see it as an altar, empty not because there is no God, not because
it is an altar to an unknown god, but because it is dedicated to the
God whom man worships under many names and in many forms.
The stone in the middle of the room reminds us also of the firm and
permanent in a world of movement and change. The block of iron ore
has the weight and solidity of the everlasting. It is a reminder of
that cornerstone of endurance and faith on which all human endeavour
must be based.
The material of the stone leads our thoughts to the necessity for
choice between destruction and construction, between war and peace.
Of iron man has forged his swords, of iron he has also made his
ploughshares. Of iron he has constructed tanks, but of iron he has
likewise built homes for man. The block of iron ore is part of the
wealth we have inherited on this earth of ours. How are we to use
The shaft of light strikes the stone in a room of utter simplicity.
There are no other symbols, there is nothing to distract our
attention or to break in on the stillness within ourselves. When our
eyes travel from these symbols to the front wall, they meet a simple
pattern opening up the room to the harmony, freedom and balance of
There is an ancient saying that the sense of a vessel is not in its
shell but in the void. So it is with this room. It is for those who
come here to fill the void with what they find in their center of
Hammarskj÷ld - second Secretary-General, aesthete, man of letters, poet -
was also a modern Christian mystic-a candidate for human perfection and
graduation from this life school.
In one of
Alice A. Bailey's books, written in
the 1930's, there is a statement that a leading Swedish disciple would soon
be working in the world. A high Swedish initiate who was a friend of mine
was once asked if the foretold one were he. His answer was "no, it is Dag Hammarskj÷ld."
Let us now turn to the artifact - for it was Hammarskj÷ld's artifact. I am
referring to the UN Meditation Room. The existence of the room was a hard
won battle, not by Hammarskj÷ld who came latter, but by the "Laymen's
Movement For A Christian World."
This movement, led by such persons as,
Mrs. Pearce Drake
Frank P. Graham
...strove mightily to assure that there would be
a place in the permanent UN for prayer and meditation.
The same group had worked successfully to assure
that there would be a moment of prayer at the beginning and closing of each
General Assembly, a tradition which is now well established.
"It will take an Archangel to find space for
a prayer room in this building," one UN official told Mr. Huckabee, as
construction was well along and no one had entertained the notion in the
One was eventually promised but where to put it
was a question.
The approach to prayer by the Laymen's Movement
was described by Mr. Huckabee as follows:
We were asking people to use prayer as a
means of understanding and goodwill -a substitute for criticism and
fault finding, an expression of hope and confidence in world leaders-a
means of expanding the atmosphere of expectation based upon the
assumption that peace with justice is God's Will. With the promise of
the room I saw a canopy of goodwill and understanding being raised over
the UN by the prayers of men and women of all faiths.
By the time the meditation room was finally
realized, Mr. Huckabee was able to say:
My mission has been fulfilled. I had a
wonderful experience. I had seen in a small way how God can and does use
people to bring something about. I knew we had not begun to use or to be
used by this great unlimited power which God desires to release through
men-men who remember to pray, to love, to understand, to forgive. I knew
that peace is the will of God and I wanted to know how now to make it
the will of man.
The room was opened on October 14, 1952.
From then until 1957 it was a comfortable,
reassuring place with arm chairs, member nations' flags, draperies,
carpeting and as a non-denominational center-piece, a section of an African
mahogany tree. On top of the section, a small potted philodendron grew,
symbolizing perhaps, everlasting life.
In 1956, a cosmic north wind, named Hammarskj÷ld swept in and, gaining the
stunned and somewhat uneasy cooperation of the Laymen's Movement, undertook
the complete redesign of the meditation room. In November 1957 the
transformed meditation room was finally reopened. And what a change!
room in dim light is an austere trapezoid, narrowing to a front wall covered
by a fresco titled "Infinity" by Hammarskj÷ld's favorite artist, Bo Beskow.
Ten cane-seated benches are arranged in the back.
In the place of dominance in the room is something wholly surprising - a six
and a half ton triangular block of crystalline iron ore from a Swedish mine.
The polished top is lit by a single beam of light from a source hidden in
the ceiling. It glistens like moonlight in water.
Approximately 60 slabs
were mined before this one was chosen.
Let us now turn to Hammarskj÷ld's own remarks
about this room:
The Meditation Room is a kind of stepchild
of the architects of this house; it was brought into being as an
experiment, but now I am happy to confirm that it is a permanent part of
the building and I am sure it will be of increasing importance.
We had a very small space within which we
sought to achieve a room of stillness. This house must have one room,
one place, which is dedicated to Silence, dedicated to silence in the
outer sense and stillness in the inner sense. We must do everything
possible in creating such a room to create an atmosphere where people
could really withdraw into themselves and feel the void.
We had one difficulty, that in a room of this kind in a house of this
character we could not use any kind of symbols with which man has been
used to link his religious feelings; we had to work on the basis of
symbols common to all. In a sense, what I think we had at the back of
our minds was something which is said, I believe, in one of Buddha's
scripts - that the significance of the vessel is not the shell but
The significance of a room is not the walls
but is in what is framed by the walls; that is to say, we had to create
a room of stillness with perhaps one or two very simple symbols, light
and light striking on stone. It is for that reason that in the center of
the Room there is this block of iron ore, glimmering like ice in a shaft
of light from above.
That is the only symbol in the Room - a meeting of
the light of the sky and the earth.
However, in a certain sense the symbolism goes one step further. I do
not know whether there is anything quite like the arrangement of that
Room with a big block of stone in the center. The original idea was one
which I think you will all recognize; you will find it in many great
religions; it is the empty altar, empty not because there is no God, but
empty because God is worshipped in so many forms.
The stone in the
center is the altar to the God of all. At the same time, at least to
myself it had strong associations with the cornerstone, the firm element
in a world of movement and turmoil. In this house, with its dynamic
modern architecture, there are very few things that give you the feeling
of weight, solidity and permanence; in this case we wanted this massive
altar to give the impression of something more than temporary.
We also had another idea which comes down to what, after all, we are
trying to do here in this house-we are trying to turn swords into
ploughshares; and we thought we could bless by our thoughts the very
material out of which arms are made. For that reason we felt that it was
appropriate that the material to represent the earth on which we stand,
as seen by the light of the sky, should be iron ore, the material out of
which swords have been made and out of which homes are built.
It is a material, which represents the very
paradox of human life; the basic materials offered by God to us may be
used either for construction or destruction. This leads our thoughts to
the necessity of choice between the two alternatives.
You see therefore, that in the seeming void of the Room there is
something we want to say. We want to bring back the stillness, which we
have lost in our streets and in our conference rooms, and to bring it
back in a setting in which no noise would impinge upon our imagination.
In that setting we want to bring back our thoughts to elementary facts,
the facts we are always facing, life struck by light while resting on
We want to bring back the idea of worship,
devotion to something which is greater and higher than we are ourselves.
We want to do that by the form of our altar in such a way as to bring to
everybody's mind the fact that every single one of us is faced, in his
handling of the heritage of the riches of this earth, with the choice
between the ploughshare and the sword.
I want to say just a few more words about the Meditation Room.
gains and suffers from its position. It is one of the holiest of holies
of the planet, yet it is easily accessible by the public, being located
in the Visitor's Lobby. It is thus, a great open secret. Anyone can go
there at any time. It suffers in that delegates do not use it much
precisely because of its location.
But I have to say that in some way, its talismanic quality performs
quite irrespective of who uses or does not use it. When I say it is a
holy of holies, I mean that it is a focus for the energies of a unitary
planet, for a unified humanity, and for right relations between all the
kingdoms of life. Those energies use the room and the stone like a lens;
and through that spot they course through the meeting rooms, through the
secretariat, through the delegations and by that route throughout the
Let me share one anecdote. Recently I had the pleasure of guiding a
representative of the traditional wisdom of
the Hopi People through the
UN, including the Meditation Room. He was not expecting anything in
particular. But when he entered the room, he audibly gasped.
Quickly and apologetically, he reached for
his medicine bag, took out a leather pouch from which he made an
offering on the spot in front of the rock while saying prayers.
"We have been told," he said, "that
there are three most powerful places in the United States. This is
one of them, and I am going home to report it to the Elders."
Which he then did.
Also, a dynamite bomb was placed in the
Meditation Room. The fuse went out.
U Thant was the third UN Secretary-General. This gentle Burmese Buddhist was
regarded as unremarkable, which was exactly what most major powers,
particularly the USSR, wanted after the lightening bolt of Dag Hammarskj÷ld.
It is increasingly difficult to be elected Secretary-General. States would
generally prefer a good housekeeper who does not initiate, innovate or
otherwise threaten their equilibrium or the status quo.
But, U Thant's self effacing nature belied his
moral courage and inner strength. Those who voted for him were later to find
themselves very surprised. He was never really understood by the West and
probably not by the communist states either. He was, however, universally
trusted-with confidences and in his word and fairness.
I knew the man personally, and loved him. I had the pleasure of sitting with
him in his home, working on statements and articles, which would become
history. I sensed the reverential atmosphere filled with Buddhic qualities,
and knew that this son of the East was dearly beloved of the guides and
mentors of the human race.
U Thant was an earnest Buddhist and meditated at
home every morning before driving to the UN.
The two fullest statements of U Thant's belief's and practices are contained
in his talk on "The Role of Religious Convictions" at the Third
International Teach-In at Toronto in 1967, and his personal statement in his
memoirs, View from the UN (Doubleday, 1978, pp. 20-25, 453-454).
cancer upon its completion, he was unable to continue to his second volume,
which was to have been much more introspective than the memoirs devoted to
his role at the UN.
As a Buddhist, I was trained to be tolerant
of everything except intolerance. I was brought up not only to develop
the spirit of tolerance but also to cherish moral and spiritual
qualities, especially modesty, humility, compassion and most important,
to attain a certain degree of emotional equilibrium. I was taught to
control my emotions through a process of concentration and meditation.
Of course, being human, and not yet having reached the stage of arhat
(enlightened being) I cannot completely "control" my emotions ....
Among the teachings of the Buddha are four features of meditation, the
primary purpose of which is the attainment of moral and spiritual
excellence: metta (goodwill or kindness); karuna (compassion);
(sympathetic joy); and upekka (equanimity or equilibrium).
A true Buddhist practices his metta (kindness) to all, without
distinction-'just as the sun shines on all, or the rain falls on all,
Metta embraces all beings impartially and
spontaneously, expecting nothing in return, not even appreciation. Metta
is impersonal love or goodwill, the opposite of sensuous caring or a
burning sensual fire that can turn into wrath, hatred, or revenge when
Karuna ... the quality of compassion, is deeply rooted in the Buddhist
concept of suffering. Human life is one of suffering; hence, it is the
duty of a good Buddhist to mitigate the sufferings of others.
Mudita (sympathetic joy) can best be defined as one's expression of
sympathy with other people's joy. The happiness of others generates
happiness in the mind of a good Buddhist .... The person who cultivates
altruistic joy radiates it over everyone in his surroundings....
Upekka (equanimity) connotes the acquisition of a balance of mind
whether in triumph or tragedy. This balance is achieved only as a result
of deep insight into the nature of things, and primarily by
contemplation and meditation. If one understands how unstable and
impermanent all worldly conditions are, one learns to bear lightly the
greatest misfortune or the greatest reward.
To achieve upekka, one has to
meditate....Buddhist meditation aims at cleansing the mind of
impurities, such as ill will, hatred and restlessness; it aims at
cultivating such qualities as concentration, awareness, intelligence,
confidence, and tranquility, leading finally to the attainment of the
U Thant also writes that he was greatly
influenced by the writings of Albert Schweitzer and his concept of
"reverence for life," and by those of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
In stating his own concept of human society, he
I am always conscious of the fact that I am
a member of the human race....
This consciousness prompts me to work for a
great human synthesis, which is the implicit goal of the world
Organization I had the privilege of serving.... Long before I was
appointed Secretary-General, I used to dwell at some length on the
oneness of the human community.
Indeed, as a result of these convictions. U Thant became a founding
co-Chairman of Planetary Citizens, which, together with Norman Cousins,
In the closing pages of his memoirs U Thant again called
for "a new concept of citizenship."
I am making a plea, he said, based on these ten years of looking at the
human condition from my unique vantage point-for a dual allegiance. This
implies an open acceptance of belonging... to the human race as well as
to our local community or nation.... I believe that the mark of the
truly educated person facing the 21st century is that he feels himself
to be a planetary citizen.
The third figure I wish to discuss in the context of spirituality at the
UN is not a Secretary-General, nor an official of any kind.
however, led meditations twice a week at the UN for 10 years, nearly one
third of the life of the Organization. Sri Chinmoy comes from the
lineage of saints and sages of the East, in the line of and in the
tradition of Ramakrishna and Aurobindo. Like them, he is a post-graduate
human. In his case, he awoke to that fact when in his early teens, and
spent the next 20 years perfecting his inner tools for his life at the
ashram of Aurobindo in Pondicherry, India.
It is not surprising to me that such an exalted being would choose-or be
asked from within, to assume responsibility for spirituality at the UN
as part of his mission. Rather it would seem inevitable, because of what
he is, and of what the UN represents and strives to become. If there is
any place on earth which is appropriate to an Avataric being, and where
he is needed, surely it is the fledgling world organization, struggling
to unify humanity and carry it to the next level of awareness.
Thus we find Chinmoy acting as invoker and
intermediary for the vastest and most significant energies the world has
yet received, with our meditation group of 60 or 70 people striving to
serve as a lens and distributing agent for the light, love, and purpose
he brings down into our midst.
We are attempting to bring together and assist in publication of the
statements he has made at these meditations about the UN and its task,
and about the world community, and I would like to share with you some
excerpts from this increasingly significant material. Of course, he
recognizes the soul of the UN as well as its present outer
manifestation. He recognizes the future of the world organization as
well as its present state.
He offers solace and comfort, he brings
inspiration and insight, and he generates enthusiasm and expectancy for
an unfolding reality.
A spiritual Goal for the
United Nations - Is it practical?
Without the least possible hesitation I venture to say that it is highly
practical. It is not only practical, but also practicable.
Something more: it is inevitable. We have to
know what the spiritual goal for the United Nations is. Its Goal is to
become ultimately the saviour of the world's imperfection, the liberator of
the world's destruction and the fulfiller of the world's aspiration.
My heart tells me that the United Nations has a divine Ideal. My soul tells
me that this Ideal is going to be transferred into the supreme Reality.
Soulful concern is the essence of the United Nations' Ideal. Fruitful
patience is the substance of the United Nations' ideal. Supernal fulfillment
will be the essence of the United Nations' Reality.
Today's United Nations offers hopeful and soulful advice to mankind.
Tomorrow's United Nations' will offer fruitful and fulfilling peace to
mankind. Today's United Nations' feels truth, Light and Delight in its
loving heart. Tomorrow's United Nations' will manifest Truth, Light and
Delight with its all-embracing soul.
My aspiring heart has a soulful message to offer to all the nations that
have formed, that have made the Garland of the United Nations. The message
There are two stumbling blocks: doubt and insecurity, Doubt in the mind,
insecurity in the heart. There two stepping stones: faith and surrender.
Faith in oneself and surrender to God's will, conscious surrender to God's
The message that the soul of the United Nations offers to the world at large
is for Eternity. Its message is that today's imperfect and unfulfilled man
is tomorrow's absolutely fulfilled and supremely manifested God.
the Nation Souls pp 27-28-29)
On another occasion Sri Chinmoy stated:
Needless to say, the world is still not
perfect. Since the world is not perfect, the world opinion cannot be
There are many on earth who find fault with
the activities and the dedicated services of the United Nations. But
from the spiritual point of view, I wish to say that each action and
each dedicated service is not a mere experiment, but an experience of
God in and through the United Nations. ....This is what we see and feel
in the heart of the United Nations.
From the spiritual point of view, the United
Nations is struggling and striving for something meaningful and
fruitful. What it needs, it has; Divine Compassion. The Compassion of
God has been unceasingly descending upon the United Nations.
It is not in vain or without any purpose that the United Nations has
come into existence. God's vision has to be manifested here on earth.
The suffering nations need a place for consolation; the sacrificing
nations need a place for appreciation. Here in the United Nations we see
the message of fulfillment. Now it is up to the world.
The world, the sleeping, unaspiring,
unawakened world is not yet receiving the Light of the United Nations.
There are many things that the world could get from the dedication of
the United Nations: but if the world is not receptive, it is not the
fault of the United Nations.
God is all Compassion, He is all giving; but if we don't want to receive
His Light the way He wants to offer it, that is not His fault. The heart
of this place is dedication, the soul of this place is concern, the body
of this place is for the illumining expansion of human consciousness.
... When we go deep within, we see that a seed was sown here in the
earth-consciousness and that seed has boundless potentiality. God's
Light is here for humanity to receive on a practical level, in an
earthly manner. God's Light is here to illumine us. Consciously and
unconsciously the world is receiving this Light from the United Nations;
but the United Nations is not being recognized, and this fact is
The human beings who have become instruments
to offer the Light that the soul of the United Nations has, may not be
fully aware of what they are doing. When they see the imperfections in
others, when they see their limited capacity, at times they feel
frustrated. But the Divine in each individual nation is all-wise. It has
chosen the right place and the right instrument-the United Nations.
... The United Nations is the chosen instrument of God. To be a chosen
instrument of God means to be a divine messenger carrying the banner of
God's inner vision and outer manifestation. One day the world will not
only treasure and cherish the soul of the United Nations but also claim
the soul of the United Nations as its very own with enormous pride, for
this soul is all-loving, all-nourishing, and all fulfilling.
In speaking to the meditation group, Sri Chinmoy
We are the most fortunate people on earth,
for God has chosen us to be his instruments to serve him in mankind.
Please try to feel that the United Nations is not a mere building, but a
place of worship, a place where all human beings can worship and pray to
God. This place is a living shrine for the Supreme.
On another occasion he said:
This meditation is not only for the United
Nations but also for the world at large. If we really love God, and if
we really love mankind and consciously believe that we are responsible
for mankind, then we feel that our aspiration and dedication to the soul
of the United Nations and our inner pilot is of paramount importance.
Please feel that it is your own aspiration
that will expedite the vision for the United Nations. And when the
vision is transformed into reality, the inner pilot will know our
contribution whether or not the world ever recognizes it....
Sri Chinmoy had a particularly poignant and deep
relationship with U Thant. I attended a performance of plays on the life of
the Buddha by Chinmoy that were dedicated to U Thant and performed for him.
Of U Thant at his passing, Chinmoy said :
U Thant was a chosen instrument of God. U
Thant was a chosen instrument of man. God gave him Compassion-sky to
offer to man. Man gave him his suffering-sea to offer to God. Earth gave
him the responsibility. Heaven knew and saw it.
Heaven gave him the
authority, but unfortunately earth did not know it or did not care to
know it. His heart of brotherhood was misunderstood. His life of
sacrifice was not valued. But his vision and goal of oneness will
eternally be pursued by aspiring humanity.
Is Sri Chinmoy properly appreciated by the
United Nations? Not entirely.
Both the present Secretary-General, Javier
Perez de Cuellar (fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations
from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991), and the past Secretaries-General, Kurt Waldheim and
Thant, have appreciated his work and that of the UN Meditation Group.
Selected delegates and many secretariat staff as well as some NGO
However, such overt spirituality is still a big
step for many.
Spirituality at the
The UN is a place of contrast and contests. It
is a place of contrast between selfishness and sharing. It is a place of
contests between the narrow self-interest and the world community's good. It
is the major battle line for the future of humanity's soul and collective
It is the locus for the emergence of higher
values concerning humanity as a whole, and the rebirth of the race as a
Planetary Entity, a Planetary Human Being. Therefore, from the inner side
the wiring has been put in place, the energies of emergence are focused, the
power for planetary transformation is available. It is even represented
there by a conscious post-human intermediary of great power.
It is too early yet to tell whether that promise
will be recognized, accepted by humanity and acted upon or scorned. But rest
assured that those of us who work there with the vision before us will
continue to worship at the altar of humanity - become - whole, for you and for