Peace meditation at the United Nations

Sri Chinmoy’s name is not one that would be readily linked to the political decision-making process, yet he had a long association with the world’s peak forum for international affairs, the United Nations.

In 1970, Sri Chinmoy brought a new perspective to the word ‘peace’ when, at the invitation of the third Secretary-General U Thant, he began conducting twice-weekly silent peace meditations at the United Nations.

Those who meditated with him described a feeling of peace so profound that it was literally tangible: “Seated there in silence, I was aware of a powerful wave of peace and saintly love emanating from Sri Chinmoy himself,” as one meditator put it. And this ‘feeling of peace’ was certainly evident at the regular meditations he conducted in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the UN Headquarters.

In one sense, his was a radical approach. But from Sri Chinmoy’s perspective: “Peace is something spontaneous; it is something that unites us. Peace is something that we have to spread. But unless and until we have peace deep within us, we can never hope to have peace in the outer world.”

“Peace,” says Sri Chinmoy, “does not mean the absence of war. Peace means the presence of harmony, love, satisfaction and oneness.”

U Thant clearly saw that the essence of peace — peace in its undiluted pristine form — that Sri Chinmoy was offering through his meditations was the real underpinning of the mission of the United Nations: “Whoever speaks to me about you is all appreciation and admiration, and I personally feel that you have been doing a most significant task for the United Nations … You have indeed instilled in the minds of hundreds of people here, the moral and spiritual values which both of us cherish very dearly.” (An excerpt from Sri Chinmoy Reflections.)

During this university lecture, Sri Chinmoy reads his paper on the role of the United Nations.