This article was first published in Thikana, the most widely circulated Bengali newspaper in New York, on October 25, 2007. It was translated from the Bangla original by Mahatapa Palit.
Some have teardrops trembling in their eyes, some have the monsoon rains flowing from theirs, hands folded on the heart, all heads are bowed in sorrow. The world peace messenger, Guru Sri Chinmoy has left us all immersed in an ocean of grief. His body lies in wake at the ashram that he built; devotion-filled songs composed by him on every lip – ‘Amar Guru, Sabar Guru…’
Leaving behind thousands of disciples and millions of peace-loving people heart-broken, Sri Chinmoy left his body on the morning of October 11 at his own home. All deaths are full of pain and sorrow, but it is hard to describe the sadness that filled people at his passing. We have to ask what makes one the object of such fondness, tears, reverence and love for thousands of people all over the world. Orphaned at the age of 12, Sri Chinmoy grew up in an Ashram. Breaking asunder many barriers, he finally came to New York, America in 1964. From a remote area of Chittagong in Bangladesh to the country of dreams, America, Sri Chinmoy could have climbed very high, if he had chosen, to fulfil his own personal agenda. He had more than the ability to do so. However, he did not limit himself with his personal dreams. He gave his life completely to others. He dedicated himself to the most difficult work in this world – giving hope to people in despair, offering a haven of peace to a world seething in the fire of hostility, restlessness and aggression. This most difficult task he took on his shoulders. He could not bear the defeat and degradation of humanity. He went running in all directions – east, west, north and south – with the message of liberation, with the message of peace.
Sri Chinmoy was a person of multifaceted talents. From his music, melody, art, writing, and sports - from all of these would rise only his love for humanity. And with the incantation of this love he completely immersed himself in spreading the message of peace in a world that was full of strife, violence, anger and jealousy.
The entire world respects Sri Chinmoy because he melted all differences between castes, creed, colour, race, rich and poor. He made people of all religions stand in a single file binding them with the consciousness of oneness. For him, the greater religion was the religion of humanity and oneness. For his language and culture, he had extreme devotion and love. Most of the songs he composed were in Bengali. Even though he conveyed his message of peace in English, at heart, he was a true Bengali. He gave each of his disciples a Bengali name, and he called them by that name. He had great pride in the Bengali language and people.
So immense was his dedication to the progress of humanity that 600 well known figures submitted his name for the Nobel Prize in 2007 to the Nobel Foundation. That he did not win the Nobel Prize is no loss to him. It is but a great loss to the Nobel Foundation that they were not able to offer the Nobel Prize to such a great soul. In the same way that the Nobel Foundation expressed its sorrow for not being able to confer the Peace Prize to Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps one day, they will also regret that they were not able to give the Peace Prize to Sri Chinmoy, the advocate of peace.
Sri Chinmoy left at a crucial time when his presence his badly needed to establish world peace. Perhaps if he had lived for another twenty years then not bombs but his message of peace would rule the world. Now our only consolation will be that the flaming torch of his ideals will be kept alive by hundreds of his disciples, devotees, and followers and with his peace-mantra, they will light up the entire world.
His death, has affected the members of the Thikana family very deeply. Over the years, a deep relationship had grown between him and Thikana. Sri Chinmoy had great affection for Syed-ur-Rabb, the President of Thikana, who he considered like a younger brother. We all pray for the peace of his soul.
Note on the Author
Mr. Fazlur Rahman is the News editor of the New York-based Bengali weekly Thikana. He started his career as a college lecturer in Bangladesh in 1973 after completing his Masters in Philosophy. Writing since he was in college, in 1978 he formally began his career as a journalist and has been working for various Bangla newspapers ever since.