Sri Chinmoy delivered the following tribute to U Thant on 12 December 1974, as part of his continuing Dag Hammarskjöld monthly lecture series at the United Nations, held in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters in New York.


Acting General Assembly President U Thant (right), of Burma, and UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, during the Fourteenth Session of the UN General Assembly, on 1 October 1959. (UN Photo 60999)

The Chosen Instrument of God

U Thant was a chosen instrument of God. U Thant was a chosen instrument of man. God gave him His Compassion-sky to offer to man. Man gave him his suffering-sea to offer to God. U Thant started his earthly sojourn as a Rangoon, Burma Buddha-son. The Absolute Supreme gradually made him into a universal Wisdom-son and a universal Blessing-gift.

To us, peace is something that belongs in a dream-land. Since it belongs to dream-land we talk about it. To U Thant, peace is something that belongs to the reality-world. Therefore he lived in the reality-world of peace and was a solid and treasured member of the reality-peace-world.

To us, oneness is something that we seem to want but do not actually feel the need for. To U Thant, oneness was something of constant need, something indispensable. His heart cried for this oneness and the Lord Supreme, the Author of all good, fulfilled his heart’s burning desire.

The United Nations gave U Thant the opportunity to speak to the world-body as a supreme leader of mankind. In return, U Thant gave to the United Nations the message of the world-mind-illumination, of the world-heart-perfection and of the world-life-satisfaction.

U Thant was the supreme choice of the United Nations, and God was pleased. But God wanted U Thant to please Him more. Therefore, he made U Thant a pioneer voice of light from the higher worlds. Simplicity, purity and integrity he was. He was a child’s simplicity. He was a saint’s purity. He was a God-lover’s integrity. He struggled calmly. He suffered ceaselessly. He hoped sleeplessly.

Again, he knew how to dream of success. He knew how to become the river of progress. We feel that man is bad, imperfect and undivine. His conviction was that man is good, perfect and divine, for that is what each individual in the inner world eternally is.

U Thant’s life of humility was the result of his heart’s nobility. His heart of nobility was the result of his soul’s unparalleled divinity. Sincerity spoke through him, integrity breathed in him, spirituality walked with him.

He knew the world-problem: ignorance. He knew the world-answer: meditation, and this he practised in silence. God practised His silence-meditation in and through U Thant. God practised His sound-dedication in and through U Thant.

U Thant was at once God-Humility and man-dignity. He was at once man-frustration and God-Illumination. He was at once the soulful son of God and the faithful slave of man. Self-demonstration he ruthlessly shunned. Self-perfection he practised. God-Perfection he sought to embrace and treasure.

Before him the United Nations was great, divinely great. With him, after him, the United Nations has become supremely good. In the inner world he was God’s Promise, God’s Promise to the outer world. In the outer world he was man’s confidence, man’s confidence in becoming a dedicated instrument of the inner world.

Earth gave him the responsibility. Heaven knew it 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 of oneness-goal will eternally be pursued by aspiring humanity.

An Asian seed he was. A world-fruit he has become and forever and forever he shall remain. 

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