When Vladimir Petrovsky passed away in 2014, many felt that a rare personality had left this earth – somebody with a unique combination of an academic background, a practical approach, a humanistic view, a visionary spirit, a positive and optimistic outlook and a deep longing to bring the human family closer together. Having worked closely with him for a number of years, author Shashanka M. Karlen felt that his life and work, his vision and personality, his achievements and recommendations could serve as an inspiration to current and future generations and contribute to a world of peaceful coexistence, trust, solidarity and cooperation. As much as the book is intended for the future, it also offers ample insights into the history of the last fifty years and the huge transformations of political, diplomatic and even personal landscapes that have taken place in this time. The forweword has been written by President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Chapter 7, entitled “A Special Friendship”, focuses on Petrovsky’s relationship with Sri Chinmoy:
President Gorbachev’s political fate and the situation in the Soviet Union were at the centre of discussion in the first meetings of Vladimir Petrovsky and Sri Chinmoy. Within the next twelve months there were more than twenty meetings and conversations, some of which also included Vladimir Petrovsky’s wife, Mira, and on occasion their daughter, Lena. These frequent meetings of the first year laid the foundation for a friendship that would blossom for another fifteen years. Following are excerpts from the message of condolence sent by Vladimir Petrovsky for a special observance at UN Headquarters on the occasion of Sri Chinmoy’s passing in October 2007:
I have known Sri Chinmoy for more than fifteen years and I have followed his life and work with growing interest, based on personal meetings and his involvement with the United Nations. Where could one find such an ardent supporter of the UN as in Sri Chinmoy? His vision and faith in the UN, in the role of the UN as a common home of humanity, as a safeguard of the united principles of its members and as a beacon of hope and a bridge-builder in our turbulent and troubled times, were sleepless and unwavering. For more than thirty-seven years he regularly offered his inner peace and tranquillity at the UN Headquarters in New York through his silent meditations, concerts, exhibitions, publications and other programmes. Here at the core of humanity, in the heart of the human family, his love for the world and his fellow human beings could be tangibly felt. Sri Chinmoy was convinced that true outer peace had to start with the inner peace of the individual. He has expressed this philosophy of peace in countless books, songs and paintings. His creative works, together with his multifarious peaceinitiatives like the humanitarian relief operations, the Peace Concerts and the World Harmony Run (currently knows as Peace Run / Note of the Blog editor), represent an immense source of inspiration, wisdom, strength and practical guidance to people of all social, cultural and religious backgrounds. I regard Sri Chinmoy’s work as one of the most powerful pillars of a culture of peace of the 20th and 21st centuries. On a more personal note, I wish to say that I feel very privileged to have been able to meet personally with Sri Chinmoy on many occasions over the last fifteen years. I have always felt his generous affection, sincere interest and concern in my and my wife Mira’s personal lives as well as my professional activities. For this we are both very grateful. May we continue together to explore pathways to a better and more perfect world! – 27 October 2007
Many thanks to author S.M. Karlen, who gave us the permission to quote the above texts from his new book “Vladimir Petrovsky – The Master Diplomat”, published 2015 by The United Nations SRC Society of Writers, ISBN: 978-1-938599-80-4. master-diplomat.com.