American Presidents

Sri Chinmoy's soulful writings dedicated to America's Past Presidents

 

 On Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Kennedy


GEORGE WASHINGTON

George Washington was the father of the American nation. He was the son of peace and the brother of self-giving. O Father of America, Father, indeed, in body, vital, mind and heart; Father in action, Father in realisation.

George Washington, you and you alone were America's supreme need and divine choice to lead your country to victory!  You offered your country the smile of victory's freedom-dawn. Victory's sun shone on the life and soul of America. And that sun blessed you, embraced you and treasured you.

I salute the indomitable spirit of the General in you. I bow to the peerless wisdom of the President in you. I take endless pride in the Father of the Nation in you. You have always been a true lover of peace. You have always valued peace infinitely more than anything else. Your country needed you to fight for her. Your country needed you to liberate her from bondage-night. You surrendered your own will to your country's will. Under your supreme leadership your country won the war. Then your country needed you desperately to build an undivided nation. Your country needed your guidance inimitable. You were the first and last president to be everybody's choice. Many succeeded you, but you, with your lofty ideals, are the pole star. You were their pole star.

A divinely inspired dream, daring and desparate;
A surprise that made history:
A farmer's son founds the New World.
"Inferior endowment from nature,"
He thought of himself.
But the Divine made him HIs efficient instrument.


High character and majestic will
Powerfully blended with courage and capacity:
Thus stood forth the Man of the Hour,
The Man of Destiny, the Man of God.
And from his mighty dream mightily executed
Burst forth a new free world,
Destined to be the hope and defence
Of more free worlds to be.

                  Victory in the War of Independence:
England lost to her own offspring,
England won for herself a mightier friend.
A new era heralded,
A new shattering blow
Struck at man's domination over man:
Independence the first step to unity,
And unity, one Truth of God.

George Washington, first to embody America's hope,
First in inspiration, first in confidence,
First in war, first in victory,
First in conquering the heart of his Nation,
First to envisage a federation of states,
Single, powerful, united, whole.

 

THOMAS JEFFERSON

For your extraordinary service to your country,
you would have been known as a great man.
But for your offering of your independence-declaration,
you are known as a good man, a God-messenger, a Vision-son of God.

The essential qualities of Thomas Jefferson were clarity, luminosity and vastness. Jefferson was the most divinely talented man of his time. He covered quite a few fields in every walk of life, and he went a considerable distance in each. In his case mind, body, vital, heart, everything went together. This moment he was a musician, this moment he was a sculptor, this moment he was a man of brain, this moment he was a physical, earthly labourer. God gave him capacities in many walks of life and he used them well.  To become the happiest man is the most difficult thing on earth, and that he was.

Light and Liberty  edited by Eric S. Petersen, contains thirty-four essays culled from over 20,000 letters, reports, speeches and state papers written by Jefferson that inspire us to this day.

 


Abraham Lincoln
ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Born under no lucky star,
But dynamic in his dreams,
He fought his way to Luck:
"From log cabin to White House."

No soul on earth supreme over another;
Equality every man's birthright and treasure;
Black and white, brown and red
Make no difference;
This nation cannot exist half-slave, half-free:
From his voice these bold truths rang out.

He had the gift to dream of union,
The courage and capacity to fight,
The confidence to win,
The patience that knew no flagging.

 

Faith in God's Justice was his stamina,
Faith in God was his might.

What is really important?
Are we God's or is God ours?
The idealist in Lincoln reveals:
"We trust, Sir, that God is on our side.
It is more important to know
That we are on God's side."

 


John F. Kennedy

Kennedy's hope was the world.
Its hope was Kennedy.
Kennedy's life was the world.
Its promise was Kennedy.
Together they breathe through Eternity.

We have to see Kennedy's vision, his real vision. Kennedy's soul went very high and very deep. He died quite young; that is why his soul's light did not manifest fully in the outer life. But the patriotism of his inner life is bound to manifest in the course of time. The light that his soul has will again try to manifest on earth through a different form.

KENNEDY: THE UNIVERSAL HEART

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of America,
Prince of high idealism, Freedom incarnate,
Helper of humanity.

The Inaugural Address of Kennedy is eloquent evidence that the mantric utterance is no longer India's monopoly. There are sentiments in that soul-stirring address that are as deep as the Atlantic in their outlook; ideals as high as the Himalayas and resolutions as powerful as atomic power.

President Kennedy does not stop with his fellow Americans. From his head and heart goes forth an all-embracing call to mankind.

Hope is strength. Hope is progress. When the sun of hope is eclipsed, the inevitable fear of bondage looms large.
Kennedy, with his breadth of outlook and depth of insight, can help immensely to restore this hope to man.

It seems that in Kennedy's dictionary there are two complementary words which enrich and fulfil the sense of each other and constitute together the master formula of the language: Freedom and Peace.

President Kennedy is, as it were, the lineal descendant of the American nation's traditional leadership. As George Washington was the Father of the United States, as Abraham Lincoln was its Saviour, as Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Voice of America,
even so is John F. Kennedy the Noble Defender of World Freedom and World Peace.

'Defender of World Freedom and World Peace' is certainly a great and responsible role. But is that enough for a man of Kennedy's calibre? In 'the Hour of God' that has set in, there has appeared a man of high capacity and of unquestioned good will for all, a man of synthetic cast of mind, a man of faith and trust in God's Omnipotence, a man who has already caught an image of the One World to be. Unmistakably he will prove a Man of Destiny and launch a world-scale offensive for the 'Hour of God' upon his own country as well as upon the rest of the world; establish over this dark, miserable world a New World Empire of Peace and Power, Truth and Knowledge, Health and Happiness, a world one with its creator.

It is not suggested that Kennedy, the mere man, has that superhuman power. The world must not forget that, despite the extremely poor resources at his disposal, Churchill successfully stemmed the Hitlerian tide upon England and became the instrument of a Higher Power, simply by his faith and determination. Who knows but that, like Arjuna in the Battle of Kurukshetra, like Churchill in the Second World War, Kennedy will be an instrument of God's conquest of His own world for Himself? Not without reason, perhaps, has this young soul been called to the great Chair of the new world.


KENNEDY AND THE WORLD

Kennedy's hope was the world.
Its hope was Kennedy.
Kennedy's life was the world.
Its promise was Kennedy.
Together they breathe through Eternity.

UNIQUE

Kennedy is unique.
Why?
God kindled him with His Dream.
On him God showered His Blessings divine,
Thickly, lavishly, significantly.

Kennedy is unique.
Why?
God threw on him
The burden of the world at large,
Smilingly, consciously, inevitably.

Kennedy is unique.
Why?
His soul visioned Tomorrow's Dawn,
Far beyond the flight of imagination,
Far above the strongest investigation,
Deep within the core of transformation.

Kennedy is unique.
Why?
He pined with his bleeding heart
To free the world
From the spiked wounds of life.
This eyeless earth of ours
Will burst into glorious bloom:
He saw this diamond truth,
While dreaming, struggling, daring.
Many American poets are patriotic heroes just because their inner experiences have awakened and illumined and added to America's consciousness.