Sri Chinmoy is the founder of The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles humanitarian programme. This organisation is a group of volunteers from the Sri Chinmoy Centre, including many medical doctors, nurses, school teachers and other dedicated individuals of many nationalities, who are inspired to be of service to those in need.
Each of the volunteers acts in the spirit of selfless service and with a sense of oneness with those less fortunate than ourselves. In the words of Sri Chinmoy:
Our humanitarian service is not our self-motivated, condescending act of charity to the poor and needy. It is a gigantic opportunity to feed, nourish and strengthen our own poor brothers and sisters so that they can, side by side, march along with us to proclaim the world-oneness-victory of God the Creation.”
The programme had its origins in delivering much-needed supplies to Russia at the beginning of the 1990’s, including answering a request by President Mikhail Gorbachev for aid to help develop the Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology in Moscow. The hospital specialises in helping Russian children suffering from leukemia.
Over the years, the programme has expanded to countries all over the world. Sri Chinmoy felt that giving in this way enriched the givers by enabling them to feel a sense of connection and oneness with people all over the world.
Charity I do not like. I like concern, true concern. When someone shows me charity, I feel a sense of inferiority, and when I offer charity to someone, I undoubtedly feel a sense of superiority. I want neither a superior feeling nor an inferior feeling: what I want is an equal feeling….It is only the feeling of oneness that can give me satisfaction, and this feeling of oneness has to be enlarged.”
Sri Chinmoy. Everest-Aspiration, part 2
Many of the programmes aim to connect and uplift people in ways that go beyond material aid. For example, the Kids to Kids and Drawings of Love programmes connect children from different parts of the world through the exchange of drawings and gifts. By involving children in international assistance, the Kids to Kids programme creates bonds of global friendship and gives physical and emotional support to children in times of need. It provides an avenue of action for young citizens of the world and, in turn, recipient children come to feel other boys and girls care for them. Such an experience of giving and receiving becomes an indelible memory in a child’s formative years.
Read more at The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles website.