Sri Chinmoy uses UN logo without permission

January 1988
From a report filed By Adeline Goldberg, Marie LaRusso and Charles McNickle

Indian guru Sri Chinmoy has been using the United Nations logo improperly in an attempt to gain support for the religious organization he heads.

The organization, called "Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations," uses the United Nation's logo on its letterhead and the inscription at the bottom of its stationery that it is "an association of United Nations delegates, staff, NGO representatives and accredited press correspondents holding biweekly peace meditations and other programmes at the United Nations Headquarters."

In fact, the group, originally under the name Sri Chinmoy Church Centre, had formed a meditation group in 1971 made up of supporters in the United Nations. It secured membership in the United Nations Staff Recreation Council. In 1977 the Meditation Group requested and received permission to use a modified version of the United Nations Emblem on its letterhead, accompanied by the words "United Nations -- The Heart -- Home of the World Body." However, when asked in 1978 to identify itself with the label "United Nations Staff Recreation Council" to indicate its recreation-oriented nature and avoid any misconception that it was an organ of the United Nations itself, the group refused and withdrew from the United Nations Staff Recreation Council.

In 1983 it adopted its present name. It has continued to be allowed to use meeting room facilities at the U.N. and uses the U.N. mailing address, in general presenting itself as an official mediator for the U.N.

In fall, 1985 Sri Chinmoy labeled a visit to Japan he undertook as "a delegation of about 100 members of the United Nations and Sri Chinmoy," despite the fact that there was no official backing of this trip. Other events of Sri Chinmoy's organization, including concerts and sporting events, have attempted to portray an official connection with the U.N.

Sri Chinmoy himself has a rather astonishing background. Born in 1931 in East Bengal, India, he came to the U.S. in 1964 where he began teaching meditation. His followers engage in intensive chanting and meditative trances, adopt a distinctive dress, and avoid contact with non-members. Disciples address him as "The Supreme." Sri Chinmoy claims to have super-normal powers - including having written 843 poems in 24 hours, created 16,031 paintings in one day, and lifted 7000 pounds with one arm.

Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations has labeled the charges about its unauthorized use of the U.N. logo as "the malicious attempt to damage the good reputation of a group of staff members and delegates [of the United Nations] who have dedicated themselves to peace initiatives and strengthening the positive image of the United Nations since 1970."

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